CFP Championship Preview: Alabama Has Value As Underdog
Just a week after dropping their opening conference game to Alabama, the Tennessee Volunteers are looking for a bounce-back game tonight in Knoxville. The Vols will host Ole Miss as the Rebels are kicking off their SEC schedule following the postponement of their game against Florida last week.
Tennessee has had to go through two tough opponents in the last few weeks. The Vols took down No. 6 Arizona right before Christmas at home, sending Tennessee into the stratosphere in terms of momentum. However, the timing of the win could have been better. The Vols then took off for the Christmas holiday, and by the time the team got back together, COVID had entered the situation.
On the road against Alabama, Tennessee was missing its two best players – Kennedy Chandler and John Fulkerson – as both players were on the shelf due to COVID. However, on Tuesday, Tennessee announced that its entire roster was cleared for team activities and would be available for practice later that day.
Ultimately, this should be a clean win for Tennessee without too much drama. Granted, that is said as long as things are going in the right direction. Tennessee is a more talented team than Ole Miss and will be able to show that tonight. After almost two weeks of not playing, it will be also fascinating to see how Chandler and Fulkerson get back into the swing of things. Knowing the talent level and maturity of both guys, though, it doesn’t seem like a huge worry.
How to Watch – Ole Miss (8-4, 0-0 SEC) @ No. 18 Tennessee (9-3, 0-1 SEC):
- Date: Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022
- Start Time: 7:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. CT
- TV: SEC Network
- Online Streaming: Watch ESPN/The ESPN App
- Radio (Knoxville): The Vol Network/The Vol Network App
Odds and Statistics
- Fanduel Sportsbook
- Spread: Tennessee -17.5 (-110)/Ole Miss +17.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: Tennessee -2100/Ole Miss +1000
- Total: Over/Under 134 (-110)
- Spread: Tennessee -17 (-110)/Ole Miss +17 (-110)
- Moneyline: Tennessee -1750/Ole Miss +950
- Total: Over/Under 134 (-110)
- ESPN’s Basketball Power Index currently gives Tennessee a 93.6 percent chance to win the game.
Additional Read from RTI: Ole Miss Down Key Players Before Showdown with Tennessee
- The Vols have been dominant over the Rebels in their 125 meetings to date. Of those games, Tennessee has a record of 75-45 over Ole Miss. In addition, Tennessee has a 43-12 record against Ole Miss with the game in Knoxville.
- Ole Miss did beat Tennessee in Knoxville last season by a score of 52-50. However, prior to that game, the Vols have four straight wins over the Rebels.
Probable Starters (via UT Sports)
- Ole Miss guard Jarkel Joiner has been ruled OUT in the game against the Vols due to injury.
- Points: Kennedy Chandler – 14.0 PPG, 44.4 FG%, 75.0 FT%
- Rebounds: John Fulkerson – 6.6 RPG, 3.4 DRPG, 3.2 ORPG
- Assists: Kennedy Chandler – 5.3 APG, 2.2 TOPG, 29.8 MPG
- Points: Jarkel Joiner (OUT) – 14.8 PPG, 41.8 FG%, 84.6 FT%
- Rebounds: Nysier Brooks – 7.8 RPG, 5.2 DRPG, 2.6 ORPG
- Assists: Austin Crowley – 3.1 APG, 1.2 TOPG, 17.1 MPG
Last Five Games
- 12/29/21 – L – Tennessee 68 @ Alabama 73
- 12/22/21 – W – Arizona 73 @ Tennessee 77
- 12/14/21 – W – USC Upstate 52 @ Tennessee 96
- 12/11/21 – W – UNC Greensboro 36 @ Tennessee 76
- 12/7/21 – L/OT * – Texas Tech 57 vs Tennessee 52
- 12/21/21 – L – Samford 75 @ Ole Miss 73
- 12/18/21 – W –Dayton 68 @ Ole Miss 76
- 12/15/21 – W – Middle Tennessee State 52 @ Ole Miss 62
- 12/11/21 – L – Western Kentucky 71 @ Ole Miss 48
- 12/4/21 – W – Memphis 63 @ Ole Miss 67
* Indicates game was played at a neutral location