Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM
South Carolina at Tennessee
Editor's Note: Brian Edwards went 5-1 last night, including a +330 winner on LSU in its win at Kentucky to make for $625 of winners on $100 plays. He's on a 13-6 run (68.4%, +9.1 Units!) since Feb. 6 and Brian's guaranteed plays are on a 10-4 roll (71.4%, +5.63 Units!) since Jan. 24, so don't miss out on his pay-if-it-wins-only selection for tonight!
Tennessee will play host to South Carolina tonight at Thompson-Boling Arena in a vintage letdown scenario. The top-ranked Volunteers have a date with Kentucky at Rupp Arena looming on Saturday, making this double-digit home ‘chalk’ spot precarious.
As of early this morning, most books had Tennessee (22-1 straight up, 13-8-1 against the spread) installed as a 16.5-point favorite with a total of 155.
Rick Barnes’s team is 10-0 in SEC play, one-half game in front of second-place LSU (10-1) in the league standings. UT is unbeaten in 14 home games with a 6-6-1 spread record.
Barnes’s team took its only defeat of the season on Nov. 23 against Kansas in overtime (87-81) as a three-point underdog. Since then, UT has produced a program-record winning streak of 18 games. The Vols are 9-3 ATS in their past 12 contests.
Tennessee is off Saturday’s 73-61 win over Florida as an 11-point home favorite. UT backers were fortunate that UF’s KeVaughn Allen missed a running left hander at the buzzer that could’ve given the Gators an improbable spread cover. The 134 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 137-point total.
Grant Williams led the way with 16 points, six rebounds and three assists on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. Admiral Schofield had 14 points and six boards, while Jordan Bone had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists. Jordan Bowden added 13 points for the winners.
Tennessee is ranked second in the nation in field-goal percentage (51.6%), seventh in scoring with its 85.4 points-per-game average and 17th in free-throw percentage (76.3%). UT is ranked 14th in the country in FG percentage defense (39.0%).
Williams is probably the favorite to win SEC Player of the Year honors. He’s averaging 19.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.5 blocked shots and 1.2 steals per game. Williams is hitting 58.1 percent of his FGAs and 83.2 percent of his free-throw attempts. Admiral Schofield is a likely All-SEC first-teamer with his high-energy play that reminds me of former Vol Ron Slay (minus the headband). He’s averaging 16.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. Schofield has drained 40.2 percent of his 3-pointers.
Bone is averaging 13.3 points, 6.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds. The junior guard has a 151/45 assist-to-turnover ratio. Lamonte Turner (11.8 PPG) has buried 37.8 percent of his treys and has a 48/19 assist-to-turnover ratio. Bowden (11.3 PPG) paces the Vols in FT accuracy (90.3%) and has a 56/20 assist-to-turnover ratio.
While showering UT with compliments after Saturday’s loss, UF head coach Mike White said, “Versatility, discipline, toughness and strength are words I’d use to describe them. They’ve very strong. Their guards can muscle you and their bigs can move their feet. That’s a really good combination.”
Tennessee is ranked No. 1 in the national polls, but it’s No. 4 in the NCAA’s new NET Rankings and No. 5 at KenPom.com. The Vols are 11-1 in 12 games against K-Pom Top-100 opponents. Their best wins are neutral-court scalps over Gonzaga and Louisville. They have road victories at Florida, at Memphis, at Missouri and at Texas A&M, in addition to home triumphs over UF, Mizzou, Alabama and Arkansas.
South Carolina (12-11 SU, 9-13 ATS) is alone in fourth place in the SEC with its 7-3 conference ledger. Frank Martin’s team had lost four of its previous six games both SU and ATS going into Saturday’s home game vs. Arkansas.
USC snapped out of its slump against the Razorbacks, however. The Gamecocks won a 77-65 decision as 1.5-point home favorites. They overcame a four-point intermission deficit and outscored the Hogs 46-30 in the final 20 minutes.
A.J. Lawson torched Arkansas with 24 points, seven rebounds and three assists. He buried 8-of-12 field-goal attempts, 4-of-5 launches from 3-point land and 4-of-5 attempts at the charity stripe. Keyshawn Bryant finished with 17 points and a pair of steals, while Chris Silva contributed 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.
USC is ranked No. 94 at K-Pom and No. 98 in the NET rankings. The Gamecocks have a 5-9 record against the Top 100 at K-Pom. Their best wins are at Florida along with home scalps of Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Missouri. This will be the fifth time Martin’s club has faced a Top-10 foe, previously losing at Michigan (89-78), vs. Virginia (69-52), vs. Tennessee (92-70) and at Kentucky (76-48).
USC has lost five of its eight road games while going 4-4 ATS. The Gamecocks have been double-digit underdogs three times this year, compiling a 2-1 spread record with one outright win at UF.
Silva, an All-SEC selection last season, is averaging 13.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots per game. He’s hit 52.1 percent of his FGAs and 74.7 percent of his FTAs. Lawson is averaging 13.7 PPG, while Hassani Gravett is averaging 10.7 points and 3.8 RPG while making 40.0 percent of his triples.
When these teams met in Columbia on Jan. 29, Tennessee led by only four at the under-12 television timeout in the second half. But the Vols pulled away in the final 10 minutes and cruised to a 92-70 win as an 8.5-point road favorite. The 162 combined points went ‘over’ the 154-point total.
Schofield was the catalyst with 24 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and one steal. Williams finished with 23 points, nine boards and four steals, while Bone produced 19 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Turner chipped in with 13 points
Silva had 28 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots in the losing effort. Tre Campbell had 14 points on 3-of-4 shooting from downtown.
The ‘over’ is 15-6 overall for USC, 5-3 in its road assignments. The Gamecocks have seen back-to-back ‘unders.’
The ‘over’ is 12-10 overall for the Vols, but they’ve seen the ‘under’ go 9-4 in their home outings.
The SEC Network will provide the telecast at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.
B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets
-- LSU went into Rupp Arena last night and beat Kentucky 73-71 as a nine-point road underdog, hooking up money-line supporters with a +350 return (paid $350 on $100 wagers). It was LSU’s first win in Lexington since Chris Jackson’s second-half explosion sparked Dale Brown’s squad to a win over Eddie Sutton’s last team at UK in 1989. Last night’s game ended in controversy, as the Tigers got the go-ahead bucket on a tip-in from Kevell Bigby-Williams just ahead of the buzzer. Bigby-Williams might’ve tipped the ball while it was still in the cylinder, but there were three instances of controversy on the game’s final play that was preceded by a pair of tying FTs from UK’s Keldon Johnson. With six seconds remaining, Skylar Mays took the inbounds pass and dribbled the length of the court into the lane. His shot was off the mark but replays showed a UK defender putting his hands through the nets, which should’ve made Mays’ shot a made basket due to goaltending. However, another missed call would’ve prevented either of those non-calls from mattering. Check out this embedded tweet at the two-second mark where you can see Mays clearly stepped out of bounds on the sideline in the backcourt:
-- UK had won 10 games in a row and had covered in eight straight. The ‘under’ is on an 8-2 run for the Wildcats. LSU remained undefeated in six SEC road games.
-- As of early this morning, Auburn was listed as an 8.5-point home favorite vs. Ole Miss. Bruce Pearl’s team is 12-1 SU and 8-4 ATS at home, while the Rebels are 4-3 SU and 6-1 ATS in seven road assignments. Auburn saw its three-game winning streak snapped in Saturday’s 83-78 loss at LSU. The 161 combined points slipped ‘over’ the 160-point total, improving the ‘over’ to 7-2 in the Tigers’ past nine contests. Since losing four games in a row, the Rebels have won back-to-back games vs. Texas A&M and at UGA. These teams will collide at 8:30 p.m. Eastern tonight on the SEC Network.
-- Florida was listed as a 10.5-point home favorite vs. Vanderbilt early this morning. The Gators are looking to snap a three-game losing streak (SU) and jump out of a 0-6 ATS slide. The ‘under’ is 15-8 overall for UF, but the ‘over’ is 7-4 in its home outings. Vandy hasn’t tasted victory in all of 2019 and is hoping to end an 11-game losing streak in Gainesville tonight. The Commodores are mired in a 3-8 ATS slump. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU.
-- WagerTalk’s KellyinVegas took one of the worse beats you can possibly imagine last night. She had a money-line three-teamer going with LSU, Penn State and Louisville. U of L was going to the FT line for the front end of a 1 and 1 with a 23 point-lead and 9:13 remaining. With 6:25 left, the Cardinals were up by 19. As you now know, Duke surged back and won 71-69 in the biggest comeback of Mike Krzyzewski’s storied career. The parlay would’ve paid KIV more than 70/1 odds. That’s just an unfathomable Bad Beat. Hate it for her!
That’s the shot you take?! You deserve to lose. I didn’t. WTF ?????? up 23 points. I hate everyone right now pic.twitter.com/oojHNFuRiS— Kelly (@kellyinvegas) February 13, 2019
-- We’ve been pushing the Fade Nebrasketball Thing for several week snow, so here’s your Alert that the Cornhuskers are back in action tonight. In fact, they were four-point home favorites to Minnesota early this morning. Tim Miles is on a boiling hot seat and his team is looking to snap a seven-game losing streak both SU and ATS. Four of the past five L’s have come by double-digit margins. The Gophers are only 1-6 SU and 3-4 ATS on the road. They’re looking to snap a three-game losing streak. This is a 9:00 p.m. Eastern tip on the Big Ten Network.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.