Randy Smith: Vols “Gut It Out” With Win Over Iowa

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

The Tennessee Volunteers overcame a lot in posting a 78-65 win over Iowa Wednesday night in Dayton, Ohio. They first had to deal with a flow of emotion for the Hawkeyes as Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery dealt with his thirteen year old son Patrick’s surgery early Wednesday morning to remove a tumor from his thyroid. McCaffery was with his son early in the morning and when everything turned out well in the operating room, he flew to Dayton to coach his team.

The Volunteers next had to overcome a cold start from the field, missing their first six shots and falling behind 16-4 early in the first half. They rallied to cut that deficit to three (29-26) at intermission, but they failed to take the lead until the 3:05 mark in regulation when senior Antonio Barton hit a huge three-pointer giving the Big Orange a 59-57 lead. From that point, there were five lead changes leading to a 64-64 tie at the end.

In overtime, it was all Tennessee. The much heralded Volunteer defense held the high-scoring Hawkeyes to a mere free-throw in the extra five minute period, and Tennessee advances to face UMass Friday in Raleigh, N.C. in round two of the Midwest Regional.

“I told our guys we’ve been through everything this season, keep your composure down the stretch,” Coach Cuonzo Martin said. “Find ways to win the ball game.”

Senior Jordan McRae led Tennessee with 20 points while junior Jarnell Stokes posted his 20th double-double of the year with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Junior Josh Richardson chipped in 15 points and his outstanding defense was partly responsible in holding the Hawkeye’s leading scorer Roy Devyn Marble to a season low 7 points on 3 of 15 shooting from the field.

Tennessee made a lot of big shots in the game, but in the end it was defense that got it done. “We did a tremendous job of fighting back at the end,” Jordan McRae said after the game. We did a great job on defense. For us to hold them like we did was a great job.”

In round two, Tennessee will face UMass, the number six seed in the Midwest. I’m picking the Vols to pull off the upset of the Minutemen, but fall to Duke on Sunday. As always there will be a few upsets in the NCAA Tournament, and some of them will be in the Midwest Region. For what it’s worth (not much) I’m picking the defending National Champion Louisville Cardinals to advance to the Final Four from their number four seed, upsetting top-seed Wichita State and number two Michigan to get there. I’m picking the Florida Gators to advance from the South and the 30-4 Arizona Wildcats to make the Final Four from the West.

In the East, my pick is second seed Villanova, who will knock off Michigan State in the East Finals to advance to Arlington, Texas. (Sorry Mr. President)

A warning; don’t put a lot into my picks. I have always struggled picking the NCAA Tournament as I have often documented. It took me only five minutes to fill out my bracket this year as compared to more than an hour in past years, when I put a lot of thought into it. (Maybe that has been my problem; I have always overthought the NCAA Tournament.) Good luck on your brackets and have fun…..it’s going to be a great “Big Dance.”     

-----

Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. He is currently teaching Broadcasting at Coahulla Creek High School near Dalton, Ga.

His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for thirty years.

He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga Television for more than a quarter-century.

In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson. They have two married children, (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith.) They have three grandchildren, Coleman, Boone and DellaMae.

To contact Randy: rsmithsports@epbfi.com


Randy Smith: Final Thought On College Football

I promise this will be my last column on college football for a while. The season ended a week ago  tonight  when Clemson beat Alabama 34-31 in a rematch of the 2015 classic, won by 'Bama 45-40. The following thoughts are my own and do not reflect the thoughts of anyone else. (Thank goodness) Believe it or not, I am trying to find tickets to the Chick-Fil-A ... (click for more)

Cleveland Tops State Wrestling Poll

Now in its 25th year, The Poll is primarily a measure of  dual meet strength  with some consideration to individual tournament strength.   Votes are cast by a state-wide panel of high school wrestling coaches and are based on a maximum Power Ranking of 100%.   STATE POLL:   RANK ... (click for more)

Walker Charged With Sunday Night Murder Of Girlfriend In LaFayette

A 29-year-old Walker County man has been charged with murdering his girlfriend, also 29. Sheriff Steve Wilson said David Ryan Walker was charged in the slaying of Candace Ann Hankins. He said she was killed inside a house on Wheeler Road in LaFayette and her body was found in woods behind the house. The sheriff said Walker called relatives to express remorse about the killing. ... (click for more)

Man With Gun Runs From Police At Hamilton Place Mall; Pushes Shoppers Out Of The Way

A man who was found to be armed with a handgun was chased by police early Saturday afternoon. He pushed shoppers out of the way during the pursuit, which included racing down an escalator.   Erwin J. Rogers, 22, of 6111 Nottingham Dr., is facing multiple charges.    Around 1:50 p.m., Chattanooga Police officers working at the Hamilton Place Mall ... (click for more)

Beyond Freedom Of Speech

Yes, most people know about the First Amendment to our Constitution, "The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction."  I being a "deplorable" draw the line when people block traffic, try to disrupt, and even stop an activity through malice and disregard for others. Case being ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Sleep, Kelly’s On Watch

As the most intense week begins in President-elect Donald’s Trump’s ascent to become the most powerful man in the world, it is now strikingly obvious he has surrounded himself with the greatest collection of leaders to ever fill a Presidential cabinet. Each is a proven winner, be it in business, the military, or national affairs. Last week a confirmation hearing were heard for ... (click for more)