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


RHP Julio Teheran Picked As Opening Day Starting Pitcher For Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has been among the many who have long assumed Julio Teheran will make his second consecutive Opening Day start for Atlanta this year. But Gonzalez did not make it official until he shared a brief casual exchange with his young right-hander after Friday's rain-shortened win over the Red Sox. Teheran responded with a smile ... (click for more)

Mocs Softball Shutout Bucs, 11-0

Johnson City, Tenn. – The Chattanooga Mocs (21-8, 4-0) softball team picked up its fourth consecutive SoCon win and 21st season victory with an 11-0 triumph over ETSU Saturday afternoon in Betty Basler Field. The offensive outburst was backed by an electric pitching performance by senior Taylor Deason (9-3).  Chattanooga exploded for 11 runs over six innings to down the ... (click for more)

Hard Freeze Predicted In The Area For Saturday Night

Temperatures are expected to drop Saturday night to 28 degrees or less. Here is the latest report from the National Weather Service:  HARD FREEZE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT EDT /11 PM CDT/ TONIGHT TO 11 AM EDT /10 AM CDT/ SUNDAY... * EVENT... A HARD FREEZE EXPECTED WITH LOWS FROM THE TEENS NORTH TO THE UPPER 20S SOUTH LATE TONIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING. ... (click for more)

Man Charged In Shooting On Sixth Avenue Had Been Shot Himself Last Week; Police Say Incident "Part Of Gang War"

A man charged with attempted first-degree murder on Sixth Avenue Court on Thursday afternoon was shot himself earlier this month. O'Shae Kadaris Smith, 20, of 2114 E. 12th St., is also charged with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was one of two people shot on Rawlings Street on March 16. Kendre Allen, ... (click for more)

Finley Stadium Needs To Grow Up - And Response

RE:  Finley Stadium Financial Picture Rosy; Beer And Alcohol Sales Approved; AstroTurf Almost Ready and City, County Pitching In $250,000 Each For New Finley Stadium AstroTurf I read a story here five days ago about a rosy future for Finley stadium. It lead me to believe that the stadium was making money and even improvements with donations.  Then we get a short ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mom’s Parting Instructions

My mother, Helen Exum, went to be with the Lord in late August of last year and, in the way folks do, I was going through some of her files last week when I ran across an envelope with my name on it. Inside was a story and written in her hand were the words, “This is a wonderful story for you to tell!” Not being one to disobey my mother and not about to waylay the wishes of the ... (click for more)