Vol-Auburn prediction

If Tennessee's basketball team limits homestanding Auburn to less than 70 points today, the Vols should win. If Auburn scores 70 points or more, the Tigers probably will win.

Statistically at least, that's the way this season has gone for the Big Orange. UT's magic number appears to be 70.

Tennessee has allowed more than 70 points five times this season and has gone 0-5 in those games. Conversely, the Vols have allowed fewer than 70 points 11 times this season and has gone 10-1 in those games. The only time the Big Orange held an opponent below 70 and lost was Dec. 21 at West Virginia, when UT fell 65-62.

Here's a recap:

WHEN THE FOE SCORES LESS THAN 70 POINTS

UT 75, Gardner-Webb 69
UT 88, VMI 56
UT 70, Georgia Tech 69
UT 63, Charleston Southern 49
West Virginia 65, UT 62
UT 79, Western Carolina 61
UT 77, UT-Martin 50
UT 71, New Mexico 64
UT 66, Ole Miss 64
UT 71, Vanderbilt 66
UT 60, South Carolina 56

WHEN THE FOE SCORES MORE THAN 70 POINTS

Texas A&M 83, UT 66
Kentucky 74, UT 71
Florida 77, UT 64
Georgia 81, UT 76
Louisville 72, UT 69

Another key for Tennessee today will be finishing strong. The Vols have a tendency to fade down the stretch. This caused them to squander double-digit leads in recent losses to Georgia and Louisville.

''We need to play winning basketball for 40 minutes,'' Buzz Peterson said earlier this week. ''We seem to hold our own for the first 25 minutes, but then we don't play as well. It will take sharp play all 40 minutes to win this game. Auburn is physical, which means we've got to hit a high level of intensity and hold it there.''

My pick: Tennessee 67, Auburn 64


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