Tennessee (15-6, 8-6) at Vanderbilt (6-12, 2-10)
- Time: 6 PST – 8 CST – 9 EST
- Place: Memorial Gymnasium, Nashville, Tenn.
- TV: SEC Network
Tennessee is 3-3 in it’s last six games basically because generating offense has been a chore. The Vols have averaged 56.6 points per game in those three losses while piling up 88 points per game in the three wins.
Vanderbilt has lost four out of five and is once again headed for the play-in game two weeks from tonight in the SEC Tournament, which is set to begin two weeks from tonight. If the Commodores could upset Tennessee this evening, it would be their third conference win in the last seven SEC games. They had three wins in the previous 42.
This is also the 201st meeting between the Volunteers and Commodores. Tennessee has a 125-75 advantage, but Vandy leads at home, 54-43, and last defeated Tennessee in 2017, 67-56, in Nashville.
Vs. The Spread:
- The Volunteers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games
- The Vols are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games vs. the Commodores
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of the last 6 Tennessee road games
- The Commodores are 5-0-2 ATS in their last 7 games
- The OVER has been the play in 9 of Vandy’s last 12 games
- The total has also gone OVER in 5 of VU’s last 6 home games
Last Time Out:
Tennessee bowed to Kentucky, 70-55, in Knoxville as the Vols lost contact with Kentucky early in the game due to a 15-0 Wildcats run that put Tennessee in a 23-10 hole. The Vols shot just 32.1 percent from the floor and made six threes. Victor Bailey, Jr., led Tennessee with 18 points.
Vanderbilt competed well, but fell 82-78 at Alabama. The Commodores used their 12th different lineup of the season and led 65-63 with 5:40 to play. Scottie Pippen, Jr. Led Vanderbilt with 24.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Tennessee||-7½ (-115)||-325||O 141½ (-105)|
|Vanderbilt||+7½ (-105)||+270||U 141½ (-115)|
The Volunteers have to use their athleticism and speed up the game to win and win at the level that they are capable of. In the last month when they have become stagnant on offense, they lose as the stat in Tip-Off shows. Getting the ball off the glass and getting a good surge toward the basket in transition is a must as they have 12.2 points off the break in their last five games and 18.2 points off turnovers. The transition piece is there, but in the half court, the Vols have to force the action with ball movement and then the dribble-drive by a plethora of athletic guards.
Key Vols Stat:
Super frosh Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson could be at the forefront of initialing offense in the half-court. In the last five games, the two have stepped up in a big way as they have accounted for 43.2 percent of the Volunteers’ scoring after amassing 24.4 percent in the first nine SEC games. The best lineup right now sees Yves Pons in the pivot with Santiago Vescovi and Victor Bailey, Jr. The dynamics of this lineup or a line-up with injured Josiah Jordan-James (left wrist injury) gives Tennessee the ability in transition and the dribble penetration skills and shooting in the half-court allow more versatility.
As the season has moved forward, it appears that John Fulkerson’s inability to adapt to the speed game has caused Tennessee to lag in up-tempo situations. He has averaged only 6.7 points and 5.4 rebounds in his last nine games where he has also had trouble covering other team’s bigs as was shown vs. Kentucky’s Isaiah Jackson on Saturday. His game fits more with last season when Tennessee was having to defend and play more of a slower half-court game with fewer scoring options.
The Commodores will look to engage Tennessee in a faster game as Scotty Pippen, Jr., continues to be second int he league in scoring at 20.5 points per game while checking in with 5.2 assists, also second in the SEC. He and Dylan Disu (15.0 ppg, 9.2 rpg) are an impactful one-two punch as Disu, who is the SEC Player of the Week, had an average of 23.0 points and 15.5 rebounds in the two games. A third scorer needs to appear in this game as Tennessee will defends at a high clip and will be out to right itself after a bad performance on Saturday.
Key Commodores Stat:
The Commodores have four near misses in their last four losses with a three-point loss at Georgia, a pair of 82-78 losses to Kentucky and Alabama and then a six-point loss to Auburn. Cutting down turnovers will be a key as Vandy averaged 14.2 per game in their last five outings.
Vandy has to defend at a high level to win this game and aside from Pippen and Disu, the defensive identity slips greatly. The Commodores are 286th in the nation in effective defensive field goal efficiency, per kenpom.com, and they lack a rim-protector which will be an issue when Tennessee diagnoses the matchups to try to get advantages off the dribble-drive to keep the ball going at the rim.
Winner: Tennessee 73, Vandy (+7½) 68