#10 Alabama vs #18 Missouri Road to March Madness

#10 Alabama vs #18 Missouri Road to March Madness | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Big game in the SEC on the day before the Super Bowl on Saturday as No. 10 Alabama (15-4, 10-0 SEC) looks to all but wrap up the conference’s regular-season title when it visits second-place and No. 18 Missouri (12-3, 5-4), with the Tide as short NCAAB betting favorites.

How to Bet Alabama at Missouri NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

The school split last season, with the game at Missouri ending in favor of the Tigers 69-50 in what would be the final game of the season for both when the SEC and NCAA Tournament were both canceled. Both teams played brutal offense in the first half, as each committed 12 turnovers. Missouri emerged with a 21-20 lead. The Tigers went on a 10-0 run midway through the second half to take a 44-37 lead and that was essentially that. Dru Smith scored 17 points to lead Missouri. He’s a key part of this year’s team as well.

Why Bet on Alabama? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Tide are one of the few schools around the country without a conference loss. They beat visiting LSU on Wednesday, 78-60 to easily sweep the season series. Alabama held a six-point lead at halftime and opened the second half on an 11-2 run, and the Tigers could not catch up. After setting a league record with 23 made 3-pointers in their previous matchup on Jan. 19, Alabama showed it has multiple ways to win, this time by holding LSU to its lowest scoring output of the season.  It’s the first season sweep of the Tigers since the 2016-17 campaign.

“We went 1-for-17 for a stretch there in the second half, which, we’re just not capable of overcoming that, especially on the road against a very good team,” LSU coach Will Wade said.

Five players scored in double figures and the reserves contributed 34 points for the Tide. Guard Jaden Shackelford led the Tide with 19 points, while forward Alex Reese added 13 points and four rebounds. Forward Juwan Gary had career highs of 12 points and seven rebounds while guards Jahvon Quinerly and Keon Ellis both added 10.

Alabama shot 47.8 percent (33-of-69) from the field while holding LSU to just 30.8 percent (20-of-65). The Tide dominated the boards, grabbing 51 rebounds to LSU’s 35 which led to 17 second chance points for the Tide compared to just four for the Tigers. Alabama bullied the Tigers inside, scoring a season-high 52 points in the paint and holding the Tigers to 26.

“I thought this was a quality win,” Bama coach Nate Oats said. “We obviously didn’t play well offensively as far as shooting the ball. We had a few too many turnovers, but we have to find ways to win when we’re not hitting threes.”

The 10-0 start in SEC play is the second-best start in conference play in program history (1955-56 team finished the year with a perfect 14-0 record).

Why Bet on Missouri? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Tigers were 75-70 home winners over Kentucky on Wednesday. Down 40-27 at halftime, Kentucky went on a 15-3 run to start the second half and cut Missouri’s lead to one. But the Wildcats never got the lead, hurt by a scoring drought of more than three minutes, and couldn’t rally after being down by four with the ball and 1:15 left as the Tigers earned the second win over Kentucky in program history, with both coming during the Cuonzo Martin era.

In a foul-filled second half where both teams were in the bonus with 11:28 remaining, numerous players dealt with foul trouble late into the game. Kentucky big man Olivier Sarr fouled out with 5:32 to play while Boston did so with 1:01 left. Three other players (Kentucky’s Devin Askew and Lance Ware, Missouri’s Kobe Brown) were saddled with four fouls.

Redshirt senior Dru Smith led all scorers with a season-high 26 points, including two 3-pointers and five assists. Dru has reached double figures in seven straight games this season, and in 12 out of the Tigers’ 15 contests. Mizzou shot 42 percent from beyond the 3-point line, which marks the Tigers’ second highest clip this season.

Mitchell Smith grabbed a season-high 12 boards to go along with five points and two assists. Mizzou outpaced Kentucky, 11-2, in second-chance points. Senior Mark Smith tossed in 11 points with three 3-pointers, hitting key shots in the second half to stave off a Kentucky comeback. Xavier Pinson finished the game with 14 points and now has scored in double figures 11 times this season. Pinson also added four assists and three steals.

With the win, Mizzou improved to 12-3, the best 15 game start to a season since the 2013-14 squad started 13-2.

Expert Prediction

  • Alabama 77, Missouri 75

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