For the most part, ask any casual Vol basketball fan, and they'll probably say Tennessee has overachieved thus far in the NCAA Tournament.
Sure, UT has taken out virtual unknowns in San Diego State and Ohio, but in doing so, the Vols showed flashes of what could be a solid Sweet Sixteen team within grasp of an Elite Eight appearance. All this after several basketball analysts picked UT to be upset by SDSU in the first round.
Getting past the Sweet Sixteen would be not only mark Bruce Pearl's longest NCAA Tournament run as the Vols' head coach, but an Elite Eight appearance would be a first for the entire Tennessee program.
Standing in UT's way is Ohio State, a team generally riding the coattails of Evan Turner, a potential NBA lottery pick this summer who leads his team in points, rebounds and assists. Though the No. 2-seeded Buckeyes are known to only go six or seven deep within their rotation, this year's NCAA Tournament has allowed OSU to show off at least one other weapon in its arsenal: 3-point specialists Jon Diebler.
Diebler has nailed a few daggers in the early rounds of this tournament, hitting 11 3-pointers in two tourney contests. Luckily for the Vols, Ohio was a team that lived and died with the 3-pointer, and UT kept the Bobcats' sharpshooters in check most of the second round game.
The question is, who will the Vols stick on Turner? J.P. Prince seems like the likely option, if he can stay out of foul trouble. Scotty Hopson is developing as a defensive player, but may not have the skills to stay with Turner.
Melvin Goins and Bobby Maze have played nicely at the point guard positions, so keeping the offense in check might not be an issue for UT's floor generals. If the Vols can slow down Turner while also keeping OSU's perimeter game from catching fire, Tennessee could be looking at an Elite Eight appearance and an extended stay in St. Louis.