Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes yells at guard Kennedy Chandler (1) during an NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee Tech Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. T (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
- Jimmy V Classic Week continues in Madison Square Garden
- Texas Tech and Tennessee face each other in primetime for just the second meeting in school history
- Read below for analysis and best bet
Texas Tech (6-1) has a rare meeting Tuesday night whey they face #13 Tennessee (6-1). The two have just played each other once. That previous matchup came nearly seventy years ago in 1953. The game will be televised at 7:00 pm ET and broadcasted on ESPN. The game will be played in Madison Square Garden as a part of the Jimmy V Classic.
Tennessee vs Texas Tech
|Texas Tech||+3.5 (-120)||+128||U138.5 (-105)|
Odds via DraftKings on December 6th, 2021.
The Volunteers were demolished early in the season by Villanova to the tune of 71-53. Since then, they’ve looked like the true SEC Champion contender you’d expect them to be. They’ve reeled off for straight wins including a 17 point victory over North Carolina.
After losing former coach Chris Beard, most expected the Red Raiders to take a massive step back. While that may have happened to a degree, promoted Head Coach Mark Adams has done a fair job with his squad. They come into this one with one blemish — a close road loss to Providence.
Can Texas Tech Attack Tennessee Weakness?
The biggest culprit of Villanova’s domination of Tennessee was simple. Villanova blitzed them early with a barrage of open jumpers and three-pointers. The Vols did a good jump of limiting Villanova’s rim-rate but it was their spot-up shooting that led to their demise. The Wildcats ran a spot-up set 28 different times. A clear indicator of the success they were having with these looks.
This is something that doesn’t appear to be a one-off for the Tennessee defense either. Opponents are shooting over 40% against them on spot-up sets. They are also scoring an average of .97 points per possession against them on these sets. That number puts them near the bottom of the Country defending in those spots. The next question becomes, is Texas Tech equipped to attack this?
terrence shannon has upped his 3par (13.4!!!!), ts, stl%, and a:to for the third straight year. he’s still a potent transition/off-catch attacker. he rocks pic.twitter.com/qu9t7eq5JZ
— Ben Pfeifer (@bjpf_) December 2, 2021
In a word, yes. One of the harder parts of handicapping college basketball is relying on a good jump shooting team to continue to be that. Jump shooting by nature will have variance. You just hope you’re not on that team when the negative variance happens. With that being said, Texas Tech should be able to attack this well enough. Their best player, Terrence Shannon, happens to be one of the best spot-up scorers in college basketball. He’s scored in double-digits in each game this season, including 17 points in his last outing against Providence. Expect him to be a major factor on Tuesday.
Rick Barnes Historical Dominance of Texas Tech
When you’re the Texas Basketball coach like Rich Barnes once was, one of the most important things you can do is beat Texas Tech. Barnes has done that throughout his career and seen the Red Raiders a lot.
one more workday in NYC pic.twitter.com/LJ4fK42qPH
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) December 6, 2021
Barnes is a sparkling 33-4 against Texas Tech in his coaching career against Texas Tech. These games happened over the course of his 17-year career with Texas. Those 33 wins are the most Barnes has against any single team. It remains to be seen whether this lopsided record can be attributed to oddities, the players Barnes had at Texas, or none of the above. It’s hard to suggest Barnes would have much of an advantage over Texas Tech. He’s so far removed from his time with the Longhorns and Texas Tech is a few coaches removed. But it feels like a mistake to not make note of it.
If I was looking for a winner in this game, I would lean the way of playing Tennessee. This is mostly because of my priors on the Volunteers coming into the season, and what I believe they are capable of becoming as a team. But there is a better play on the board.
Both of these teams struggle to defend three-point shooters and jump-shot shooters. Both of these teams are good at scoring in these situations. Because of that, there is value on the total.
Bet: Over 138.5 (-115)
Writer, podcaster, and long-time Sports Handicapper. Chris’ work has been featured in websites such as SBNation, 247sports among others. He currently co host a podcast called “What High School Did You Go To?” that focuses on the University of Louisville athletics as well as College Sports as a whole