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Michigan vs Tennessee South Region Picks: Vols Fold Against Wolverines

An underwhelming season from the Wolverines heated up with a win to start March Madness, with the experienced squad turning to the Volunteers next. Blue isn't without its issues but we're not backing the Vols in our Michigan vs. Tennessee picks.

Last Updated: Mar 19, 2022 7:45 AM ET Read Time: 4 min

The Michigan Wolverines were able to beat the Colorado State Rams without starting point guard DeVante’ Jones last round, but they’re expected to get him back in this NCAA Tournament matchup with the Tennessee Volunteers. 

Will the Wolverines, who are more talented than their 18-14 record suggests, upset the Volunteers in Indianapolis as March Madness action continues? You’ll just have to keep reading our Michigan vs. Tennessee March Madness picks and predictions to find out. 

Michigan vs Tennessee odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

Tennessee opened as a 5.5-point favorite in this exciting matchup with Michigan, and the Vols are now laying 6 on some sportsbooks. As for the total, the number opened at 136 and is a bit all over the place early on. You can find it between 135.5 and 136.5.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until tip-off and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your bets.

Michigan vs Tennessee predictions

Predictions made on 3/18/2022 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Michigan vs Tennessee game info

Location: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
Date: Friday, March 19, 2022
Tip-off: 1:00 p.m. ET

Michigan vs Tennessee betting preview


Michigan: DeVante’ Jones G (Questionable), Zeb Jackson G (Out).
Tennessee: Olivier Nkamhoua F (Out).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

Tennessee is 1-5 against the spread in its last six NCAA Tournament games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Michigan vs. Tennessee.

Michigan vs Tennessee picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

Michigan really struggled in the first half of its meeting with Colorado State, as the team was turning the ball over and struggling to run its offense. That isn’t that crazy either, as the team was without its starting point guard in that one. However, the Wolverines ended up playing much better basketball in the second half, when they got good shots at will against the Rams defense. Michigan also switched to a zone defense and completely turned the game on its head. Now, with Jones likely back in the mix, this is a dangerous team for Tennessee to have to face. 

The Volunteers play a physical brand of basketball and they’re second in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency (all efficiency stats from this season, but they could have trouble dealing with Hunter Dickinson around the paint in this one. Dickinson, who averaged 18.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game this year, had 21 points, six boards and four blocks against Colorado State last game. Tennessee is going to throw a lot of extra bodies at him in this contest, but that might not matter with his ability to get jump hooks off. Dickinson is also a good passer out of the post, so he could make the Volunteers pay for any help they send. 

Michigan hasn’t consistently hit threes this season, but it wouldn’t surprise anybody if the team started to here. Caleb Houstan hit three of them against the Rams in what looked like a breakout game. There’s a reason this team is 19th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency this year, and it’s because a lot of different players are capable of stepping up at different times. And don’t be surprised if Jones’ presence lifts everyone. The senior guard gets everybody on the team involved, and they’ll be excited to have him back out there. 

Defensively, Michigan definitely wasn’t great this season, as the team finished just 78th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency. However, injuries played a big part of that, and Tennessee isn’t exactly special on the offensive end. Kennedy Chandler is a tremendous point guard for the Volunteers, but his teammates come and go as scoring options. There’s no guarantee that Tennessee’s backcourt will outplay Michigan’s, and it’s also big that the Wolverines can throw Houstan on Josiah-Jordan James. Houstan’s length could bother the wing here.

Prediction: Michigan +6 (-110) 

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Over/Under analysis

While Tennessee’s ability to defend might make you lean towards taking the Under in this game, Michigan’s size could really give Rick Barnes’ squad some trouble. The Wolverines should be able to generate some offense by playing through Dickinson in the post, as the big lefty will find ways to get good shots for himself and his teammates. If Michigan is able to play some efficient basketball on the offensive end, it’s hard to see how this one won’t ultimately go Over the total. 

This season, the Over is 17-9 when Michigan plays against teams with winning records. The average total points scored in those games is 143.7 points per game. The Over is also 10-3 when the Wolverines play in games with a total of 130 to 139.5 this year. On top of that, three of the last five games that Tennessee has played have gone Over the total. The Over is also 4-1 in the last five NCAA Tournament games that the Volunteers have played.

Prediction: Over 135.5 (-110) 

Best bet

Michigan has all the momentum in the world after coming back to beat Colorado State, and the team now faces a Tennessee squad that is synonymous with disappointing March Madness results since Barnes became the leader of the program. The Volunteers are 1-5 against the spread in their last six NCAA Tournament games, and you just never know how much a team like this one could tighten up if things start going poorly. 

The Volunteers also have a lot of talented players on their roster, but their lack of a true center could ultimately give them a lot of trouble in this one. Michigan is a team that plays through its big man, but the rotation is also full of bigger wings. That should stand out in a game like this, and it shouldn’t surprise anybody if the Wolverines end up taking this game outright. They might not have had the best tournament resume in the world, but they’re loaded with talent and are more than capable of getting hot.

Pick: Michigan +6 (-110) 

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