User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Tennessee, Virginia seek momentum

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - This isn't quite the way either Tennessee or Virginia expected to close out the calendar year.

Advertisement
Both teams opened the season with expectations of reaching the NCAA tournament after playing in the NIT last year. But after getting off to slower-than-anticipated starts, Virginia and Tennessee head into Monday's matchup seeking to boost their postseason credentials.

Virginia opened the season ranked 24th, the first time the Cavaliers appeared in a preseason Top 25 since 2001-02. Tennessee was the first team listed in the ''also receiving votes'' section of the preseason Top 25.

They've struggled to live up to that billing so far.

Tennessee (7-4) won just six of its first 10 games. Virginia (9-3) lost back-to-back games against Wisconsin and Green Bay earlier this month.

This isn't quite the way either Tennessee or Virginia expected to close out the calendar year.

Both teams opened the season with expectations of reaching the NCAA tournament after playing in the NIT last year. But after getting off to slower-than-anticipated starts, Virginia and Tennessee head into Monday's matchup at Thompson-Boling Arena attempting to boost their postseason credentials.

''We definitely know the importance of this game because we know Virginia is also much better than their record,'' Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes said. ''They're capable of having a big night also. They're a very grind-it-out type team. They'll run out the shot clock and then score the ball. That can demoralize an opponent.''

Virginia opened the season ranked 24th, the first time the Cavaliers appeared in a preseason Top 25 since 2001-02. Tennessee was the first team listed in the ''also receiving votes'' section of the preseason poll.

They've struggled to live up that billing thus far.

Tennessee (7-4) won just six of its first 10 games to continue its recent history of sluggish starts. Virginia (9-3) posted consecutive losses at home to No. 4 Wisconsin - ranked eighth at the time - and at Green Bay before bouncing back with victories over Northern Iowa and Norfolk State in its last two games.

''We have been doing well lately, but we can still play better,'' Virginia coach Tony Bennett said last week after his team beat Norfolk State 66-56. ''We haven't played our best basketball but have found ways to win. We will need to improve to keep up in our league. I am encouraged but hopeful we will take another step.''

Virginia and Tennessee both could use a quality non-conference victory before opening league play. Virginia visits Florida State in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener Saturday. Tennessee hosts Division II program Tusculum on Saturday before beginning Southeastern Conference play Jan. 7 at LSU.

Each team tinkered with its rotation recently.

Tennessee forward Derek Reese earned his first playing time of the season last week and responded with 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in an 82-67 triumph over Morehead State. In Virginia's victory over Norfolk State, usual starter Akil Mitchell came off the bench for the first time since Jan. 19, 2012. Anthony Gill, who has made six starts this season, didn't enter the game until the second half.

Virginia beat Tennessee 46-38 last year by holding the Volunteers to their third-lowest point total since the 1985 introduction of the shot clock. The Volunteers say they'd like to run and prevent Virginia from controlling the tempo.

''We're better when we're running the ball,'' Stokes said. ''That's my opinion. I just want to make sure we push the ball against Virginia this upcoming game.''

This game is particularly important for Tennessee, which doesn't have as strong a record as Virginia and plays in a weaker conference. Playing in the ACC should give Virginia plenty more opportunities to earn the types of conference wins that could impress the NCAA tournament selection committee.

Tennessee already dug itself a hole by losing at home to North Carolina State on Dec. 18. The Vols don't want to fall at home to an ACC team again before beginning their SEC schedule.

''I talk about it all the time,'' Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said. ''Regardless of the opponent, how tough or how talented the opponent, you've got to protect your home court. That's the most important thing. Find any way possible to win home games.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Edwards: Battle 4 Atlantis Tip Sheet
Iskoe: College Hoops Report
Villanova holds off Michigan, 60-55
Arizona wins, but Kansas State covers
Kentucky routs Texas-Arlington, 92-44
VCU tops Oregon in Legends Classic
Harvard handles Houston at home
Colorado uses 25-0 run to ground Air Force
FSU rallies past The Citadel, 66-55
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAA BK College Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA BK  Hot Streaks
10-4 Yesterday, +2,102 This Year
10-4 CBK Picks L2 Days
9-3 Guarantees This Year
6 G-Play Wins in a Row
12-3 L15 Picks, 9-2 L11 G-Plays
4-0 L4, 8-2 L10 CBK Streak
9-2 L11 Guaranteed Plays
19-11 Last 30 CBK Run
2-0 L2, 6-2 L8 Selections
NCAABK College Basketball Expert Sports Picks- Oklahoma Sooners vs UCLA Bruins
2014 CBK SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 2102
Doc's Sports + 755
Michael Black + 733
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Michael Black + 970
Antony Dinero + 751
Joe Williams + 585
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 100 %
Greg Smith 73 %
Doc's Sports 72 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Doc's Sports + 575
Kevin Rogers + 575
Kyle Hunter + 575
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Tony Stoffo + 160
Andy Iskoe + 100
Michael Black + 100
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 520
Tony Stoffo + 495
Bruce Marshall + 483
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy NFL Perfect Lineup Contest