The No. 18 Tennessee Volunteers will look to turn the SEC's fortunes around in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge when they play the visiting No. 15 Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday. The Big 12 leads the Challenge series 4-1-2, with the SEC claiming its lone win in 2017-18. The Jayhawks (11-5), who won the Big 12 regular-season title at 17-1 and were 28-3 overall in 2019-20, are 13-4 on the road since the beginning of last season. The Volunteers (11-3), who finished eighth in the SEC at 9-9 and were 17-14 overall a year ago, are 20-8 at home since the start of 2019.
This 2021 SEC/Big 12 Challenge matchup from Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET. Kansas is averaging 74.3 points per game, while Tennessee averages 72.7. The Volunteers are three-point favorites in the latest Kansas vs. Tennessee odds from William Hill Sportsbook, up half a point from the opener. The over-under for total points scored is set at 130.5. Before making any Tennessee vs. Kansas picks, check out the college basketball predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of over $2,300 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Kansas vs. Tennessee spread: Tennessee -3
- Kansas vs. Tennessee over-under: 130.5 points
- Kansas vs. Tennessee money line: Tennessee -160; Kansas +140
- KU: Is fifth in the Big 12 with a plus-6.8 scoring margin
- UT: Ranks sixth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 59.3 points per game
Why Tennessee can cover
Freshman guard Jaden Springer is off to a solid start to his career, averaging 9.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and one steal per game. After missing two games due to an ankle injury, he returned to log nine points, four rebounds, a block and a team-high five assists in Tuesday's win over Mississippi State. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Dec. 22 following Tennessee's victories over Appalachian State and Tennessee Tech. He scored a season-high 21 points against Tennessee Tech on Dec. 18.
Sophomore guard Santiago Vescovi is fourth in scoring on the team, averaging 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He leads the SEC with a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio with 46 assists vs. 26 turnovers. Vescovi is also sixth in the conference in made 3-pointers in all games (2.1 per game) and ninth during SEC play (2.1 per game). He ranks 10th among SEC players in assists and leads the Volunteers, averaging 3.3 per game.
Why Kansas can cover
The Jayhawks have five players averaging 9.8 points per game or better, including three in double figures. Junior guard Ochai Agbaji has had the hot hand this season, leading Kansas in scoring at 14.4 points per game. He is also averaging 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, one steal and 0.6 blocks per game. He is connecting on 41.3 percent of his 3-point shots. He was an Academic All-Big 12 honoree as a sophomore, when he averaged 10 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Also providing offense is freshman forward Jalen Wilson, who is averaging 12.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He is hitting on 46.2 percent of his field goals, including 34.8 percent from 3-point range. He has reached double figures 10 times, including three double-doubles, including a 23-point, 10-rebound effort against No. 8 Creighton on Dec. 8. He also scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a win over Kentucky on Dec. 1.
How to make Kansas vs. Tennessee picks
The model is leaning over on the total, projecting both teams combine for 135 points. It has also generated an against-the-spread pick that is hitting in well over 50 percent of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Tennessee vs. Kansas? And which side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the computer model that has crushed its college basketball picks.