Tennessee basketball vs. Texas: Odds, picks and prediction

Jan 17, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Zakai Zeigler (5) reacts after a basket during the second half against the Tennessee Volunteers at Humphrey Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 17, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Zakai Zeigler (5) reacts after a basket during the second half against the Tennessee Volunteers at Humphrey Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

Tennessee basketball will be hosting the Texas Longhorns tomorrow at 6 pm ET on ESPN. 

Rocky top is going to be singing tomorrow all night long as they host the No. 10 ranked Texas Longhorns. This is going to be the toughest battle of the year for both teams, and they match up extremely well. Numerous factors will come into play in this game, so let’s dig a little deeper and go over some key statistics as I break down every single betting edge there is in the Saturday night showdown.

Tennessee Basketball Notes

The Volunteers sit at 17-3 and 7-1 in the SEC. The Vols have been running through teams lately and blew the breaks off of the last 3 teams they played. Two of them were on the road in tough environments. The Vols show tremendous resilience and poise, and when times get tough, they rely on their No. 1 ranked defense to get them through everything.

Tennessee Basketball Offense

They have multiple weapons on offense, but in particular, it rides on the backs of Santiago Vescovi, and Zakai Zeigler.

Point Guard Zakai Zeigler played another great game a few nights ago against the Georgia Bulldogs and led the team in scoring. Zeigler shot 43% from behind the arc, and also had 7 assists, and 2 rebounds. Zeigler continues to dominate and has been on one of the hottest streaks that he has ever been on. Zeigler has been on a tear from behind the arc, shooting over 40% in 2 of his last 3 games, and has combined for 47 points over that period. It seems as though once he gets hot, he just can’t miss.

Vescovi is one of the most consistent players for the Vols this season. While recently he hasn’t been putting up as many points, he still has shot over 50% from 3-point land in 3 of his last 5 games. He is a marksman from deep, and can debatably shoot the ball better than anyone else in the SEC.

Tennessee Basketball Defense

The Volunteers defense is ranked No. 1 in the nation according to KenPom, and its not even close. According to the adjusted defensive efficiency metric, it’s projected the vols would let up 82.7 points per 100 possessions to the average Division 1 team. The next best is Rutgers with an AdjD of 86.5.

Allow me to put this in perspective for you. Many of you are probably thinking to yourself, 3.8 points are not that big of a difference, but you’re wrong. Most teams are within 0.1 points of each other on this metric, so 3.8 is quite large.

The No. 2 ranked defense down to the No. 10 ranked defense is within 3.8 points of each other. This statistic shows how the Vols’ defense is in a league of its own. Nobody can match up against this elite-level defense, and they continue to dominate and showcase it every single day.

Texas Basketball Notes

The Longhorns are a dangerous team and currently sit at 17-3, and 6-2 in the Big 12. Their 3 losses have all been against ranked teams.

Texas Longhorns Offense

Texas has the No. 12 ranked offense in the nation according to KenPom, which is much better than the Volunteers’ 40th ranked offense. Their leading scorer this year is the senior out of Ontario, Marcus Carr. He averages nearly 18 points per game and has been lighting it up from behind the arc recently.

Carr has been one of the best players in the Big 12 so far this season and is a projected second-round draft pick in the upcoming NBA draft. He is extremely talented, shoots incredibly, is a tough rebounder, and dishes some crazy assists.

The question for Saturday is if Zakai Zeigler will be able to shut him down on the defensive end of the court. It seems like no matter who is guarding Carr, he still finds a way to be a game-changer.

In 2 of the Longhorns’ 3 losses, Carr was held under 12 points. If teams let Carr get hot, it’s almost impossible to stop this Texas offense.

Texas Longhorns Defense

Defensively, Texas is a very fundamentally sound group. They don’t foul very much, and they push transition often.

The Longhorns have an AdjD of 94.2 and rank 26th in the nation. They have a very good defense, and their offense tends to complement their defense because they only need a few stops before they take a huge lead on teams.

Tennessee basketball score prediction vs Texas

Tennessee 70, Texas 62: The Vols get revenge on the Longhorns from last year, covering the spread, and achieving another top-10 win.

Next. How the Vols matchup against each top 10 team. dark