The No. 4 seed Tennessee Volunteers (23-10, 11-7 SEC) will open their NCAA Tournament with a matchup with the No. 13 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (26-7, 13-5 Sun Belt) on Thursday night. The first-round contest will tip off at 9:40 p.m. ET from Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, and can be seen on CBS.
Let’s take a look at the odds and lines on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some picks.
No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 13 Louisiana picks
Spread: Tennessee -11.5
Moneyline: Tennessee -600, Louisiana +450
Tennessee finished in a tie for fourth place in the SEC standings and lost to the Missouri Tigers 79-71 in the conference tournament semifinal round. Louisiana qualified for the big dance by rolling through the Sun Belt Tournament, capped off by a 71-66 win over the South Alabama Jaguars in the final.
Tennessee will be without starting point guard Zakai Zeigler, and the Vols lost two of the three games since he went down with a torn ACL in late February. The advanced metrics love Tennessee, which rates fifth overall in KenPom, but we only have a three-game sample size with the new starting lineup. Louisiana’s strength comes on the offensive end with Jordan Brown leading the way with 19.4 points and 8.7 rebounds, and the Ragin’ Cajuns should do enough to keep the deficit within the number.
Pick: Louisiana +11.5