Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics
Tennessee is looking to bounce back from its disappointing loss at Vanderbilt as it hosts a strong offensive Missouri team to Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday night.
The Vols are struggling after their impressive win over Texas, dropping two of their last three games including road defeats against Florida and Vanderbilt.
Missouri has improved radically in Dennis Gates’ first season as head coach, boasting one of the nation’s best offenses while playing at an extremely fast pace.
Here’s everything to know ahead of the conference matchup.
More From RTI: Tennessee Looking To Bounce Back Against A Very Different Missouri Team
How to Watch – No. 6 Tennessee (20-5, 8-3 SEC) vs Missouri (18-6, 6-5 SEC)
Start Time: 6 p.m. ET/5 p.m. CT
Location: Thompson-Boling Arena
TV: SEC Network. PxP: Kevin Fitzgerald, CC: Perry Clark
Online Streaming: Watch ESPN
Radio (Knoxville): The Vol Network/The Vol Network App
Team Statistics (via ESPN)
What Head Coach Rick Barnes Said About The Tigers
On what he’s seen from Missouri on film
“They’re different in a lot of ways than the teams in the league. They’re going to change defenses. They’re going to pick you up 94 feet. Very active with their hands and they’ll change their defenses. They’ll do a little different zone pressure on the side and under the basket. They can go back and play some zone. Mainly playing with like-size players. They’re going to switch everything, not afraid to do it. Ball goes inside, if you try to get the ball in there with a guard, they’re going to front and try to get some help from somewhere. A lot of digging. A lot of very active hands. Offensively, they’re going to run and shoot it. Got to take care of the ball. But I just talked about it, got to take care of the ball whether you’re in a high-possession game or a low-possession game. They’re going to be very aggressive.”
On Missouri going from being defensive oriented last season to offensive oriented this season
“I think Dennis (Gates) has done a really good job in his short time, going in. What he did do, he put together an older team, guys that played basketball for a while. I think there’s no doubt his system is to be aggressive both ways, play at a very high tempo. He’s done a great job. I think he’s done a great job getting the Missouri fanbase back where everybody knows that it is and what it should be. But really a great job by him and his staff.”
Spread: Tennessee -13 Missouri
Total: Over/Under 145
Probable Starters (via UT Sports)
Points: Santiago Vescovi – 12.0 PPG, 38.8 FG%, 34.7 3PT%
Rebounds: Olivier Nkamhoua – 5.1 RPG
Assists: Zakai Zeigler – 5.2 APG, 2.3 TOPG, 29.4 MPG
Points: Kobe Brown — 16.3 PPG, 57.3 FG%, 45.1 3PT%
Rebounds: Kobe Brown — 6.3 RPG
Assists: Nick Honor — 3.0 APG, 1.4 TOPG, 29.5 MPG
Last Five Games
02/08/23 — L — Tennessee lost at Vanderbilt 66-65
02/04/23 — W — Tennessee def. Auburn 46-43
02/01/23 — L — Tennessee lost at Florida 67-54
01/28/23 — W — Tennessee def. Texas 82-71
01/25/23 — W — Tennessee def. Georgia 70-41
02/07/23 — W — Missouri def. South Carolina 83-74
02/04/23 — L — Missouri lost at Mississippi State 63-52
02/01/23 — W — Missouri def. LSU 87-77
01/28/23 — W — Missouri def. Iowa State 78-61
01/24/23 — W — Missouri def. Ole Miss 89-77
I wrote on Wednesday night following Tennessee’s loss at Vanderbilt that the Vols are at a crossroads in their season. Taking care of a good Missouri team at home is the first box the Vols have to check before getting back on track. Picking up the home win is truly imperative with the three-game stretch of Alabama, at Kentucky and at Texas A&M coming up.
Tennessee did some good things offensively against Vanderbilt including getting Tyreke Key aggressive and Julian Phillips having some offensive success. With Josiah-Jordan James potentially sidelined with an ankle sprain, the Vols will need that from Phillips again. With Missouri’s pressing zone defense, Key will get good looks if he ca stay aggressive.
I think Key will have a big game against the Tigers and Phillips might even too. Tennessee needs its offense to play well and shoot well. This Missouri team won’t be easy to muck it up and win against. Against a Missouri team that is one of the SEC’s worst defensively, Tennessee’s offense gets it going with a big night.
Tennessee 80, Missouri 71