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Missouri vs. Auburn
When and Where: Thursday, March 14, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn, 3 p.m. EST.
Auburn begins its last go-round of trying to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee as it faces Missouri in a second-round SEC tournament clash in Nashville, Tennessee.
Geist not ready to go home as Mizzou looks for second win in two days
No. 12 seed Missouri (15-16) got its act together in the final 20 minutes of its 71-61 victory over 13th-seeded Georgia on Wednesday night for its third win in four games.
FINAL: #Mizzou 71, UGA 61
— Mizzou Basketball (@MizzouHoops) March 14, 2019
Senior guard Jordan Geist scored a career-high 30 points as the Tigers held the Bulldogs to 27 second-half points. Freshman Xavier Pinson contributed 15 points as Missouri held Georgia to 36.7 percent shooting and 4 of 19 (21.1 percent) from 3-point range.
It was the second straight solid game for Pinson, who scored a season-high 20 in Missouri’s regular-season finale against Ole Miss. He is averaging 6.4 points on the season but had totaled 15 in his previous five contests before this two-game surge.
Geist is averaging a team-best 14.0 points per game for the Tigers but has upped that average to 18.7 over his last four contests. The senior — like everyone else on Missouri — endured a tough outing in a 92-58 loss at Auburn on Jan. 30 as he finished with 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting.
Mizzou has never won two games in a single SEC tournament since joining the conference in 2012. The Tigers, though, did record an 86-83 overtime win in their only SEC tournament matchup with Auburn in the first round in 2017.
Surging Auburn looks to continue roll
Fifth-seeded Auburn (22-9) will make back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time since 1999 and 2000, and it enters Nashville as one of the hottest teams in the league after closing the regular season on a four-game winning streak.
— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) March 14, 2019
The last victory was perhaps the most impressive of them all as the Tigers outlasted then-No. 5 Tennessee 84-80, preventing the Volunteers from claiming a share of the SEC regular-season title. Jared Harper and Bryce Brown scored 16 points apiece, but Auburn got a huge lift from forward Chuma Okeke, who finished with 22 — one off his career high.
“I guess it’s just because I know my teammates have a lot of confidence in me, and it’s just me staying in the gym, getting a lot of shots up — and the coaches also have a lot of trust in me, too, to make plays,” said Okeke, averaging 11.9 points, to AUnow.com.
After having former assistant coach Chuck Person among those caught up in the on-going FBI’s federal corruption case, the school suspended current assistant Ira Bowman indefinitely Wednesday following testimony in an unrelated bribery scheme from his days as an assistant at Penn.
“Just the announcement that he’s not with us,” coach Bruce Pearl said, on what changed between Tuesday — when Bowman was at practice — and Wednesday. “Out of an abundance of caution, and while we’re in this, sort of, fact-finding period, we just thought it would be best.”
Auburn did substantial damage to Missouri from behind the arc in January, hitting 16 of 41 from 3-point range. Brown went 4 for 10 as nine different players hit at least one 3-pointer for the Tigers.
- 13-6-1 ATS in its last 20 games as a favorite between 7-12.5 points.
- 5-1 ATS in its last six Thursday games.
- The over is 4-0 in its last four games vs. Missouri.
- 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games vs. above-.600 teams.
- 2-5 ATS in its last seven games as underdogs between 7-12.5 points.
- 1-5 ATS in its last six Thursday games.
- The over is 4-1 in its last five neutral site games.
- The over is 6-1 in its last seven neutral site games as an underdog.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
While it is uncertain exactly how Bowman’s absence will affect Auburn, it is certainly something that Pearl and his team did not need at this juncture of the season. Still, it should not take away from what is a favorable matchup against a Missouri team that had to grind through all 40 minutes against Georgia.
Look for Auburn to push the pace early and then pull away over the final 10 minutes for a double-digit win.
Prediction: Pick: Auburn -8.5
Full-Game Total Pick
This line feels low considering the teams combined for 150 points in January, even with Auburn doing the heavy lifting. Missouri has at least picked up offensively in its last four games, scoring 64 or more in each contest, and with this number, if Auburn gets between 80-85 as expected, Missouri can help crack the over with 60.
This line has dipped 1.5 points to 133.5 before tip-off, firming confidence in the over.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 133.5 points
Full-Game Prop Bet
The expectation is this game will play out like the first meeting in which Auburn pulls away in the second half on the strength of its offense. Bruce Pearl’s team scored 58 second-half points in the win over Missouri, and it also has scored 71 or more points in 10 of its 14 road and neutral site games.
Prediction: Pick: Auburn OVER 71.5 points
Half-Time Side Pick
In terms of both offensive production and spread, Auburn has been all over the map in conference play. Pearl’s team has trailed by double figures at halftime in two of its previous three road games and led by 10 in the other. Missouri did not get on track until the second half Wednesday night versus Georgia, but the hedge is the rhythm of playing on back-to-back nights will help keep it close as Auburn gets acclimated early.
Prediction: Pick: Missouri +5
Half-Time Total Bet
The teams combined for 65 first-half points in their previous meeting this season, and the hedge is this game speeds up compared to Missouri’s win Wednesday night and helps clear the over in this contest.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 62 points
Half-Time Prop Prediction
Taking Missouri for the spread and the first-half over means taking Missouri to go over the number here. Mizzou scored 31 in the first half of its loss to Auburn and has been at 29 or more in four of its last six games.
Prediction: Pick: Missouri OVER 28.5 points