Missouri Tigers (2-0; 2-0 ATS; 1-1 O/U) vs. Utah Utes (2-0)
NCAAB: Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 8:00pm EST
Line: Utah -1.5
The Utah Utes will face their first big test of the season when they host the Missouri Tigers in an inter-conference clash Thursday night from the Jon. M Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. The Tigers handled Wagner by a 99-59 score in their latest action, and the Utes recorded an easy 91-50 home win against Mississippi Valley State on Monday night.
Missouri’s Depth Shines Through in 2-0 Start
The Missouri Tigers dominated the Wagner Seahawks from start to finish in their 91-50 home win to improve to 2-0 on the season. The Tigers shot a sizzling 68% from the field and held Wagner to a 32.7% clip. Kassius Robertson led the offensive charge in the win with 23 points on 7 for 10 shooting. The senior guard is averaging 17 points in two games and came over in a transfer after leading Canisius with 16.1 points last season. Kevin Puryear contributed with 12 points and five rebounds in the against Wagner. The junior forward is poised for a big season after placing second in team scoring with 11.8 points and six rebounds last season. The Tigers played without star freshman Michael Porter Jr. who is out with a leg injury, and is questionable for this contest. The 6-foot-10 forward is considered a potential lottery pick for this year’s NBA draft. The Tigers return their leading scorer from last season in Jordan Barnett who posted 12.2 points last year.
The Tigers have high expectations this season as they were ranked fifth in the SEC preseason poll after going a poor 8-24 last season, and they will be tough to stop offensively. They looked good in their 74-59 win in their home opener against Iowa State. Missouri is averaging 86.5 points in two games and have allowed 59 and 55 points respectively in their first two games.
Utes Face First Big Test of Season
The Utah Utes took care of business against two easy opponents to start the season. They defeated Mississippi Valley State by a 91-51 score on Monday night to improve to 2-0. Gabe Bealer had a big night in the win on Monday night, notching 20 points on 7 for 10 shooting. The senior guard averaged 3.6 points in limited playing time last season. Sedrick Barefield sat out the previous contest with a stomach illness but should be good to go in this contest. The junior guard is expected to be one of the Utes leading scorers this season in a bigger role. Barefield averaged 9 points last season and scored 22 points in the Utes 83-62 win over PV A&M in their season opener. Utah brought in Long Beach State transfer Justin Bibbins who will be a starter this season after posting 13.1 points last season. They also return senior David Collette. The 6-foot-10 forward had a terrific 2016-2017 season, averaging 13.6 points and 5.1 rebounds last season.
Utah was ranked to finish seventh in the tough PAC 12 in the preseason media poll. They went 20-12 last season and they could make the NCAA Tournament this year. They are averaging 87 points in two games, and are conceding an average of 56.5 points.
The Missouri Tigers are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning percentage above .500.
- 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games overall.
The Utah Utes are:
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games.
- 7-19-2 ATS in their last 28 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
I am taking Missouri in this contest. Missouri is a team on the rise and I believe they are the better team in this matchup. They feature four players that averaged double-digits last season and their offense should be very productive this year. They are shooting 60% from the field in two games and they already beat a Power Five conference team by crushing Iowa State 74-59 in their season opener. Utah does not have the scoring to match Missouri, and I believe the Tigers are the play in this one.