#19 Tennessee vs Mississippi State NCAA Basketball Predictions, Preview Game & Odds

#19 Tennessee vs Mississippi State | NCAA Basketball Predictions, Preview Game & Odds

While No. 19 Tennessee has no worries about reaching the NCAA Tournament, unranked Mississippi State is a bubble team so the Bulldogs could use a home upset on the NCAAB odds of the Vols in SEC action on Wednesday to help boost their case.

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

  • When: Wednesday, 9 PM ET
  • Where: Humphrey Coliseum
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: Tennessee -1.5 (total 135.5)

Last Meeting

This is the only scheduled meeting of the season. Last year, they also played once and Tennessee won 56-53 at home despite shooting just 37 percent overall and 16 percent from deep. Yves Pons scored 13 points to lead the Tennessee. He’s now in the NBA. In the final 2:30 of the game, with Pons fouled out, it was freshman Keon Johnson who scored four of his eight points, while taking an important charging foul, to seal the victory for Tennessee. Johnson is also in the NBA. The Bulldogs had just three baskets in the game’s final 12 minutes. Mississippi State was led by Iverson Molinar with 16 points and D.J. Stewart with 11. Tennessee leads its all-time series with Mississippi State 86-44.

Why Bet on Tennessee?

Tennessee (16-6) was very impressive Saturday in winning 81-57 at South Carolina. Vols freshman Zakai Zeigler tied his career high with 18 points — all coming in the second half — including back-to-back 3-pointers to break open a tight game. Zeigler has reached double digit scoring in each of his past four games.

Josiah-Jordan James led the Vols in scoring and finished with a career-high 20 points on 7-for-14 shooting, making four 3-pointers. Kennedy Chandler recorded his second career double-double—scoring 11 points and dishing out 10 assists. Santiago Vescovi was Tennessee’s fourth double figure scorer, finishing with 13 points.

Vols starting forward Olivier Nkamhoua, tied with James coming in as the team’s top rebounder, left with an injury in the second half after getting seven points and five boards. Nkamhoua is expected to miss the rest of the season. Big loss as the junior was playing better basketball and is the anchor of the Vols’ defense. Nkamhoua’s averaging 8.6 points and 5.6 rebounds this season, but had totaled 31 points and 12 rebounds over the last three games. Nkamhoua leads the team with 25 blocks.

His shot-blocking, obviously he gave us some rim protection. For the minutes, we can swing Josiah to that spot a little bit more. We will need some guys and it is a great opportunity for guys. We are going to see who wants to capture it and go with it,” Coach Rick Barnes said.

For the fourth time during the Barnes era, Tennessee is riding a streak of at least five straight wins over SEC opponents. The Vols rank among the Division I top 15 in steals per game (10.0, eighth), turnover margin (+4.7, ninth), assists per game (17.0, 11th) and turnovers forced per game (17.4, 15th).  According to KenPom, the Vols rank eighth in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing only 88.4 points per 100 possessions. Tennessee averages an SEC-best 16.2 assists per game during league play (162 assists on 243 FGs). The Vols also are making a league-best 9.2 3-pointers per game in SEC play.

Why Bet on Mississippi State?

MSU (14-8) lost for the fourth time in six games Saturday, 63-55 at Arkansas. The Hogs’ Chris Lykes hit a contested 3 off the dribble with 20 seconds on the shot clock that gave Arkansas a 61-54 lead with 25 seconds to play and that was that. The Hogs scored 10 of the final 13 points.

Three State players reached double figures. Iverson Molinar paced the Bulldogs with his 19-point effort. Garrison Brooks scored 12, brought down 11 rebounds to notch a double-double. Tolu Smith started and played for the first time since sustaining a knee injury two weeks ago. He finished with 11 points, six boards and three assists in his return to action.

Mississippi State is in the midst of playing six of seven games against NCAA Net Quad 1 opponents from Jan. 25-Feb. 15. Five of the six games are on the road. Five of the team’s eight losses have been on the road or at a neutral site versus NCAA Net Quad 1 opponents, four of the five setbacks have come by single digits.

“We’ve just got to get over the hump …  The good news is, the next three games are against high-ranked, [NCAA Net] quad one teams, all higher than Arkansas. We have our opportunities ahead of us. I think we’re an NCAA tournament team. We’ve just got to prove it by getting a win on the road and holding serve at home,” Coach Ben Howland said.

The Bulldogs are 12-1 at Humphrey Coliseum this season, including a 5-0 mark in SEC play. Mississippi State’s lone home loss this season came on Dec. 5 to Minnesota. MSU ranks 28th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, scoring 112.8 points per 100 possessions. The Bulldogs rank 79th in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing 98.1 points per 100 possessions.

Molinar has paced the Bulldogs offensively this season. Molinar is averaging 18.2 points per game for the season. In Mississippi State’s nine SEC games, he is averaging 20.6 points per game—a mark that leads the league for conference games only.

Expert Prediction

  • Tennessee 70, Mississippi State 67

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