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Preseason NIT Semifinal Odds

The Final Four are set for the NIT preseason tournament, officially known as the NIT Season Tip-Off.

No. 24 Tennessee battles VCU at 7:00 p.m. ET. Wednesday night in New York City. Both teams enter their semifinal matchup at 3-0 on the season. Bovada and SportsBetting.ag have the Volunteers favored by two points over VCU; Bovada has the spread at 2.5 points. No major books have set an over/under yet.

Tennessee has enjoyed balanced scoring over its first three games; Tobias Harris leads the way with 16.3 points per game, followed by Scotty Hopson (14.3 PPG) and Cameron Tatum (12.3 PPG). The Vols are averaging 75.7 points per game as a team while holding opponents to 64.7 points and a 37.4 field goal percentage.

While Tennessee’s 3-0 start in the standings is nice, the Vols haven’t treated bettors very well. They beat the spread in their 82-62 win over Chattanooga in their opener but haven’t covered in their last two games.

VCU has played an exciting brand of basketball to stake out its 3-0 start. The Rams are 20th in the nation with 86 points per game but allow 69.7 points per game, and opponents have shot 44.7 per cent from three-point range against them. Their leader has been Joey Rodriguez, whose 18.3 points, 10.3 assists, and two steals per game are tops on the team.

In the other semifinal matchup, No. 7 Villanova takes on UCLA at 9:00 p.m. ET Wednesday. Villanova is a 6.5-point favorite at SportsBetting.ag and Bovada. The Wildcats are averaging 80 points per game during their 4-0 start but the real key for ’Nova has been stellar defense. Villanova ranks fourth in the country in points allowed per game (51.5) and sixth in opposing field goal percentage (31.6).The Wildcats have beaten the spread once and pushed once this year; their other two games didn’t have lines.

As expected, Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes have been key contributors for Villanova. Fisher leads the team in points per game (16.5) and steals; Stokes is third in scoring while shooting 39.3 per cent from three-point range.

UCLA is also undefeated at 3-0. Like Villanova, the Bruins have played great defense so far this season, cracking the top 15 in points allowed. The key to their success has been the play of forward Reeves Nelson. He leads UCLA in points (19.3), rebounds (9.7), and field-goal percentage (75.0).

UCLA has served bettors pretty well so far. It easily covered the 17.5-point spread against CSU Northridge in its opener, winning 83-50. It didn’t cover the 18.5 points last week against Pepperdine but did bounce back to beat the eight-point spread the next time out against Pacific.