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College basketball expert pick for No. 5 Tennessee vs. Georgia on Saturday

The No. 5 Volunteers will try to bounce back from a loss when visiting the Bulldogs today.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 16 High Point at Georgia Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We have an SEC showdown at Stegeman Coliseum to look forward to this afternoon as the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers will head down to Athens to visit the Georgia Bulldogs. Tipoff is set for noon ET and the game will air on ESPN2.

Tennessee (11-4, 1-1 SEC) will try to bounce back today after falling in a 77-72 loss to Mississippi State on Wednesday. The Vols were down 35-22 at the half, but worked their way back into the ballgame and tied the game at 72 in the final minute. However, a Tolu Smith And-1 and a Cameron Matthews dunk in the final moments sealed UT’s fate.

Georgia (12-3, 2-0 SEC) has been the biggest surprise in the league early in the conference slate and extended its win streak to 10 with a 76-66 victory over Arkansas on Wednesday. The Dawgs never trailed in this contest as it withstood a second-half run by the Razorbacks and maintained its distance. Justin Hill came off the bench and led the team with 19 points in the victory.

This is shaping up to be a defensive battle as Tennessee enters the game with the No. 2 ranked defense in adjusted efficiency per KenPom. The Volunteers are holding opponents to just 44.1% in effective shooting while the Bulldogs aren’t too far behind in that category at 45.1%. Along with home court, UGA will have a height advantage as its roster averages out to be a foot-and-a-half taller than UT’s.

What this game means for Tennessee

After Wednesday’s loss, Tennessee would love to get back on track and a win here could prevent it from sliding further down in next week’s AP poll. The Vols are a perfect 4-0 in Quad 2 games this season and a victory here would be another nice point on their tournament resume.

What this game means for Georgia

Georgia has shown great improvement this year, but there’s an #AintPlayedNobody element to its run. The Bulldogs have yet to face a single Quad 1 opponent this season and this game will be a critical test for a program that hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2015. A win here would put everyone on notice that the Dawgs are a serious SEC threat this season.

Tennessee vs. Georgia odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Tennessee -7.5
Total: 145.5
Moneyline: Tenn -355, UGA +280

Pick: Under 145.5