DeAndre Williams, dunk, Memphis Tigers basketball

Memphis’s DeAndre Williams (12) slam dunks in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Alabama Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)

  • Tennessee is a 5.5-point favorite over Memphis on Saturday
  • The game will be played at Nashville, a neutral site
  • A look at the odds and matchups can be found below with a prediction

State bragging right are on the line when Memphis faces #18 Tennessee at 12:00 pm ET Saturday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Memphis (6-4) ended a four-game losing streak Tuesday by knocking off #6 Alabama 92-78 at home. The same night, Tennessee (8-2) routed visiting South Carolina Upstate 96-52 for its second straight win and sixth in seven games.

ESPN 2 will televise the game in which Tennessee is favored.

Memphis vs Tennessee Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Memphis +200 +5.5 (-1100 Over 142.5 (-110)
Tennessee -250 -5.5 (-110) Under 142.5 (-110)

Odds as of December 17th at BetMGM

Memphis Outlook

Ranked as high as #9 last month, Memphis got back on track in impressive fashion against Alabama and it was one of the Tigers’ veterans who led the way.

Senior forward DeAndre Williams scored a season-high 20 points. He also had six assists and three steals.

Williams took over the team scoring lead by pushing his average to 11.2 points a game. He is pulling down an average of 4.9 rebounds.

Center Jalen Duren continued his strong freshman season with 14 points and six rebounds while making 7-of-9 shots from the field. He is averaging 10.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots.

While the spotlight has shown brightly on Duren and fellow freshman Emoni Bates, Memphis also got contributions from three veterans Tuesday. Junior guard Landers Nolley II contributed 13 points, six assists and four steals while junior guard Lester Quinones added 12 points and senior guard Tyler Harris scored 11 points.

The highly touted Bates was limited to seven points, his third straight game in single digits. He is averaging 10.8 a game.

Memphis shot 53.3% (32 of 60) and forced 20 turnovers. The Tigers used a 12-0 run to take control of the game, moving in front 61-42 with 12:53 left.

Tennessee Outlook

Tennessee has its own highly touted freshman in point guard Kennedy Chandler, who is living up to the fanfare.

Chandler is filling up the stat sheet with averages of 14.6 points, 5.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.9 steals. He dished a season-high 10 assists against South Carolina Upstate to go with 10 points and five rebounds.

Chandler has scored or assisted on 42% of Tennessee’s field goals in the last five games.

Junior forward Olivier Nkamhoua asserted himself Tuesday after coach Rick Barnes challenged him to be more aggressive around the basket.

Nkamhoua made 9-of-10 field goal attempts on his way to 21 points and eight rebounds. He had scored 15 points combined in the previous four games. Nkamhoua bumped his season averages to 9.4 points and 6.0 rebounds.

Senior forward John Fulkerson added 12 points, six rebounds and three assists. He was 6 of 7 from the floor.

Tennessee won without a major contribution from junior guard Santiago Vescovi, who is averaging 13.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.1 steals. He is also shooting 37% from beyond the arc.

The Volunteers made 38 of their 68 field goal attempts for 55.9% and shot 44.0% (11 of 25) on three-pointers. They also had a 43-30 rebounding advantage while holding South Carolina Upstate to 36.4% (20 of 55) shooting and forcing 21 turnovers.

Tennessee turned the game into a rout quickly as it broke to a 13-0 lead.

The Volunteers are 10th in the nation in defensive rating, allowing 82.4 points per 100 possessions. They are also forcing turnovers on 25.6% of opponents’ possessions, the 21st-best mark in Division I.

Memphis vs Tennessee Prediction

The teams did not play during the pandemic-altered 2020-21 season, but Memphis notched a 51-47 road win two years ago for its fourth win in the last five games in the series. Harris had 11 points and five rebounds for the Tigers.

Memphis was impressive against Alabama but also caught the Crimson Tide coming off emotional wins over Gonzaga and Houston. Look for Tennessee to be ready against a team that still must prove it can play well consistently.

The Pick: Tennessee -5.5 (-110)

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John Perrotto

NFL
MLB
NCAAF
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Sports Writer

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