Tennessee and Purdue will face-off on Thursday, March 28th for a chance to advance to the Elite Eight. Now both teams know what time they will tip-off.
The No. 2 seed Vols (31-5) and No. 3 seed Boilermakers (25-9) will start their Sweet Sixteen match-up at approximately 7:29 PM Eastern in Louisville, Kentucky. The game will be televised on TBS nationally.
Purdue blew past No. 14 seed Old Dominion in the first round of the tournament, winning by a score of 61-48. The Boilermakers led by double-digits for nearly the entire second half and were led by Carsen Edwards’ 26 points and seven rebounds. Purdue then took care of business against the reigning national champions, taking down six-seed Villanova by a score of 87-61. Edwards was again the leading scorer, dumping in a whopping 42 points while nailing nine of his 16 three-pointers.
The Vols survived two upset bids in their first two games of the NCAA Tournament to get to this point. Tennessee downed No. 15 seed Colgate by a score of 77-70 in the first round, surviving a barrage of threes by the Raiders. On Sunday, the Vols blew a 25-point first half lead and ended up going to overtime with No. 10 seed Iowa, but Tennessee prevailed in overtime and won 83-77.
Now, these two teams will compete for a spot in the Elite Eight.
Tennessee and Purdue have never played in the postseason, but the two teams faced-off last season early in the year. The Vols took the Boilermakers to overtime and wound up winning 78-75 in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in mid-November of 2017.
This year’s Purdue team is nothing like last season’s squad, however.
The Boilermakers were led in scoring by Carsen Edwards last year just like this year, but his supporting cast is drastically different. Purdue featured four senior starters along with Edwards, and all that experience and prowess led the Boilermakers to a 30-win season, a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and an appearance in the Sweet Sixteen. Purdue ended up losing to Texas Tech in that game, however, and they fell short of the Elite Eight.
This year, Purdue has two senior starters alongside Edwards and two sophomores starting at center and guard, respectively.
For Purdue, they’ll be playing for a chance at their first Elite Eight appearance since 2000. Tennessee will be looking to get to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2010 on Thursday.
Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, Purdue has only made it to the Elite Eight twice. They got there in 1994 and again in 2000. The Vols have only made it once in school history, with that appearance coming in 2010. Neither school has ever advanced to the Final Four since 1985.