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Josiah-Jordan James #30 of the Tennessee Volunteers celebrates with teammates as we look at our pick and best bet for Tennessee vs. Purdue NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
Josiah-Jordan James #30 of the Tennessee Volunteers celebrates with teammates after defeating the Creighton Bluejays 82-75 in the Sweet Sixteen. Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images via AFP.

The Midwest Region's top seeds battle it out for the right to go to the Final Four as Tennessee faces Purdue on Sunday, and we have you covered with our Tennessee vs. Purdue Elite Eight picks and best bet. 

Ranked at No. 1, the Purdue Boilermakers are marking their sixth Elite Eight appearance, determined to overcome the disappointment of last season's tournament ouster in the first round. Their upcoming hurdle in the 2024 NCAA Tournament presents their most significant challenge yet as they prepare to face the No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers. For the Vols, this marks their return to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2010.  

Tip from Little Caesars Arena in Detroit is set for 2:20 p.m. ET (CBS) as the winner heads to Phoenix for the Final Four.

Tennessee orchestrated a remarkable turnaround against Creighton during the Sweet 16. The Volunteers erased an early deficit with a 26-6 run to establish a commanding 16-point lead at halftime. Should they emerge victorious in the tournament, they would make history as the first team to secure the national title after losing their opening conference tournament game.

In contrast, Purdue has displayed remarkable resilience following their early exit from last year's tournament. The Boilermakers have asserted dominance this year, breezing through three games with a margin of victory of 79 points.

As part of our March Madness predictions, here are our best Tennessee vs. Purdue picks and best bets (odds via our best March Madness betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Tennessee (2) vs. Purdue (1) game info

  • When: Sunday, March 31
  • Tip-off: 2:20 p.m. ET 
  • Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Mich.
  • How to watch: CBS
  • Favorite: Purdue -3 (odds via Caesars)

Tennessee vs. Purdue odds

Tennessee vs. Purdue prediction

Purdue -3 ⭐⭐⭐

Best odds: -110 via Caesars, DraftKings

For the second consecutive game, the Boilermakers are facing an opponent they also met in Maui in late November. They beat Gonzaga and Tennessee by a combined 14 points on consecutive nights in college basketball’s premier early-season tournament. Purdue made the necessary adjustments to trim its turnovers down from 13 to nine between the first two meetings against Gonzaga, and we expect it to do the same after turning the ball over 16 times in a four-point win over Tennessee.

The great advantage Purdue has over the rest of the teams in the country is the mammoth Zach Edey, who can tie David Robinson’s record in this game with five consecutive 20-plus point and 10-plus rebound games in the NCAA Tournament (over the past 50 years).

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Edey had 23 points and 10 rebounds in the first matchup and lived at the free-throw line, though he made just nine of his 17 attempts. He is too much for the combination of Jonas Aidoo and Tobe Akawa to handle inside, and Purdue has shot 45% or better from 3-point range in its last two games, in large part because of the defensive attention Edey commands. The Boilermakers shredded two solid defenses (Utah State and Gonzaga) for 1.43 and 1.36 points per possession, respectively, and Bart Torvik has them as the second-best offense in terms of adjusted offensive efficiency behind UConn.

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Tennessee vs. Purdue spread & Over/Under analysis

Purdue opened as low as 2.5-point favorites at Caesars but has since climbed to -3, the same line found at DraftKings and bet365 (though bet365 is juiced to -115 to back the favorites). FanDuel and BetMGM offer -105 odds for a slightly higher spread of -3.5. Early spread wagers are nearly 4/1 (79/21 split) in favor of Purdue. The previous three meetings between these teams, dating back to 2017, have been decided by five or fewer points.

Any line movement on the total thus far has gone toward the Over. Caesars and BetMGM are up from opening numbers of 147.5 to 148 and 148.5, respectively. FanDuel has remained firm at its opening number of 147.5, while DraftKings and bet365 have not moved off of 148 as of early Saturday morning. The early betting splits support the movement towards the Over, as it has received 68% of wagers to this point. Each of Tennessee’s last nine games against AP top-5 opponents has produced 142 or fewer points.

Tennessee-Purdue prediction made Saturday at 6:45 a.m. ET.

Here are our best March Madness betting sites:

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