Tennessee - Long Beach State Preview
Tennessee (5) Vs. Long Beach State (12)
Friday, 3/16 @ 2:35
Betting Line From Bookmaker: Tennessee -7
The 25th ranked Tennessee Volunteers (22- 10, 10- 6 SEC E) finished second to Florida in their division and on the way to the NCAA Tournament beat nationally ranked Ohio State, Kentucky, Florida and Alabama. The Long Beach State 49ers (24- 7, 12- 2 Big West) easily took the regular season and tournament crowns. They’ve won 13 of their last 15 games.
There are a lot of fine players on this Tennessee club but junior
guard Chris Lofton (20.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.8 APG) must play well
for this team to go deep. When Lofton was out with a sprained
ankle this season, the Volunteers went into a slide; after he
came back, they were 7- 1. Lofton hits threes 42% of the time
and is the SEC’s leading scorer. Junior guard JaJuan Smith
(15.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.3 APG) is another important scoring factor.
The inside game is handled by two freshmen forwards—Wayne
Chism (9.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG) and Duke Crews (8.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG).
Long Beach State likes to put up points and can get hot from the perimeter. When this happens, they can be extremely dangerous, dropping in 80 or more points a game. Big West Player of the Year senior guard Aaron Nixon (18.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.1 APG) can be anywhere and everywhere. Inside senior forward Sterling Byrd (13.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG) is a tough presence. This club is loaded with experienced seniors who want to go out winners.
This Long Beach club is tenacious and won’t be afraid to take it to Tennessee. As long as the Volunteers control the flow of the game and keep the score relatively low, they should win this one.