March Madness 2010: Sweet 16 for Tennessee Vols? Ohio Bobcats Stand in the Way

Joel Barker@joelabarkerSenior Writer IMarch 19, 2010

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 18:  Wayne Chism #4 of the Tennessee Volunteers heads for the net as Billy White #32 of the San Diego State Aztecs defends during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament on March 18, 2010 at the Dunkin Donuts Arena in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

What was a quite difficult road at the end of a roller coaster season just became a lot easier for the Vols.

Georgetown was going to be a formidable second round opponent for Tennessee. Sure, the Vols beat the Hoyas on a neutral court last season, but considering the Vols inconsistency, this year many had Tennessee losing to San Diego State in Thursday night's first round.

A crazy thing happened on the way to that matchup, however. Georgetown forgot to show up against the Ohio Bobcats.

Ohio finished the regular season in ninth place in the MAC. The Bobcats got hot at the right time and took the MAC tournament by defeating the top two teams in the conference in three days.

Before controlling the entire game against Georgetown on Thursday, the Bobcats faced one other Big East team. Their matchup at Pitt took place three days before Christmas. Pitt won 74-49.

Ohio lost seven games to teams outside the RPI top 100 this season. Its seven losses came to teams inside that top 100. The Bobcats also had seven wins among that group.

Ohio's strength is its backcourt.

Guards D.J. Cooper and Armon Bassett are the top scorers for the Bobcats.

Cooper, the point guard, was the MAC Freshman of the Year. Bassett is a dead-eye shooter who will bury you if not contained.

The Bobcats have won eight of their last nine games.

But Tennessee is no slouch of late, either. The Vols have won eight of 10 and messed up a lot of brackets with their first round win over mid-major media-darling San Diego State.

Melvin Goins lit up the board for four three-pointers and the Vols hit eight treys overall against the Aztecs. That's far from the norm for these Vols.

Ohio shot lights-out against Georgetown. Shooting 58 percent from the field and 56 percent from behind the perimeter, the Hoyas simply couldn't keep up.

Tennessee absolutely has to keep Bassett down while themselves staying at least semi-hot from the field. If that happens, the Bobcats Cinderella run should end Saturday.

Knowing these Vols, however, that's far from a given.


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