College Basketball Betting Preview: #23 Wichita St Shockers at Tennessee Volunteers

#23 Wichita St Shockers at Tennessee Volunteers
Thursday, December 13, 2013, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: FSN-Midwest, South
Thompson-Boling Arena – Knoxville, Tennessee
Opening Line: Tennessee -1
Current Line: Pick
Opening Total: 118
Current Total: 121
Opening Money Line: Tennessee -115 / Wichita St -105
Current Money Line: Tennessee -115 / Wichita St -105

Tennessee hosts Wichita St Thursday night. The game is a pick between the 4-3 Volunteers and 9-0 Shockers.

The 9-0 Wichita St Shockers are #23 in the latest AP poll. The Shockers come to Knoxville Thursday night to take on the 4-3 Tennessee Volunteers. This is the third ever meeting between the schools, but the first not at a neutral site. Wichita St leads the series 2-0, including a win over Tennessee in the 2006 NCAA Tournament second round in Greensboro, North Carolina to advance to the Sweet 16. That was the last meeting the schools.

Wichita St is coached by Gregg Marshall. The Shockers have quality wins at Virginia Commonwealth and Air Force, against DePaul and Iowa in a tournament in Cancun, Mexico, and at home against Tulsa.  Wichita St crushed Northern Colorado at home Saturday 80-54 in their last game. The Shockers are 5-2 ATS and the total is 1-2 this season.

Tennessee is coached by Cuonzo Martin. Martin and Marshall know each other well, as Martin coached Missouri St for four seasons before becoming the head coach for the Volunteers. Missouri St and Wichita St have been Missouri Valley Conference rivals for many years. Tennessee has losses to Oklahoma St 62-45 in a tournament in Puerto Rico, and at Georgetown 37-36 and last Wednesday at Virginia 46-38.  The Volunteers have wins over UNC-Asheville and Massachusetts in the Puerto Rico tournament, along with a home win over Oakland. Tennessee is 3-3 ATS and the total is 2-2 this season.

Wichita St is outscoring teams 73-59 this season. The Shockers are shooting 47% from the field and 32.4% from 3 point range. WSU makes 68.9% of their free throws. Wichita St averages 38.2 rebounds a game and allow just 25.3 per game. The Shockers are #10 in rebounds allowed in the country. WSU opponents are shooting 38.3% from the field and 31.2% from 3 point range. The Shockers average 16 assists, 8 steals, 5 blocks, and 14 turnovers per game.

WSU Forward Cleanthony Early averages 13.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Forward Carl Hall averages 13.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. Guard Malcolm Armstead averages 7.9 points, 3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2 steals a game. Guard Demetric Williams averages 7.4 points, 2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He also makes 53% of his three pointers. Guard Ron Baker averages 7.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Guard Evan Wessel averages 5.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists a game. He is doubtful with a finger injury. Center Ehimen Orukpe averages 4.3 rebounds and 2 blocks a game. He is probable with an ankle injury.

Tennessee is outscoring teams 61-57 this season. The Volunteers are #25 in points allowed nationally. Tennessee shoots 42.2% from the field and 30.2% from 3 point range. The Volunteers make 62.8% of their free throws. Tennessee averages 37.4 rebounds per game and gives up 29. Tennessee opponents are shooting 38.6% from the field and 23.7% from 3 point range. The Vols are #6 in the country in three point defense. Tennessee averages 11 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks and 13 turnovers per game.

Forward Jarnell Stokes averages 11.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.9 blocks a game. He leads the Volunteers in all categories except assists. Guard Trae Golden averages 11.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.6 assists a game. Guard Jordan McRae averages 8.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. Guard Skylar McBee averages 7.3 points, and 1.4 rebounds. Forward Kenny Hall averages 7.3 points and 6 rebounds per game. Guard Josh Richardson averages 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds. Forward Dwight Miller is questionable with a knee injury to make his season debut for Tennessee tonight. Guard Derek Reese and forward Jeronne Maymon are both out indefinitely but neither has played yet this season.

Wichita St is 6-1 ATS in road games, and against teams with a winning home record, 12-3 after a straight up win, 4-1 against teams with winning records, in non-conference games, and overall, 8-3 after a cover, 5-2 against SEC teams, and 0-4 in Thursday games.

Tennessee is 7-1 ATS after failing to cover, 6-1 after a straight up loss, 12-4-1 at home, and 1-5 at home against teams with winning raod records.

Tennessee has lost two straight games, scoring less than 40 points in each game. They have had plenty of time to work on their shooting woes as they haven’t played in 8 days. Wichita St is going for a 10-0 start but Thompson-boling Arena is a tough place to play. Wichita St would prefer to play this game in the hig 60’s or 70;s and Tennessee would rather keep it in the 50’s or low 60’s. I like Wichita St to pull out a tough road win.

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