There are just three unbeaten teams left in the country after No. 6 Nevada (which won’t be No. 6 in the new polls Monday) was blown out at New Mexico on Saturday. New Mexico took control early in the first half with a 20-6 run for a 22-9 lead. Here’s a look at two intriguing matchups this week. Check back for college basketball odds on game day.
Top NCAA Basketball Betting Picks of the Week – January 7th
“Everybody went in and did their thing. Everybody contributed.”Caught up with the double-double man himself [ @KyleJamal4 ] after the SEC-opening win. #GBO pic.twitter.com/Mfl0qkIZ0J — Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) 6 de enero de 2019
No. 3 Tennessee at Missouri
- When: Tuesday, 7 PM ET (ESPN2)
- Where: Mizzou Arena
- Live Stream: WatchESPN
The Vols opened SEC play Saturday with a 96-50 home rout of Georgia. Jordan Bowden scored 20 points off the bench for UT’s eighth consecutive victory and a 17th straight home win. Tennessee (12-1, 1-0 SEC) hasn’t lost a home game in a full calendar year. The Vols’ last home defeat was a 94-84 setback against Auburn on Jan. 2, 2018. Tennessee had 53 points by halftime, a season-high, shot 56.6 percent from the field and had five players score in double figures.
Tennessee recorded the most lopsided triumph in the series’ 156-game history, surpassing a 105-69 Volunteers victory from Feb. 1, 1975. The Vols were one point away from matching their most decisive win over an SEC opponent. Tennessee beat Mississippi 102-55 on Jan. 8, 1966.
Saturday was the fifth straight game Tennessee has shot better than 50 percent from the field. The Vols entered the weekend seventh nationally in field-goal percentage, at 51.1 percent. Eleven times in 13 games this season, the Vols have had at least four players in double figures. Eleven times there has been one player scoring at least 20 points, and one player scoring 30 or more at least twice.
The 25 assists Saturday was the 10th time in 13 games that Tennessee has finished with 20 or more assists. The Vols entered the weekend second nationally in assists per game (21.2) and leading the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio, at 1.81.
Missouri hasn’t played an SEC game yet and comes off a 75-61 rout of Morehead State back on Dec. 29. Mizzou sophomore guard Mark Smith, the SEC’s best three-point shooter this season (46.4 percent), propelled Mizzou to a commanding lead in the early going by sinking four of his first five 3-point attempts. On his way to a career-high 22 points, Smith totaled 16 first-half points.
With Jordan Geist and Smith both scoring 20+ points, the Tigers had a pair of 20+ point scorers for the first time since December 19, 2017, when Kassius Robertson and Jordan Barnett both reached the 20-point barrier in a win over Stephen F. Austin.
With the victory, Mizzou completed an undefeated month of December for the first time since the 2011-12 season, the third time this century, and for just the eighth time since 1930. Mizzou has now won six straight ballgames, its longest winning streak in the Cuonzo Martin era and the longest stretch of victories since 2013-14.
TCU at No. 5 Kansas
- When: Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
- Where: Allen Fieldhouse
- Live Stream: WatchESPN
The Jayhawks’ chances of winning a national title took a big hit over the weekend with the news that star center Udoka Azubuike will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ligament in his right hand. Azubuike has surgery as a freshman in 2016 for the same injury to his left hand.
Azubuike, who was averaging 13.4 points, 6.8 boards, and 1.6 blocks in nine games this season, did not play in Saturday’s 77-60 loss to Iowa State; he injured the hand in practice on Friday. He missed four games earlier this season with an ankle injury. The Jayhawks are 3-2 without Azubuike this season. They are 9-0 when he plays. When he has sat, Kansas has played a four-guard rotation that features Dedric Lawson at the five. The Jayhawks have averaged 115 points per 100 possessions with Azubuike on the floor this season and 102 points per 100 possessions with him on the bench.
The story of Saturday’s loss was Kansas’ 24 turnovers, the team’s most since 2014 when ISU also forced 24 KU giveaways in Ames. The Cyclones turned those 24 Jayhawk giveaways into 20 points, while KU managed just four points of off Iowa State’s 12 turnovers. Kansas’ 60 points at Iowa State was the fewest points scored by the Jayhawks this season and was the fewest since KU also scored 60 points in its Elite Eight loss to Oregon (74-60) on March 25, 2017.
TCU probably will be ranked in the new polls at 12-1 and off an 85-81 win over Baylor. Behind the hot shooting of Desmond Bane, TCU led for all but 21 seconds against the Bears in Saturday’s contest. Three other Horned Frogs scored in double figures as TCU won its third straight contest against Baylor for the first time since Dec. 29, 2001.
TCU won its Big 12 Conference opener for the first time in program history with the last conference opening win coming on Jan. 6, 2010 against Air Force when the Frogs were in the Mountain West. TCU has now won 11 of its last 12 home games and its last five Big 12 Conference games dating back to last season.
The Frogs improved to 36-10 under Jamie Dixon in games played in Schollmaier Arena. TCU shot 56.6 percent from the field to mark the 36th game under Dixon when shooting 50 percent or better for a 32-4 overall mark. The field goal percentage was the second best for the Frogs this season and the highest since Nov. 26, 2018, when TCU shot 60.7 percent against Eastern Michigan.
Expert NCAA Basketball Betting Picks
Back Kansas and Missouri in an upset.