Purdue Boilermakers vs. Tennessee Volunteers Pick
Purdue Boilermakers (25-9 SU, 19-15 ATS) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (31-5 SU, 17-17-1 ATS)
When: Thursday, March 28, 2019 – 7:29 p.m. ET
Where: KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Kentucky
By: Matt Lowry, College Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PUR +1.5 / TENN -1.5 (MyBookie Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 146.5
Last Time Out: Purdue beat Villanova 87-61; Tennessee beat Iowa 83-77
Scouting the Boilermakers:
In one of the most dominating performances of the tournament so far, the Boilermakers dismantled the defending champions. Maybe this was because they shot the ball at 53.7% or maybe because they held Villanova to 34.5% shooting. Regardless, Purdue is a very scary team right now, but will obviously have their hands full with the Volunteers.
Scouting the Volunteers:
Tennessee was rolling in the first half against Iowa, up by as many as 25 points. Then came the second half, where they started to collapse. Of course, they did end up winning in overtime, but still failed to cover the 7.5-point spread, which is crazy given the lead they had. Another performance like this and the Volunteers will surely be headed home. Purdue is a much more talented team than Iowa, so the Volunteers must play a full game rather than whatever that was against the Hawkeyes.
Head to Head:
These teams have met most recently in November of 2017. Tennessee won this game in overtime by a score of 78-75.
Notable Betting Trends:
A big trend that sticks out is that Tennessee has failed to cover in their first 2 games in the tournament. Meanwhile, Purdue has covered in both their games and have won by an average margin of 19.5 points.
Purdue Will Cover the Spread If:
Their offense can have a repeat performance. Starting with Carsen Edwards, the Boilermakers leading scorer had 42 out of the 87 total points scored. Not only was he scoring pretty much every time he touched the ball, but he also was very efficient with his shots. Going 12 of 21 from the field or 57.1% and 9 of 16 from the three-point line or 56.3% will keep you in pretty much every game against almost any team. Now I am not expecting him to shoot that well again, mainly because Tennessee has a better defense than Villanova, but I am expecting him to continue to be the Boilermakers go to guy.
The only real concern for Purdue is who will be that second guy who can lead them if Edwards starts to struggle. In the game against Villanova, Matt Haarms was that guy. He scored 18 points on 8 of 12 shooting and grabbed 9 rebounds. That said, Haarms will need to have a much bigger role if Purdue is going to stand a chance. Mainly against the Tennessee big men, Haarms is going to have to slow them down in the low post.
Tennessee Will Cover the Spread If:
They play a full 40 minutes. Both the tournament games have been worrying for this Tennessee team. The first-round game against Colgate where they had to go to the final minutes to put them away and of course their most recent game where they blew a 25-point lead to Iowa in the second half. Now is the time where the Vols cannot afford anymore breakdowns. Purdue is a very good basketball team, so if Tennessee does not give a full effort for every minute of this game, they will lose and be going home.
The success of the Vols will start with the play of Jordan Bone, Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams. These three guys have been the heart and soul of this Tennessee team, but for whatever reason they have not been able to play well in the second halves of these tournament games. Look for a re-energized Tennessee squad, especially after the scare against Iowa and expect the Vols to respond by playing their best basketball for the full game.
Matt’s Pick for Purdue vs. Tennessee:
MyBookie have the Volunteers as a 1.5-point favorite, with the total set at 146.5. If you asked me about this matchup before the tournament started, I would have said my lean is on the Volunteers, but after the most recent performances by both teams, Purdue is the team I am backing. I do not trust Tennessee after that Iowa game and I expect Carsen Edwards to have another dominating performance. Edwards will lead the Boilermakers to not only cover, but to their first Sweet 16 win under Matt Painter, advancing them to the Elite 8 and a chance to play in the Final Four.
Matt’s College Basketball Pick: Purdue Boilermakers +1.5
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