Texas vs. Tennessee Prediction, Odds and Key Players for NCAA Tournament Second Round (Back the Volunteers)

College basketball betting preview for Texas-Tennessee. 

Mar 21, 2024; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Dalton Knecht (3) shoots over Saint Peter's.
Mar 21, 2024; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Dalton Knecht (3) shoots over Saint Peter's. / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Texas used its defense to stymie No. 10 Colorado State in its first-round NCAA Tournament victory on Thursday. The Longhorns held the Rams to 29.3% shooting and forced 19 turnovers to run away with a 56-44 win.

They’ll need top-tier defense in Round of 32 against No. 2 Tennessee, which boasts one of the nation’s highest-scoring offenses and is great on both sides of the ball. 

Tennessee blitzed No. 15 Saint Peter’s early and often in an 89-43 runaway win on Thursday. The Volunteers have had a reputation for coming up short in March Madness they’ll try to dispel by making a deep run.

Tennessee is a modest favorite Saturday to reach the Sweet 16 for the second-straight year. Here’s a betting preview of the matchup with a best bet. 

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Texas vs. Tennessee Odds, Spread and Total

Texas vs. Tennessee Betting Trends

  • Texas is 13-20 ATS this season
  • Tennessee is 17-15 ATS this season
  • Texas is 5-6 ATS as an underdog this season
  • Tennessee is 15-12-1 ATS as a favorite this season
  • The OVER is 20-13 in Texas games this season
  • The OVER is 17-16 in Tennessee games this season 

Texas vs. Tennessee How to Watch

  • Date: Saturday, March 23 
  • Game time: 8 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Spectrum Center
  • How to watch (TV): CBS
  • Texas record: 21-12
  • Tennessee record: 25-8

Texas vs. Tennessee Key Players to Watch


Chendell Weaver: Lost in the Longhorns’ suffocating win over Colorado State was that the Texas offense struggled, too. The Longhorns made just one 3-pointer but got great production from Weaver off the bench. The 6-foot-3 sophomore guard had 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting over 29 minutes. He’s now scored in double figures in three of the last five games. 


Zakari Zeigler: One of the key facilitators on a high-scoring Tennessee offense, the 5-foot-9 guard posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists in the first-round win over Saint Peter’s. Zeigler averages 11.8 points per game, as well, and has hit at least three 3-pointers in five of the last six games. 

Texas vs. Tennessee Prediction and Pick 

When Tennessee gets rolling, there are not a lot of defenses in the country that can slow down the Volunteers. 

Tennessee, No. 28 in KenPom in offensive efficiency, loves to light it up from the perimeter and can take advantage of a Texas defense that is solid in most areas except defending beyond the arc. Tennessee shoots 3-pointers at a 41.4% rate (No. 74 in the nation) and Texas is No. 229 in KenPom in defending triples. If the Volunteers have an off night shooting the rock, they should be able to clean up on the glass.

Tennessee is No. 64 in the nation in offensive rebounding while Texas allows the fourth-most offensive rebounds per game in the Big 12 (No. 222 nationally). 

Defense is still Tennessee’s bread and butter, though. The Volunteers can create transition opportunities with a defense that was No. 1 in the SEC in takeaways against a Texas offense that is No. 159 in turnover percentage. The Longhorns have struggled in this spot against formidable opponents (5-6 ATS as an underdog) and will run into a freight train Saturday when they line up against the Volunteers.

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Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.