ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has the Volunteers pegged as a No. 4 seed in his latest NCAA Tournament projections.
Volunteers escape with another close SEC win
The Volunteers pulled out another close conference victory on Wednesday night, knocking off the Florida Gators at home 62-57. Grant Williams dominated the paint, finishing with a game-high 23 points, while Admiral Schofield chipped in 16 points and eight boards to help the Volunteers improve to 10-5 in SEC play this season.
Rick Barnes has his team playing at a high level on both ends of the floor right now. The Volunteers enter the weekend scoring 108.7 points per 100 possessions (4th in the SEC), while allowing just 103.2 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor (6th in the SEC).
Tennessee does a terrific job of moving the ball on offense to generate easy shots. The Volunteers have assisted on 59.7 percent of their total made baskets during conference play (1st in the SEC).
The Volunteers don’t shoot a lot of three-pointers, but they have been opportunistic from three-point range during league play. Barnes’ squad has attempts 35.2 percent of their total field goal attempts from beyond the arc (10th in the SEC) during the SEC season, but the team has connected on a respectable 36.4 percent of their three-point shots (4th in the SEC).
According to Ken Pom, the Volunteers have played the fifth-toughest schedule in the entire country. Tennessee has racked up eight Quadrant 2 wins and four Quadrant 1 wins already this season.
Rebels struggling on offense during league play
Mississippi snapped a seven-game losing streak on Tuesday night, knocking off Missouri in overtime 90-87. The Rebels squandered a 13-point second half lead and trailed by five points with just under two minutes remaining in the game, but the team managed to rally down the stretch to force overtime. Breein Tyree scored a game-high 25 points, including a game-tying basket in regulation, while Terence Davis added 19 to help the Rebels earn a rare conference win.
The Rebels enter the weekend scoring just 102.6 points per 100 possessions (11th in the SEC), despite turning the ball over on only 15.6 percent of their offensive possessions (3rd in the SEC).
Ole Miss owns an effective field goal percentage of 45.6 percent during league play (13th in the SEC) and a free throw rate of just 33.1 percent (10th in the SEC). The team has shot just 45.2 percent from inside the arc (13th in the SEC) and 30.8 percent from three-point range (11th in the SEC) during conference play this year.
On defense, the Rebels have allowed SEC opponents to score at a rate of 111.5 points per 100 possessions (13th in the SEC) in part because they’ve been getting dominated on the defensive glass.
Opposing teams own an offensive rebounding percentage of 32.2 percent against the Rebels’ defense through 15 conference games (13th in the SEC).
- Volunteers are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 Saturday games.
- Volunteers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road games.
- Rebels are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
- Rebels are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 Saturday games.
Tennessee comes in having won 11 of their last 14 games, despite playing some stiff competition during that stretch. This marks the easiest of Tennessee’s remaining three regular season games. The Volunteers defeated the Rebels by 33 points in their last meeting on Feb. 3, so it is going to be hard to go against them in this spot. Take Tennessee to cover the spread on the road in this SEC showdown on Saturday night.
Pick: Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee is one of the most disciplined teams in the country on both ends of the floor. The Volunteers may not have gaudy defensive numbers during league play, but they rank as the nation’s eighth best defense for the season, allowing just 93.7 points per 100 possessions. This Volunteers’ team has already proven that they can play with anyone in the country and they don’t have one bad loss of their current resume. Ole Miss can’t score and their best offensive player, DeAndre Burnett, has been in a major offensive funk. Look for this game to stay under the projected total on Saturday night.
- Under is 24-9-1 in Volunteers last 34 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Under is 7-0-1 in the last 8 meetings in Mississippi.
- Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.