NCAA Basketball Betting Futures: Tennessee strikes an early blow against Gonzaga
Does an exhibition game have some impact as to how we look at the national championship picture in college basketball? Maybe it does, when you put two nationally-ranked teams together. BetOnline customers may have been somewhat surprised. But if they watched, they saw the Tennessee Volunteers run away and hide from the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Friday. The final of 99-80 served notice that the Vols are a threat to Kentucky, Arkansas and whoever else wants to stand tall in the SEC.
Tennessee is ranked #11 in the preseason Associated Press poll. Gonzaga, which brings back All-American Drew Timme, is #2.
NCAA Basketball Futures – Gonzaga still gets the respect
Here’s what we’re looking at from BetOnline as far as the NCAA Championship odds:
NCAA Basketball Futures – Julian Phillips could be the next one-and-done star
One of the big boosts for Tennessee in the off-season is that they were able to sign Julian Phillips, a five-star recruit out of Blythewood, SC. He was virtually silent early against Gonzaga, going scoreless in the first half. But then he had a dozen points in the second half and a was a big factor in Tennessee extracting a sizable advantage. The Volunteers didn’t necessarily need any first-half explosions from him anyway, as they shot 57% from the field.
Tennessee allowed the ‘Zags to hit 59% of their first-half field goals. But what was impressive about the Vols is that they permitted Gonzaga to score just ten points in the final 7:42. Part of it was that they were just too physical for the Bulldogs, as coach Mark Few put it.
If they keep using Tyreke Key the way they are, they are going to be able to put retro-rockets on the second unit. Key, who transferred from Indiana State, had 26 points off the bench and Gonzaga had no answer. Between the transfer and a shoulder injury, he hadn’t played in about a year and a half.
Phillips probably won’t be in Knoxville very long. He is expected to stay a year and go into the NBA Draft. And the early projection is that he’ll be a first-rounder, after the lottery picks. He’s 6-8 and about 190, and one of his big challenges will be proving he can defend different positions.
If any team went to Rick Barnes, one of the nation’s best coaches, they would get quite the glowing recommendation.
“His time here, it’s been incredible, almost like a dream to coach him,” Barnes says.
NCAA Basketball Futures — Vols seek to take it a few levels higher
Last year’s Tennessee team lost only to the cream of the crop. There were defeats at the hands of Villanova, Texas and Texas Tech in the out-of-conference schedule. And Alabama, LSU, Kentucky and Arkansas beat them in SEC play. There were also big wins over Kentucky (twice), North Carolina, Auburn, Arkansas and Arizona. In the NCAA Tournament they got to second-round play and lost to Michigan. They ranked third in the nation in defensive efficiency.
Rick Barnes is a former Naismith Coach of the Year winner. He has guided four different programs into the NCAA Tournament (Providence, Clemson, Texas, Tennessee). And he made it to the Final Four with the Longhorns in 2003. With the Vols, he’s won one SEC regular season title and one conference tournament championship.
There’s a lot of great stuff coming from BetOnline when it comes to college basketball action this season. There are a lot of teams on the board, and plenty of action to be had….. Make sure you check every day for what’s available from Prop Builder, and remember that Odds Boosters give you great parlay payouts every day….. If you’ve got crypto, you’re in luck, as they accept.