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College sports betting: Tennessee at South Carolina

Tennessee (17-12, 7-7 SEC) holds a – 4 ½ spread as the Volunteers travel to Columbia in Thursday’s college sports betting. Tip-off against the South Carolina Gamecocks (14-13, 5-9 SEC) is at 7pm EST at Colonial Life Arena.

Tennessee is fighting for a spot in the NCAA tournament after wrapping up its 2011 season in the middle of the pack in the SEC. The conference features more prominent teams including No. 14 Florida, No. 20 Vanderbilt and No. 23 Kentucky.

The Vols defeated the Gamecocks 73-67 two weeks ago in a home game at Knoxville. Tennessee has been inconsistent the past month. After opening their season with seven straight wins, the Vols have lost five of their last seven games and their hopes of participating in March Madness is on life support. The latest setback came as a loss to Mississippi State at home 70-69 on Saturday.

As they travel to South Carolina, UT is interestingly better on the road having secured one more win on the road than at home in SEC play. Junior guard Scotty Hopson leads the way averaging 17.6 points per game. Forward Tobias Harris adds 14.3 points and 7.6 rebounds.

Center Brian Williams anchors the frontcourt with 7 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest. However, Williams missed a few days of practice due to a sore back. The Vols’ third-leading scorer is Cameron Tatum and UT is 10-4 when Tatum reaches double figures.

The Gamecocks have played out their season with a young team with comparatively little experience. South Carolina is led by freshman guard Bruce Ellington who averages 13.1 points, 3.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds. Senior forward Sam Muldrow is their second leading scorer at 11 points and 7 rebounds.

UT averages 70.8 points on offense while allowing 66.7 points on defense. South Carolina scores 68.3 points on offense while allowing 69.3 points on defense. The Vols hold a – 4 ½ spread against the Gamecocks in Thursday’s college sports betting.