West Virginia at Tennessee
|Date & Time||Saturday January 26, 2019, 4:00 PM (EST)|
Tennessee Volunteers -16 -- Over/Under: 153.5
The West Virginia Mountaineers and the Tennessee Volunteers meet in college basketball action from the Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday afternoon as part of the SEC/Big 12 challenge.
The West Virginia Mountaineers will look to rebound after an 85-73 loss to Baylor gave West Virginia their 6th loss in their last 7 games. James Bolden led the Mountaineers with 22 points on 5 of 11 shooting with a pair of threes and a 10 of 10 mark from the foul line with 3 assists while Brandon Knapper added 16 points on 6 of 12 shooting with 3 steals in just 16 minutes as the only other Mountaineer to score in double figures in the losing effort. Derek Culver added a team-high 8 rebounds while Esa Ahmad had 9 points with 7 rebounds and 3 assists as well in the loss. Bolden leads West Virginia with an average of 12.8 points and 2.6 assists per game while Ahmad leads the Mountaineers in rebounding with 5.6 rebounds per game this season. As a team, West Virginia is averaging 74.5 points per game on 42.1% shooting from the field, 31.9% from behind the arc and 68.7% from the foul line this season.
The Tennessee Volunteers will look to keep their momentum going after making it 13 wins in a row after narrowly edging out Vanderbilt by a final score of 88-83 in overtime. Grant Williams led the Vols with a whopping 43 points on 10 of 15 shooting along with a perfect 23 of 23 mark from the foul line with team-highs of 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. Jordan Bone added 14 points with a team-high 7 assists as the only other Tennessee player to score in double figures in the losing effort. Kyle Alexander added 6 points with 3 blocks while Lamonte Turner chipped in 8 points and 5 assists as well in the victory. Williams leads Tennessee in scoring with 20.3 points per game while Alexander leads the Vols in rebounding with 7.6 rebounds per game and Bone leads the Volunteers in assists with 6.4 assists per game this season. As a team, Tennessee is averaging the 8th-most points per game in the country with 86.2 points per game along with the 2nd-best field goal percentage in D-I, shooting 50.8% from the floor, along with a 35.7% mark from 3-point range and a 77% mark from the foul line this season.
West Virginia is 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games and 6-13-1 ATS in their last 20 games overall while the over is 4-1 in their last 5 road games. Tennessee is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against the Big 12 while the over is 4-1 in their last 5 games following a win. West Virginia is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings between these two teams.
Tennessee really dealt a blow to my confidence after backing them against Vanderbilt and narrowly escaping with a win against Vanderbilt. However, the toughest test for a newly-minted #1 is that first game and I think the Vols exorcised some demons by winning against the same team in the same venue that they were knocked off in the last time they were the top team in the country. West Virginia has had a lot of success ATS against Tennessee, and the last 4 meetings were each decided by 3 points or less, but it should be taken with a grain of salt as the two haven’t met since 2007. West Virginia’s lone win this calendar year was that thrilling win over Kansas two games ago, so the Vols could expect to be in for another close affair. However, I just think that Tennessee has too much going in their favor to have a 2nd close call in a row so I’ll lay the points with Tennessee as I see the Vols just running past West Virginia and being too much for the Mountaineers to handle.