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


Former Lookout (2015) Max Kepler Homers For Twins At Yankee Stadium Sunday

The Minnesota Twins turned Yankee Stadium into a launchpad in the sixth inning of a 7-1 victory  Sunday over the Yankees. Three homers were hit back-to-back-to back, including one by former Lookouts' outfielder Max Kepler. Ironically the home runs were hit  off another ex-Lookout, RHP Nathan Eovaldi.  On the mound for Minnesota was Tyler Duffey, ... (click for more)

Smith And Greer Win Four-Ball Championship

Jack Smith and Ryan Greer won the 49th Tennessee Four-Ball Championship on Saturday at the Black Creek Club. Smith and Greer defeated Lake Johnson and Scott Stevens, 4 and 3, in the final.   ... (click for more)

Family At Bedside Of Legendary Lady Vol Coach Pat Summitt

The family of legendary Lady Vol coach Pat Summitt was at her bedside on Sunday. Erin Freeman, of the Pat Summitt Foundation, released this statement: “On behalf of Pat Summitt’s family, we acknowledge the past few days have been difficult for Pat as her early onset dementia, ‘Alzheimer’s Type,’ progresses. "She is surrounded by those who mean the most to her and during ... (click for more)

Firefighters Put Out Fire In Compost Pile At City's Wood Recycling Center

Chattanooga firefighters were called to a fire at the city's wood recycling center on N. Hawthorne Street around noon on Sunday. Battalion Chief Don Bowman said the smoke and flames could be seen from several miles away.   Firefighters with five fire companies worked to get the blaze under control, using master streams from two aerials and some hand-held hoselines. The ... (click for more)

Improvements Needed At Entrance To Wilcox Tunnel

I am writing this letter to bring to your attention to a city traffic issue that needs to be addressed immediately, the sooner the better. I can see no large cost factor.   Recently, while as a concerned citizen, removing trash and litter from the entry/exit area of the Wilcox Tunnel on the side that runs into Chamberlain Avenue, I fully realized that this area could ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Where Will George Go?

George Will, easily one of the most respected conservative columnists in America and a Republican commentator, was a guest on Fox News Sunday yesterday when he made a very revealing statement. He announced he has left the Republican Party “for the same reason I joined it” and that he is not only disappointed by the party’s actions but its increasingly-inept leadership as well. ... (click for more)