Ole Miss vs. Tennessee NCAA Basketball Picks and Predictions

Kennedy Chandler #1 of the Tennessee Volunteers. Mike Stobe/Getty Images/AFP

Tennessee puts its No. 18 ranking on the line when they host Mississippi this evening. The Vols are trying to avoid an 0-2 start in the Southeastern Conference. Ole Miss and Tennessee will collide and with both coming off a loss in their last contest, they are desperate to get back in the win column.

The Rebels’ suffering has been longer, having lost 75-73 at home to Samford as two-touchdown favorites. (Come on, it’s the SEC, football talk is always welcome.) That game was played on Dec. 21, which was the last time Mississippi took the court for virus reasons.

Tennessee figured to have a harder time at Alabama and fell 63-58, as the Vols were coming off a big victory over then No. 6 Arizona in Knoxville just before that.

Ole Miss Rebels vs. Tennessee Volunteers

Wednesday, January 5, 2022 – 7:00 PM EST at Thompson-Boling Arena

Sportsbooks like Bet365 have made Tennessee a large 15.5-point over Mississippi in the SEC showdown. Here is a review of both clubs.

Ole Miss Looks to Pick Up the Pieces and Move On

Coach Kermit Davis wanted to play against Florida in the SEC opener even knowing he was not going to have four of his top six scorers and likely only seven players available. It turned out the Gators virus problems were just as bad or worse than Mississippi’s and the game was canceled.

In general, the virus is relenting and the Rebels have practiced the last few days and Davis is encouraged by the energy from his players. However, he might not have leading scorer Jarkel Joiner (14.8 ppg), who has not practiced in over a week and remains “questionable” according to his coach. Based on the latest betting odds, it does not appear Joiner will play.

None of this is good news for Ole Miss (8-4, 5-7 ATS), and it’s not like everything was perfect beforehand.  Davis was optimistic coming into the year, yet realized he needed more consistent scoring. That has not happened, as in six of the Rebels past 10 outings, they have shot under 42 percent, with four of those in the ’30s and even one in the ’20s. One is acutely aware of their shooting shortcomings on the road where they are 1-3 SU and ATS, averaging an unappetizing 61 PPG.

Tennessee Seeks Shooting Consistency

Coach Rick Barnes club is like the top of your stove. Either the burners on the top of the stove are on and hot to the touch or cold when you place your entire hand on it. All but twice Tennessee (9-3, 7-4-1 ATS) has shot 47.5% or higher or 42.9% or lower, sometimes much lower.

All three losses have come against teams that know how to defend, like Villanova, Texas Tech, and Alabama. However, none of those games were at home, where the Volunteers are averaging 85 PPG, connecting on 47% from the field and nearly 40 percent from behind the arc. Granted, the competition has not been conference quality to this point, still, a positive coming into this affair.

Though everything is far from perfect in Barnes’ eyes, he’s pleased with the defense and his freshman find, point guard Zakai Zeigler.

Tennessee is limiting their opponents to 39.1% from the field and only 60.4 PPG and should do well coming off a defeat and taking on some rusty Rebels. Zeigler at 5’9 was lightly recruited but his work ethic, confidence, and playmaking skills have him in Barnes’s regular rotation.

What Is the Best Side to Be On?

Normally, we would be all over Mississippi for college basketball picks, who are 19-6 ATS as a double-digit road underdog. And Coach Barnes is typically a money-maker when his teams have doled out that many points, being in the – play against the zone.

Unfortunately, we don’t know how many hands will be on deck for Ole Miss and how they might play with all the missed time. That to our thinking makes the Vols a better choice and they are a representative 64-43 ATS (+16.7 Units) off an SEC road loss.

NCAAB Picks: Tennessee -15.5 (-110) with Bet365