Tennessee vs Creighton: How to watch, odds, and predictions

March 23, 2024, Charlotte, NC, USA; Tennessee Volunteers players celebrate in the second half
March 23, 2024, Charlotte, NC, USA; Tennessee Volunteers players celebrate in the second half / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

534. 25-9. 2328. Friday, March 29. Creighton vs Tennessee. TBS/truTV. 26-8. . 10:09 PM ET

Tennessee basketball is preparing for its Sweet Sixteen matchup against the Creighton Bluejays. The Vols' stout defense, led by Zakai Zeigler and Santiago Vescovi, will take on one of the backcourts in college basketball.

Crieghton's Baylor Scheierman and Trey Alexander can shoot the three and will shoot from beyond the three-point line a lot. This could cause trouble for Tennessee if they have another rough shooting night like they did against Texas. Despite the bad shooting night, the Vols were able to take down the Longhorns and secure their spot in Detroit for the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Vols earned the No. 2 seed in the Midwest region after going on an insane run at the end of the season to win the SEC Championship. That set up a matchup against Saint Peter's in the first round. The Vols dominated the Peacocks and advanced to the second round to face Texas.

As I mentioned, this was a tough shooting night, but the defensive effort helped the Vols secure the win. If Tennessee wants to beat Creighton and move beyond the Sweet Sixteen, they will have to bring their best shooting performances every game from here on out.

How to watch Tennessee vs. Creighton

Tennessee vs. Creighton odds

The Vols have been the favorite in each of its first two NCAA Tournament games this year. They easily covered against Saint Peter's while failing to cover the spread against Texas. Creighton, however, has covered each tournament game easily so far. The Bluejays defeated Akron and Oregon by double digits and showed why they are a three-seed in this year's tournament.

Tennessee comes into Friday night's game as the favorite by a small margin. The Vols are 2.5-point favorites, according to Fanduel Sportsbook. The over/under sits at 144.5 points, which is one point lower than the over/under in Tennessee's second-round matchup against Texas. The Vols split the over/under in their first two games, hitting the over in round one and the under in round two.

Tennessee vs. Creighton predictions

This could be a fun game if Tennessee shows up offensively. Both teams have the ability to get hot and go on insane runs. A lot of this is due to their ability to shoot the three. While Creighton has more success shooting the deep ball, Tennessee isn't shy about throwing up threes.

Creighton reminds me a lot of Alabama. Both have powerful offenses that can carry them to the Final Four if they get hot at the right time. The Bluejays are averaging 80.6 points per game, shooting 36.6% from three and 48.5% from the field. Any team that shoots nearly 50% in a game is dangerous to make a deep tournament run.

Alabama shares similar statistics while scoring ten more points per game. That's why Tennessee will need to bring its best defensive game plan into this game. If the Vols can bring the same defense they had against Alabama, there is no doubt in my mind they will easily win this game.

In Tennessee's two matchups against Alabama, the Vols won by a combined 27 points. The Vols aren't far off in the offensive category from the Bluejays. Tennessee is scoring 79.1 points per game this year while shooting 44.3% from the field. Where things get separated is the three-point category. The Vols are shooting a poor 25.4% from three. 

If the Vols can neutralize Creighton's three-point scoring while minimizing their missed threes on the offensive end, they can rely on their defense and scoring down low to carry them to victory. Tennessee's defense is better than Creighton's, and their performance in the paint has been better lately.

The Bluejays do have Ryan Kalkbrenner manning the paint for them, and he is scoring an impressive 17.4 points per game with 7.6 rebounds. I believe Tennessee's forwards will overpower Kalkbrenner throughout the game. The combination of Jonas Aidoo and Tobe Awaka brings physicality that Kalkbrenner and Creighton rarely see prior to the NCAA Tournament.

If Tennessee's offense shows up, they will win this game. It will take a good offensive performance for Tennessee to get back to the Elite Eight. Tennessee has rarely followed up a bad offensive performance with another bad offensive game this year.

After scoring 59 in a loss to South Carolina, the Vols responded by scoring 103 points in a win at Kentucky. After losing to Texas A&M and scoring 69 points, they responded by scoring 92 and beating Arkansas by 29 points. I expect the Vols to respond in the same way on Friday night after a bad night offensively against Texas.

If Tennessee brings its physical, stingy defense and can pair it with a decent night offensively, I predict the Vols will win and cover. If they can get the win on Friday night, they will face the winner of Purdue and Gonzaga in the Elite Eight.

Next. Tennessee's path to a Final Four. Tennessee's path to a Final Four. dark