10 Jun

what are the odds?

The oddsmakers don’t like Southern Miss’ chances of beating Tennessee in the best-of-3 Super Regional that starts today (2 p.m., ESPNU). The Vols are heavily favored. Even though: USM beat the odds to win the Auburn Regional through the losers bracket. Even though: USM is 26-5 at Taylor Park. Even though: Tennessee is 5-12 on the road and 7-14 away from home overall. Even though: It has been 31 years since a UT team ventured south to Hattiesburg. Even though: The Pete will be filled to the gills with extremely vocal gold-shirted cranks. Tennessee is favored. Even though: The Golden Eagles scored 40 runs in five games in the regional and had five hitters make the all-tournament team. Even though: USM has put up double-digit runs nine times at home this season. (“The park tends to play a little offensive, so they’ve always had good offenses,” Vols coach Tony Vitello said of USM’s lineup.) Tennessee is favored. Even though: The Eagles’ deep pitching staff features All-America right-hander Tanner Hall (12-3, 2.08 ERA), penciled in for Game 2 on Sunday. (“He takes advantage of hitters who are overzealous. Really preys on hitters who are overzealous,” the high-strung Vitello said of Hall.) Tennessee is favored. Even though: Eagles players desperately want to keep the season alive for their retiring coach, the beloved and respected Scott Berry. Yes, Tennessee has some power bats, five with 12 or more homers. And the Vols have two pitchers ranked by MLB Pipeline among the top 2023 draft prospects, including No. 6 Chase Dollander, expected to go Sunday. But these Eagles have a lot going for them this weekend, despite what the odds might say.

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