Tennessee basketball is headed to New York City.
Tennessee was not afraid to play physical against a Duke team with a junior and four freshman in the lineup. In the first six minutes, Duke freshman star Kyle Filipowski had a cut under his left eye and Blue Devils freshman guard Tyrese Proctor absorbed a hit to the face on a rip-through by Santiago Vescovi. Junior Jeremy Roach, the lone veteran in Duke's starting lineup, struggled with foul trouble in the second half.
Olivier Nkamhoua had the game of his life, scoring 27 points, tying a career high set in January against Texas. He was 10-of-13 from the field, including 3-of-4 from 3.
Given the quality of the game and the team that lost, there was plenty of reaction nationally to the Vols' win Saturday.
First, the Vols locker room looked like a place to be after the win.
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 18, 2023
Most media had a similar thought: Tennessee played a physical game, and the younger Blue Devils struggled to adapt to it. Duke scored 21 points in the first half as it tried to figure out what it could do against the Vols' athletic and lengthy defense.
The Blue Devils shot better in the second half but still struggled to knock down shots. A physical game can wear down a jump-shooting team, after all. On the other side, Tennessee hit nine of 21 3-pointers.
Matchups and small samples. Tennessee was allowed to play rough and tumble ball, which tilted the style of game in their favor. Add in some 3s that often don’t go down and that’s that. https://t.co/v8zDDGiaYe
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) March 18, 2023
Tennessee defense is insane
— Jordan McRae (@JordyMac52) March 18, 2023
Tennessee rated top-10 in multiple predictive metrics from Day 1 of the start of the season. The Vols were faded heavily due to Rick Barnes' tournament track record.
Tennessee just put Duke in a box, shot well from 3, headed to the Sweet 16 for the third time since 2010. Bravo.
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 18, 2023
Perfect gameplan from Rick Barnes, perfect execution from Tennessee's players. It was clear from the outset what the Vols wanted to do: Make the game physical, make the game a slog, keep Duke off the glass, constant ball-pressure. 15 turnovers, only six o-boards, 6-for-22 from 3.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 18, 2023
Tennessee going to the Elite 8 after losing their point guard is not what anyone who paid attention expected. Not a fan of the dirty stuff, but Tennessee was so physical Duke couldn’t do much of anything
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) March 18, 2023
Duke scored just 52 points in its loss to Tennessee, tied for its fewest in an NCAA Tournament game in the program’s history.
Duke scored 52 in a win against Pennsylvania in 1980. pic.twitter.com/wkfe3dcl4x
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 18, 2023
ESPN analyst Jimmy Dykes, who called SEC games all season, had an interesting take on Saturday's Vols win.
If you are surprised @Vol_Hoops took down Duke… you have not watched enough @sec hoops. The most physical, athletic, size and speed league in country all year long. Nothing finesse about SEC…ACC plays different style.
— Jimmy Dykes (@CoachJimmyDykes) March 18, 2023
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Tennessee basketball steamrolls Duke, rumbles into Sweet 16 in NYC