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Preseason NIT Betting Update

The 2010 NIT Season Tip-Off tourney continues on Wednesday with two of the four major host schools in action. No. 24 Tennessee didn’t exactly make it look easy in its opening-round matchup against Belmont.

The Volunteers got the 85-76 win and improved to 2-0 on the season but they didn’t leave bettors too happy. Bovada had them as 14.5 point favorites; other books like Bovada had the spread at 14 points.

Only really widening the gap in the final minute against Belmont, Tennessee didn’t come close to covering. The 161 total points easily soared above the 144.5-point over/under at Bovada.

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The Vols were themselves in some areas on Tuesday; they shot 53.2 per cent from the floor and got 18 points from Scotty Hopson and 16 points from Tobias Harris. But they made some uncharacteristic mistakes, turning the ball over 27 times and letting Belmont close the lead to one point during a 22-6 run in the second half.

Tennessee will definitely have to be sharper when it battles Missouri State (2-0) tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Bears won 24 games a year ago and return their top five scorers. They’ve won four of their last five games against national top-25 opponents. Tennessee will have to be on its toes against Kyle Weems, who led Missouri State in scoring last year and is averaging 17 points through two games.

Bettors may want to keep an eye on starting Vols guard Melvin Goins, who aggravated an injury to his side Tuesday and could miss Wednesday’s game.

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Sixth-ranked Villanova also started its NIT Season Tip-Off with a victory. Unlike Tennessee, the Wildcats won convincingly. Bovada favored them by 27 points over Marist in the closing lines, not surprising considering poor Marist went 1-29 last season. Villanova delivered, winning 84-47 to clear the spread by 10 points.

The 131 total points sunk way UNDER the total of 145 points at Bovada.

’Nova looks to improve to 3-0 tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET when it hosts Boston University (1-1). Villanova should expect Boston U to play with a bit of extra fire; its head coach, Patrick Chambers, was part of Jay Wright’s coaching staff at Villanova for five seasons.

Villanova looked dominant as ever against Marist, going on a 19-1 run in the first half. Maalik Wayns had 17 points and Dominic Cheek had 15. To stay sharp against the Terriers tonight, however, the Wildcats will need better efforts from the two Coreys, Fisher and Stokes.

After combining for 35 points in Villanova’s season opener, they totalled just 18 between the two of them on 5 of 19 shooting against Marist.