Big 12 / SEC Challenge Odds, Picks, Predictions for Texas vs Tennessee

Big 12 / SEC Challenge Odds, Picks, Predictions for Texas vs Tennessee article feature image
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Eakin Howard/Getty Images. Pictured: Santiago Vescovi (25) of the Tennessee Volunteers.

Big 12 / SEC Challenge Odds

Texas vs Tennessee

Saturday, Jan. 28
6 p.m. ET
ESPN
Texas Longhorns Odds
SpreadOver / UnderMoneyline
+5.5
-105
132.5
-110 / -110
+198
Tennessee Volunteers Odds
SpreadOver / UnderMoneyline
-5.5
-115
132.5
-110 / -110
-245
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The SEC-Big 12 challenge has given us some incredible matchups, but you would be hard-pressed to find one better than this. The No. 10 Texas Longhorns will go on the road to face the No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers.

Texas has gotten right back on the saddle after its loss to Iowa State. The Longhorns have strung together back-to-back victories over West Virginia and Oklahoma State.

As for the Volunteers, the story is the same. Their upset loss was a statement victory for Kentucky, but it hasn't weighed on the Vols as they have run over their past three conference opponents.

Both of these clubs are on the upswing, and their momentum only makes this clash more exciting. So let's break this one down and find the best bet.


Texas Longhorns

Last season, the Longhorns had a reputation for being a stout defensive team, but they are far more complete this year, as the transfer portal has done wonders for them.

Although, it's been the man they brought over last year that has made the most significant impact. Marcus Carr's shooting progression has turned him into a weapon. He has raised his field goal percentage 7% and his 3-point percentage by nearly 8%.

Where Carr and the Longhorns make their money is in the mid-range. They are shooting 45% on deep 2s, and despite the Vols' excellent defense, Haslametrics has Texas projected to continue shooting 45% from mid-range.

In addition to finding their spots on the floor, one key for Texas is ball security. Tennessee has the sixth-best defensive turnover rate.

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Tennessee Volunteers

Tthe Vols are built through the defensive end of the floor. They are excellent in every facet that helps produce offensive opportunities, such as rebounding and scoring off turnovers. But in a half-court setting, things have been inconsistent.

Although, this is one matchup where we could see Tennessee sustain offensive success. Despite having size, the Vols, via Santiago Vescovi and Zakai Zeigler, take a large percentage of their shots from the perimeter.

The Longhorns have been a tad more vulnerable to the outside shot and rank 134th in 3-point percentage allowed. However, Tennessee's perimeter shots will only create more opportunities.

The Vols have shined on the offensive glass this season — they are fifth in offensive rebounding rate and 35th in converting second-chance points.


Texas vs Tennessee Pick

This may look like a defensive struggle on paper, but these teams are in line for quite a bit of success on the offensive end of the floor. The Longhorns should find success working the high pick-and-roll to create mid-range openings.

Meanwhile, the Vols have multiple paths offensive success. If their guards get hot from outside, they will be dangerous, but if not, they have the size and skill down low to clean up and convert the misses.

Lastly, the amount of offensive success in this game leads me to believe it will be a bit closer than the spread indicates. That means late-game fouling and points with no time coming off the clock. That's always a plus when backing the over.

Pick: Over 136.5 ⋅ Play to 138.5

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