The title-game matchup is set for the NIT Season Tip-Off and it sees Villanova favored slightly over Tennessee.
The matchup isn’t a huge surprise; Villanova is the seventh-ranked team in the country and Tennessee is 24th. Sportsbook has Villanova favored by four points.
So far this season, the Wildcats have gone 2-0-1 against the spread and compiled a 5-0 overall record (with two games that had no lines). Most recently, they took down UCLA in the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinal, winning 82-70 and covering the 5.5-point spread. Corey Fisher led the way with 26 points and made 14 of 15 free throws. [ Matchup Stats ]
Fisher has consistently been Villanova’s best player this season, leading the Wildcats in points (18.4) and steals (1.6) per game.
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Tennessee topped VCU 77-72 in its semifinal matchup, beating the three-point spread. Scotty Hopson was a key contributor, tallying 18 points and 11 rebounds. The Volunteers will hope to improve their long-range shooting woes against ’Nova; they currently clock in at a putrid 25.4 per cent from three-point range this season.
Tennessee is 2-7 against the spread over its last nine games against Big East opponents. Meanwhile, Villanova is 9-4-1 against the spread in its last 14 non-conference affairs.
Several other big NCAA tournaments take place this weekend. In the Las Vegas Invitational, Kansas will be the focus. The 4-0 Jayhawks are No. 6 in the nation and are 17-points favorites at Sportsbook when they battle Ohio on Friday at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Kansas is the top shooting team in the country so far this season with a field-goal percentage of 59.0 and its 91.8 points per game is fourth-best. [ Matchup Stats ]
Syracuse is the top favorite to win the Legends Classic, which starts on Friday. The No. 9 Orange will open their tourney against Michigan at 8:00 p.m. ET. Sportsbook had Syracuse as a 6-point favorite on the Sportsbook line and has shifted it to 6.5 points.
The marquee game so far in the Great Alaska Shootout will pit St. John’s and Drake against each other at 9:30 p.m. Sportsbook has St. John’s favored by 11 points but bettors have to be careful. Despite the Red Storm’s 2-1 record, they’re 0-3 against the spread so far this season.
The South Padre Invitational has a few teams with solid shots to win, including St. Mary’s, but 23rd-ranked BYU is the favorite. The Cougars battle South Florida at 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday. Sportsbook favors BYU by 13 points over the Bulls. The Cougars bring the country’s ninth-best offense to the table, averaging 89 points per game.