The calm before the storm: Mocs prepare for Hoosiers - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

The calm before the storm: Mocs prepare for Hoosiers

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After arriving to Des Moines, Iowa the day before, the Mocs hit the hardwood Wednesday for their last practice before the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Connecticut, Austin Peay, Colorado, Kansas, Indiana, and Kentucky jumped on the court first in the Wells Fargo Arena  to get in their last minute drills before the big day. The practices were open to both fans and media, and drew extremely large crowds for a shoot-around; the largest being close to 7,000 people for Kansas and Kentucky. 

The Mocs practiced at a local high school earlier Wednesday, getting in the necessary game preparation. So when it was time for UTC's scheduled practice in the arena, it was all about enjoying the moment. The Mocs were seen laughing and smiling, and even threw down a couple dunks for the crowd at the end. Kentucky fans hung around to watch UTC practice, and some even cheered the Mocs on as they prepared to take on one of the Wildcats' biggest rivals, the Hoosiers. 

One of the Hoosiers the Mocs are keeping a close eye on is Indiana's point guard Yogi Ferrell. "I think Yogi Ferrell is one of the best point guards in the country. No question," said first-year Head Coach Matt McCall. "Arguably would have been a first round draft pick if he came out last year. But it's not just him."

The first-team All-Big Ten guard and second-team All-American has averaged 17 points and 5.5 assists per game for the 25-7 Hoosiers, who are seeded fifth in the East Regional.

"Troy Williams is a problem on the wing. Thomas Bryant is a terrific front court player, one of best freshman in the country. They're putting five guys on the floor that can shoot the three. Obviously that's something we've gotten better at, defending the three. But it's gonna be the biggest key in game. You get so caught up and consumed with guarding Yogi that he goes down the lane and finds shooters on the perimeter. That's how they really really hurt you."

The winner of the Mocs-Hoosiers matchup faces either Kentucky or Stony Brook on Saturday. 

Channel 3 Sports Director Paul Shahen is in Des Moines with the team, and will be going live throughout the week for your Mocs Basketball coverage. Be sure to follow the Channel 3 sports team on-air and online @WRCBsports.  

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