Tennessee got rolling in the SEC Tournament with a 15-point win over Ole Miss on Thursday. Today, they move on to face fourth-seeded Missouri.
The Volunteers, playing without point guard Zakai Zeigler, got 20 points from Josiah-Jordan James. Santiago Vescovi added 15, and the Tennessee defense really turned things up a notch in the second half.
Today, they get a chance for a little revenge. Missouri hit a near half-court buzzer beater to beat Tennessee last month in Knoxville. That victory ultimately decided Missouri’s double-bye in the SEC Tournament, allowing them to rest up for today’s game. Both sides could use another resume building win this afternoon to solidify NCAA Tournament seeding.
Missouri has won four straight games entering the tournament, although they were against some of the league's worst teams. They dropped two straight games after that buzzer-beater win over Tennessee, losing to both Auburn and Texas A&M.
Missouri is KenPom’s 58th ranked team.
“A game like this, they play defense different,” Rick Barnes said of Missouri. “One of the best teams in the country at turning you over, getting steals. Again, it’s understanding taking care of the basketball. It’s going to be really important. Not let ‘em get out in transition with turnovers. Then obviously, their guards get going downhill, they drive the ball hard. They’re going to make you pay if you turn it over. That’s what I can tell you.”
The Volunteers struggled with turnovers on Thursday, but made up for it with a dominant performance on the boards. Barnes is hoping to clean things up on Friday, as his team continues to learn how to play without Zeigler.
Tennessee opened as a six point favorite against Missouri, and that line has since dropped to 5.5, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See DraftKings.com/sportsbook for details.
How to watch
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Time: 3 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Streaming: Watch ESPN/ESPN App