Tennessee vs. Kentucky - 3/11/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Adam FlemingMar 12, 2018

Tennessee hit 11 of its first 12 shots and shot 76 percent overall in racing out to a commanding 48-29 halftime lead over Arkansas. It's been 39 years since they last did it, and throughout the storied rivalry that's taken place almost every year since 1910, the Vols have only held a three-game winning streak or better against Kentucky six times.

Rather, trying to win the Volunteers' first tournament championship in nearly 40 years is always where the Tennessee junior expected to be - even when the Rocky Top faithful were disappointed by a preseason pick of 13th in the SEC. That enabled him to match his season's average (13.6 ppg) in the final 3:15 of the half and bring Tennessee within 36-31 at intermission. They had a 4-game losing streak this season and that's only happened 7 times at Kentucky in nearly 100 YEARS. Gilgeous-Alexander was 10-for-16 from the field and 7-for-7 at the foul line. He has been particularly impressive since the All-Star break, putting together three 40-point performances, including a 53-point, 18-rebound outburst in the Pelicans' victory over the Phoenix Suns on February 26.

"He is just silky smooth and at the end of games, he wants the ball". Kentucky holds an early 8-3 lead behind five quick points from Kevin Knox. A Sacha Killeya-Jones put-back dunk on the next possession was part of six straight points that made it 68-62, giving Kentucky momentum for the ending stretch. Little did we all know, however, that all that would come to an abrupt halt in just two years. More importantly, he did not have a turnover. Again the stoppage of play changed the game. He had to wait his turn.

The Vols put on a show offensively, shooting 57.1 percent (28-of-49) from the field.

Tennessee averages 4.5 blocks per game, which ranks 38th in the NCAA.

"They pretty much just picked us apart", Gafford said. "Tennessee did and we really responded".

"I'm real, real proud of those guys and what they've done up to this point", Anderson said.

UT teamwork was on display on a Bone three-pointer that reduced UK's lead to 55-54.

Tennessee will have that chance at its first conference tournament title since 1979, courtesy of an 84-66 win over Arkansas in the semifinals on Saturday. "They looked like - and John does such a great job", Barnes said. "But we came out in the second half and played better".

P.J. Washington hit four straight free throws to give United Kingdom the lead again 59-57.

Tennessee should be no worse than a No. 3 seed in the NCAA, so playing and winning this type of game should give United Kingdom added momentum in the NCAA.

"I'm not telling you what time I went to sleep", guard Daryl Macon said. "I told you a few weeks ago not to count Kentucky out when they had some struggles".

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