Santa Claus delivers an early Christmas present to college basketball bettors in the form of the Jimmy V Classic, and we’re looking to unwrap the NCAAB betting odds in the battle between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Tennessee Volunteers.
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Tennessee Volunteers
Tuesday, December 07, 2021 – 07:00 PM EST at Madison Square Garden
This year’s tournament tribute to Jim Valvano tips with an intriguing contest pitting Texas Tech from the Big 12 against Tennessee from the Southeastern Conference. The Red Raiders and Volunteers each made earlier than expected exits from March Madness this past season, and both are expected to return to the dance this year if the NCAA basketball futures are any indications.
Playing on the big stage in New York, there should be a nice audience tuning into the ESPN broadcast as Tennessee and Texas Tech precede the nightcap between Syracuse and Villanova. The Volunteers have been bet up to 4-point favorites at the top-rated sportsbooks where the total is running 139-140.
Tech Leads Nation on Offensive Glass
Mark Adams’ first season at the helm in Lubbock got off to a good enough start with six consecutive wins to begin the season. The schedule maker was kind to Texas Tech with six-straight cupcakes that saw Adams’ crew favored by at least 22 points in those games, and to their credit, the Red Raiders did what was expected with four covers in the half-dozen tilts.
That unbeaten start came to an end in the Big 12/Big East Challenge about a week ago when Texas Tech dropped a 72-68 decision at Providence. Texas Tech made the trip as 2½-point chalk on the college basketball odds boards and came out solid to build a 12-point lead 13 minutes into the contest. Things went south for the Red Raiders at that point as the Friars took charge and essentially won the game at the free-throw line with a 28-17 scoring advantage.
Texas Tech is now facing its second-straight quality opponent, and the Red Raiders also have a matchup in Phoenix against Gonzaga on the near horizon. One of the top rebounding teams in the country, Texas Tech is at the top of the list with 17 offensive boards per game, and the Red Raiders need to control the glass again tonight.
Frosh Chandler Leading Vols with 16.1 PPG
Rick Barnes and Tennessee didn’t have the same luck on the early schedule, facing a couple of ranked teams in Villanova and North Carolina at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off. The Volunteers simply were not ready to play the Wildcats who led wire-to-wire in a 71-53 rout. Tennessee bounced back in impressive fashion the next day in an 89-72 decision over the Tar Heels, freshman guards Kennedy Chandler and Zakai Zeigler sharing the spotlight in that win.
Chandler put on another big performance this past weekend in Boulder where the Volunteers cruised to a 69-54 win over Colorado. BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) closed Tennessee as 6-point chalk, and Chandler poured in a career-high 27 to lead the Volunteers past the Buffaloes.
Tennessee will catch a little break on the schedule after this game with matchups against South Carolina Upstate and UNC-Greensboro back in Knoxville. Things will then get much tougher after those matchups with a showdown in Nashville against Memphis followed by a visit from Arizona. The Volunteers then begin their SEC fixture at Alabama to close out December.
Schools Square Off for Just the Second Time
There has been one previous meeting between the Red Raiders and Volunteers, but since it took place a few days more than 68 years ago, it’s only notable for novelty' sake. Texas Tech won the December 3, 1953 battle in Knoxville by a comfortable 88-71 margin, the game serving as the season opener for both schools. There isn’t any college basketball betting info that I could find about the game, but we’ll assume the Red Raiders covered and the 159 points were enough to send the final ‘over’ during that era.
Texas Tech split its two contests against SEC teams a season ago, winning and covering in Baton Rouge against LSU in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge before falling as small chalk to the Arkansas Razorbacks in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Tournament. Tennessee also won its matchup in the interconference event, busting Kansas in Knoxville by 19 points.
Texas Tech guards will have a little height advantage on Volunteer guards Chandler and Zeigler, and we know the Red Raiders will get physical on anyone trying to drive the lane. I’m liking the underdogs with my college basketball pick.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.