South Carolina is one spot away from entering the AP Top 25 poll for the first time since the 2016-17 season. A road win over No. 5 Tennessee would probably do the trick. The Gamecocks sit in third in the SEC after rattling off three consecutive conference victories, including a 79-62 win over No. 6 Kentucky Jan. 23. Can they go into Knoxville and hang within the double-digit number to continue an impressive ATS run as underdogs?
Tennessee is firing on all cylinders, winning 11 of its last 12 games after a three-game losing streak against arguably the toughest stretch of opponents (Purdue, Kansas, North Carolina) imaginable back in November. The Volunteers’ only conference loss came at Mississippi State Jan. 10 (77-72), but they’ve won four straight since, including the last three by double digits. Can they pull away again on Tuesday?
Here’s a preview of the conference clash with a best bet.
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South Carolina vs. Tennessee odds, spread and total
South Carolina vs. Tennessee betting trends
- South Carolina is 15-5 ATS this season
- Tennessee is 8-10-1 ATS this season
- South Carolina is 7-1 ATS as an underdog this season
- Tennessee is 8-7-1 ATS as a favorite this season
- The OVER is 9-10-1 in South Carolina games this season
- The OVER is 11-8 in Tennessee games this season
South Carolina vs. Tennessee how to watch
- Date: Tuesday, Jan. 30
- Game time: 6:30 p.m. EST
- Venue: Thompson-Boling Arena
- How to watch (TV): SEC Network
- South Carolina record: 17-3 (5-2 SEC)
- Tennessee record: 15-4 (5-1 SEC)
South Carolina vs. Tennessee key players to watch
B.J. Mack: After three impressive seasons at Wofford, Mack has entered the SEC and made an immediate impact for the Gamecocks. The 6-foot-8 senior forward is averaging 13.9 points per game and leads South Carolina in rebounding at 5.4 per night. Over the last five games, Mack has scored in double figures four times and is averaging 16.8 points in that span.
Dalton Knecht: Simply put, Knecht has been unstoppable over the last three weeks and looks like the prospect that is projected to go in the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-6 senior guard was held to 8 points in Tennessee’s 90-64 win over Ole Miss Jan. 6. In five games since, he is averaging 32 points and is shooting an absurd 47.2% from beyond the arc (17-of-36).
South Carolina vs. Tennessee prediction and pick
It’s the unstoppable force vs. the immovable object in this matchup. South Carolina is 15-5 ATS this season and 7-1 as an underdog. Tennessee is 10-0 straight up at home and have cruised in those contests, winning by an average of 21.6 points per game. The Volunteers have soared past the number as a home favorite in conference play, too, covering by 12.5 points per game in blowouts of Alabama, Florida and Ole Miss.
Tennessee is the perfect team to get margin as a big favorite thanks to the No. 18 offense that now has Knecht going nuclear on a nightly basis and a defense that ranks No. 2 in efficiency, according to KenPom.
Tennessee makes life challenging for opposing offenses, especially in Knoxville. The Volunteers are No. 6 in KenPom in defending shots from two-point range, No. 25 against perimeter attempts and they cause chaos, too, ranking No. 56 in steal percentage. South Carolina’s offense is No. 59 overall but its middle-of-the-road metrics do little to think they can put up points in a hostile environment against an elite defense.
South Carolina’s defense is No. 130 in defending shots from 3-point range and Tennessee doesn’t shoot the ball particularly well from deep (No. 159). The Gamecocks excel inside the arc, ranking No. 24 against 2s. South Carolina might have an impressive ATS record, but this is just the second time it's getting double figures. The first time, they were blown out by Alabama as a 12-point dog, 74-47, earlier this month, then lost outright as a 6.5-point favorite to George a week later.
With Tennessee’s home dominance up against South Carolina’s gritty underdog performances, stay away from the spread and go under the total in a matchup of two great defenses around the rim.
Pick: Under 137
Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.