Preview: Tennessee

Submitted by Tim on March 17th, 2011 at 9:26 PM

The Essentialstennesseerug.jpg

WHAT 8 Michigan v. 9 Tennessee
WHERE Charlotte, NC
WHEN 12:40PM
THE LINE Michigan +1.5
KenPom: Michigan -2 (57% win)

Do I need to explain the stakes? The winner gets to continue working toward a national championship (probably against Duke), while the loser fires Bruce Pearl.

Let's get it.

Tempo-Free Breakdown

If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy:

Michigan v. Tennessee: National Ranks
Category Michigan Rank Tennessee Rank Advantage
Mich eFG% v. UT Def eFG% 56 100 M
Mich Def eFG% v. UT eFG% 158 226 M
Mich TO% v. UT Def TO% 14 116 MM
Mich Def TO% v. UT TO% 255 131 TT
Mich OReb% v. UT DReb% 327 128 TT
Mich DReb% v. UT OReb% 67 12 T
Mich FTR v. UT Opp FTR 327 193 TT
Mich Opp FTR v. UT FTR 34 118 M
Mich AdjO v. UT AdjD 46 49 -
Mich AdjD v. UT AdjO 48 71 M

Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.

This is by FAR the least skewed matchup against Michigan in a long time. Considering Michigan has won most of those games despite their faults, that is a good thing, and the upward trend Michigan has been showing late in the season is no reason to doubt it. That said, there are still some areas in which Tennessee has a serious advantage.

I think of most SEC basketball teams as horrifically unskilled but very athletic squads. This means bad at shooting, but great at both types of rebounding. Tennessee fits the stereotype to a T. They are a great offensive rebounding team, a decent defensive team, but awful, awful, awful at shooting the ball (and not great at defending shots). Michigan must take advantage of this while simultaneously preventing Tennessee from capitalizing on their rebounding advantage. Fortunately rebounding can be improved with effort, whereas a team does or does not have good shooters.

Considering most of Tennessee's success was against the poor SEC (Michigan would be the second best defensive rebounding team in the conference!), maybe the Volunteers are good-not-great even in their strongest categories.

Keys for Michigan will include good defense on Scotty Hopson all over the court, and crashing the defensive boards to neutralize a lot of the Volunteers' other opportunities. Of course the age-old "big men stay out of foul trouble" rule applies.


All sorts of stuff for NCAA Tournament game #1, most of it from UMHoops. Tennessee's players react to finding out Michigan is the opponent. Scouting report of the Volunteers, and Dylan's preview of the game.


Barring crazy circumstances, this doesn't seem like a bad matchup for Michigan. The Volunteers are like a version of Michigan State or Minnesota that absolutely can't shoot the ball, which tips the court heavily in Michigan's favor. Darius Morris recordss a double-double as Tim Hardaway scores more than 25 points in a 68-61 Michigan win.



March 17th, 2011 at 11:06 PM ^

Wow, I am surprised at how unimpressive all of their numbers are (besides offensive rebounding), especially considering almost every national "expert" that I have seen has Tennesse winning. I like this matchup. So they have two stud players and not much else offensively? That sounds awfully similar to our team last year.


March 18th, 2011 at 7:21 AM ^

What in the world is TruTV, anyway, and where can I find it?!?!

Heck, Wofford made a national network last night, and we're stuck on a station I've never heard of. What's with that? Is anybody worthwhile rebroadcasting later?


March 18th, 2011 at 9:38 AM ^

Not sure if you mean outside Michigan or not. The game is being broadcast on WTKA and I would assume the other usual stations on the network.

Outside Michigan, Westwood One is the national network. Go to this page to find a Westwood One station (which game each station will broadcast is unclear). You can also go to this page for a link to an online stream of the Westwood One radio broadcast.