Mississippi State vs #18 Tennessee

Mississippi State vs #18 Tennessee | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on January 25, 2021

Mississippi State hasn’t won in Knoxville in men’s basketball for a while, and the Bulldogs are double-digit underdogs on the NCAAB odds when they visit No. 18 Tennessee in SEC action on Tuesday.

How to Bet Mississippi State at Tennessee NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

  • When: Tuesday, 7 PM ET
  • Where: Thompson-Boling Arena
  • TV: SEC Network
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: Vols -10 (total 130.5)

Last Meeting

The schools are scheduled to meet once this season and only played once last year, a Mississippi State 86-73 home victory. Reggie Perry had 24 points with 12 rebounds and D.J. Stewart had 20 points for the Bulldogs. MSU shot 57% for the game and made a sizzling 69% in the second half. Mississippi State made 5 of 12 beyond the arc and made 25 of 30 free throws. The Bulldogs also held a 36-24 rebounding advantage and out-rebounded the Volunteers 23-8 in the second half. UT had won four in a row in the series.

Why Bet on Mississippi State? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Bulldogs (9-7) lost their second in a row Saturday, 81-73 at then-No. 18 Alabama. MSU cut an 11-point second-half deficit down to three in the final minute, but John Petty Jr. answered with a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left. The home team has won the last eight meetings.

“I thought our guys really played hard and really played tough,” Bulldogs coach Ben Howland said. “We battled and went after every 50-50 ball with all our might. I think there were a lot of positives today even though we lost the game.”

D.J. Stewart Jr. fired in a SEC career-high 27 points and collected a career-best four steals in the loss. The 27 points marked Stewart Jr.’s second-highest scoring output of his career en route to his fifth outing of 20-plus points on the season. Stewart Jr.’s previous SEC scoring mark was a 24-point performance during State’s victory over No. 13 Missouri on 01/05.

Stewart Jr. has produced double figures in 15 of 16 games on the season. Iverson Molinar joined Stewart Jr. in double figures as he piled up 19 points coupled with three steals and two rebounds. He has chipped in 10-plus points during 12 of his 13 appearances in 2020-21.

Mississippi State recorded a season’s best 13 steals, which matched its third-highest total versus a SEC opponent under Ben Howland. The 13 steals were the most for the Bulldogs in a game since tallying 14 at Arkansas on 02/16/2019.

A balanced offensive attack has been a successful formula for Mississippi State in 2020-21 as the Bulldogs have won seven of its eight games in 2020-21 record when four players or more reach double figures.

Mississippi State has won the battle of boards against 14 of its 16 opponents in 2020-21, highlighted by a +10 rebounding margin in six games. The Bulldogs hold the SEC’s top spot limiting their opponents to 30.9 rebounds per game and a +8.6 rebounding margin. Mississippi State is 5-1 when committing 12 turnovers or less this season.

Why Bet on Tennessee? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Vols (10-3) lost their second in a row Saturday, 73-64 at home to then-No. 19 Missouri. It was Missouri’s first win in Knoxville since 1972. Xavier Pinson was unstoppable with 27 points — Pinson became the first opponent to score more than 20 points against the Volunteers this season.

Tennessee played without freshman standout Jaden Springer, who missed the game with an ankle injury. It’s not clear if he will go here.

“I’m not concerned about our defense as much as I am about our offense,” UT coach Rick Barnes said. “All the pressure is on our offense. Our defense feeds off the offense.”

The Vols were led in scoring by senior Yves Pons, who scored a season-high 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting. The reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year also pulled in five rebounds and blocked two shots.

Junior guard Victor Bailey Jr. scored 12 points—eight of which came in the second half—dished out three assists and recorded two steals. Sophomore Josiah-Jordan James also scored 12 points, while recording five rebounds, a block and a steal on the night.

Tennessee tops the SEC leaderboard in scoring defense (59.8), scoring margin (+14.2), turnover margin (+5.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4). The Volunteers also have limited their opposition to a 39.9 percent shooting clip which is second in the SEC rankings.

Tennessee possesses a balanced offensive attack with seven players averaging over eight points for the season. John Fulkerson (11.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG), Bailey Jr. (11.6 PPG) and Springer (10.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.1 SPG) led the way in double figures. Bailey Jr. has come off the bench for the Volunteers in the last five games. Santiago Vescovi (9.3 PPG, 3.4 APG, 1.2 SPG) has knocked down 27 of his 37 shots from beyond the three-point line.

Expert College Basketball Prediction

Tennessee 74, Mississippi State 65


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