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No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 1 Purdue: How To Watch, Lineups, Complete Preview

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

The stakes couldn’t be much higher.

No. 2-seed Tennessee versus No. 1-seed Purdue in the Midwest Region Final and a berth in the Final Four on the line on Sunday afternoon in Detroit.

Here’s everything to know ahead of the Elite Eight matchup.

More From RTI: Santiago Vescovi Hoping To Play Against Purdue In Elite Eight

How to Watch – No. 2 Tennessee (27-8, 14-4 SEC) vs No. 1 Purdue (32-4, 17-3 Big 10)

  • Start Time: 2:20 p.m. ET/1:20 p.m. CT
  • Location: Little Caesars Arena
  • TV: CBS. PxP: Andrew Catalon. CC: Steve Lappas, Sideline: Evan Washburn
  • Online Streaming: Watch CBS Live
  • Radio (Knoxville): The Vol Network/The Vol Network App

Betting Lines

Draft Kings

  • Purdue -3.5 Tennessee
  • Over/under: 147.5


  • Purdue -3 Tennessee
  • Over/under: 149

What Tennessee HC Rick Barnes Said About Creighton

Opening statement

“Obviously we’re excited to be here and going up against a team that we played earlier in the year over in Honolulu. So they’re familiar with us, we’re familiar with them.

Going back to looking at that tape last night, both teams have improved a lot since then. It was a really hard-fought game over there, a lot of fouls called in the game. I don’t think there will be that many called here. Again, I’m really excited for these guys to have a chance and go back and play Purdue again.”

On what he sees from Purdue’s players around Zach Edey

“He got in foul trouble over there, and those guys were the ones that did the damage. He’s got really great support around him, a cast of guys that they know each other. They run extremely well. They know how to play together. They know when to — he’s a great run stopper in Zach Edey. He’s a guy that, when you get something going, they can slow down, they know how to get him the ball, and he knows where he wants to catch the ball.

Again, Matt has done just a terrific job of putting the pieces around him that has got them to where they’ve been all year, which is basically the No. 1 team in the country, or 1, 2 team in the country, and the success he’s had the past couple of years.

It’s more difficult than you think, when you’ve got a guy as dominant as Zach is, to get those guys to understand how it’s got to be played, but he’s done a terrific job doing it.”

On what it says about Zach Edey’s conditioning that he plays a lot of minutes at his size

“I think, when you look at Zach Edey from a coach’s standpoint and players too, you appreciate when someone gets better the way he has. He’s gotten better and better every year. He runs. We like to think you could get guys tired, but I think he moves extremely well.

I think that’s the difference in where he was a couple years ago. He’s really been able to move. He’s a good screener, but he knows exactly on the court where he wants to get his space and where he wants to set up, and they do a great job of getting it to him when he gets there.

But his improvement is what’s really impressive. I think the first time we played them, I think he missed a lot of free throws, if I remember. I think he missed a bunch. I wish he’d do it again. But there was a lot of fouls in that game. I think they shot 48 free throws. I think we shot a bunch too. He’s just improved. That’s what you admire about him. You admire players that get better from year to year.”

On referencing the officiating with Zach Edey, if he’s trying to make a statement before the game

“Well, based on the way the tournament is being called, about half of those fouls wouldn’t have been called, I can assure you of that.

But it’s early in the year. I’ve said all along the hardest thing about — when you start like we do every year, I’ve always thought we should be able to play more exhibition games to give referees a chance to get more experience before you get thrown into — like the Maui tournament this year, think of it, it was loaded. Some of the referees there hadn’t been in those type games in, what, six months.

Both teams played hard. If you go back and watch that, it was hard fought, that tournament was from start to finish. At the time, referees are getting started, we’re getting started. Did we foul? Yeah, we fouled some. Did they foul some? Yeah, they fouled some too. Did the referees miss some? Yeah, they missed some too.

But that was everybody getting started, and you really kind of expect that early in the year.”

On how Purdue feeds the ball inside

“The art of it, it’s got to be a team defense. Again, he’s a terrific player. Again, I admire anybody that knows where his space is to work and works hard to get there. Again, Matt has some great schemes to not let you see the same thing over and over, but he knows what he’s looking for, his teammates knows where he needs to get it, when he needs to get it.

So with that said, it takes five guys being connected defensively. Jahmai talked about ball pressure, important, because they’re such a good passing team, if you don’t try to take their vision away a little bit, they’re going to put it on the dime on time. But it’s taken all five guys to stay connected and work to try to make it as tough as possible.

Because he’s going to get his points. He’s too good a player. He understands his space so well. One of the hardest things to do is to keep him off the offensive boards. He’s a hard guy to guard when he misses his own shot.

It’s just a talent. He’s good at it. But it’s a very difficult — there’s not a drill for that. I wish there were, but there’s not. Great hands, and he’s right there at the rim. When they come off, he’s got a great way of getting it back and putting it back in.

He does a great job rebounding too. You’ve got to try to keep him from getting too close because he can get his hands on so many balls and slap them out. He’s a hard cover. He really is.”

On Purdue being elite scoring inside and hitting perimeter jump shots

“Again, that’s what we were talking about with five guys that have got to be all connected. Edey, we could talk about him all day, but there’s so many other guys on that team we could talk about too who understand their role, do their job. You really have to be in the relentless pursuit of sustaining your effort within a possession.

You turn your back, you turn your head, you stop for a split second, .5 seconds, they’re moving around, searching out the three-point line, back cutting. They know how to play basketball. Again, so well coached. It takes five guys willing to make a sustained effort for possession after possession after possession, going from play to play to play.”

On if Purdue is a team on a mission or along for the ride

“I think they’ve been business-like, I do. From the time, even over in Maui, again, that tournament — think about it, in three days we played Syracuse, Purdue, and Kansas. It’s just a great tournament over there.

I’ve always thought that, when you have — when you’re talking about building programs, I think it’s always a business approach to it, a work ethic approach to it, knowing that every time you go out you’ve got a chance to get better, be better, to try to build to these type moments.”

What Purdue HC Matt Painter Said About Tennessee

Opening statement

“Obviously really excited about being able to compete against Tennessee. Thought they obviously had played a really good game against Creighton. Any time both teams shoot the ball well from three and also shoot the ball well from the free-throw line, you’re going to have just some slight differences on who wins the game.

I thought Tennessee’s just overall toughness and physicality was a separator. That was something, after we played them in Hawaii, that really stood out to us. They do a great job of pressuring the basketball. They do a great job of taking away passes and just being physical across the board.

Obviously Coach Barnes is one of the best coaches in the country, but they have all the pieces. They have quickness. They have athleticism. They have good guard play. They have an All-American in Knecht, who is very, very dangerous. They have good size on their front line.

So we know this is going to be an absolute battle. With that being said, we’re looking forward to it.”

On the importance of protecting the ball against Tennessee

“They’re one of the teams we had — we’re 6-4 when we have over — anywhere from 14 to 17 turnovers. 17 turnovers is the most we’ve had this year in a game, from 14 to 17. They’re one of the teams we have to win against. We’re 6-4 when we’re above it. It’s not like we lose all those games. We still win 60 percent of those games.

For us, it’s being able to get stops so we can push the basketball and kind of get the tempo. For them, it’s scoring the basketball and setting the defense. It’s the flip of it, right? So they do such a good job of setting their defense and then just getting into you.

But it’s just handling pressure. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen all year, especially the schedule we’ve played. It’s not like they haven’t seen everything. They played a great schedule. We played a great schedule. We’re both from great leagues. So you’ve seen a lot of things throughout the year.

It’s just you hope your defense is better than their offense and your offense is better than their defense. When it comes down to their pressure and what they’re able to do, you’ve also got to be able to pass and catch and but also have to be handle the basketball with confidence, but also execute. We run a lot of stuff. Whatever we’re doing, simply do your job, make the right reads, make the right plays and passes, but be aggressive. As long as you’re aggressive doing what we work on, things are going to work out for us.”

On how Zakai Zeigler is different than when the teams met the first time this season

“Yes. Obviously Braden mentioned he was coming off that injury and was on minutes restriction. He’s athletic, he’s quick, he can break you down off the dribble, he can put good pressure on the basketball. He’s one of the best point guards in the country, but he’s a two-way player. You have to be a two-way player for Coach Barnes, you have to guard. That’s a non-negotiable.

So we’ve played them multiple times. We played them in the Bahamas. We played them in the NCAA Tournament. We played them in Hawaii. So we’ve had a lot of experience of going against them and how competitive they are.

But as Coach Barnes’ point guard, he’s got to run the show, but he’s also got to set the tone from a defensive standpoint and get into the ball handler and put pressure on the ball.

So he’s one of the best players in the country.”

On his relationship with Rick Barnes, how he views his career

“Obviously he’s hung in there a long time. I don’t know if I’ll be able to match that in terms of years, but like his teams always play hard, they always compete. He reminds me a lot of the guy I played for, to be frank with you. You know what you’re getting, man, but you’ve got to be ready to fight. It’s not two-hand touch. It’s tackle football, man. You’ve got to be hooked up, and you’ve got to be ready to go.

If you do that, then you’ve got a chance to win. It doesn’t mean you will win, but if you don’t, then you have no chance to win.

No, I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He’s a good guy. He’s a good coach. I don’t know him that well. We’ve had a couple conversations obviously when we played in Hawaii. No, I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He reminds me a lot of Coach Keady.”

Probable Starters

Tennessee (via UT Game Notes):

Purdue (via last game)

Team Statistics (via Sports Reference)



Stat Leaders


Points: Dalton Knecht — 21.2 PPG, 45.8 FG%, 39.2 3PT%

Rebounds: Jonas Aidoo — 7.5 RPG, 4.6 DRPG, 2.9 ORPG

Assists:  Zakai Zeigler — 6 APG, 2.2 TOPG, 31.4 MPG


Points: Zach Edey — 24.6 PPG, 62.4 FG%, 71.4 FT%

Rebounds: Zach Edey — 12.1 PPG, 7.4 DRPG, 4.7 ORPG

Assists: Braden Smith, 7.5 APG, 2.6 TOPG, 33.6 MPG

Last Five Games


  • 82-75 win against Creighton (NCAA Tournament)
  • 62-58 win against Texas (NCAA Tournament)
  • 83-49 win against Saint Peter’s (NCAA Tournament)
  • 73-56 loss against Mississippi State (SEC Tournament)
  • 85-81 loss versus Kentucky


  • 80-68 win against Gonzaga (NCAA Tournament)
  • 106-67 win against Utah State (NCAA Tournament)
  • 78-50 win against Grambling State (NCAA Tournament)
  • 76-75 loss against Wisconsin (OT) (Big 10 Tournament)
  • 67-62 win against Michigan State (Big 10 Tournament)

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