Tennessee State +34 vs. Virginia for Tonight's NCAAB Pick

Willie Bee

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 1:58 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014 1:58 PM UTC

Virginia completes preliminary play in the Barclay's Center Classic with a visit from Tennessee State. Find out how our handicapper will play this with his free college basketball pick.

The first thing that needs to be pointed out here is that I have a man-crush on Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett. I pulled for him at Washington State, where he led the Cougars to their only back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in 2007-2008, and his arrival at Virginia before the 2009-10 season finally gave me an ACC team I could get behind.

In fact, I hope that one day, Bennett will take over for my very favorite men's basketball coach, Wisconsin's Bo Ryan.

If that happens, however, it will be several years into the future. Right now, Bennett is only concerned about his bunch of 'Hoos this season, and more immediately, with their game Tuesday night against the Tennessee State Tigers. Tip-off at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville is a few minutes past 7 PM (ET), ESPN3 streaming the contest.

The sports books see this as a very one-sided affair with Virginia giving up 33-34 points according to the latest numbers on SBR's live college basketball odds.


Cavs Get Final Tune-Up Before Barclay's Tournament
Virginia (4-0 straight up, 2-0 against the spread) and Tennessee State (2-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) are meeting for the very first time. It's the last preliminary round of the Barclay's Center Classic where the Cavaliers will head for the Thanksgiving holiday with a date against the La Salle Explorers on Friday night.

Assuming Virginia can get past La Salle -- and they will -- Bennett's boys could meet Vanderbilt in the championship tilt Saturday. That potential matchup is one that college basketball bettors should keep there eyes open for since both the Cavs and Commodores will have Tennessee State as a common early opponent.

The Tigers were just in Nashville this past weekend, and proved to be no match for Vandy who easily covered a 19 point spread with a 78-46 cruiser. Dana Ford, TSU's new head coach, is probably in for a lot of games like that this season since only one player returned from a 2013-14 squad that was bad to begin with. Tennessee State lost its first 10 games a year ago en route to a 5-25 campaign.

That lone returnee is senior guard Jay Harris who leads the Tigers with a 13.5 PPG average. Three other players -- Xavier Richards, Marcus Roper and Darreon Reddick -- are averaging 10+ points per game. Not only is Tennessee State inexperienced, Ford is working with a very short roster with only seven players having seen action in the school's first four contests. Christian Crockett missed the first three with a knee injury, but is expected to play Tuesday to give Ford a little more depth.


UVA Off To 4-0 Start For 1st Time Since 2007
Bennett has a ton of talent and depth at his disposal, one reason why the Cavaliers were 8/1 choices on the college basketball odds boards to win the always tough ACC. Granted, that put them fourth behind Duke (4/5), North Carolina (5/2) and Louisville (5/2), but the Cavs proved they can hang with the big boys last season with a 16-2 conference mark and one of four No. 1 seeds in March Madness.

The big subtraction was Joe Harris, but the Cavaliers have not missed a beat so far without their leader. Malcolm Brogdon (13.0 ppg) and Justin Anderson (16.0 ppg) have teamed well in the backcourt with London Perrantes, plus freshmen Devon Hall and Marial Shayok have quickly picked up Bennett's style to provide relief off the bench.

Virginia also has some quality bodies in the paint, most notably the trio of Anthony Gill, Mike Tobey and Darion Atkins. A key player to watch as the season progresses is freshman Isaiah Wilkins, a 6-8 forward from Georgia who has already blocked six shots in just 49 total minutes on the floor.

The Cavaliers should be able to dominate everywhere on the court, but especially down low if Bennett chooses to really pound the ball inside. They may very well beat the Tigers by 40 points, but the spread is too big for me to put on a team like Virginia that wants to play defense more than offense. I'll recomend that you add TSU to your NCAA Basketball picks, expecting them to keep things within the big number.

My NCAA Basketball Pick: Tennessee State +34

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