No. 7 Tennessee vs No. 12 Missouri

No. 7 Tennessee vs No. 12 Missouri | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on December 29, 2020

The game of the night around college basketball Wednesday is clearly from the SEC as No. 7 Tennessee visits No. 12 Missouri. Both schools are unbeaten as they head into their conference opener. Tennessee likely will be a short home favorite on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Tennessee at Missouri NCAA Basketball Odds & TV InfoLast Meeting

The schools played once last season and Tennessee won at Missouri 69-59 – although these Tigers are a lot better than that team was. The score was tied at 53, but that’s when then-freshman guard Santiago Vascovi, who had yet to score in the game, went on a personal 8-0 run. He made two 3-pointers, then stole an in-bounds pass and converted a layup. The Volunteers shot 53.5% overall and 45.8% from 3-point range. One of Missouri’s better players, and he still is, forward Jeremiah Tilmon, was out injured.

Why Bet on Tennessee?  | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Vols (6-0) have been off since an easy 80-60 win over South Carolina Upstate last Wednesday. UT, off to its best start since the 2010-11 squad opened the year 7-0, was were powered by a balanced offensive effort during which every player who saw action scored.

Junior Victor Bailey Jr. led Tennessee in scoring for the second consecutive game, pouring in 18 points, while knocking down a career-high-tying eight field goals. Sophomore Josiah-Jordan James led the way with a game-high eight rebounds. James scored 11 points while shooting an efficient 3-of-5 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. He also added five assists and nabbed a career-high-tying three steals.

Classmate Santiago Vescovi scored nine points and dished off a career-high-tying eight assists. John Fulkerson was the third Vol to reach double-figures, scoring 10 points and knocking down all six of his attempts from the foul line.

The Vols finished the night with seven blocks, marking the fourth consecutive game UT has tallied at least five team blocks. The Orange & White have rejected 30 shots this season, an average of five per game.

Tennessee basketball rose to No. 7 in the Associated Press poll on Monday prior to opening SEC play. The Vols were ranked No. 12 in the preseason AP poll. UT dropped to No. 13 and returned to No. 12 before opening its season. The Vols canceled their first five games due to COVID-19 issues within UT’s program and an opponent’s program.

Tennessee and Missouri are the only ranked teams in the SEC to begin conference play. Arkansas received some votes in the poll this week, along with Florida and Georgia.

Why Bet on Missouri? | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Tigers (6-0) escaped Bradley 54-53 on Dec. 22 in their last game. Mizzou Arena in a wild contest. Senior forward Jeremiah Tilmon’s game-winning 3-point play with 1.0 second left lifted the Tigers to a seventh consecutive win. Mizzou improved to 6-0 for the 23rd time in program history, and the first time since the 2013-14 season. Mizzou’s current 7-game win streak is its longest since 2013.

A defensive slugfest in the first half saw the Tigers up 21-19 at the break. The Tigers held Bradley to just 19 first-half points, the lowest point total by a Mizzou opponent since the Tigers held Chicago State to 14 in a half last season. Bradley stormed in front by as many as eight in the second half, but Mizzou closed the game on a clutch 12-4 run to nab the 1-point victory.

Junior guard Xavier Pinson led the team offensively with 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Tilmon recorded his first double-double of the season and the seventh of his career, Tilmon tallied 12 points and grabbed 10 boards, including four offensive rebounds.

Mizzou’s seven-game winning streak is the longest of the Cuonzo Martin era and Mizzou’s longest since a 10-game streak to start the 2013-14 campaign. The No. 12 ranking is the highest for Mizzou since the Tigers were No. 10 in the second week of January 2013. While the Tigers’ experience has been a boon, they’re mostly returning contributors from a middling team last year. A more aggressive approach to the offense, and a focus on transition baskets have made scoring easier.

Although ranked lower, Missouri currently has the more impressive resume with victories over Oregon and Illinois, whereas Tennessee’s most impressive victory came against Colorado.

Wednesday will be the first time Missouri will play in a game featuring two teams in the top 12 since the 2012 Braggin’ Rights Game when No. 12 MU beat No. 10 Illinois 82-73. The Volunteers were picked as the preseason favorites to win the conference and, after the fall of Kentucky, Missouri has risen as the next biggest challenger.

Expert Prediction
  • Tennessee 67, Missouri 65

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