College Basketball Odds & Picks for Tennessee vs. North Carolina: Target the Total in Connecticut

College Basketball Odds & Picks for Tennessee vs. North Carolina: Target the Total in Connecticut article feature image
Credit:

Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: Armando Bacot

Tennessee vs. North Carolina Odds

Sunday, Nov. 21
3:30 p.m. ET
ABC
Tennessee Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3.5
-115
151.5
-115o / -105u
-155
North Carolina Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3.5
-105
`151.5
-115o / -105u
+135
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Early season tournaments often create some of the most high-profile matchups of the entire college basketball season prior to the NCAA Tournament, and the Hall of Fame Tip-Off has been no different.

Villanova and Tennessee may not have been the most exciting game, but North Carolina and Purdue’s shot making and high quality hoops was on full display in the Boilermakers’ victory.

Tennessee and North Carolina both lost on Saturday, and now both will get a chance at redemption against one another in Connecticut on Sunday.

The Volunteers struggled with both jump shooting and turnovers as they were held to 53 points in an 18-point loss to Villanova. Meanwhile, North Carolina failed to keep pace with the Purdue offense that posted 94 points and made 10 of 23 from beyond the 3-point arc.


Tennessee Volunteers

Rick Barnes’ teams are often known for their physical defense and ability to turn opponents over, and this Volunteers team is no different. It may not have worked well against the experienced backcourt of Villanova on Saturday, but Tennessee should be able to turn over the Tar Heels on Sunday.

The Vols average 18 points off turnovers this year and like to run in transition when possible, so that could create some issues for a Carolina offense that has had issues with turnovers early on in the season.

Freshman point guard Kennedy Chandler had a bit of a reality check against Nova on Saturday after he was stellar in his first two games. He managed just six points on 1-of-9 shooting and had three turnovers as he looked more like a true freshman than the polished guard he played as in Tennessee’s opening two games.

What Tennessee lacks in size, it makes up for in depth. Tennessee averages the 42nd most bench minutes in the country, and those aren’t just empty minutes as Tennessee’s bench is averaging 27.3 points per game this year. Barnes has three guys who play close to 20+ minutes per game off the bench and will help throw different looks at a North Carolina offense that does have some size advantages.

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North Carolina Tar Heels

The Hubert Davis era in North Carolina basketball has had mixed results through four games. The Heels legitimately struggled against both Brown and the College of Charleston but ultimately pulled away late after trailing for too many minutes than they should have.

UNC posted an impressive display against Purdue on Saturday, though, even in a loss. It’s a transition year for the Tar Heels, but don’t let that distract you from the talent and returning production. Armando Bacot is as good as any big in the country inside, and Brady Manek is an excellent addition for some jump shooting, which UNC severely lacked in 2020-21.

Caleb Love is expected to take a big step forward in the new season after he struggled as a point guard in the Carolina offense last year. He’s the most important player for the Heels in this game as he will match up against Chandler and need to prevent turnovers to force Tennessee to execute in the half court.

The bottom line is that while the Tar Heels ran into a Purdue buzzsaw on Saturday, it was their most encouraging performance yet. UNC showed it could compete with one of the best teams in the country, which Tennessee could not do on Saturday.


Tennessee vs. North Carolina Betting Pick

The most important matchup here is Love’s ability to protect the ball. Live ball turnovers from the Carolina offense is a nightmare against Tennessee with how they like to run. UNC hasn’t forced many turnovers at all, which needs to change on Sunday against a potentially turnover-prone Vols offense.

Good and well-coached teams tend to bounce back off of terrible performances, which Tennessee certainly had on Saturday. They probably won’t turn it over 19 times or miss that many good looks from beyond the arc again, but Tennessee also won’t be able to rebound offensively to sustain its mediocre shooting against a top defensive rebounding team in Carolina.

The Carolina defense has been pretty passive under Davis so far, and a renewed focus on protecting the ball for the UNC offense should keep this game more in the halfcourt than the total suggests.

I’m still not a believer in the Vols offense and think UNC’s offense hasn’t been tested by a defense nearly as good as Tennessee yet.

On the second day of a back-to-back where both teams played physical games and UNC shot over 41% from 3 yesterday, the under is the play here.

Pick: Under 151.5 (play to 149.5)

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