College Basketball Odds, Pick for Tennessee vs Purdue
Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images. Pictured: Zach Edey (Purdue)
Tennessee vs Purdue Odds, Pick
Purdue and Tennessee are set to square off in the Maui Invitational semifinals. This should be one of the most exciting games of the early season, as both teams completed come-from-behind victories in the first round.
Both teams have a fair case to make for the title of "best team in college basketball," so let's take a closer look. Here are college basketball odds and a pick for Tennessee vs Purdue.
Tennessee comes into this game the same way most Rick Barnes teams enter games … with an elite defense. The Volunteers are the top-ranked defense in the country, according to KenPom.
They are loaded with quick, feisty guards who pressure in the full court. Tennessee also has athletic bigs that are capable of dominating the boards. Simply put, the Volunteers make life extremely difficult on opposing offenses.
But now they've added Dalton Knecht, the most dynamic scorer Barnes has had in quite some time. Knecht can score at all three levels and is capable of taking over a game every time he steps on the floor. Purdue has nobody who matches up with Knecht.
While Purdue will certainly have issues with Knecht, Tennessee will have even more issues trying to match up with Zach Edey. That's not to say Tennessee doesn't have a great defense inside, it's just that Edey is a mismatch for even the best defense in college basketball.
Gonzaga entered the Purdue game with the intent of letting Edey go one-on-one with its bigs. Well, Edey finished with 25 points and nine rebounds and looked very much like the best player in the country. He only made 50% of his shots from the floor and, as crazy as it is to say, he left some points out there, as he missed shots he normally makes.
On the defensive end, Purdue will have to answer for Knecht. The Boilers' starting wings are small — Fletcher Loyer and Lance Jones aren't physically capable of making life tough on Knecht.
Purdue could try Ethan Morton or freshman Myles Colvin, but Knecht is a big assignment and Purdue doesn't have a clear answer.
Tennessee vs. Purdue
Betting Pick & Prediction
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There's no doubt this will be one of the best games of the season, and both coaches will need to bring their A-game.
In the end, Edey is the bigger mismatch than a possibly hobbled Knecht. Matt Painter has won 29 consecutive regular season non-conference games at Purdue, and I like that trend to continue.