Texas A&M vs. Tennessee NCAA Basketball Preview and Best Bet

Quenton Jackson #3 of the Texas A&M Aggies. David Becker/Getty Images/AFP

Coming off a tough loss in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, the Tennessee Volunteers look to get back into the win column with a visit from the struggling Texas A&M Aggies as the sports betting calendar shifts to February.

Texas A&M Aggies vs. Tennessee Volunteers

Tuesday, February 01, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Thompson-Boling Arena

Seeding for conference tournaments and gaining momentum heading into March take centerstage the next five weeks, making all games at least crucial to some degree. This collision between Texas A&M and Tennessee is especially critical for the Aggies, who are part of the bubble watch for the NCAA Tournament, and the Volunteers who have visions of a deep run at the big dance.

With both sides looking to begin the regular season’s final month on the right side of the NCAAB scores, Tennessee starts February tied for third in the SEC with Arkansas, those two squads 3-games behind frontrunning Auburn with Kentucky sandwiched in second place. Texas A&M is a level 4-4 in the conference and part of a 4-team logjam tied for sixth.

Aggies Aim to End Slide With Road Upset

A quick check of wagering particulars finds the Volunteers favored by 11.5 at PointsBet. The two sides enter Tuesday’s tussle with contrary results in the totals column, Texas A&M 13-7 O/U while Tennessee is 8-12 O/U, and the scoreboard target has been set at 131.5. 

Considering the Aggies were projected for the CBI/CIT tournaments, and iffy to do that well, Buzz Williams has his team exceeding expectations. That doesn’t do much to make up for the four consecutive losses the Aggies have suffered, all but wiping out their four consecutive wins to being the SEC schedule.

A big problem all season has been going from being in total control of a game to entirely out of control within a few short minutes. No team is immune from scoring droughts, but the Aggies have taken it to a whole different level at times. That was certainly the case in their first loss of the season when Wisconsin went on a 15-1 run to close the first half at the Maui Invitational to wipe out a 16-point A&M lead; it was also the case this past Saturday at home against South Carolina. The Gamecocks used a Gamecocks 19-2 run in the second half to grab the upset getting 7.

Vols Have Covered 7 of 11 Home Games

After being dismantled 107-79 in Lexington by Kentucky two weeks ago, Tennessee was slowly getting back on track with three successive conference wins over Vanderbilt, LSU and Florida. The Volunteers covered the numbers at online betting sites in two of the contests, and played improved defense to keep two of the finals ‘under’ the marks.

Rick Barnes then took his side to Austin this last Saturday for the SEC/Big 12 challenge, and dropped a 52-51 decision to the Longhorns. For Barnes, it was his first matchup against Texas since he headed up the program for 17 seasons from 1998-2015. After a closely-fought first half, Barnes watched helplessly as his team came out of the locker room flat and the Longhorns began the final 10 minutes on a 10-0 run.

Tennessee put up a good fight to get back in the game, the Volunteers closing on a 19-3 run in the final eight minutes, but it was too little, too late. All six of Tennessee’s losses have come away from Knoxville, and the Volunteers are a perfect 11-0 (7-4 ATS) on their home floor.

Teas Have Split 10 Meetings as SEC Foes

Tuesday is the only scheduled meeting between Texas A&M and Tennessee, and just the 16th in series history. The Volunteers own a 9-6 advantage over the Aggies all-time, winning and covering the NCAA Basketball odds in three of the last four. They have halved the 10 matchups as SEC opponents, and the visitors have cashed in six of the last seven.

Tennessee went to College Station nearly 13 months ago ranked as the No. 9 team in the nation, and the Volunteers brought a 68-54 win and cover back home to Knoxville. The Aggies pulled off an upset on their last visit to Thompson-Boling Arena in January 2020, posting a 63-58 win as 9.5-point underdogs. Three of the last four played in Knoxville were ‘over’ winners.

Texas A&M is not going to end Tennessee’s perfect home record tonight. But the Aggies should at least be able to muster up enough defense to stay within the number. I’ll be backing Buzz’s bunch with my free NCAA Basketball pick.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Texas A&M +11.5 (-110) at DraftKings