Tennessee Opens As Slight Underdogs In SEC Opener At Alabama

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    will wade lsu auburn pregame

    Tennessee opened as 1.5-point underdogs with the line quickly moving to 2.5-points in Wednesday’s SEC opener at Alabama, according to BetOnline.ag.

    The No. 14 Vols (9-2) are looking to hand the defending SEC Champions, No. 19 Alabama (9-3), a loss to open the conference season.

    Both Tennessee and Alabama are expected to be two of the top five or six teams in the SEC that have a chance to win the regular season crown.

    The Crimson Tide have two of the best wins in the SEC this season, knocking off Gonzaga in Seattle and Houston at home. However, Alabama has losses to Iona, Davidson and Memphis.

    Still, Nate Oats’ third Alabama team is one of the best in the SEC and creates a great challenge.

    “Obviously they’re an outstanding team,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said. “Like all of us at certain times during the year, they’ve been through the ups and downs of it, but you know, when you think about it, you know what they like to do in terms of attacking the basket or the 3-point shot, and so you have to certainly know personnel as much as anything going into this game, because they’re going to work hard and get you in the rotation. Like in every game, I think rebounding is a key. But it’ll take a great effort. You think about some of their wins and how they’re capable of playing, and we know they’re explosive and can put up some numbers.”

    Tennessee is 7-4 against the spread this season and has covered the spread in seven of its nine wins.

    Alabama is 6-6 against the spread this season and has covered the spread in six of its nine wins.

    Tennessee and Alabama will tip-off at Coleman Coliseum at 9 p.m. ET and ESPN2 will broadcast the game.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.