The Tennessee Volunteers are back home in Knoxville, fresh off of a successful trip to the Bahamas. The Vols finished 3rd in a stacked Battle 4 Atlantis field, beating Purdue and N.C. State along the way. Tennessee couldn’t quite get the cherry on top and pull of the upset of No. 5 Villanova, but I think we all can be excited about what they accomplished over Thanksgiving.
The 4-1 Volunteers will return to Thompson-Boling Arena tonight to face the 5-2 Mercer Bears, who currently hold the best record of their peers in the SoCon. The Bears were picked to win the SoCon by the coaches in the conference.
Mercer’s two losses came to Central Florida and Colorado, both by nine points. Their five wins come over Toccoa Falls, Jackson State, Liberty, Drexel and Hiwasseen — not exactly resume building wins there.
Guard Ria’n Holland is the guy for this Mercer squad, averaging over 20 points per game. He’s 21-37 from three point range so far this season, shooting a shocking 56 percent to this point. He was held out of Mercer’s game on Sunday with an ankle injury, so that will be a story to follow leading up to this one.
Mercer currently ranks 16th in College Insider’s mid-major top 25. They have returned all five starters from last year’s team, which went 15-17.
Vegas has this one pegged as 10 point win for the Volunteers. As I noted above, Mercer has put together decent efforts against UCF and Colorado, so Tennessee needs to show up ready to roll tonight.
Tip-off: 7 PM Eastern
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Odds: Tennessee -10