Third-ranked Auburn is closing in on the SEC regular-season title and essentially all but would win it with a victory on Saturday at No. 17 Tennessee, which technically still has a shot as well. The Tigers are likely to be short favorites on the NCAAB odds.
How to Bet Auburn at Kentucky NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info
- When: Saturday, 4 PM ET
- Where: Thompson-Boling Arena
- TV: ESPN
- Stream: ESPN app
- Radio: Tunein.com
- Opening NCAAB Lines: TBA (Auburn likely short favorite)
This is the only scheduled meeting of the season. Last year, they also played just once and Auburn won 77-72 at home in a minor upset – this year’s Auburn team is vastly better than that one. Allen Flanigan scored 23 points and had seven rebounds for the Tigers and he’s still with them. Keon Johnson led the Vols with 23 points. He’s in the NBA. Auburn wound up making 24 of 37 free throws after missing its first four. The Tigers also outrebounded Tennessee 41-34. The Tigers have won six straight against Tennessee.
Why Bet on Auburn?
Auburn (25-3) bounced back from a loss Saturday with a 77-64 home win over Ole Miss on Wednesday. The Rebels nearly broke even with the 3rd-ranked Tigers in the second half despite running into foul trouble and only shooting 35.7 percent in the final 20 minutes, but three first-half Auburn runs of at least 7-0 – topped by an 11-0 stretch – helped give the Tigers enough space to not sweat.
Foul trouble quickly became an issue for the Rebels in the second half, with the team’s two big men of Nysier Brooks and Sammy Hunter each tallying four fouls, requiring a smaller Rebel lineup to battle Auburn’s talented frontcourt of Walker Kessler and Jabari Smith.
Needing three blocks to tie Kyle Davis‘ season record of 126 in 2002-03, Kessler blocked five in the first half and finished with eight to bring his total to 131. Kessler came within two blocks of his third triple-double of the season, scoring 12 points and adding 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season.
“It’s crazy the impact he has,” Coach Bruce Pearl said. “The rest of the way we need that from Walker. I told him after the game, ‘I want more.’ Walker’s the best shot blocker I’ve ever coached.”
Freshman star Jabari Smith came within one rebound of a double-double with 15 points, nine rebounds and a team-high five assists. His ability to impact the way in multiple ways offensively as well as play high-level defense is why he is one of the best players in the country. Zep Jasper had a season-high 15 points. He was averaging 4.5 points per game and his previous season-high was 13, which he scored against South Carolina and USF.
Why Bet on Tennessee?The Vols (20-7) come off an 80-61 win at Missouri on Tuesday. Midway through the first half, with the score even at 17, Tennessee’s guard Kennedy Chandley floated in a layup that started a 13-0 run for Tennessee. Mizzou fought back in the second half with an 8-0 run but really never threatened. The Tigers only had eight players available.
All-SEC candidate Kennedy Chandler led the way for the Vols with 23 points on 9-for-12 shooting with a career-high eight rebounds and six assists. Joining Chandler in double figures was fellow Santiago Vescovi, who scored 14 points on 4-for-6 shooting from 3-point range, and Victor Bailey Jr., who scored 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting.
Bailey was the Vols’ third leading scorer a season ago. However, he’s gone from a double-digit scorer playing nearly 25 minutes per game to 3.2 points per game and only logging double digit minutes just twice since the calendar flipped to 2022.
“VJ gave us great energy,” Chandler said after the game. “We’ve been trying to tell him to take some shots, and he took some great shots today. Just give him that confidence to know that you’re not just here to play defense, you’re here to play offense, too.”
Tuesday’s win marked Tennessee’s 20th of the season, with the 2021-22 season standing as the third season of the Rick Barnes era in which the Vols have reached 20 wins, and the first since 2018-19. UT has been cruising toward a double-bye in the SEC Tournament for the past couple weeks. A win Saturday would secure it. Auburn has claimed a double-bye. Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee each need one win in their final three games to secure a top-four finish and a double -bye.
Of course, Tennessee used to be coached by Auburn’s Bruce Pearl. The Vols have faced nine AP Top 25 opponents so far this season. Tennessee joins Kentucky and Auburn as the only three SEC teams that have no losses outside Quadrant 1 this season.
- Tennessee 72, Auburn 69