South Carolina Gamecocks (12-11) @ #1 Tennessee Volunteers (22-1)
NCAA BB: Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 6:30 pm ET (T-B Arena)
Line: Tennessee -14.5
Free NCAA BB Pick #1 Tennessee Volunteers Vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
It’s the 2nd of 2 regular season meetings between Tennessee and South Carolina. In the 1st contest, the Volunteers routed the Gamecocks by 22 points in Columbia. Can South Carolina get revenge on the home floor of the #1 team in the country?
The lone loss for Tennessee this season was in overtime at the Barclays Center to then #2 Kansas. As with any 1-loss team this late in the season, the name of the game has been consistency. Many good teams will beat a tough opponent and then have a lackluster performance the next game out. Tennessee seems to always be able to reset and focus solely on their next opponent which is a testament to the coaching of Rick Barnes and the veteran leadership and playmaking of senior Admiral Schofield and junior Grant Williams.
Tennessee is never going to give you the game. You have to go out and beat them because they do so many things well. I already mentioned they are well coached and get huge contributions from veterans Schofield (16.5/6.3) and Williams (19.9/7.3), but the Volunteers also do a variety of other things well. They are 1st in the country in assists per game and 2nd in field goal percentage. Teams that share the ball well are tough to beat because they get great looks at the basket. In addition to being a great passing team, the Volunteers also get easy buckets in another way, with their physicality. They are very good at muscling their way into the paint and finishing when they get there.
It has been the tale of 2 seasons in 1 for South Carolina. On December 22nd, the Gamecocks fell to Clemson which dropped their record to 4-7. Since then, they are 8-4 with their only home loss in that stretch coming to #1 Tennessee. South Carolina believes it can still make the NCAA Tournament, and that thought really isn’t all that farfetched. If South Carolina finishes the regular season 5-3, they will be sitting at 17-14 heading into the SEC Tournament. If they can win a game or 2 in the SEC Tournament, that gets them to 18 or 19 wins and with a historically soft bubble this season, I would fully expect them to make the NCAA Tournament.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
5-2 ATS in its last 7 games at home
2-4 ATS in its last 6 games against South Carolina
4-2 ATS in its last 6 games against Tennessee
8-4 SU in its last 12 games
4-12 SU in its last 16 road games
Free NCAA BB Pick South Carolina Gamecocks Vs. #1 Tennessee Volunteers
Even though South Carolina has been playing much better the last 12 games, no one expects them to beat Tennessee Wednesday evening. The question is how much will the Volunteers win by? My answer is A LOT. In the 1st meeting between the 2 teams, Tennessee shot 29/45 (64.4%) from 2-point range. They basically got whatever look they wanted and capitalized. This is something they’ve been doing all season long ranking 7th in the country in points per game at 85.4. No one has been able to stop the elite passing and physical Volunteers from getting great looks at the basket this season, and that won’t change Wednesday night. You might say Tennessee is looking ahead to their next game against #5 Kentucky and might take the Gamecocks lightly. Tennessee hasn’t shown a propensity to do such a thing all year. Don’t expect it to start tonight. Take Tennessee.
Pick: Tennessee -14.5