NCAA Basketball Picks: Middle Tennessee State vs. Tennessee: November 30th 2010
This looks like a tough spot for Tennessee. The Vols return home off an unexpected preseason NIT championship in New York. Tennessee upended favorite Villanova in the championship game; the Vols were a 6-point underdog in that game and now they are laying a significant price to an in-state rival.
Off their tournament win, head coach Bruce Pearl is concerned about tonight’s game with Middle Tennessee St. “It’s one thing to say it. It’s one thing to practice it. It’s another thing to do it,” Pearl said. “It’s definitely a trap game for us because of the excitement of playing in Madison Square Garden, the intensity, the media attention. It’s just human nature. Middle’s getting us at a really good time, and they know it.”
Middle Tennessee is a decent Sun Belt team. The Blue Raiders can score points as they are averaging 76 points per game on 43.2% shooting from the floor. MTSU also has a solid backcourt with seniors James Washington and Rod Emanuel that won’t be intimidated by playing in a tough venue. Tennessee is obviously the better team, but it’s unlikely they’ll bring their ‘A’ game tonight which should allow MTSU to sneak inside the number.