We will see which team adjusts to the neutral site better heading into the SEC tournament Kentucky vs Tennessee matchup. These teams split their regular season matchup, with UK winning 107-79 in Lexington and the Volunteers returning the favor 76-63 in Knoxville.
The Wildcats had a somewhat tougher time than expected in their tournament opener, beating #11 seed Vanderbilt 77-71 as -11 point favorites. Tennessee cruised to a 72-59 win over Mississippi State to cover the -7.5 point spread. Kentucky is a -3 point favorite on Saturday afternoon despite being the lower seed.
It’s Been Awhile for UK
Kentucky is trying to get back to the SEC championship game for the first time since 2018, but in the big picture a conference tournament win could have the #5 Wildcats in line for a possible #1 seed. #2 Arizona, #6 Kansas, and #7 Duke also play for their respective conference championships so their could be an odd team out here.
First things first for UK, they have a tough matchup in the SEC tournament Kentucky vs Tennessee contest. The Wildcats have gone 5-1 since their loss to the Vols on February 15th, but were pushed to the brink by Vanderbilt who was up 46-39 at one point in the second half.
TyTy Washington, Jr. made sure Kentucky got to the semifinals with 25 points. Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe was named SEC Player of the Year this week, but he was held to 12 points vs. Vanderbilt. Tschiebwe is still a major force as he has at least 14 rebounds in 15 straight games.
Tennessee Trying to Get Back
The Volunteers will try to get to the SEC Championship game for the third time in the last four years there was a tournament. The Vols haven’t won the postseason tournament since 1979, losing to Kentucky in 2018 and Auburn in 2019.
The top three teams in the SEC were all undefeated at home this year, but it’s about what you do on the neutral site at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The Vols turned it on in their tournament opener, only up 2 points at the half before powering to a 13-point win over Mississippi State led by 16 points from Josiah Jordan James.
As with any time you match up with Kentucky, the #1 goal for Tennessee is trying to contain Tschiebwe. They did a good job of that at Rupp Arena as he had 9 points albeit with 12 rebounds, and even 13 points /15 rebounds was manageable back in Knoxville considering the Volunteers got the win. Santiago Vescovi averaged 19 points in the two meetings against Kentucky this season.
Free SEC Tournament Kentucky vs Tennessee Betting Pick
UK is a -2.5 favorite in this matchup, and nearly 70% of public betting is backing John Calipari’s squad. Tshiebwe is a beast but the Vols have a 1st team all conference player in Vescoti, a second teamer in Kennedy Chandler, and a member of the all-defensive team in Zakai Zeigler.
Kentucky is playing for a potential #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament which does make them dangerous in this spot. Tennessee is no slouch though, and can easily get this upset.
Tennessee 68 – Kentucky 67
Free Pick: Tennessee +2.5