In a Saint Patrick’s Day matchup, the Longwood Lancers out of Farmville, Virginia are taking on the notorious Tennessee Vols in the first round of the 2022 March Madness Tournament. The Big South winner and the SEC winner are facing off as No. 14 seed and No. 3 seed, respectively.
Big discussions going into this game are all about how Tennessee could be considered a No. 3 seed after winning the SEC, tying for second in the regular season, and securing a 3-1 record against Auburn and Kentucky. Regardless, they have their work cut out for them now and will be looking to bounce back from last year where they suffered a brutal first-round loss to Oregon State. Longwood on the other hand is just happy to be in the tournament but may need some Saint Patrick’s Day luck of the Irish to pull off a win against this Tennessee team.
Longwood Lancers Vs. Tennessee Vols Betting Odds
Tennessee is a heavy 17-point favorite in this first-round game with a 132.5 point total. The veteran tournament contenders are 26-7 overall this year and 14-4 in the SEC. They were 19-13 against the spread and 13-18 on hitting over their point totals. The Lancers were 26-6 overall and 15-1 in the Big South. They were 19-9 against the spread and 15-13 on hitting the over.
17 points is a lot and doesn’t necessarily give Longwood much credit for their performance this year, so I could see it being more like a 14-point game in favor of the Vols. Either way, the Vols should easily take care of business here with their elite defense and offense.
Longwood Lancers Odds
The 14-seeded Longwood Lancers are seeing the NCAA tournament for the first time ever. They are 26-6 on the season and won the Big South Tournament after their 79-58 win over Winthrop. They are an impressive 19-1 since their loss on December 22. However, according to the college basketball database KenPom, the Lancers had the fourth-easiest non-conference opponents and strength of schedule of all 64 NCAA Tournament teams.
Longwood has three shooting weapons that they will capitalize on to try and pull off a win: Isaiah Wilkins, Justin Hill, and DeShaun Wade. Wade leads the team in 3-pointers and is shooting 44% from the arc this season, 6’4 Wilkins leads the team in rebounds, and Hill leads the team in scoring and assists. Outside of their solid offense, they don’t have much to show for on defense, which likely won’t last them very long in the tournament, even if they do win this week.
Tennessee Vols Odds
The No. 3 seeded Tennessee took down the South Region No. 1 and No. 2 seed earlier this year; they beat Arizona 77-73, and Villanova 71-53. They won the SEC after taking down Texas A&M in a lopsided 65-50 win in the SEC Tournament Championship and this Tennessee team has now made it to four consecutive NCAA tournaments.
The Vols have the third-ranked defense in adjusted efficiency and this elite defense can very likely carry them to the Final Four. But they’ve also found consistent production on offense with backcourt players like Santiago Vescovi and Kennedy Chandler and guard Zakai Ziegler who has come up in clutch situations this year. The SEC champions had the third-hardest strength of schedule of NCAA Tournament teams this year behind just Alabama and Kansas and they will, no doubt, cause problems for a weak Longwood defense.
Longwood Lancers vs. Tennessee Vols Picks & Prediction
A 17-point spread is pretty lofty for a March Madness game, but unfortunately for the Lancers, it’s likely not too far off. However, I do think the Lancers have solid prospects that have got them to this place and I think they’ll cover that spread if it stays at 17 points over the week. Outside of that, you won’t go wrong with betting the Tennessee moneyline as they should win this game without question.
My predictions: Tennessee wins 81-68, Longwood covers, over 132.5