A pair of top 10 teams will hit the hardwood on Saturday as No. 10 Texas pays a visit to Thompson-Boling Arena to tangle with fourth-ranked Tennessee in a rare January non-conference heavyweight matchup. The future SEC foes will meet in a game laced with NCAA Tournament implications. Let’s take a look at the following analysis for your NCAAB betting.
Both teams enter Saturday’s play with identical 17-3 records as Tennessee coach Rick Barnes will face his former team who is led by interim headman Rodney Terry who has been at the helm in the wake of Chris Beard’s firing. Beard’s departure has done little to slow down the ‘Horns as they’ve continued to roll and live up to pre-season expectations.
KenPom has the game as a 72-64 win for the Vols, whose three losses have all been of the Quad 1 variety: Colorado on a neutral floor, in Tucson to Arizona, and at home to Kentucky. Texas has also fell to a trio of solid teams, losing on a neutral floor to Illinois, at home to Kansas State, and in Ames to Iowa State.
A Look at the Longhorns
Texas is one of America’s highest-tempo teams; they average 80.4 points per game and have an average possession length of just 16 seconds. According to KenPom, the Longhorns are 12th in America in offensive efficiency and feature a starting 5 with four seniors.
Point man Marcus Carr, now at his third school after stops at Pittsburgh and Minnesota, is a proven leader and scorer, currently averaging 17.6 a game. Fellow senior Timmy Allen, a power forward, averages 10.7 and a team-best 5.3 boards per game. Texas goes deep, too as nine players average 17 minutes or more.
‘Horns are 3-1 away from home this season and 8-2 in their last 10 contests.
Scouting the Vols
Tennessee is a little more deliberate on offense, averaging 74.1 points per contest and boasting an average possession time of 17.4 seconds, right around the national average of 17. According to KenPom metrics, the Orange and White are the 40th-ranked offensive efficiency team in America while ranking atop the nation in defensive efficiency. Teams shoot a national-low 38.5 percent against Tennessee and turn it over 25.2 times per game 6th best.
Two seniors start for the Vols as they are led by senior Santiago Vescovi, who averages 12.2 points per game. Three other players average 10 points per contest. Tennessee is a team that makes its living on the defensive end of the floor.
Tennessee is 9-1 at Thompson-Boling and 8-2 in their last 10.
In Barnes We TrustTennessee is a team that knows how to win regular season games, especially at home. Barnes, They come in off a pair of blowout wins over LSU and Georgia and will be pumped for a national television spot at home against a highly-ranked opponent.
Carr is an electric player for the Longhorns and could very well be the best player (not pro prospect, though) on the floor. However, Tennessee’s defense, especially on guards, has been stellar this season. We feel that this will be the difference, and we like the Vols to emerge victorious.
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