(12-6, 8-9 ATS)
(15-2, 8-3 ATS)
It has been a brutally disappointing season this year for the SEC, and the hope for this conference is that the good times are really set to roll once again on Saturday. The Tennessee Volunteers are going to be heading into Storrs for a crucial duel against one of the Top 10 teams in the country, the Connecticut Huskies, who are flying high right now in college basketball betting action.
Don’t rest on the Vols though, as they already have a win this year over the Pittsburgh Panthers in a game that was played in a “neutral site”… in the Steel City… Unfortunately, things just haven’t gone all that well since that point, especially with Head Coach Bruce Pearl sitting on the sidelines due to an SEC imposed suspension. Since that victory over the Panthers, the Volunteers are just 5-6 SU and 3-7 ATS, though they do enter this one with back to back wins and covers over the Georgia Bulldogs and Vanderbilt Commodores in the SEC. Both Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris came up big on Tuesday night against the Dawgs, as each scored 15 points to help lead the team to victory. These are really the only two scorers to be afraid of on this roster though, as they are the only men that are averaging double digits per game. Hopson, the veteran leader of the bunch, is at 16.4 points per game this year, while Harris, the young gun of a freshman, is averaging 15.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Defense for UT is key as well. The team allowed an average of 81.0 points per game from December 31st through January 11th, and since that point, it has only given up 60.5 points per game.
It’s amazing to think that the Huskies weren’t playing in the NCAA Tournament last year and that they didn’t start off the campaign ranked in the Top 25 in the nation. In fact, they had to get all the way to 7-0 before they even sniffed the polls. Now though, they’re 15-2, they tremendous wins over the Michigan State Spartans, Kentucky Wildcats, Texas Longhorns, and Villanova Wildcats, and if they can pick up this win on Saturday, the argument really could be made that they would have the resume, if the season stopped today, to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The man to thank is Kemba Walker, as always. Walker “only” scored 24 in the win over Villanova on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which lowered his scoring average to a mere 25.5 points per game. If he gets any sort of help on a regular basis, whether it be from Alex Oriakhi or from any other combination of players, Head Coach Jim Calhoun knows that he has a tough squad to tame.
Perception isn’t very good right now on the Volunteers, and we could legitimately see a double digit set of college basketball odds thrown on the board in this one. If that’s the case, we have to take UT, as it is just playing too well and has too much big game experience in spots like this to get blown out of the water.
College Basketball Free Pick: Tennessee Volunteers