Tennessee vs. Texas A&M Prediction: Will the Volunteers End Their SEC Tournament Championship Drought?

College basketball expert Mike Spector offers his best bet for the SEC Tournament Championship between the Texas A&M Aggies and Tennessee Volunteers, which tips at 1:00 PM ET and airs on ESPN.
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Tennessee vs. Texas A&M Prediction: Will the Volunteers End Their SEC Tournament Championship Drought?

If you accurately predicted an SEC Tournament Championship between the Texas A&M Aggies and Tennessee Volunteers, take a bow. While it is not that surprising to have the No. 2 seed Volunteers in the championship game, the No. 8 seed Aggies have shocked many to get to this point. As a result, Texas A&M has made a compelling case for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid but can take the decision out of the committee’s hands with a win today. 

Will the Aggies’ Cinderella run continue, or will the Volunteers break through for a long-awaited conference tournament championship? Here are our picks and predictions for the SEC Tournament Championship between the Texas A&M Aggies and Tennessee Volunteers.

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Tennessee vs. Texas A&M Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Sunday, March 13

Game Time: 1:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: ESPN

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Tennessee vs. Texas A&M SEC Tournament Final Prediction

Texas A&M (23-11, 9-9) searches for its first-ever SEC Tournament championship, as the closest they have come was a loss in the 2016 finals to Kentucky. Conversely, Tennessee lost consecutive SEC championships in 2018 and 2019 and has not won a conference tournament since 1979. 

The Volunteers beat the Aggies 90-80 in their only regular-season meeting on February 1st. That loss was in the middle of Texas A&M’s midseason eight-game losing streak, so the fact that A&M has won seven of eight since that losing streak means Buzz Williams did an incredible job keeping his team together.

The 170-point total in the first meeting between these teams was aided by the fact that 42 fouls were called, and the teams combined for 52 free-throw attempts. Five Volunteers scored in double figures (along with four Aggies), and Tennessee made 42.3% of its 3-point attempts. In addition, Tennessee’s pressure defense forced 16 Aggies turnovers, including five combined from the backcourt of Wade Taylor and Tyrece Radford. 

Tennessee will again look to dominate the glass as they outrebounded Texas A&M 34-27. The Aggies’ undersized frontcourt has had an issue keeping teams off the offensive glass all season, as they rank 339th in the country, allowing opponents to secure 33% of their misses. That is especially an issue against the Volunteers, who rank 45th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage.

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While Texas A&M defends the pick-and-roll very well, Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes has evolved his team from a heavy pick-and-roll offense involving Kennedy Chandler to a more flex-cut heavy offense. That system bodes well for offensive success against the Aggies defense, who are much better defending on the ball than they are off the ball. Meanwhile, Tennessee ranks third in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency (per KenPom), and their elite defense has held eight of their last nine opponents to 68 or fewer points. 

Tennessee is coming off a physical game against Kentucky, but they have the advantage of playing one fewer game in this tournament than Texas A&M, who did not have the luxury of a first-round bye. 

The Volunteers are one of the most profitable teams in the country as favorites, covering the spread in 16 of 25 games. And while Texas A&M is 11-5 ATS as underdogs and 6-2 ATS against ranked opponents, Tennessee has been knocking on the door for an SEC Tournament championship for quite some time, and we think this is the year they win that elusive championship. Winning four games in four days will prove too difficult a task for the Aggies, and we expect the Volunteers to muscle their way to a cover in this game.

Tennessee vs. Texas A&M Pick

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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