Duke came into their second-round matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers as one of the hottest teams in the country. They rolled through the ACC tournament and dominated their first-round opponent, Oral Roberts. But Tennesse grabbed an early lead and Never looked back.
The Volunteers Get Hot, Stay Hot From Deep
Tennessee, the East’s fourth seed, delivered a dominant performance in their second-round matchup against Duke in the NCAA tournament. The Volunteers showcased a ferocious defensive effort, limited the young Blue Devils’ offensive opportunities, and outmuscled them on the boards. Tennessee also had an impressive shooting night, making 42.9% of their three-point attempts en route to a 65-52 victory in Orlando.
While Duke ranks seventh nationally in offensive rebounding percentage, they were only able to secure six of their missed shots, further highlighting the Volunteers’ dominance in the paint.
Despite a slow start on the offensive end, Tennessee gained control of the game with a 14-2 run to close out the first half. Duke had several opportunities to cut into the lead, but the Vols always seemed to have an answer. Playing without point guard Zakai Zeigler for the fifth straight game, Tennessee got critical contributions from Olivier Nkamhoua and Santiago Vescovi, particularly in the second half. Nkamhoua, a senior from Finland, had a standout game, tying his career-high with 27 points. He scored 17 of Tennessee’s final 19 points, and all but four of his points came in the second half.
This win marks Tennessee’s first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2019. The Vols will face the winner of the second-round game between No. 9 Florida Atlantic and No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson, which will take place on Sunday.
“HE CANNOT MISS”
THE VOLS HAVE THEIR LARGEST LEAD OF THE DAY 😨#MarchMadness @Vol_Hoops pic.twitter.com/J5aLdqeNWy
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 18, 2023
The End Of John Scheyer’s First Season At Duke
Jon Scheyer, the current Duke head coach in his first season at the helm, is a former Duke player and assistant coach who succeeded the legendary Mike Krzyzewski after his retirement. Krzyzewski set an incredibly high standard with five national championships and four other Final Fours, leaving Scheyer with big shoes to fill.
Scheyer’s first year as head coach was a mixed bag, as the team struggled with injuries throughout the season. Despite some bumps in the road, the Blue Devils finished the season strong by winning the ACC tournament and entered the NCAA Tournament on a roll and with some high expectations.
With a 10-game winning streak entering their second-round NCAA tournament game against Tennessee, Duke appeared poised for a deep run. However, they faced a Tennessee team that proved to be too physically dominant. Due to a limited rotation, Duke needed more offense to keep up with the Volunteers.
As the season ends, Scheyer and his coaching staff will now focus on roster construction for the next season. Despite potentially losing some of their current freshmen to the NBA, Duke has a strong incoming recruiting class, ensuring the team will not be lacking in talent. Duke will undoubtedly look different next season, but the program’s history and success under Krzyzewski and the promising future with Scheyer at the helm will certainly keep the Blue Devils as a force to be reckoned with in college basketball.