Tennessee is rolling right now after reeling off four straight victories, including a 69-54 win over Colorado last time out, headed into the Jimmy V Classic against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. This will be their second straight game on the road, even though they are technically considered the home team in this one. It will be played at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan under the bright lights, so the pressure will be on. The good news is their head coach is used to the spotlight and used to absolutely owning Texas Tech.
Volunteers head coach Rick Barnes has 733 wins in his long and successful career, and 33 of those wins are against the Red Raiders, which is his most against any single team. He went an incredible 33-4 vs. Texas Tech when he was with the Texas Longhorns, so if there is any coach that knows how to win against this team, it's Barnes.
It will certainly be a challenge though and playing with the spotlight on you as a favorite can sometimes overwhelm a team. Tennessee has been one of those programs that has faltered playing in New York's unrivaled majesty of MSG. They are just 7-8 when they play at the Garden, and haven't played there since 2010. Overall talent will be on the Volunteer's side this time, however.
Star guard Kennedy Chandler has been on fire this season, and now leads the team overall in scoring at 16.1 points per game and 4.7 assists per game for the year. He ripped the Buffaloes in their last game with 27 points. The team has really good, high-level depth behind him including junior guard Santiago Vescovi, who is scoring 15.1 points per game himself.
Texas Tech is 6-1 this season, but they lost to Providence last time out 72-68 and will be playing their second straight road game just like Tennessee.
Fouls hurt Texas Tech against Providence, as well as a lack of outside shooting. Texas Tech has five players who are averaging double-digit points, but they have played a bunch of small schools that haven't tested them.
Where they actually have an advantage in the game will be with size and physicality. They tower over the Volunteers, and that might cause some trouble for Chandler, who will struggle to match up well in this one. That also puts Tennessee on the ropes if he struggles, because he's essentially what makes the Volunteers offense go.
I don't think Texas Tech will be able to completely stop Chandler and his impressive scoring abilities, even with the size disadvantage. I'll take Tennessee to head back home 2-0 on their road trip with a win over Texas Tech. However, you should probably take a look at what our BetQL model is projecting in this game. The model went 87-57 (60.4%) on five-star bets last week, so ride the hot hand!
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