NIT Tournament Odds: Middle Tennessee vs Tennessee Volunteers
Sunday, March 18, 2012
by Mike Stewart
Tennessee Volunteers already has exceeded expectations in coach Cuonzo Martin's first year, and the Volunteers will try to continue their march toward a postseason title -- albeit not the most coveted one -- when they face in-state rival Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in the second round of the NIT.
The winner will face the Miami-Minnesota winner in the third round, Wednesday. Tennessee has been tough at home, winning 13 of its last 14 at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Volunteers have won five of six and nine of 11 overall.
Middle Tennessee State defeated Tennessee in the first round of the 1988 NIT in Murfreesboro, Tenn., but the Vols have won nine straight against the Blue Raiders since.
Tennessee Volunteers (19-14): Tennessee beat Savannah State 65-51 in the first round despite the absence of junior Jeronne Maymon, who continues to rehab a lingering right knee injury. The 6-foot-7 forward has a chance to return Monday, but Martin said this week the Vols are preparing for another game without their leading scorer (14.2 ppg) and rebounder (7.9 rpg). Without Maymon, Tennessee's freshmen led the way, combining for 33 points. Jarnell Stokes scored a team-high 13 points, and Yemi Makanjuola and Josh Richardson each added 10.
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (26-6): Led by Iowa State transfer LaRon Dendy (14.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg), the Blue Raiders won the Sun Belt's Eastern Division and put together one of the best seasons in school history. Dendy was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year, and he has a strong complement in Marcos Knight (11.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg). The Blue Raiders have 11 wins away from home, including a 20-point victory at UCLA and a neutral site win over Mississippi.
1. Tennessee is one win away from the 24th 20-win season in school history. It would be Martin's third 20-win campaign as a head coach.
2. The Vols have held 10 opponents to 60 points or less this season, but the Vols' defense will be challenged against a Middle Tennessee team that averages 72.4 points.
3. Since the 2005-06 season, Tennessee is 34-10 against in-state division I opponents.
NCAA BASKETBALL PREDICTION: Volunteers 72, Blue Raiders 62.
- March 13 NIT Hoops Prediction: Savannah State vs Tennessee
- NCAA Picks and Tips: Vanderbilt Commodores vs Tennessee Volunteers
- NCAA Betting Lines: Mississippi Rebels and Tennessee Volunteers
- NIT Tournament Odds: Minnesota vs Middle Tennessee
- NCAA SEC Tournament Predictions: Mississippi vs Tennessee
jarnell stokes - jeronne maymon - josh richardson - laron dendy - marcos knight - middle tennessee blue raiders - middle tennessee state blue raiders - tennessee volunteers - thompson-boling arena - yemi makanjuola