Olivier Nkamhoua was unconscious in the second half of Tennessee’s win over Duke Saturday evening. The senior forward dropped 27 points on 10/13 shooting, leading Tennessee over the Blue Devils with good ole’ fashioned bully ball, 65-52.

Duke was in the torture chamber from the jump. The Blue Devils shot poorly from deep, committed 15 turnovers and couldn’t stop Tennessee’s offense in the 2nd half. Duke also got into foul trouble early and struggled to recover.

An underrated part of Tennessee’s win was Santiago Vescovi, another Tennessee senior who did not want to go home early. Vescovi dropped 14 points and was an off-the-ball magician, running all over the court to get open looks at the basket. He hit 4 triples and totaled 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

Tennessee advances to the Sweet Sixteen for just the 2nd time under Rick Barnes with Saturday’s monumental win. The Vols will face one of FAU or FDU next week.

Not done yet?

These Vols are the exact opposite of last year’s Vols in terms of momentum heading into the Big Dance. Last year’s Tennessee won the SEC Tournament and blitzed Longwood in the first round before falling to Michigan in the Round of 32. This time around, Tennessee faltered entering the tournament, losing 2 of their last 3.

The Vols also lost star PG Zakai Zeigler for the season against Arkansas. The Vols had to adapt and adapt quickly to pull off the win Saturday. And if Tennessee keeps playing like this, there’s no denying them from their first Final Four berth. But, as always, it’s easier said than done.

Let’s see how they fare next week in the Sweet Sixteen.