In terms of the success of their last games, Auburn and Tennessee fared drastically different results in their last time out. Auburn steam rolled Georgia in an offensive explosion while Tennessee fell flat on their faces against a lowly Florida Gator squad. This season has been nothing short of remarkable for the number of upsets we have seen, and this game can potentially serve no different. Can Auburn figure out the Vols defense and get the win?
Auburn Vs. Tennessee Odds
Oddsmakers tempered their expectations on the Tigers ability to get the upset as they opened Auburn as a +9.5 underdog. Bettors were quick to back the Tigers by taking them down to +9 in some shops. This steam comes as a bit of surprise as Kenpom has Tennessee as a 10-point favorite on a neutral court, now getting the added benefit of playing at home. Nonetheless this is a massive inner conference showdown, and we can expect fireworks from both ends of the court as these two battle it out.
As for the total, oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a moderate pace as they opened the total at 132.5. Bettors have higher expectations for the scoring pace, backing the over up to 133.5 as of writing. This brings some intrigue as both units’ field elite defenses, while their offensive scoring ability has been more unpredictable. Both teams have fared better in that department as of late, bringing recency bias to hammer the over.
Auburn Vs. Tennessee Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Over 132.5
With that said, I will plug my nose and look away by taking the over at 132.5 as both elite defenses look to shut each other down over the course of 40 minutes. What feels like the equivalent of backing an over in a Iowa Hawkeyes football game, this is sure to smell rotten as I hope for a consistent scoring pace to cash my ticket at the window.
This is heavily predicated on Auburn’s potential scoring success as they come in as the sizable underdog. If they can find any sort of consistent scoring success, then this brings pressure on the Vols to step up offensive intensity. Auburn rides into this one with some offensive momentum, blasting the Florida Gators in their last game out 94-73. That win snapped a two-game losing streak, now getting a shot at one of the best teams in the nation to build some momentum.
Their Adjusted Offensive Efficiency rating has steadily risen over the past few games, now sitting at 50th in the nation per Kenpom. They run deep with 11 players getting meaningful minutes while three of them average double-digit figures. They will need to continue finding secondary scoring from their role players on the perimeter in order to stretch out the Vols defense. That bodes as somewhat of an issue as Auburn currently averages 29.9% from three.
The Tennessee defense is no joke as they have maintained a first place ranking in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. They specialize in locking down the interior, forcing opposing offenses into low quality looks at the rim. They fly to the ball and smother shots at an elite rate, giving a cause for concern for a consistent scoring pace. This defense has mightily regressed as of late per their standards, making it intriguing to see if Auburn can capitalize with newfound life on offense.
Auburn Vs. Tennessee Key Matchups
Can the Vols continue to find offensive success after a rough start to the season?
Tennessee three-point shooting vs Auburn perimeter defense
One of the metrics that have held the Vols back from fitting the mold as a historic champion has been their Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. That was until they found life from the perimeter, now surpassing the bar of 112.0 to be deemed a team fit for a deep run come March.
Perimeter production will be key in stretching out the Auburn defense as they play a similar identity to Tennessee by excelling at smothering looks in the interior. Tennessee currently shoots 33.2% from deep.
Like the Vols, Auburn’s defense has been regressing as of late as they have ramped up their offensive intensity. A quicker pace gives opportunities for turnovers which gives the Vols chances to get out in transition, using their elite defense and turning it into quick scores on the board for our over ticket.
Plug your nose and take the over in what may be a defensive slugfest. Both defenses are on track to regress, giving us a good shot at seeing consistent scoring from both units to cash our over ticket.