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Near Sparta, TN

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Your health and wellbeing are critical to living a productive, normal life. That's why it's so important to have a reliable health care provider that you can call on, who has your best interests at heart, no matter the circumstance. Sometimes, though, change is necessary. You may have decided to switch health care providers for a number of reasons like new insurance coverage, unhappiness with your current provider, or even medical malpractice. Whatever your reasons, choosing a new health care provider is a serious one. An MD may be qualified to practice medicine, but that doesn't mean they're a good match for your needs. They may not have the empathy, experience, or expertise that you need in your life.

If you're like most people, you need a health care provider who is qualified in their field and offers exemplary guidance: an unbiased figure you can lean on for any kind of medical advice. The truth is, however, that not all health care providers go above and beyond the "call of duty" to ensure their patients feel valued, respected, and comfortable.

Fortunately, Chris Archer, ANP-C, has built his career on providing his patients with professional, personalized medical services in Sparta. If you live in Tennessee, and need a trustworthy medical team that specializes medical services like primary care and urgent care, look no further than Primary Care & Occupational Health Center.

What makes our health center stand out from other medical practices? In short, it's all about the quality of care that we provide to our valued patients. We pride ourselves on:

  • Strict Adherence to Medical Guidelines
  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Empathy
  • Collaboration
  • Advocating for Our Patients
  • Personable Care
Testosterone Replacement Sparta, TN

Chris Archer ANP-C

I am excited and honored to join the Primary Care & Occupational Health Center practice and I personally look forward to serving you.

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Service Areas

Service Areas

Primary Care in Sparta, TN

To some, primary care might seem like an ambiguous term. What does primary care actually mean, and what exactly is a primary care provider? In the simplest terms, primary care means general medical care. A primary care provider (or PCP) specializes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing ailments and conditions that affect a patient's health. Some primary care health care providers focus on specific areas of medicine, like internal and family medicines.

You can think of primary care providers like the quarterbacks of healthcare. Much like a quarterback passing a ball, the PCP makes sure patients get the appropriate care, in the correct setting, by the most qualified care provider. They always do so in a way that aligns with the patient's needs and values. Typically, your primary care health care provider will be your first point of contact in Sparta's medical system.

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Why is Primary Care Important?

Through regular checkups, primary care treatment can prevent serious problems from happening in the first place. Statistically, adults who see their primary care health care providers regularly lower their odds of premature death by 19%, compared to adults that only see specialists. Seeing a PCP isn't just a good idea on the surface - studies show that regular checkups actually prolong your life.

If a longer life weren't enough reason to consider primary care services in Sparta, think about your bank account. According to a study, adults who use their primary care provider save as much as 33% more on medical bills than people who only see specialists. Primary care also helps save money by keeping you out of the emergency room, where medical care can be more than 4x as much as outpatient care. In one North Carolina ER, health care providers found that patients could have saved 700% or more had they received care from a PCP instead of going to the emergency room.

Additionally, primary care providers can catch and treat problems at their outset, which often happens during annual checkups. Catching an illness early is always preferable to catching an advanced illness, from both a health and financial standpoint.

At Primary Care & Occupational Health Center in Sparta, we specialize in several facets of primary care, including:

  • Annual Physical and Wellness Exams
  • Fevers
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Allergies
  • Bladder Infections
  • Asthma
  • Ear Infections
  • Eye Infections
  • Flu and Colds
  • Viral Illnesses
  • Diarrhea, Vomiting, and Nausea
  • Bronchitis and Pneumonia
  • Sore Throat
  • Skin Conditions
  • Sinus Problems and Infections
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Physicals for Sports and General Wellness

Whether you're ready to switch today or have questions about our primary care services, Chris Archer and his team of professionals are here to help.

 Medical Clinic Sparta, TN

Whether you're ready to switch today or have questions about our primary care services, Chris Archer and his team of professionals are here to help.

Schedule Appointment
 Mens Health Sparta, TN

Urgent Care in Sparta, TN

By definition, urgent care gives medical care to individuals who have non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries. The goal of urgent care is to get the patient in the front door of the facility, treated by a health care provider or nurse practitioner, and sent on their way with little to no recovery time. Urgent care is fantastic for busy people who need help when they have minor injuries or illnesses like a cut or a cold.

Urgent care facilities in Sparta are often more convenient for patients who don't have the time to visit their primary care provider or do not have a PCP. Urgent care is also a great choice for people that need attention immediately but know that their situation isn't dire enough to go to the emergency room. With urgent care services, patients can get the treatments they need the most and get them quickly. In fact, according to the Urgent Care Association of America, around 92% of urgent care facilities reported wait times less than 30 minutes

If you have are sick with a cold or have a minor injury that needs to be addressed as soon as possible, our urgent care facility is here to serve you. We specialize in many different urgent care needs, such as:

  • General Injury and Medical Care
  • Colds and Flues
  • Coughs and Sore Throats
  • High Fevers
  • Earaches
  • Eye Infections
  • Sinus Infections
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Lab Tests
  • Minor Back Injuries
  • Seasonal Allergies
  • Asthma Episodes
  • Minor Burns
  • Minor Cuts and Lacerations
  • Stitching and Bonding
  • Sports Sprains and Injuries

We go out of our way to deliver the level of care and compassion we would want for our own families.

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At Primary Care & Occupational Health Center, your health is our highest priority. When you visit our location, you will be greeted by our personable admin staff, who will help you with the sign-in process and get you set up for treatment. With modern technology and an industry-leading clinical program, we look forward to providing you with an exceptional medical experience.

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Testosterone
Replacement
Therapy in Sparta, TN

As males age, their hormone levels decline naturally, leaving many men with reduced self-confidence, increased body fat, and a decreased sex drive. For millions of males in the United States, the answer to their middle-aged problems begins with testosterone replacement therapy or TRT for short. TRT is used to optimize hormone levels, which are often imbalanced as men age. TRT has been shown to greatly improve the moderate-to-severe symptoms that are common in low-T individuals.

Hormone levels can also be inadequate in men of any age. This is due to genetic interference and abnormalities stemming from hormone receptor action through exposure to chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system. While many TV commercials will tell you low testosterone symptoms begin during middle age, many adult men lose testosterone as early as their mid-20s.

If you're craving more vitality and have noticed a lack of enjoyment in your life, our TRT services in Sparta might be a good fit for your needs. At Primary Care & Occupational Health Center, all prospective TRT patients must qualify for treatment. Qualification includes comprehensive lab tests and consultations with your primary care provider.

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Common Signs of Low Testosterone

Chances are, you probably know somebody that is currently on a TRT regimen but wonder yourself if you might qualify for treatment. You're probably also wondering what low T feels like. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms of low testosterone:

BODY

  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Swollen Breasts
  • Reduced Bone and Muscle Mass
  • More Body Fat
  • Hot Flashes

MIND

  • Lack of Self-Confidence
  • Depression
  • Lack of Concentration
  • Lack of Sleep

SEXUAL

  • Difficulty Achieving Erections
  • Less Spontaneous Erections
  • Low Sex Drive

Many men who qualify for TRT in Sparta, TN, can begin treatment soon after they are approved to do so. For most males, healthy testosterone levels are achieved after a couple months of treatment. For the best TRT results, it's important to strive for healthy exercise habits, stress management techniques, and diet choices.

Occupational Care in Sparta, TN

Also called occupational medicine or occupational health, this multidisciplinary healthcare field is dedicated to the wellbeing and safety of workplace employees. The primary focus on occupational care is treating illnesses and injuries that happen in the workplace. Occupational care is also meant to help prevent workplace illnesses and injuries by fostering a safer work environment.

At Primary Care & Occupational Health Center, our occupational care services can result in:

  • Lower Insurance Premiums
  • Reduced Costs Stemming from Workplace Accidents
  • Improved Safety and Health
  • Proper Regulatory Compliance
  • Better Workplace Morale, Productivity, and Staff Relations

Depending on the industry you're in or the kind of business you own, having an occupational health program can be a great idea. If you already have a plan in place, our occupational care center in Sparta has an extensive array of tests and exams to ensure you meet any necessary criteria.

Some common types of screenings and exams may include:

Occupational Care

Drug & Alcohol Tests

These tests can help ensure that your employees are not operating machinery or working under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

1

Return-to-Work Exams

Also called Fit for Duty Exams, these tests can determine whether your employees are recovered and fit to return to the workplace, after sustaining an injury.

2

Health Screenings

Our team of medical professionals will conduct comprehensive screenings for blood, vision, pulmonary function, and more.

3

At Primary Care & Occupational Health Center, our full range of
occupational care services include:

  • Alcohol/Drug
  • Audiometry
  • Chest and Back X-Rays
  • EKG
  • Hair Follicle Testing
  • Lipids
  • Spirometry
  • Urinalysis
  • 5 & 10 Panel
  • DOT Physical Exam
  • Bus Driver Exam
  • Pre-Employment Exams
  • Vision Exam
  • Return-To-Work Clearance
 Primary Care Sparta, TN

Latest News in Sparta, TN

Spartans Return to Win Column Against Middle Tennessee

MIAMI – Aided by a dominant trio of straight-set singles victories, Michigan State women's tennis returned to the win column in its Spring Break finale against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, registering a 4-0 victory at the FIU Tennis Courts on Thursday afternoon.Michigan State concludes the non-conference portion of its dual match schedule with a 7-4 overall record, publishing a 5-2 record at home with a 1-2 road mark in addition to a 1-0 record in neutral site matches following Thursday afte...

MIAMI – Aided by a dominant trio of straight-set singles victories, Michigan State women's tennis returned to the win column in its Spring Break finale against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, registering a 4-0 victory at the FIU Tennis Courts on Thursday afternoon.

Michigan State concludes the non-conference portion of its dual match schedule with a 7-4 overall record, publishing a 5-2 record at home with a 1-2 road mark in addition to a 1-0 record in neutral site matches following Thursday afternoon's victory. The Spartans have won six of their last eight matches dating to a 4-3 win over Miami of Ohio on Sunday, Feb. 5, running through this week's 1-1 outing in South Florida. In defeat, Middle Tennessee drops to 8-6 overall and 0-1 in Conference USA matches after dropping a 4-0 contest to FIU on Wednesday.

The Spartans and Blue Raiders started things off in the doubles competition, with the Spartans taking the doubles point on wins at the bookend positions. and got the first win of the match on court three, defeating Noelle Mauro and Lilly-Sophie Schmidt in a 6-1 match. The Spartans followed that up with a clinch victory on court one, as and downed Love-Star Alexis and Muskan Gupta with a 6-2 showing. and held a dominant 5-3 lead over Sana Garakani and Cara Szilasi, but the match went unfinished after the doubles point was clinched.

The match turned to singles after a short intermission, with Michigan State setting the tone for its dominant win by securing five-of-six first sets. Purser was first off for the Green & White on court six, as the Ascot, United Kingdom, native logged a steady 6-3, 6-3 win over Camila Barragan to put MSU ahead by a 2-0 margin. Can was next to finish, as the junior from Weston, Florida, booked a 6-4, 6-3 straight-set win over Garakani on court two. Freshman hauled in the fourth and final point for MSU, downing Schmidt on court five in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1.

On court one, Vehvilainen was one game away from splitting sets with Alexis, as the Turku, Finland, native Spartan led 6-3, 3-5 in the headline matchup. Court three pitted Lambert against Gupta, with the Spartan holding a 6-3, 3-4 edge in the overall match after the dual was suspended. Finally, Conard was locked in a battle with Mauro on court four, trailing 4-6, 4-5 heading into the end of the second set, but the match was finished before Middle Tennessee could secure their opening score.

UP NEXT Michigan State women's tennis opens the Big Ten Conference dual match season this weekend, as the Green & White challenge the in-state rival Michigan Wolverines on Saturday, March 11. First serve from the Varsity Tennis Center in Ann Arbor is slated for 1 p.m.

TENNIS MATCH RESULTS Michigan State 4, Middle Tennessee 0 FIU Tennis Courts – Miami, Fla. DOUBLES 1. / (MSU) def. Love-Star Alexis / Muskan Gupta (MTSU) 6-2 2. / (MSU) vs. Sana Garakani / Cara Szilasi (MTSU) 5-3, unfinished 3. / (MSU) def. Noelle Mauro / Lilly-Sophie Schmidt (MTSU) 6-1

SINGLES 1. (MSU) vs. Love-Star Alexis (MTSU) 6-3, 3-5, unfinished 2. (MSU) def. Sana Garakani (MTSU) 6-4, 6-3 3. (MSU) vs. Muskan Gupta (MTSU) 6-3, 3-4, unfinished 4. (MSU) vs. Noelle Mauro (MSTU) 4-6, 4-5, unfinished 5. (MSU) def. Lilly-Sophie Schmidt (MTSU) 6-4, 6-1 6. (MSU) def. Camila Barragan (MTSU) 6-3, 6-3

Order of Finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (6,2,5)

FOLLOW THE SPARTANS Visit MSUSpartans.com for more information on Michigan State women's tennis. Fans can keep up to date with the Spartan women's tennis team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by following @MSU_WTennis.

Erlanger's Life Force helicopters returning to service following crash in North Carolina

Erlanger Health System's Life Force helicopters are returning to service after being grounded following a nonfatal crash Thursday evening in Macon County, North Carolina, officials announced Tuesday.Erlanger had suspended Life Force operations until crews felt safe and ready to return. In the interim, other air medical providers around the region have been providing patient transportation....

Erlanger Health System's Life Force helicopters are returning to service after being grounded following a nonfatal crash Thursday evening in Macon County, North Carolina, officials announced Tuesday.

Erlanger had suspended Life Force operations until crews felt safe and ready to return. In the interim, other air medical providers around the region have been providing patient transportation.

Thursday's crash was the first in the 34-year history of Erlanger's Life Force program, officials said.

"In accordance with our safety culture, the stand-down allowed time to process the event, review and perform safety checks and ensure we are well prepared to return to service," Robbie Tester, Erlanger vice president of patient logistics, said in a statement Tuesday.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga's Erlanger Health System upgrades Life Force with new helicopter)

As a result of Thursday's crash, one crew member was evaluated and released from a local hospital, while the others were admitted to Mission Hospital in Asheville in stable condition. All crew members have since been released from the hospital and are recovering at home, Erlanger spokeswoman Blaine Kelley said via email Tuesday

At the time of the crash, the helicopter was transporting a patient from Erlanger's hospital in Murphy, North Carolina, to a hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, for additional medical care. Kelley said she did not have an updated status for the patient who was being transported.

"Last I heard, they were still in the hospital but in good spirits," she said in an email.

(READ MORE: Erlanger's Life Force helicopter will no longer be based in Chattanooga)

Life Force has air ambulance stations in Cleveland, Winchester and Sparta in Tennessee; Blue Ridge and Calhoun in Georgia; and Murphy, North Carolina. Combined, the helicopters transport roughly 3,000 patients each year, according to data previously shared by Erlanger.

Tester thanked Air Evac 44, Air Life 14, UT Lifestar and Vanderbilt Life Flight for stepping in to provide transport services while Life Force was grounded.

"We deeply appreciate the support and patience of our partners, colleagues and community through this difficult time," Tester said. "Our team is looking forward to getting back to and serving our communities."

Contact Elizabeth Fite at efite@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6673.

How to Waterfall Chase Tennessee

Do you love waterfalls? Have you spent time chasing waterfalls in Tennessee or dreaming of the day you can visit to see them all? Set yourself up for waterfall-chasing success with these helpful tips!When people chase waterfalls it's a common practice to start with popular, well-known waterfalls. This is good practice! Not only does it get you used to Tennessee terrain, but popular waterfalls are well-traveled, so many people are around if you find yourself in trouble or lost on your first waterfall-chasing endeavors.Some of th...

Do you love waterfalls? Have you spent time chasing waterfalls in Tennessee or dreaming of the day you can visit to see them all? Set yourself up for waterfall-chasing success with these helpful tips!

When people chase waterfalls it's a common practice to start with popular, well-known waterfalls. This is good practice! Not only does it get you used to Tennessee terrain, but popular waterfalls are well-traveled, so many people are around if you find yourself in trouble or lost on your first waterfall-chasing endeavors.

Some of these popular waterfalls include:

1. Fall Creek Falls: Fall Creek Falls State Park is one of the most well-known and popular parks in Tennessee! Fall Creek Falls is 256 feet high and even has a trail to the bottom for an extra incredible view! While the top is an easy walk from the parking lot, be prepared for a strenuous journey to and from the bottom. With several easily accessible waterfalls, this park is a great place to start your waterfall-chasing journey. Fall Creek Falls State Park

2. Burgess Falls: Burgess Falls comes in at 136 feet and is known as The Queen of waterfalls. Her beauty and natural features are unmatched. While visiting Burgess Falls State Park you'll also be treated to 3 other lovely waterfalls along a moderately difficult 1.3-mile loop trail. This is another great starter trail and is only 1.5 hours from Nashville! Be sure to get there very early in the summer months because the parking lots are fairly small and fill up quickly! Burgess Falls State Park

3. Twin Falls: Rock Island State Park boasts incredible trails, several waterfalls, and a very easily accessible Twin Falls. Talk about a perfect place to sit and have a relaxing lunch or spend a day exploring. During summer months the park does fill up so be sure to check their website ahead of time to check for park availability so you don't waste a trip. Rock Island State Park

4: Lost Creek Falls: The perfect little waterfall with all the small-town charm! Located in Sparta, TN this waterfall is a little gem among all the rough rock. In addition to a beautiful, rocky landscape, you can peek inside a cave and during caving months you can even get a permit to go inside! This area was beautiful enough to be included in the 1990s movie the Jungle book and is a must-see when passing through the area. Be aware that in summer/fall months she may be reduced to just a dribble due to dry weather conditions. The rock formations alone are well worth the visit though! Lost Creek Falls State Natural Area

5. Ozone Falls: With stunning views from the top and bottom this quick hike will take your breath away. The top is an easy walk from the parking area but be aware of the rocky path to the bottom. With so many incredible views to see this 110-foot waterfall, you'll have a difficult time deciding what your favorite angle will be for pictures! The parking area is small so be prepared to be on the search for a spot to park. Its views are well worth the effort! Ozone Falls State Natural Area

These are good starter waterfalls that you'll see posted everywhere, just to get your feet wet and let you experience some great parks and natural areas in Tennessee. Many of these places also have additional waterfalls to visit on their land as well, so spend some time exploring and seeing what the areas really have to offer.

So now you've seen the more easily accessible waterfalls and you want to add some mileage/difficulty now? Some great next steps are:

1. Cummins Falls to the bottom: Rated a top waterfall in Tennessee for 2023, Cummins is a great swimming hole/waterfall. You'll face a challenging hike to the bottom though with a water crossing or two. You'll be required to buy a permit to get into the gorge area. This area is also prone to flash flooding so being aware and listening for warnings is incredibly important while visiting. It can flash flood even without rain. The rangers/staff here are very helpful. Be sure to check out their welcome center when you go! Cummins Falls State Park

2. Virgin Falls: Are you ready for a monster of a hike? This trail will leave you aching for the ice but will also give you some sights you'll never forget! Definitely an all-day type of hike (or can even be a camping trip!), this popular waterfall has it all. The coolest part for me is the trail that leads up and around the top of Virgin Falls. If you come by the main trail you will see other waterfalls along the way as well and have the chance to branch off to a cave, if you don't mind adding some mileage to your hike. The main trail is around a 9-mile total, out and back hike that is considered strenuous.

3. Suter/Horsepound Falls: These waterfalls are now a part of the brand-new Savage Gulf State Park and can be accessed via the Collins Gulf Trail. You will reach Suter Falls first, then continue across a bridge, a large rock field, and weave back and forth down a very large hill. The trip back up will be very tiring but it's a great place to spend a day in nature. Savage Gulf State Park and Savage Gulf State Park Map

4. Stinging Fork Falls: This is a fantastic hike in Rhea county and fairly short too. But don't let the distance fool you, the last part of the hike near the waterfall is tough. For those seeking adventure, you'll fall in love with the hike and emerald green pool. The beautiful waterfall sound echoing through the area makes it as peaceful as can be! Stinging Fork Falls State Natural Area

5. Window Cliffs Falls: If you're looking for a challenge, you've found it! This is a 5.5-mile round trip, out-and-back trail with 18 total creek crossings (Yep! you read that right!) You'll get to see a fantastic waterfall and an incredible overlook view on this trail! This is a day-use area only and NO pups are allowed. So be sure to give yourself enough time to get out and back before it's closed. This natural area is maintained by Burgess Falls State Park but Window Cliffs entrance is around 8 miles from BFSP. Window Cliffs State Natural Area

All of these will add that level of difficulty you're craving and be much longer hikes. You always want to prepare for your hikes, but for these pack the extra snacks, food, first aid kit, and maps. Be ready for adventure and make sure those hiking boots are ready to burn some rubber!

**While these are just a few of the many gorgeous waterfalls in Tennessee, the best resource for researching and going beyond just the popular waterfalls you can go to the page: Tennessee Landforms Map ** It is a database of all named waterfalls in Tennessee and where to find them. You can even search by county. You will want to make sure to check if a waterfall is on private property. Remember to be respectful and stay off of the private property falls unless they allow the public. There are several private waterfalls that allow public but some require permits/payment to access the property.

Some private land waterfalls that allow the public are:

1. Rutledge Falls: There is a nice yet small parking lot and a very short walk to the top. (No Fee to Enter/Park) A short rocky walk to the bottom will have you enjoying this waterfall in no time. A popular swimming area in the summer months, Rutledge Falls is a great place to relax away from the summer heat. Be respectful of this owner and Leave No Trace while you are there so everyone can continue to enjoy this little gem. Rutledge Falls

2. Waterloo Falls: You'll need a low-cost permit via their website for this area and you'll also need to check the website ahead of time to ensure there are no private events the day you wish to go. Well worth the effort to visit upper and lower Waterloo Falls! Waterloo Venue and Events

3. Carmac Falls (Cul-Car-Mac Falls): While you will pay the most to visit this private 90-foot waterfall, you'll get to enjoy a wonderful hiking trail and a provided sack lunch all for $60 for 2 guests. With 40 acres to explore with their day-trippers package it's a great place to chase a waterfall and enjoy the area. You can learn more on their website Evins Mill. Reservations are required and solo hikers are not currently allowed, you must have at least 2 people to make a reservation.

Another great resource for chasing Tennessee waterfalls is a book called Waterfalls of Tennessee (3rd edition) By Gregory A Plumb. It's a wonderful guide with pictures and loads of information. The best time to see Tennessee waterfalls are in the winter and spring if you really want to see some impressive flows. The summer and early fall months can make them nearly dry to dry based on the weather, so be aware when traveling of what to expect. Always Prepare, Research and Leave No Trace. Help us keep a Litter Free Tennessee!

Thank you for reading my article! If you liked my article please give me a LIKE and a FOLLOW! Keep Adventureing and never stop Exploring!

Izzo's Spartans join Purdue, Marquette in East Region (BRACKET INCLUDED)

Purdue and Marquette were far from the favorites in their own conferences going into the season. They are now the top two seeds in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament.Big Ten regular-season and tournament champion Purdue (29-5) is a No. 1 seed for the first time since 1996, and fourth time overall.Led by big man Zach Edey, the Boilermakers are going to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in a row, and 34th overall. They play Friday in Columbus, Ohio, against the winner of First Four matchup between Texas Southern and Fai...

Purdue and Marquette were far from the favorites in their own conferences going into the season. They are now the top two seeds in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament.

Big Ten regular-season and tournament champion Purdue (29-5) is a No. 1 seed for the first time since 1996, and fourth time overall.

Led by big man Zach Edey, the Boilermakers are going to the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in a row, and 34th overall. They play Friday in Columbus, Ohio, against the winner of First Four matchup between Texas Southern and Fairleigh Dickinson.

Marquette (28-6) is in the tournament for the second year in a row for coach Shaka Smart, the coach who took VCU to the Final Four in 2011. The Golden Eagles, in consecutive tourneys for the first time since eight in a row from 2006-13, will play 15th-seeded Vermont (23-10).

If the Big East champion Golden Eagles win their opener, they would then play either No. 7 seed Michigan State (19-12) or No. 10 seed Southern California (22-10). Coach Tom Izzo and the Spartans are in their record 25th consecutive tournament.

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DUKE ROOKIES

Duke, with some standout freshmen and 35-year-old rookie head coach Jon Scheyer, takes a nine-game winning streak into the tourney after beating Virginia in the ACC Tournament title game.

The fifth-seeded Blue Devils (26-8) haven't lost since falling in overtime on the road against Virginia on Feb. 11. They play scoring ace Max Abmas and 12th-seeded Oral Roberts (30-4).

After spending last year as the coach-in-waiting for Mike Krzyzewski’s last Final Four run, Scheyer assembled the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class that's already got its first tournament trophy.

That first-round game Thursday in Orlando, Florida, is on the same side of the bracket as fourth-seeded Tennessee (23-10) and Louisiana-Lafayette (26-7) in its first NCAA tourney since 2014.

WILDCATS RECOVERY

Considering Kentucky (21-11) was teetering on the tournament bubble in January amid speculation of Hall of Fame coach John Calipari leaving for Texas, the Wildcats weren’t going to complain about its No. 6 seeding in the East.

The task now for big man Oscar Tshiebwe and the Wildcats is winning Kentucky's first NCAA Tournament game since 2019, a drought highlighted by last year’s epic first-round upset loss to No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s. They play No. 11 Providence (21-11) on Friday in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“What happened last year, the first time in my career. And you know what, hurt like hell,” Calipari said. “But, you move on and you move to the next. For me, this has got to be a ball because they’re going to feed off of me. They’ve got to see me (and) saying, ’he is loose and ready to go” because they’re going to feed off of me. And I’m excited about it.”

WILDCATS FROM KANSAS

First-year coach Jerome Tang has Kansas State as the No. 3 seed in its first NCAA Tournament since 2019.

After leaving Scott Drew's side at Baylor, where he had been an assistant coach for 19 years and part of the Bears' only national championship two years ago, Tang won 15 of his first 16 games and led the Wildcats to a 23-9 overall record while playing in the brutal Big 12.

Their first-round game Friday in Columbus is against Montana State (25-9), the Big Sky champion in consecutive NCAA tourneys for the first time.

PENNY AND THE TIGERS

Penny Hardaway played in the 1992 and 1993 NCAA tournaments in his only two seasons as a player for the school then known as Memphis State. He now has the Tigers in their second consecutive tourney as a coach.

The Tigers (26-8) won the American Athletic Conference Tournament with a 75-65 over No. 1 Houston on Sunday, and didn't even cut down the nets in Fort Worth until after watching the selection show. The Cougars are still a No. 1 seed, in the Midwest Region.

Memphis is the eighth seed, with a difficult matchup against Conference USA champion Florida Atlantic (31-3) on Friday.

ROAD TO HOUSTON

It will be a lot harder to overlook Purdue and Marquette in March, than it was before the season began. The Boilermakers have steadied things since losing four of six games in February, and take a five-game winning streak into the NCAA Tournament.

“I think people just kind of freaked out. We were having a great season. We had the same guys the entire year,” Edey said. “Just the shots weren’t falling. None of us in our program freaked out. It was kind of just the media. We knew what we had and knew we had everything we need.”

While Smart never made it out of the first round of the NCAA in his three appearances over six seasons with Texas, Marquette could mimic his old VCU team and make a deep NCAA run on the 20th anniversary of the last of Marquette's three Final Four appearances.

Looking for a lower see? Tennessee has wins this season over Big 12 regular-season champion Kansas, a No. 1 seed, and Big 12 tourney champ Texas, a No. 2 seed. The Volunteers also lost twice to Kentucky.

Middle Tennessee church letter to parishioner goes viral online

SPARTA, Tenn. (WZTV) — A church in White County, Tennessee is on its heels after a letter to one of its parishioners went viral online.In late February, a parishioner posted a letter that she had received from three church elders. It lamented that she had not attended church in a couple weeks and was living with a man she had not married.West Sparta Church of Christ sent the letter say...

SPARTA, Tenn. (WZTV) — A church in White County, Tennessee is on its heels after a letter to one of its parishioners went viral online.

In late February, a parishioner posted a letter that she had received from three church elders. It lamented that she had not attended church in a couple weeks and was living with a man she had not married.

West Sparta Church of Christ sent the letter saying that if their member did not repent immediately, she would be ostracized from the church.

Since then, making contact with the church leaders has proven difficult. Their Facebook page has come down, and their phone line listed on Google is disconnected.

Online, some have supported the church elders, others wrote, “rather judgmental toward others.”

All churches are not the same, and all denominations are certainly not uniform. Reverend and state representative Harold Love says it’s natural for people to question their faith during tough times.

“You naturally will have people say what is going on, where is God in this situation, how do we make it together,” Love said. “That’s why I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the faith community to step up and do what the faith community can do which is unite people.”

Pew Research lists Tennessee has one of the most religious states with 51% saying they attend church services at least once per week. 70% pray daily.

“People are still searching,” Love explained. “People have always searched for answers to life’s questions. Faith has often times provided those answers. There are some times though that your faith can be shaken so much it can take some time to come back around.”

One woman’s example is Sparta is proof of what Love believes: a little patience can restore what is lost.

FOX 17 News could not find the recipient of the letter, so we are unsure if she has returned to West Sparta Church of Christ where services continue.

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