NCAA Basketball Pick: Vanderbilt +8½ over Tennessee

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Vanderbilt just had a modest two-game winning snapped by a very good Missouri team, but the Commodores can still shoot three-pointers while Tennessee cannot. Look for a Vandy cover.

Two in-state rivals that are 2-4 in the SEC standings try to stay afloat Tuesday night when the Vanderbilt Commodores (8-10, 2-3 away) pay a visit to the Tennessee Volunteers (10-8, 8-2 home) at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Vanderbilt as a decided underdog for this contest with the current line at +8½ with odds of -106.

This high spread seems unjustified to us considering that these teams are really not separated by all that much. Vanderbilt had a modest two-game winning streak snapped in an 81-59 road loss at Missouri on Saturday, but the Tigers are one of the three best teams in the SEC while the Commodores are back in their own element tonight vs. a Tennessee team that is on their same level.

Vanderbilt’s 2-4 conference record is a bit deceptive also, as the Commodores lost by two points to Kentucky and in overtime to a Mississippi team that is now ranked 25th in the country overall in the Pomeroy Ratings, so they are that close to being in the conference mix.

Now by no means are we insinuating that this Vanderbilt team is as good as the one that handed the defending national champions, the Kentucky Wildcats, one of their two losses in the SEC Championship Game last season before losing by three points to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament, because the Commodores lost the top six players from that team and retuned nobody while starting two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman right now.

However, they can still hurt you from beyond the three-point arc. Granted the 35.0 percent success rate by Vanderbilt on three-pointers may not seem like much, ranking 110th in the country, but keep in mind that a whopping 43.4 percent of all the Commodores’ field goal attempts are three-point attempts, compared to the national average of 32.9 percent. Thus, Vanderbilt is making 7.7 three-pointers per game, which ranks 46th in the land.

Tennessee may have a winning 10-8 mark overall, but the Volunteers have just one win over a team ranked in the Pomeroy Top 60, albeit what now seems like an unbelievable win vs. a Wichita State team that is 19-2 and ranked 21st by Pomeroy. Then again, the Shockers win with defense so they tend to allow offensively challenged teams to hang around because they do not score much themselves.

The Volunteers are ranked 204th in the nation in effective field goal percentage and they are at  a severe disadvantage from beyond  the three-point arc here, ranking a pathetic 311th at 29.2 percent in that department.

So if Vandy is hitting its three-pointers, and remember that the Commodores have hit at least one three-pointer in 850 consecutive games, then the Vols will have a tough time keeping pace, making the Commodores look like a big overlay at this price.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Vanderbilt +8½ (-106)

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