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A Pair of top-five Teams Meet in the NIT Tip-Off Final

Kansas vs Tennessee Betting Odds

The No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks put their skills to the test as they tip off against the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers in the NIT Tip-Off final. Both teams lay their perfect 4-0 records on the line in their first meeting since 2014. Kansas claimed victory in that last contest vs Tennessee and is a 3.5-point favorite with the total opening at 150.5 points.

Shark Bites
  • Kansas has gone OVER in three of its four games this season (avg. combined score: 160.25).
  • Kansas is 8-0 SU in its last eight games vs the SEC.
  • Tennessee is 5-12 ATS in its last 17 games vs the Big 12.

Kansas vs Tennessee Game Center

Jayhawks shooting the ball well early

At the top of the season, the AP Poll had Kansas as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, however, after the high-flying dominant play of Duke, the Jayhawks dropped to second as the Blue Devils grabbed the top spot. There’s a lot of promise for Kansas this season as it returned a couple of starters while recruiting three 2018 All-Americans and adding junior transfer Dedric Lawson from Memphis. Through the first four games of the season, the Jayhawks are averaging 85.5 points per game with 26.2 points coming from beyond the arc.

They are shooting the three-ball extremely well, hitting 47.3 percent of those shots, which is the fourth-highest percentage in the nation, led by senior guard Lagerald Vick, who is shooting 62.1 percent from the three-point line. However, defending the long ball has been a bit of an issue for Kansas as it is allowing the 17th-most three-point attempts per game and the second-most threes in college basketball.

Vols have their highest ranking in 11 years

For the first time since the 2010-11 season, Tennessee has jumped out to a 4-0 start but is now facing its toughest test. You have to go back to the 2007-08 season to find a time that Tennessee has been ranked in the top five, making its way all the way to the top spot that year. The Volunteers were the SEC runners-up last year, falling 77-72 to Kentucky in the SEC championship game, and they are returning all five of their starters. The veteran lineup the Vols throw out there got a boost Wednesday as junior guard Lamonte Turner returned from an injury to make his season debut. He came off the bench to play 25 minutes, chipping in 13 points with four assists, two steals and five rebounds.

Overall, Tennessee is led by junior forward Grant Williams, who has averaged 22.5 points and 8.5 boards per game, and senior guard Admiral Schofield, who is adding 14 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. With this team having so much experience playing together, they are good at knowing where their teammates are on the court both offensively and defensively. They are averaging 20.3 assists per game, which is the sixth-most in the nation, while holding opponents to a shooting percentage of just 37.2, ranking as the 20th-lowest percentage in college basketball.

Is the OVER in Store for tonight?

The NIT Tip-Off final has a battle of two of the top 50 offenses in the nation and Bovada has the total opening at 150.5 points. Three of Kansas’ four games thus far have gone OVER 150.5 points with an average combined score of 160.25. However, head coach Bill Self had a heated talk with his team regarding defense following the first half against Marquette when they were trailing 47-38; in the second half, the Golden Eagles were held to just 21 points and the combined score went UNDER.

The Jayhawks are allowing the second-most treys per game at 11.8, but the Vols don’t attempt many triples, launching just 18.3 per game, which is the 54th-fewest in the nation. Tennessee has split its four games on both sides of the 150.5 total set for tonight’s game with two games going OVER and two games going UNDER with an average combined score of 142.75. The Vols are holding their opponents to just a 37.2 shooting percentage, while the Jayhawks are shooting 48.6 percent, which is the 52nd-highest mark in the nation. I think the sportsbooks did a good job setting tonight’s total and I don’t feel strongly one way or the other. If I were to choose, I lean toward the UNDER.

My take on Kansas vs Tennessee

What a barnburner in the early stages of the season – we had Gonzaga and Duke a couple of nights ago and now Kansas and Tennessee, what a treat! I think the way Kansas bounced back against Marquette two nights ago showed a lot of character and heart and I like the Jayhawks to cover the 3.5-point spread. The Golden Eagles average the 32nd-most triples per game in the nation, which has been a glaring issue for the Jayhawks, who are allowing the second-most threes per game. In this game, the Vols sit in 210th for most three-pointers made per game so that weakness of Kansas shouldn’t be exploited. Both teams are evenly matched down low. I think Kansas’ athleticism will carry it to the win tonight and 3 points should be achievable to cover.

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