One of the biggest games in college basketball tonight will feature the Tennessee Volunteers heading to College Station to take on the Aggies. We’ll preview the game before going over why I’m targeting a moneyline bet for the SEC showdown.
With four games left in the season, Texas A&M sits in 2nd place in the SEC, despite being picked to finish 6th in preseason rankings. What the Aggies have accomplished this season has been incredibly impressive, and they will enter tonight’s matchup with the 3rd place Volunteers amid a five-game win streak.
To win on a nightly basis in the SEC, teams need to be strong on both ends of the floor, and the Aggies certainly have been this season. Currently, the Aggies rank 24th in offensive efficiency rating and 47th in defensive rating, according to KenPom, which has allowed them to win defensive battles and high-scoring shootouts.
In their most recent win against Missouri, the Aggies held an impressive Tigers offense to 39% from the field and 35% from three while also outrebounding them by 16 boards. The ability to win close defensive battles will likely prove to be a determining factor tonight, as they take on a Tennessee team that ranks number one in the country in defensive efficiency rating, according to KenPom.
The Volunteers will enter tonight’s game on a much different note than the Aggies, as they have lost four of their last six games, with their most recent game being a 12-point loss to Kentucky. Tennessee has been susceptible to offensive lapses recently as they have scored under 65 points in four of their last six games and now rank 68th in offensive efficiency rating, according to KenPom.
Tennessee had just two players score in double figures on Saturday against Kentucky and finished the game with a 37% field goal percentage. One of the biggest questions in tonight’s game will be which Volunteers offense shows up and how they will bounce back against an Aggies defense ranked 17th in opponent field goal percentage.
Texas A&M is currently listed as -1.5 point favorites, but for my best play in this one, I’ll be taking them on the moneyline at (-115). The Aggies are 13-1 straight up at home this season and 17-4 when listed as a favorite. On the flip side, the Volunteers lost the only other game they were listed as the underdog in outright, and they are 4-4 straight-up when on the road.
The Aggies' defense could make scoring hard to come by for the Vols, as they are 66th in the country in opponent field goals attempts per game, and with the way Tennessee shot it in their most recent game, not getting their usual volume of shots could cause problems in terms of scoring output. On the season, the Volunteers' effective field goal percentage drops by 6.3% on the road.
Offensively, the Aggies have been getting solid production from their starting unit, especially leading scorer Wade Taylor IV who is 11 for 18 from three over the last three games. If the game shakes down to being a defensive battle, the Aggies have the shooting advantage tonight, and I think that is enough to make the difference in a close game.
Texas A&M (-115)