NIT Tourney – Blue Raiders vs Volunteers CBB Handicapping Prediction
While Tennessee did not make the Big Dance they ended the season well winning 4 of their last 5 games and they had no problem winning in the opening round of the NIT.
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Venue/ Stadium: Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, TN
Time/Date: 7 PM EST Monday, March 19, 2012
NCAA Odds From: Bovada
Moneyline: MTSU +190 / UT -230
Spread (ATS): Tennessee -5
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders vs. Tennessee Volunteers Preview
On the other side of the coin Middle Tennessee State lost their last 2 games of the season. Still, they bounced back and scored 86 points in their opening round NIT win. NCAAB lines have Tennessee as 5-point home favorites with a total of 135.
In their opening round NIT games Middle Tennessee State beat Marshall 86-78 and Tennessee beat Savannah State 65-51.
This season MTSU is 19-11 ATS with an O/U record of 16-13-1 and Tennessee is 20-10-1 ATS with an O/U record of 12-18-1.
The Blue Raiders were 2-0 this season facing teams from major conferences with wins over UCLA and Ole Miss.
MTSU has a well-balanced team ranking 80th in the nation in scoring and 52nd in the nation on defense. In their win over Marshall the Blue Raiders did not play a great game on defense, but they were on fire shooting the rock with a FG% of 52.5%.
The main goal for the Tennessee defense in this game is to try to contain F LaRon Dendy, who is the leading scorer and rebounder for MTSU and in the win over Marshall had 18 points and grabbed 13 boards. Marcos Knight (11.8 ppg) and JT Sulton (10.4 ppg) are the 3 players averaging in double figures for the Blue Raiders and if the Volunteers can play good D against these guys they will be in good shape.
UT did not have the best shooting game in the win over Savannah State, but they played great D holding SSU to only 32.8% shooting.
Volunteers leading scorer Trae Golden struggled in the win over Savannah State, but F Jarnell Stokes and C Yemi Makanjuola took up the slack to combine for 23 points. Tennessee is a better team on the boards and Dendy has a tall task in this game manning the paint.
In some betting trends for this 2nd round NIT game MTSU is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record, 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games, and they have an Over record of 7-1 in their last 8 games.
Tennessee is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall, 14-3-1 ATS in their last 18 home games, and they have an Under record of 3-0-1 in their last 4 non-conference games.
Jason’s Pick: With Tennessee at home I think they will step up and play well and keep Dendy from having a big game and the Volunteers will win and cover the spread.