Sunday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Tennessee-Gonzaga, Purdue-Texas

Sunday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Tennessee-Gonzaga, Purdue-Texas article feature image
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USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rui Hachimura (21), Grant Williams (2).

We’ve seen a handful of exhilarating finishes in college basketball, including Seton Hall’s Myles Cale drilling a game-winning 3-pointer against Kentucky with less than 10 seconds left in overtime on Saturday.

Sunday should deliver even more excitement. Gonzaga and Tennessee square off in a matchup of top 10-ranked teams before Purdue visits Texas. Where’s the value in each game? Let’s break it down.


>> All odds as of Saturday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and track your bets.


Tennessee Volunteers vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs

  • Spread: Gonzaga -2.5
  • Over/under: 159.5
  • Tip: 3 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: ESPN

Tennessee and Kansas faced off three weeks ago, with the Jayhawks prevailing in overtime 87-81. The difference for the Volunteers (2-3-1 against the spread) in this enticing affair is their starting five.

Rick Barnes inserted 6-foot-6 Yves Pons for guard Jordan Bowden, delivering another scoring punch off their bench. Pons’ length will aid Tennessee’s chances against Gonzaga (7-2 ATS) from the get-go as well, giving his team a slight edge in size.

The Vols own the 28th-highest two-point percentage (57.1%) in the country, led by preseason All-American Grant Williams (20.4 points per game), which accounts for more than half of their offense. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are yielding a susceptible 48.0% clip inside the arc.

Williams’ matchup with Rui Hachimura (22.3) should be one of the premier low-post duels of the season, as both bigs average at least a 27.2% Possession Usage. I’m leaning towards Hachimura struggling a bit because of Williams’ physicality. The same goes for Bulldogs point guard Josh Perkins (11.3 PPG), who’s up against a tough on-ball defender in Jordan Bone.

While the Gonzaga boasts the No. 1-rated Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (122.0 points Per 100 Possessions) in the country, expect the Vols’ 13th-ranked Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (92.1 opponents’ Points Per 100 Possessions) to prevail.

Don’t forget, the Bulldogs are coming off a thrilling 81-79 win over Washington via Hachimura’s game-winner, setting up a potential letdown spot in the Jerry Colangelo Classic from Glendale, Ariz.

According to our Bet Labs data, Tennessee is 12-10-1 (54.3% ATS) when getting at least 2.5 points under Rick Barnes. Take the points in what should be a tight affair.

THE PICKS: Tennessee +2.5

Purdue Boilermakers at Texas Longhorns

  • Spread: Purdue -1.5
  • Over/under: 140
  • Tip: 6 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: ESPN2

The Longhorns (2-6 ATS) are coming off a rough loss to VCU — and Shaka Smart’s replacement Mike Rhodes. But, similar to the Boilermakers’ (5-4 ATS) narrow escape against Maryland on Thursday, Texas’ bigs present a mismatch against Purdue’s small-ball heavy lineup.

Smart’s group has allowed opponents to shoot 44.0% on two-point shots, the 32nd-lowest rate in the country, which should force the Boilermakers to hit outside shots. Although that accounts for 49.2% of their field goals attempts, good for the 14th-highest in college basketball, Texas has also defended 3s at a respectable rate (33.0%).

It’s a credit to Smart’s staple ball pressure, conducted by 6-foot-4 guard Kerwin Roach. The senior owns a 3.1% steal rate while being accompanied by fellow ballhawk Elijah Mitrou-Long, who’s generated a 3.8 steal percentage himself — the 88th-highest rate in the nation.

The Boilermakers’ Carsen Edwards (23.9 ppg) has struggled to generate offense against similar opponents, shooting 31.9% from the field in his past four games. Nojel Eastern’s on-ball prowess won’t make for an easy matchup for Roach, either, but I’m betting he’ll find his success in the lane, which he showcased against North Carolina (32 points, 12-of-15 shooting).

The Longhorns are 26-21-2 (55.3%) ATS as an underdog under Smart. Expect them to snap their losing skid in this one.

THE PICKS: Texas moneyline

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