Tennessee vs. Purdue Final Score Prediction for NCAA Tournament Elite Eight

Mar 29, 2024; Detroit, MN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers forward Tobe Awaka (11) celebrates with guard
Mar 29, 2024; Detroit, MN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers forward Tobe Awaka (11) celebrates with guard / Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee and Purdue meet for the second time this season, but with much more on the line than the two teams battle in the Maui Invitational, an 81-77 victory for the Boilermakers. 

The Elite Eight in the Midwest Region will pit the top two seeds in No. 1 Purdue vs. No. 2 Tennessee. With such a big game on Sunday, let’s try our hand at nailing the exact final score. While that’s a longshot to come through, this can help breakdown how we see the game playing out and some paths to victory for both teams. 

Below, you’ll find the betting odds, part of our game preview and our final score prediction. 

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Tennessee vs. Purdue Odds, Spread and Total

Tennessee vs. Purdue Betting Preview

I’ll be looking at the underdog Volunteers to advance to the Final Four, as noted in our betting preview:

Of course, the question is how does Tennessee slow down Edey. The team has the size to make the Purdue backcourt uncomfortable, which may help with denying post up actions for Edey. If the officials call this game tight, Tennessee does have bodies in the frontcourt to at least make the big man work for his buckets, and the Vols defense grades out in the 75th percentile in terms of points per possession allowed on post ups according to Synergy. The key, though, is what else can the Boilermakers do to make the Vols work? 

Tennessee’s defense has been outstanding all season long, and its ability to pressure the ball is the differentiator in this matchup. The team did an excellent job against Creighton of making the team hunt for late shot clock jump shots, and while Purdue has the ultimate safety valve in Edey, the team hasn’t seen this type of ball pressure in the Big Ten for much of this season.

It’s worth noting, in the Boilermakers four losses this season, the team had a turnover percentage greater than 20%. This is the key for the Vols.  

Of course, these two played so there is some familiarity, but that game was back-and-forth for much of that one. I think Tennessee gets over the hump this time and goes to the Final Four. 

Tennessee vs. Purdue Final Score Prediction

Both offense have plenty of avenues to scoring, both have proven to be capable playing in high scoring affairs and the physicality from the Volunteers side may lead to plenty of free throw attempts for both sides. 

However, I believe Tennessee’s ability to get into the mid-range and cash in from there, the team is top 40 in the country in ShotQuality’s mid-range points per possession grading, is going to be the key to holding off Purdue’s potent offense. With Zach Edey focused on shutting down the rim, Dalton Knecht’s jumpers and Zakai Zeiglers’ floaters will be the key to a steady and effective offense. 

Further, look for Tennessee to push the pace and try to run off turnovers, which the team found success in the first meeting against Purdue. 

This game will be tight throughout, but I’ll take the Vols to win it late behind Knecht’s shot making in an incredibly entertaining matchup. 

Final Score Prediction: Tennessee 79, Purdue 75

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.