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No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 13 Louisiana preview for March Madness First Round matchup

No. 4 Tennessee and No. 13 Louisiana face off in the First Round of the 2023 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of the game and how to watch.

Ole Miss v. Tennessee
Santiago Vescovi of the Tennessee Volunteers drives to the basket against the Ole Miss Rebels during the second half of the second round of the 2023 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 9, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Photo by Carly Mackler/Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday, March 14th with the First Four, and then moves on to the First Round on Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17. The No. 4 seed Tennessee Volunteers will face the No. 13 seed Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.

Here’s an early look at what we can expect from the matchup.

Once odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Thursday, March 16
Game time: 9:40 p.m. ET
TV channel: CBS
Location: Orlando, Florida

Odds: Tennessee -11.5

No. 4 Tennessee

Tennessee’s season has been one of high highs and low lows. For every big resume building win – like the Volunteers’ nine-point victory over top-ranked Alabama in February – there’s been struggles, like when they followed that win up with back-to-back losses to Kentucky and Texas A&M.

While the Volunteers have the length and depth to give any team trouble, the Volunteers suffered a huge blow when point guard and defensive specialist Zakai Zeigler suffered a season-ending ACL injury. Tennessee ended the season on a five-game road losing streak.

Santiago Vescovi leads the Volunteers’ steady attack, averaging 12.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.9 steals per game. With Zeigler out, Olivier Nkamhoua (10.7 PPG) and Josiah-Jordan James (10.1 PPG) will need to step up offensively. That said, the Volunteers offense will be getting a boost from the return of injured guard Tyreke Key (who came back in the Volunteers’ season-finale against Auburn) and the potential return of injured big man BJ Edwards.

No. 13 Louisiana

Louisiana earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament by virtue of beating South Alabama 71-66 in the Sun Belt championship. It’s the school’s 11th NCAA Tournament bid, and its first since 2014.

The Ragin’ Cajuns tallied a 26-7 record in the regular season and entered the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed. They boast a strong offense in the nation but have been shaky defensively, which has led to them playing in plenty of shootouts.

Nevada transfer Jordan Brown leads the way offensively, averaging 19.4 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game. After Brown, the only other players to average double figures are Greg Williams Jr. (13.1 PPG) and Terence Lewis II (11 PPG).