College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Tennessee vs. Texas (Saturday, January 29)
David Buono/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Carr.
- Rick Barnes returns to Austin on Saturday when his Tennessee Volunteers take on Chris Beard's Texas Longhorns.
- The line has been on the move, as updated odds now make Texas a -4 favorite.
- Check out Doug Ziefel's top betting pick for this Big 12/SEC Challenge game below.
Tennessee vs. Texas Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The SEC-Big 12 Challenge gives us a defensive battle for the ages as the Tennessee Volunteers travel to Austin, where they will take on the Texas Longhorns.
After getting trounced by Kentucky, Tennessee has rebounded with a solid three-game winning streak. Its most impressive victory during the streak came against the LSU Tigers, who are thought of by many as the best defensive team in the country, where the Volunteers held them to just 50 points. The Vols draw another great defensive matchup, but can Tennessee prove it is the superior unit once again?
That opposing unit is not one to be looked over here as Kevin Beard’s Longhorns are a team built through that end of the floor. It has been their defense that has shined of late, with the Longhorns winning back-to-back games while holding their opponents to 51 and 50 points in those contests.
In a battle of two elite defenses, who has the edge?
Let’s find out …
Tennessee’s turnaround was not solely due to its team defense returning to form; they have also received a big offensive boost from their junior guard, Santiago Vescovi. He has led the team in scoring in each of Tennessee’s last three victories and even put up 20 points in the loss to Kentucky.
Vescovi’s emergence is a welcome sight for this Tennessee team with multiple subpar offensive performances. The Volunteers now look to have a very productive backcourt tandem in Vescovi and Kennedy Chandler. Vescovi recently eclipsed Chandler as the team’s leading scorer, though it was not exactly a high benchmark at just 13.5 points per game.
While the backcourt is in the spotlight as it provides most of the scoring, the frontcourt could play an integral role in this matchup. One area where the Volunteers will have an edge is on the offensive glass. Tennessee possesses two capable offensive rebounders in Nkamhoua and Fulkerson. We could certainly see a lot of those two as the Longhorns are 169th in defensive rebounding percentage.
In a matchup that will be as tightly contested as this, sometimes the edge that you find won’t be in the numbers. But, in this case, the Longhorn faithful may play as big of a factor as any. The Longhorns are 12-1 at home this season and 7-6 against the spread along with that.
Just because Texas may not have a significant edge on the offensive end in this one does not mean that it doesn’t have players that can impact this game. Marcus Carr, Andrew Jones and Tre Mitchell will all look to factor into this one, and it’s not just because two of them are among the team’s leading scorers.
The one area where the Volunteers have been somewhat susceptible against is from beyond the arc. Tennessee is 146th in three-point percentage allowed, and the trio of Jones, Carr and Mitchell are Texas’ most potent three-point shooters.
Though there is one more area where we could see Texas thrive, which is on the offensive glass just like Tennessee, Texas has been great on the offensive glass as a team and also possesses its own pair of big men that could crash the boards.
Christian Bishop not only leads this team in offensive rebounding but is among the nation’s best at it. His 14.7 offensive rebounding rate is good for 31st among qualified players. Not all too far behind him is the Longhorns’ leading scorer, Timmy Allen. Allen has flashed his double-double capabilities and owns a very respectable 11.2 offensive rebounding rate.
Tennessee vs. Texas Betting Pick
This game has the potential to steal the national spotlight in a Saturday slate filled with blue-blood matchups. It is the game where you’re coming for the defense but could be wowed by the offense.
In taking that perspective, it is clear which team has a bit more to offer on the offensive end. They will also have a roaring home crowd behind them. I’ll be backing the Longhorns to get the job done.
Pick: Texas -2.5 | Play to 3
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