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Tennessee vs. Purdue Expert Pick and Prediction – March 31, 2024

Tennessee vs. Purdue Expert Pick and Prediction – March 31, 2024 

TENNESSEE VS. PURDUE EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – March 31, 2024 — Once again, Purdue follows up a win over Gonzaga with a game against Tennessee. The Boilermakers grinded out a win over the Volunteers in November at the Maui Invitational, and they did it with strong rebounding and gritty play.

Neither team shot better than 35 percent in the first game, which is just how Tennessee coach Rick Barnes likes it. However, the Volunteers couldn’t take control because they couldn’t win the battle on the boards. And with Purdue still having Zach Edey in the paint, Tennessee’s going to be hard-pressed to change that fact.

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For the Boilermakers, taking better care of the basketball is critical. Purdue turned the ball over 16 times with just eight assists against the Volunteers and left 19 points at the free throw line. But that was also the game where Fletcher Loyer showed that he could be a crucial part of the offense when needed, as he lifted Purdue with 27 points.

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And that’s the biggest worry for Tennessee. While the Volunteers were only able to hurt Purdue with Dalton Knecht and Jordan Gainey, the Boilers got contributions from the entire lineup. If both teams play a cleaner game than what happened in November, Purdue would have the edge.

The Odds 







(27-8 SU, 18-16-1 ATS) 






(32-4 SU, 20-15-1 ATS)






When: Sunday, March 31 at 2:20 p.m. EST 

Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit


Public Bets: 70% on Purdue 

Public Money: 59% on Tennessee

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of March 31st, 2024

Tennessee vs. Purdue In-Season Trends 

For a defensive team, Tennessee has actually been better off when it doesn’t try to grind. The Vols have gone 2-2 ATS in this tournament, and the two covers came when they hit the gas and topped 80 points.

Against Mississippi State, they didn’t show up on offense at all, and against Texas, they played a grinder and escaped with a four-point win. Only North Carolina was able to both make Tennessee run and outscore the Vols, and that was in Chapel Hill.

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Maybe the Boilers just needed to get away from the Big Ten. Purdue failed to cover in five of its final six games against the Big Ten, but the Boilers are 3-0 ATS in the NCAA tournament. Purdue has not lost a game to non-Big Ten competition all season, and the Boilers went 11-2-1 ATS outside of the league.

The Difference-Makers 

Santiago Vescovi was a total non-factor in Maui, and he’s coming off not playing at all against Creighton. Vescovi missed all of his shots against the Boilers and only scored from the foul line, leaving Dalton Knecht to do all of the work. Knecht was able to find some of his shooting spots, but with Gainey the only other real scoring threat for Tennessee, the Volunteers couldn’t take advantage of Purdue’s mistakes.

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Fletcher Loyer put Purdue on his back last time, but Zach Edey actually had a rare off-game against the Volunteers last time. That’s odd to say considering Edey’s “off day” was 23 points, seven offensive rebounds and 10 boards total, but he shot just 9-for-17 from the stripe.

Edey has a huge edge in the paint against this team and can extend possessions whenever the Boilers need it. Keeping those possessions going might be critical, because the shooting spots that existed against Gonzaga might not be available here.

The Pick 

Tennessee will make this ugly, but it doesn’t have the personnel needed to stop Edey without fouling. The Boilers simply have too many weapons for Tennessee to be able to slow them down.

Both teams have improved since the meeting in Honolulu, but Purdue’s ceiling is higher than Tennessee’s. The Boilers should finally break through to the Final Four.

Dan’s Picks 

 Purdue -3.5  

 Under 147.5



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