Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#631 Ole Miss 133 vs.
#632 Missouri -1.5
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 8:30pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Mississippi Rebels will travel to Mizzou Arena on Tuesday evening for a Southeastern Conference clash against the Missouri Tigers.

Both of these teams find themselves on the outside looking in at the rest of the field when it comes to postseason play. Barring a run in the SEC Tournament, neither Missouri or Mississippi will find themselves in the field of 68 this season. The Tigers and Rebels enter Tuesday’s matchup with identical 4-8 SEC records but they got there in very different ways. Missouri has won two of its last three games while going 4-2 at home during SEC play. Meanwhile, Ole Miss has been trending up after winning three of its last four and giving Kentucky all it could handle over the weekend. Can the Rebels keep their momentum going on the road against a Missouri team that has been tough to beat at home?

Rebels fall short vs, Kentucky to snap three-game win streak

Mississippi came up short on the road versus Kentucky 67-62 on Saturday despite 19 points from senior point guard Breein Tyree. Blake Hinson and KJ Buffen scored 13 points apiece for the Rebels, who led by as many as seven in the second half and limited the Wildcats to just 2-for-22 shooting from 3-point range but couldn’t survive a late Kentucky run.

Kermit Davis Jr.’s squad enters Tuesday’s matchup slotted at No. 87 in the latest KenPom rankings after watching their three-game winning streak come to an end. Ole Miss has scored only 103.5 points per 100 possessions for the season (154th in the NCAA) and that number has dropped to 97.5 points per 100 possessions against SEC opponents (13th in the SEC). The Rebels take care of the basketball (5th in the SEC) but struggle in a number of key areas. They sport an effective field goal percentage of just 46.7 percent (11th in the SEC) and have shot just 45.9 percent from inside the arc (13th in the SEC) during league play. They also rank dead-last in the conference in free-throw rate and 12th in offensive rebounding rate, which has made it difficult for them to make up points when their shots aren’t falling.

On defense, the Rebels have given up 94.7 points per 100 possessions on the year (61st in the NCAA) and 98.6 points per 100 possessions versus league opponents (4th in the SEC). Mississippi has limited SEC opponents to just 26.7 percent shooting from long-range (2nd in the SEC) but it sends them to the free-throw line at a 46.6 percent clip, which ranks 11th in the conference.

Tigers stun Auburn at home for fourth SEC win

Missouri pulled off another upset at home on Saturday, taking down Auburn 85-73 behind a breakout performance from sophomore guard Xavier Pinson. He and Dru Smith scored 28 points apiece to lead the Tigers in scoring on the night but it was Pinson’s efficiency that set him apart. The 6-foot-2 sophomore shot 10-for-12 from the field and 6-for-8 from the free-throw line while handing out five assists on the night.

Cuonzo Martin’s squad enters this matchup ranked No. 103 in the latest KenPom rankings after winning two of their last three games. The Tigers have scored 103.9 points per 100 possessions for the season (147th in the NCAA) but only 99.0 points per 100 possessions during conference play (11th in the SEC). Turnovers have been a major problem throughout the year for Missouri but the Tigers have really struggled to score on the inside during conference play. Through 12 league contests, Missouri has turned the ball over 20.2 percent of the time (11th in the SEC) and shot just 44.7 percent from 2-point range (14th in the SEC).

On defense, the Tigers rely on forcing turnovers to get stops and that’s remained the case during league play. However, SEC teams have had an easier time getting past Missouri’s defensive pressure, which has led to a lot of easy baskets. Martin’s squad has surrendered 97.9 points per 100 possessions for the season (99th in the NCAA) but that number has jumped to 107.9 points per 100 possessions during conference play (11th in the SEC). They have forced SEC teams to turn the ball over 20.3 percent of the time (4th in the SEC) but opponents have shot a healthy 53.3 percent from 2-point range against the Tigers’ defense (12th in the SEC). No team in the SEC puts opponents on the free-throw line more than the Tigers, who have given up a free-throw rate of 56.6 percent (14th in the SEC).

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 Mississippi might be the better defensive team but the Rebels have just one road win this season, so it is hard to trust them in this spot. Missouri has been tough to beat at home, putting together an impressive 4-2 record at Mizzou Arena during league play. The Tigers should also come into this game with plenty of confidence after beating Arkansas and Auburn in their last two home games. Xavier Pinson and Dru Smith have enough length and athleticism to make life tough of Tyree, so look for Missouri to cover the number at home in this SEC showdown on Tuesday night. 

Prediction: Missouri Tigers

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Both of these teams are most comfortable slowing the pace down. The Tigers and the Rebels rank outside the top-200 in the nation in adjusted tempo and average possession length on offense, so this should turn into a slow-paced game. Missouri struggles with turnovers while the Rebels simply haven’t been efficient offensively. Ole Miss takes most of its shots from inside the arc but it has shot just 45.9 percent from 2-point range during conference play (13th in the SEC). Missouri’s been even worse than that from inside the arc, shooting a league-low 44.7 percent. Look for this game to stay under the projected total on Tuesday evening.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.