The Ole Miss Rebels take on the Tennessee Volunteers. Check out our SEC Tournament odds series for our Ole Miss Tennessee prediction and pick. Find out how to watch Ole Miss Tennessee.
The Tennessee Volunteers have their limitations. This is why they fell out of a first-round bye position at the SEC Tournament and have to play this second-round game on Thursday as the No. 5 seed in the tournament. The top four seeds get byes, and for nearly the whole SEC season, it seemed like a near-lock that Tennessee would get a bye, but the last-game loss to Auburn this past Saturday, combined with losses to Vanderbilt and Missouri on buzzer-beating shots, knocked UT into this preliminary round. When the Vols are not at their best, we all know what happens: They rely too much on jump shots, and those jumpers don’t fall. They don’t attack the basket. They settle for the first shot they see instead of working the ball around the court and using screens and cuts to get something better.
What makes Tennessee’s task even more difficult heading into tournament play is that guard Zakai Zeigler, a trustworthy and dependable defender and a veteran who lends cohesion to the team on the floor, is out with an injury suffered against Arkansas not too long ago. This will make it much more difficult for the Vols to make their first Final Four. However, long before that, the Vols are trying to make a run at the SEC Tournament. They know they have to win four games instead of three to win it all. That’s the harm done by missing a first-round bye. The Vols will try to strike a balance in this game between pacing themselves — marshalling their resources — and going after it to make quick work of Ole Miss and reduce drama.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Ole Miss-Tennessee SEC Tournament odds.
SEC Tournament Odds: Ole Miss-Tennessee Odds
Ole Miss Rebels: +11.5 (-102)
Tennessee Volunteers: -11.5 (-120)
Over: 127.5 (-110)
Under: 127.5 (-110)
How To Watch Ole Miss vs. Tennessee
TV: SEC Network
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET, 12:30 p.m. PT
*Watch Ole Miss-Tennessee LIVE with fuboTV (Click for free trial)*
Why Ole Miss Could Cover the Spread
The spread is large for a Tennessee team which is missing Zakai Zeigler. The Vols are obviously a better team than Ole Miss, but are they 12 points better without a core member of their rotation? The Vols are going to need to adjust to life without Zeigler, and that adjustment process did not go smoothly in the loss to Auburn this past Saturday. Tennessee coach Rick Barnes is likely to tinker with his rotations in the attempt to find combinations which work best on the floor. That tinkering process is likely to require more than one game in which to develop, meaning that Tennessee will probably go through some uneven and choppy stretches of play in this game which can allow Ole Miss to remain close.
We also have to point out that Ole Miss beat South Carolina on Wednesday at the SEC Tournament. If there were any worries that the Rebels would mail it in and get distracted amid the Chris Beard whispers and rumors floating around the program, the Rebels squashed that notion. This looks like a hungry team which will give Tennessee a good test.
Why Tennessee Could Cover the Spread
The Vols know they don’t want any more stress or drama from this game than is absolutely necessary. They’re far better than Ole Miss, they have far better players. They are going to come out of the gate focused, and they will use the Zakai Zeigler injury as emotional fuel for the journey ahead. They will dominate.
Final Ole Miss-Tennessee Prediction & Pick
Tennessee has the better team, but the Zeigler injury is a big question mark. Stay away from this game.
Final Ole Miss-Tennessee Prediction & Pick: Ole Miss +11.5