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Here are five things to watch in Friday’s Tennessee-Massachusetts matchup:

NCAA NEWBIES: Only one UMass player - Western Kentucky transfer Derrick Gordon - has played in the NCAA tournament before. Gordon played in a First Four win against Mississippi Valley State in 2012 before losing to eventual champion Kentucky. “We’ve got to be able to keep our composure throughout the game,” Gordon said. “I referred that to plenty of guys on the team and I believe everybody got the message.”

CADY UP FRONT: Minutemen junior center Cady Lalanne will have a tough challenge inside against the Vols’ beefier front line of Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon. Stokes was second in the Southeastern Conference at 10.4 rebounds per game, while Maymon was third at 8.2. That duo helped Tennessee rank second in the SEC in rebounding margin (plus 8.4). UMass has been outrebounded in three of the past five games.

SCORING BALANCE: Both teams have plenty of scoring options. Williams leads three UMass players (Lalanne at 11.4, Sampson Carter at 10.5) averaging in double figures and four others averaging at least 8.8 points. The Vols also have three players averaging at least double figures, led by Jordan McRae at 18.6 points per game, and Josh Richardson chipping in 9.4.

TIRED TENNESSEE: Martin sounded pleased that his team got the chance to get the first-game jitters out against Iowa, and he didn’t sound worried about whether his team might have some fatigue from the short turnaround and late-night travel. “That’s where the conditioning comes in,” he said.

VOLS’ UPSIDE: While Tennessee squeaked into the tournament, this is the same squad that beat No. 1 seed Virginia by 35 points at home in late December. They’ve also won six of seven coming down the stretch, with the only loss coming against top-ranked Florida in the SEC tournament. “When guys are hitting shots on our team,” Richardson said, “it’s tough for anybody in the nation to beat us.”


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