The Vols got what they needed Thursday night, as Georgia beat Kentucky and additional bubbles threatened to burst at Virginia and UMass. Now the stage is set for the final day of conference play on Saturday, where the Vols can still earn a double-bye for the SEC Tournament. But more importantly, Tennessee gets one last chance to make a statement against an increasingly weak bubble, facing a tournament team from Missouri on Senior Day. We'll say goodbye to Skylar McBee and Kenny Hall, and hopefully say hello to our eighth win in nine games.
So the good news that comes with Mizzou's 22-8 record is the 20 wins that came in home or neutral site games. The Tigers have won just twice on the road all year: at Mississippi State, and at South Carolina. Near misses abound: overtime at Rupp, a deuce at Arkansas, a deuce at A&M, three points at LSU, and all of those since January 30. But Missouri is yet to breakthrough on the road, and this is their last chance.
Meanwhile, the Vols have been hot in general and white hot at home. Since early January losses to Memphis and Ole Miss in Knoxville, Tennessee has won six straight at home, along the way taking down the Florida Gators, tournament hopefuls from Alabama, and blowing out Kentucky by 30. Cuonzo's Vols are 14-2 in SEC play at Thompson-Boling Arena, and one of those losses was to last year's National Champion.
However, don't be fooled into thinking this is going to be easy because Mizzou is bad on the road and we're good at home. Because here's what Missouri is good at:
- Field Goal Percentage: 46.3% (3rd in the SEC)
- Free Throw Percentage: 74.6% (1st)
- Points per Possession: 1.12 (2nd)
- Points per Game: 77.7 (2nd)
- Every Single Stat Related to Rebounding: 1st in the SEC