Elusive Final Four Trip Could Be In Offing For Loaded Vols

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Last season, the University of Tennessee men’s basketball made the masses sit up and take notice as they battled Kentucky in the SEC title game but ultimately fell 77-72. Tennessee was given an invitation to the Big Dance and allotted the No. 3 seed in the South where they cruised past No. 14 Wright State but then became a casualty of the Cinderella team of the tournament when Loyola-Chicago eked out a 63-62 win and advanced to what would be a Final Four appearance. Junior guard Admiral Schofield promised “We will be back,” as the curtain closed on their season and it appears the pundits believe the Volunteers will not only be back but better than ever as evidenced by their No. 6 preseason ranking.

Schofield returns, as does many of his Tennessee teammates, including last season’s SEC Player of the Year, Grant Williams. The Vols will welcome back other key players, including sophomore forwards Derrick Walker and John Fulkerson, as well as point guards Jordan Bone, Jordan Bowden, and reigning SEC Sixth Man of the Year, Lamonte Turner. In addition, the team has a young freshman in D.J. Burns who could make an impact if he can withstand the rigors in the paint at the next level.

Point production and rebounding are the two areas that will hopefully improve with this year’s more seasoned edition. The Vols averaged just 73.9 points (tied for 168th) and 36.1 boards (131st) per game but their defense was the hallmark of their success as Tennessee ended the season ranked 24th in the nation in that category. Coach Rick Barnes understands that Williams and Schofield will be the focus of the opposition but is clearly tasking others to create space and opportunities of their own without relying solely on his twin terrors to generate offense.

Barnes remarked, “We’re gonna have guys that we’re going to play through, and everybody knows that. But we would like to get to a point where we aren’t relying on one or two guys.”


Oddsmakers Bullish on Vols

The college basketball regular season doesn’t mean a heck of a lot, but there are a handful of games to circle involving UT. The first of which is a date with No. 3 Gonzaga on December 9, followed six days later with a road trip to intrastate rival Memphis at FedEx Forum. The teams have agreed to renew their rivalry after a four-year hiatus and the Tigers are looking to improve upon their 21-13 record with new head coach and NBA great Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway at the helm.

On January 26, the Vols will welcome No. 13 West Virginia to Knoxville in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and will conclude with what is anticipated to be a series of critical conference showdowns late in the season which includes No. 2 Kentucky (twice), No. 23 LSU, No. 18 Mississippi State, and wrapping the season against No. 11 Auburn. All of those contests will occur over the last three weeks of the season and will go a long way to determining whether Tennessee is the real deal or just a paper tiger.

Anytime we look to get the pulse of the professionals who create the odds, set the lines, and allow the wagering public to decide which teams are worthy and which are not, we click over to Sportsbook Review. SBR is a site devoted to all things sports betting and displays the latest lines from the best online sportsbooks. According to the oddsmakers the Vols are the 11th choice in the nation to win the national championship at odds of +3500 and trending at +750 to make the Final Four. Tennessee may very well be poised to meet or beat their best Big Dance showing, which was in 2010 when they lost to Michigan State in the Elite Eight. If so, don’t delay and jump on the Tennessee bandwagon early because there might not be any room come April!

Written by SportsBook Review


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