|-7 TENN (-110) @ williamhill|
My 9* play is on Tennessee at 8:30 ET.
The Tennessee Volunteers were No. 12 in the AP's preseason poll and the Vols were 10-1 and ranked 6th when they lost 75-49 at Florida to the Gators on Tuesday, Head coach Rick Barnes promised to try a different in Saturday's home game against the surprising Missouri Tigers, who are 9-2 and ranked 19th. Coming off back-to-back losing seasons of 15-17 and 15-16, the Tigers opened 6-0, their best start to a season since they opened 10-0 in 2013.
Missouri's 6-0 start was ended when the Volunteers won 73-53 back on Dec 30 in Columbia. Tigers center Jeremiah Tilmon had nine points and four rebounds in that game but has become a force in conference play, scoring 74 points and grabbing 37 rebounds in his last four games. Tilmon's averaging 12.8 & 8.0 and is Missouri's lone big man of note, as Missouri's next four scorers are guards Pinson (12.9), Dru Smith (12.1), Mark Smith (11.6) and Pickett (7.6). Tennessee is loaded with perimeter plays. Guards Bailey (11.6), Springer (11.0), Vescovi (9.8), Johnson (9.1), James (8.1) and Pons (7.3) are quite a group. The 6-9 Fulkerson averages 12.2 & 6.2). The Vols have plenty of offensive balance, averaging 74.8 PPG but Barnes' team thrives on its defense, holding opponents to 58.7 PPG (5th).
Missouri head coach Counzo Martin needs more consistency from his guards. Xavier Pinson has as many turnovers (nine) as points in his last two games. Dru Smith averaged 14.6 points in his first five games, then scored just six points in each of his next three games. Mark Smith averaged 17.3 points in his first four games before scoring just 6.8 points per game in his next six. That hardly bodes well against an OUTSTANDING Tennessee defensive team, looking to bounce back from an 'ugly' loss to Florida. In the first meeting at Missouri, Tennessee shot 50.0% and held Missouri to 36.1% shooting and to a season-low 53 points. No revenge here!