#19 Missouri vs. #6 Tennessee

#19 Missouri vs. #6 Tennessee | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on January 21, 2021

The marquee game from the SEC on Saturday is a ranked matchup between No. 19 Missouri and No. 6 Tennessee as the Vols look to rebound from a shockingly one-sided loss to Florida earlier this week. UT will be a solid favorite on the NCAAB odds vs. the Tigers.

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

Last Meeting

The schools met at Missouri on Dec. 30 when the Tigers were ranked No. 12 and the Vols No. 7 and Tennessee won 73-53. Yves Pons scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked four shots to lead the Vols. His early blocks caused Missouri players to alter their shots when they got into the lane. The Tigers shot just 36% from the field. The Tigers had just four assists and 21 turnovers and were thoroughly frustrated by Tennessee’s defense. The Volunteers made their first seven shots to build a 21-4 lead. The second half was more of the same as the Volunteers hit their first three shots and scored eight points in the first minute and a half. Tennessee led by as many as 28 points.

Why Bet on Missouri? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Tigers (9-2) beat South Carolina 81-70 on Tuesday. Missouri jumped out to a 10-0 lead and didn’t allow South Carolina to get closer than five points the rest of the way. Up 45-34 at halftime, the Tigers weren’t quite able to turn it into a rout but were never seriously threatened. The Tigers led by as much as 18 points in the second half, and the 81 points allowed by the Gamecocks were a season high. Missouri also outscored South Carolina 20-7 in transition.

“You want to get up and down and play, you want to have some excitement,” Tigers coach Cuonzo Martin said. “The key is you have to continue to grow in that role and how you play that way, that pace you play. But you’ve got to still be tough defensively to get stops.”

Senior Jeremiah Tilmon, Jr. continued his torrid stretch, finishing with 19 points, 10 rebounds, three blocked shots, and two assists. Mizzou is now 10-0 when he reaches 16+ points in his career. Tilmon has four double-doubles in his last six games. Mizzou is now 10-0 when he reaches 16+ points in his career.

Tilmon is the first Tiger with three blocks in back-to-back games since Jontay Porter in 2018 (3 vs. Kentucky and 5 vs. Ole Miss.) Tilmon is just the fifth Tiger in program history to post an 18-point, 3-block, 3-steal game. In his last four games, he’s averaging 18.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals.

Senior guard Mark Smith sunk three 3-pointers en route to 18 points, his most in league play thus far. Smith piled up more points, field goals and three-pointers than he’d had in any game since Dec. 9.

“It definitely felt good to see that first one go through, and then really, I wasn’t worried about anything else after that,” Smith said. “Coach [Martin] had been telling me, ‘When I’m open, shoot it,’ so I felt like they were open shots — the ones I was shooting — and they were going in.”

The Tigers’ 58.3 percent clip from the field marked their highest since Jan. 11, 2020 against Florida. Missouri has had multiple players scoring in double digits in 10 of 11 games this season, and 3+ Tigers in double digits in nine of 11 games this season.

Why Bet on Tennessee? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Vols (10-2) had a three-game winning streak snapped in a shocking 75-49 loss at Florida on Tuesday. The Gators were without two of their best players as Scottie Lewis (COVID-19 protocols) and forward Colin Castleton (ankle) missed the game. Forward Omar Payne, starting for the first time in nearly a year, finished with nine points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots for Florida.

Florida used a 7-0 run to build a double-digit late in the first half and a 13-2 spurt early in the second to stretch its advantage to 20 points (53-33). The Gators outrebounded the Vols by eight and outscored them 42-22 in the paint. Tennessee’s 49 points were a season low. UT shot 29% from the field and hit 3 of 18 from 3-point range. Tennessee committed a season-high 18 turnovers, leading to 27 Florida points.

UT was led by senior John Fulkerson who scored 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, dished out a career-high-tying five assists and pulled in four rebounds. Fulkerson’s teammates combined to make just 11 of 49 shots. Victor Bailey went 1-for-12 from the field while finishing with four points. He was 0-for-6 from the 3-point line.

“There’s not one guy that started the game that was productive,” Coach Rick Barnes said. “Then we go to the bench, not great production there either, obviously.”

Freshman Keon Johnson replaced classmate Jaden Springer (ankle) in the starting lineup and finished the night with eight points, three assists and a pair of rebounds. Sophomore Santiago Vescovi added with seven points, three rebounds and a career-high-tying three steals.

The loss dropped the Vols to 2-2 in Quadrant 1 opportunities. It’s not clear if Springer will return Saturday: “He has not practiced since the last game,” Barnes said after Tuesday’s loss. “He is important. He is important defensively as much as anything.”

Expert Prediction
  • Tennessee 69, Missouri 62

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