Today’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Elite 8: (1) Purdue vs. (2) Tennessee, 2:20 p.m. CBS

By Chris Coopersmith

3 31 2024






DETROIT – The sixth-ranked, No. 2 seed Tennessee men’s basketball is primed for action in the program’s second-ever Elite Eight contest, facing third-ranked and No. 1 seed Purdue Sunday in Detroit at Little Caesars Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. ET.

Fans can catch Sunday’s game between the Vols (27-8) and Boilermakers (32-4) on CBS. Andrew Catalon (play-by-play), Steve Lappas (analyst) and Evan Washburn (reporter) will have the call.

Fans can also listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp describing the action.

Fans can catch Sunday’s game between the Vols (27-8) and Boilermakers (32-4) on CBS. Andrew Catalon (play-by-play), Steve Lappas (analyst) and Evan Washburn (reporter) will have the call.

Fans can also listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp describing the action.






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Roster Schedule Game Notes


Roster Schedule Game Notes

Tennessee defeated No. 11-ranked, third-seeded Creighton, 82-75, Friday night to earn the second Elite Eight appearance in program history.

Fifth-year guard Dalton Knecht scored a game-high 26 points for the Volunteers. Junior guard Zakai Zeigler posted 18 points and six assists, connecting on 3-of-6 shot attempts from 3-point range. Fifth-year guard Josiah-Jordan James was the third Volunteer in double figures, recording 15 points and corralled four rebounds in the victory.

• This is the seventh meeting between Tennessee and Purdue, with the two sides splitting the first six. All seven have come in different locations and this is the fifth in a row at a neutral site.
• All three matchups between the Volunteers and Boilermakers in Rick Barnes‘ tenure have been decided by five or fewer points, with two going to overtime.
• The two sides met earlier this season in Honolulu, with Purdue winning, 71-67, on 11/21/23 behind a co-career-high 27 points from sophomore guard Fletcher Loyer. Tennessee held an early nine- point lead, 20-11, and it was tied at 64 with under 2:30 left.
• Purdue, in its ninth straight NCAA Tournament, is 32-4 (17-3 B1G) after winning its second Big Ten regular season title in a row.
• The Boilermakers are led by senior center Zach Edey, the two- time reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, who ranks top-two in DI in PPG (24.6) and RPG (12.1 rpg).
• UT is 4-1 this year against the other Elite Eight teams, with its lone setback against Purdue.

• UT went 2-1 in the regular season versus Big Ten teams. It notched a home win over the Big Ten tournament champion, Illinois, and a road victory over the runner-up, Wisconsin. The Vols also logged a preseason exhbition road triumph at Michigan State.
• Purdue will be the sixth team UT has played multiple times in the NCAA Tournament, joining Iowa (2-0), Louisiana (3-0), Louisville (0-2), Michigan (0-3) and Virginia (1-2). It will be the first team UT has met twice in the NCAA Tournament in Rick Barnes‘ tenure.
• The Volunteers are 9-5 in the NCAA Tournament under Rick Barnes, who owns the most such wins by a UT head coach.
• UT is 28-26 all-time in 26 NCAA Tournament trips, including 0-2 in fourth games, 0-1 in the Elite Eight, 8-3 as a No. 2 seed, 0-5 against No. 1 seeds and 1-0 in Michigan.
• Tennessee is in the Elite Eight for the second time (2010) and is seeking its first Final Four berth.
• The Volunteers are 15-4 in their last 19 games versus AP top-15 teams, dating back to 12/22/21.
• Of the 17 non-Vols who made an All-America team from at least one of the four primary outlets, UT has faced 10 of them. Zach Edey will be the third it plays twice, joining Kentucky’s Antonio Reeves and Alabama’s Mark Sears.
• Tennessee won the SEC regular season crown for the 11th time, notching its sixth outright title.
• UT has 27 victories for the third time in the last six years (2018- 24) under Rick Barnes; it hit that tally twice before his 2015 arrival. UT has 170 wins in the last seven seasons (2017-24), co-eighth in DI, including fifth among teams at the Power Six level that full time.
• Dalton Knecht, one of four Naismith Trophy finalists, has 743 points this season, second-most in a campaign in UT history and seventh-most in DI in 2023-24.
• Santiago Vescovi snapped a 52-game starting streak in the Sweet 16 win over #11 Creighton, as he had the flu. It marked the first time in 2023-24 a UT starter missed a game and ended a 28- game stretch with UT having the same starting lineup each time.

• The Volunteers have 27 wins thus far, their fifth time ever hitting that mark. Three of those campaigns have come in the last six years under Rick Barnes.
• Tennessee had 24 regular season triumphs, tying the 1999-2000 season for the third-most in program history. It won 28 in 2007-08 and 27 in 2018-19. Two of UT’s top four marks all-time are under Barnes.
• The Vols finished with eight true road wins this season, matching 2017-18 and 1999-2000 for the program’s second-highest total ever. Only the 2007- 08 team logged more, totaling nine.
• UT’s 14 SEC victories put them in a five-way tie for their fourth-most ever. It claimed 16 such decisions in 1976-77, as well as 15 in both 2018-19 and 1966-67.

• Tennessee is 22-21 (.512) against top-15 teams in Rick Barnes‘ tenure, including 15-4 (.789) in its last 19 such games. It is 13-12 (.520) versus top-10 foes, 9-7 (.562) against top-five opponents and 4-4 (.500) versus top-three teams.
• Under Barnes, the Volunteers are 11-4 (.733) at Food City Center when facing top-15 teams, including a 7-1 (.875) mark with six straight wins against top-10 foes. In addition, UT is a perfect 5-0 versus top-five teams in Knoxville with Barnes at the helm.
• The Vols won 12 straight home games against AP top-25 foes from 1/30/21 to 2/28/24. That is an SEC record, per CBS Sports, and is the longest in DI since Kansas had 17 straight from 1/11/14 to 2/13/17. Nine of those victories were versus top-15 foes, with five against the top 10 and three over top-five teams.

• In the past four years (2020-24), Tennessee leads all SEC teams with 21 AP top-25 wins, good for six more than any other SEC program (Alabama has 16) and the fifth-most in the country.
• In that same four-year span, UT also leads the SEC in wins over teams in the AP top 20, top 15, top 10 and top five (tied). Its 20 top-20 wins rank co- third nationally alongside Texas, while its 17 top-15 victories match Baylor for second-most. Its eight top-10 triumphs sit co-sixth alongside Connecticut, North Carolina, Purdue and Texas, while its five top- five wins match Alabama, Arizona, Gonzaga and Michigan State for the most in the nation.
• The eight AP top-10 triumphs during that time are: #1 Alabama (2/15/23), #3 Kansas (11/25/22), #3 Auburn (2/26/22), #4 Kentucky (2/15/22), #5 Kentucky (3/12/22), #6 Arizona (12/22/21), #10 Texas (1/28/23) and at #10 Kentucky (2/3/24).
• Over the last four seasons (2020-24), UT has played 37 games against AP top-25 foes, the most in the league, posting a 22-15 (.595) ledger. The Vols are the only SEC team, regardless of number of games, with a winning record against ranked teams in that span. Auburn is a a distant second at .478 (11-12).
• Tennessee (37), Alabama (35) and Arkansas (34) are the only SEC teams to play over 30 ranked foes since the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

• Over the last seven seasons, dating back to the start of the 2017-18 campaign, Tennessee paces all SEC programs in total victories (171), winning percentage (.725) and postseason victories (18). In that span, UT has three SEC titles, winning the regular season in 2018 and 2024, as well as the tournament in 2022.
• In that same seven-year stretch, the Vols are one of only two SEC schools with an overall winning percentage of over .700, alongside Auburn (.723).
• In SEC play over the same seven-year period, Tennessee (86-39; .688) is second in the league, behind Kentucky (87-38; .696), in both victories and winning percentage. Only Auburn (81-45; .643) and Alabama (78-48; .619) have even 70-plus wins.
• Over just the last three seasons (2021-24), UT owns a 79-27 (.745) overall record. That is good for the most victories and the best winning percentage of any SEC team in that span. Auburn ranks second at 76-27 (.738) during that time.

• The Volunteers have posted 20-plus assists 11 times this season. They have reached 25-plus thrice, with a high of 28 against Vanderbilt (2/17/24).
• Tennessee has a 60.7 percent assist rate that ranks No. 13 nationally, per KenPom, through 3/29/24.
• Last season, Tennessee placed second nationally, per KenPom, with a 66.2 percent assist rate. It also logged a 64.9 percent mark in SEC play.

• Tennessee has played 202 games as a ranked team in the AP Poll in Rick Barnes‘ tenure, posting a stellar 151-51 (.748) record. Over 66.5 percent of the Volunteers’ games since Barnes arrived in 2015- 16 have come with the team ranked in the AP Poll.
• UT is 130-46 (.739) while ranked in the AP top 20 under Barnes, 99-33 (.750) while in the top 15, 79-24 (.767) while in the top 10, 35-11 (.761) while in the top five, 17-2 (.895) while in the top three and 7-1 (.875) while at No. 1.
• The Vols are 28-21 (.571) in top-25 matchups under Barnes, including 22-14 (.611) with both teams in the top 20, 13-8 (.619) with both in the top 15 and 7-5 (.583) with both in the top 10.






[1 Seed] Purdue (32-4) vs. [2 Seed] Tennessee (27-8)

Sunday, March 31, 2024
2:20 p.m. ET | Detroit, Michigan
Little Caesar’s Arena (20,332)
TELEVISION: CBS (Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Evan Washburn)
RADIO: Purdue Global Radio Network (Rob Blackman, Bobby Riddell)

•  The Midwest’s top seed, Purdue, will battle the No. 2 seed and No. 6-ranked Tennessee Volunteers in Sunday’s Elite Eight from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The Boilermakers are looking for their first Final Four appearance since 1980, while Tennessee is aiming for their first Final Four in school history.
• This marks the second straight game that Purdue will play a team in the NCAA Tournament that it faced during the regular season after defeating Gonzaga on Friday. Previously before the Gonzaga and subsequent Tennessee game, Purdue hadn’t done that since 2000.
• If Purdue’s path to the Final Four looks eerily familiar, it’s because it is. In November, Purdue won three games at the Maui Invitational playing Gonzaga, Tennessee and Marquette in order. The Boilermakers defeated Gonzaga on Friday in the Sweet 16 and will face Tennessee in the Elite 8 on Sunday. Marquette lost in Friday’s Sweet 16 to North Carolina State.
• Head coach Matt Painter is a big-time Chicago Cubs and hopes history repeats itself in 2024. For just the second time in Purdue history, the Boilermakers will play on the same day as the Chicago Cubs. The first occurrence came on March 28, 2019, when the Cubs defeated the Texas Rangers, 12-4, while Purdue topped Tennessee in the 2019 Sweet Sixteen, 99-94. The Cubs will play Texas again on Sunday, while the Boilermakers battle the Volunteers.
• Purdue and Tennessee have quite a history between the two teams. In 2009, Purdue topped the Vols 73-72 to win the Paradise Jam in November. The Volunteers then returned the favor with a 78-75 overtime win in the 2017 Battle 4 Atlantis. Purdue responded by topping the Volunteers in the 2019 Sweet 16, 99-94, in an overtime classic, before defeating Tennessee in the 2023 Maui Invitational semifinals, 71-67.
• With the win over Gonzaga on Friday, the Boilermakers won their 32nd game of the year and are now 32-4 on the season. The 32 victories are a continuing school record.
• Purdue has won its first three games in the NCAA Tournament by a combined 79 points (78-50 vs. Grambling; 106-67 vs. Utah State; 80-68 vs. Gonzaga).
• Purdue is making its second Elite Eight appearances in five seasons, last making the Regional Finals in 2019 (lost to eventual National Champion Virginia in overtime). Prior to the 2019 season, the Boilermakers last made the Elite Eight in 2000.
• Purdue improved to 9-0 this season against nationally-ranked teams. The Boilermakers are the second team in the last 15 years to play at least nine games against nationally-ranked teams without a loss (2012 Kentucky; 10-0).
• Purdue has won 20 straight non-conference, regular-season and postseason games against power-conference OR nationally-ranked teams. It equals the second-longest streak in NCAA history, and is just behind the 22 straight by UCLA from 1971 to 1974. Duke (March 1991 to Feb. 1993) and UCLA (March 1968 to Dec. 1970) also won 20 straight games.
• Purdue is 18-5 (.783) against nationally-ranked teams since the start of the 2021-22 season, easily the best record in America (Arizona; 14-7).
• Since the 2020-21 season, Purdue is now 49-2 when shooting 50.0 percent or better from the field. Purdue shot 57.1 percent from the field, including 60.7 percent in the second half. Purdue went 15-of-21 (.714) inside the 3-point line in the second half. Purdue’s 57.1 field goal percentage against Gonzaga was its highest in the NCAA Tournament since 1999.
• Braden Smith recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 14 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds. The 15 assists are the third most in a game in school history and the 10th most by any player in the NCAA Tournament. It was tied for the most assists by a Big Ten player ever in an NCAA Tournament game (Indiana’s Keith Smart; Ohio State’s Aaron Craft).
• Braden Smith joined Indiana’s Keith Smart (March 14, 1987) and Murray State’s Ja Morant (March 21, 2019) as the only players in NCAA Tournament history with at least 14 points, 15 assists and 8 rebounds.
• Braden Smith is the fourth player in NCAA history with at least 425 points, 270 assists and 200 rebounds in a season (UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth, California’s Jason Kidd).
• Braden Smith moved into third place on the Big Ten’s single-season assists list with 271 (Cassius Winston – 291; Mateen Cleaves – 274).
• Zach Edey scored 27 points with 14 rebounds and an assist. He has had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in four straight NCAA Tournament games, the second-longest stream in NCAA Tournament history (David Robinson – 5 games).
• In three NCAA Tournament games this season, Zach Edey has 80 points, 49 rebounds and six assists. Edey joins Wake Forest’s Len Chappell (1960) and West Virginia’s Jerry West (1961) as the only players with at least 80 points, 45 rebounds and five assists in the first three NCAA Tournament games.
• Zach Edey moved into third place on Purdue’s single-season points list with 886 points. He is now fifth on the Big Ten single-season points list.
• Zach Edey now has 2,419 career points, needing 19 points to tie Indiana’s Steve Alford for fifth on the Big Ten career points list.
• Zach Edey tied Caleb Swanigan for second on Purdue’s single-season rebounds list with 436, needing two rebounds to tie the school record he set last year (438).
• Zach Edey become the sixth player in NCAA history with at least 400 free throw attempts (402), and the first since Pete Maravich in 1970 (436).
• Zach Edey become the 11th player in NCAA history with 875 points and 435 rebounds in a season – the first since Indiana State’s Larry Bird in 1979.
• Zach Edey became the fourth player in NCAA history with two seasons of at least 750 points and 425 rebounds (Elvin Hayes – 3; Rick Barry – 2; Oscar Robertson – 2).
• Fletcher Loyer scored 10 points and is now 15-of-22 (.682) from 3-point range in the month of March.
• Purdue is now 29-of-67 (.433) from 3-point range in the NCAA Tournament. Purdue is America’s top 3-point shooting team at 41.0 percent.