Duke Blue Devils vs. Tennessee Volunteers Pick & Prediction MARCH 18th 2023

Stadium: Amway Center Orlando
Logo Duke Blue Devils
Logo Tennessee Volunteers

-3.5 -101
128.5o -105



Duke typically is a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament and was viewed as floating under the radar after drawing a No. 5 in this version of March Madness.

But with 10 straight victories and an easy 74-51 first-round victory over 12th-seeded Oral Roberts, perhaps the Blue Devils are primed for a deep run under first-year coach Jon Scheyer.

Duke (27-8) will look to take another step when it faces fourth-seeded Tennessee (24-10) on Saturday in East Region play at Orlando, Fla. A spot in the Sweet 16 awaits the winner.

Volunteers coach Rick Barnes is wary of the Blue Devils.

"I haven't seen them a lot but I know Jon Scheyer has done a great job," Barnes said following the Volunteers' 58-55 first-round win over 13th-seeded Louisiana. "... What little bit I did see, I thought their defense was outstanding against a team that can really shoot the ball. And they're a team that probably is as hot as any team in the country right now."

A victory on Saturday would give Scheyer a nice start to his initial NCAA Tournament after replacing legendary Mike Krzyzewski as coach.

In fact, Coach K lost his first NCAA Tournament game with Duke in 1984 (against Washington) in his fourth season at the helm.

Scheyer quickly shut down that comparison.

"Let's not go down that road," Scheyer said of the Hall of Famer who won five national titles with the Blue Devils. "He's done everything you could do. I'm not going down that road."

Scheyer is trying to pave his own path and junior guard Jeremy Roach was the top surveyor against Oral Roberts.

Roach scored a career-best 23 points for the second straight game and helped fuel the victory with seven points in a game-opening 15-0 burst.

Roach said he heard about the lower projections for the Blue Devils and just shrugged it off. It was easier to do considering Duke won the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

"It's a new season now," Roach said. "We wanted to lock in on Oral Roberts, and we did a good job and made it as tough as we could for them. Now we've got to lock in on Saturday and take it one game at a time."

Tennessee led by as many as 18 points before having to hold on for a three-point victory over Louisiana.

It looked like it would be a cakewalk when the Volunteers led 48-30 with 12 minutes remaining. But Tennessee's caliber of play suddenly dropped while the Ragin' Cajuns made a frantic run.

"We tried to keep them in check as long as we could, but they made the shots," Barnes said. "We gave them too much space. Even though we got a hand up, it was too late. ... At the end of the game, we made enough plays to get it done."

Tyreke Key led Tennessee with 12 points in a contest that was just the club's sixth win in the past 13 games.

"Any college basketball player says it's a dream to play at this stage," Key said of facing Duke. "That's why I came back to college, to play in the tournament. Like I said, I know our team is very excited to play Duke, and I think we'll be ready to go."

The Volunteers committed 18 turnovers against Louisiana while playing their fourth game since losing point guard Zakai Zeigler for the season with an ACL tear in his left knee.

Duke owns an 8-7 edge in the series, but the teams have met just once since 1980. On that occasion, the Blue Devils beat the Volunteers 77-67 in the 2011 Maui Invitational.

--Field Level Media

Duke Blue Devils
Tennessee Volunteers

Duke Blue Devils vs. Tennessee Volunteers Recap MAR 18TH 2023

Olivier Nkamhoua scored 23 of his career-best-tying 27 points in the second half to help No. 4 Tennessee notch a 65-52 victory over No. 5 Duke in NCAA Tournament East Region play on Saturday afternoon at Orlando, Fla.

Santiago Vescovi made four 3-pointers while scoring 14 points as the Volunteers (25-10) advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2019. Nkamhoua made 10 of 13 field-goal attempts, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.

Tennessee will face either ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic or 16th-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday in New York.

Tyrese Proctor scored 16 points for the Blue Devils (27-9), who were eliminated in the second round for the first time since 2017. Kyle Filipowski added 13 points and eight rebounds and Jeremy Roach also scored 13 points.

Duke was plagued by 15 turnovers in coach Jon Scheyer's first NCAA Tournament since replacing Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski.

The Blue Devils connected on 42.9 percent of their shots, including just 6 of 21 from behind the arc.

Tennessee shot 40.4 percent from the field and made 9 of 21 from 3-point range. The Volunteers held an 18-7 edge in points off turnovers.

Nkamhoua scored 13 straight Tennessee points to help his club hold off the Blue Devils' bids to rally.

Duke pulled within two points early in the second half before the Volunteers responded with a 11-4 run. Vescovi made two 3-pointers in 38 seconds as Tennessee took a 44-35 lead with 11:54 left.

The Blue Devils were within 46-42 on Filipowski's basket with 9:10 remaining before Nkamhoua scored five straight points, including a 3-pointer, to push the lead to nine with 8:06 to play.

Nkamhoua also scored the next eight Tennessee points, with his trey pushing the lead to 59-48 with 4:16 remaining.

Nkamhoua's ferocious putback dunk made it 63-52 with 1:15 left and Nkamhoua added two free throws with 48.8 seconds left as Tennessee finished off the victory in style.

"This is what we do. We've been in these kind of fights all year," Nkamhoua said. "We lost some, we won some and we weathered the storm all year."

Nkamhoua's second-half splurge came after he was limited to six first-half minutes due to foul trouble.

"They didn't let me play in the first half so I had to get all my action in the second," Nkamhoua said.

The Volunteers finished the first half with a 14-2 run to take a 27-21 lead. Tennessee forced Duke into 11 first-half turnovers.

The Blue Devils used a 9-0 run to hold a 19-13 advantage after Filipowski's basket with 8:05 left in the half.

Vescovi ignited the Volunteers' burst with five straight points and Jonas Aidoo had six points, including a layup with two seconds remaining in the half.

Josiah-Jordan James drained a 3-pointer to start the second half to push the Tennessee lead to nine. But Roach and Proctor each scored five points during a 10-3 run as Duke pulled within 33-31 with 15:40 remaining in the game.

--Field Level Media