The NCAAB December 14th Memphis at Tennessee free pick has state bragging rights on the line. It’s also a matchup of two teams tied for 17th in the country in the coaches poll that sport a combined 15-2 record on the season. One would expect a close matchup here, but oddsmakers have set the Volunteers as -6.5 home favorites.
Tigers Too Young for This Moment?
Memphis is off to an 8-1 record on the season which shows how talented they are. This is also a very young team that started 4 freshman last game. Tigers coach Penny Hardaway has acknowledged that this in-state rivalry game has a little bit of extra gusto too it, are his young players going to be able to respond to the pressure on the road – even if it is just a 5 hour drive away?
The Tigers have sure answered the bell at every other moment this season, save for a 74-82 defeat to #10 Oregon in Portland. Memphis has put together this run without the services of NBA-prospect James Wiseman, who is averaging 19.7 and 10.7 in the three games he played before being suspended until next month. Memphis is still 6-0 since losing Wiseman, the most impressive of those being an 83-78 win over N.C. State at the Barclays Center as +2.5 underdogs.
Precious Achiuwa has posted a double-double in 5 of the 6 games that Wiseman has missed. The Tigers have big-time offensive potential with the 25th best scoring rate in the nation (82.1) and seem to score more points in tougher matchups. That includes the 83 points vs. NC State, 87 vs. Ole Miss as -5 favorites, and 74 points in the loss to Oregon. Will that trend continue as underdogs in the NCAAB December 14th Memphis at Tennessee free pick.
Does Home Court Win Out for Tennessee?
The Volunteers do have some edges in this matchup, the first of which being home court advantage as Tennessee is 5-0 at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Vols also won this matchup 102-92 a year ago, although many of the faces on both side of the court have changed with Tennessee sending 3 players from last year’s team to the pros. Perhaps the biggest advantage Rick Barnes’ team has in this one is experience.
Senior Jordan Bowden is looking for a bounce back game after scoring just 3 points on 1-7 shooting. Bowden had scored in double figures in 7 straight games including a season high 26 in a win over Murray State earlier in the season. Bowden is a Sr. though, as is his backcourt duo Lamonte Turner. Together the two not only provide valuable veteran leadership, they also combine for over 27 ppg.
Jr. F John Fulkerson and Jr. G Yves Pons also average in double figures in scoring while providing upper classmen stability. Tennessee’s 57-60 loss to 8-2 Florida State as +2 underdogs is their only blemish on the season. Both teams shot under 35% from the floor that night but the Vols have bounced back nicely with a win over TCU and an expected blowout vs. FAMU.
NCAAB December 14th Memphis at Tennessee Free Pick
Tennessee hasn’t played in 10 days, does that mean rest or rust? Memphis may keep this one close in the 1st half because of that, but ultimately the veteran presence of a Vols team that has been in a ton of big games over the past year will win out. The Tigers are still just a bit to green to capture the green here.
Pick: Tennessee Volunteers -6.5