NCAAB Odds, Picks for Missouri vs Mississippi State
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images. Pictured: Isiaih Mosley (Missouri)
Missouri vs Mississippi State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Mississippi State Odds|
-110o / -110u
The 2022 offseason was a tumultuous one in the SEC. Six of the 14 schools changed coaches; five of them mined the mid-major rankings for possible budding stars.
Two of those were Missouri and Mississippi State.
The Tigers pulled Dennis Gates from Cleveland State, who had done a masterful job of rebuilding the Vikings after taking over amidst off-court controversy.
He went 31-10 in the Horizon over his last two years after CSU had been 27-63 in the previous five campaigns.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, brought in Chris Jans, who was fresh off a dominant run at New Mexico State. That was actually Jans’ second head coaching gig. He won 21 games at Bowling Green in 2014-15, but was let go after one year due to some controversy off the court.
Both Gates and Jans won early, starting 9-0 and 11-0, respectively. They have done so in drastically different manners, however.
Mizzou has played at a frenetic tempo and is among the nation’s most efficient offenses.
On the other hand, Mississippi State plays at a crawl and features a tremendously stingy defense.
Thus, two new SEC coaches meet in a perfect representation of the “styles make fights” mantra.
Following a soft early-season schedule replete with buy games, the Tigers have managed to build on their early successes.
Big wins over Illinois, Kentucky and Iowa State display the possibilities within Gates’ new system.
What these Tigers have not done, though, is win consistently on the road. Proving that capability against a team like Mississippi State would go a long way towards ensuring the Tigers’ NCAA tournament viability.
Most teams improve as the season progresses. That is simply a byproduct of practice and familiarity. Missouri, however, has the advantage of adding in key pieces to the rotational foundation that could raise the ceiling considerably.
After some time away from the team and a few DNP-Coaching Decisions, Isiaih Mosley is finding his footing. The prolific scorer has started three straight games (admittedly, partially due to Tre Gomillion’s injury) and scored in double-figures in three of the last four.
On a team that loves to fire away from deep, adding in a lethal gunner like Mosley should only amplify an already-relentless offense.
The other addition is far more under-the-radar — though perhaps nearly as impactful.
Junior college import Mohamed Diarra barely saw the floor through the season’s first two months, playing just 18 total minutes. Since Jan. 11, though, Diarra has become an integral role player off the bench, asserting himself on the glass and flashing an impressive shooting stroke.
Considering the Tigers’ fatal flaw is their lack of size and resultant inability to rebound, Diarra is especially vital.
Though thin, he has broad shoulders and staggering length. His rebounding rates on both ends of the floor would be among the nation’s leaders if carried over to a larger sample size.
Jans is a friendly guy when not on the sideline, but he has a fiery demeanor that translates to his teams.
It’s most obviously reflected in the way these Bulldogs defend.
Mississippi State ranks 10th nationally in KenPom’s Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
The Bulldogs are physical at every position, and their frontcourt is huge. They almost always have 6-foot-7, 6-foot-7, 6-foot-10 in the on the floor, and the two primary reserves are 6-foot-8, 220 pounds and 6-foot-11, 265 pounds.
Scoring the paint is nearly impossible. Opponents rank 315th in percentage of points scored inside the arc.
Of course, the Bulldogs pressure as well, ranking third nationally in steal rate (per KenPom). Shakeel Moore is a true on-ball menace, and opposing guards are frequently uncomfortable.
The Bulldogs have swooned somewhat since their 11-0 start, going just 3-8 in their last 11 games.
Most of those failures are due to an anemic offense that completely lacks shooting. Per Sports Reference, Mississippi State ranks 356th in 3-point percentage and 357th in free-throw percentage.
Opponents can easily pack it in defensively as a result.
The Bulldogs try to compensate for their bricktastic shooting via attacking the offensive glass, and big man Tolu Smith will almost certainly have a field day against Mizzou’s frontline.
But if Mississippi State cannot hit any shots, watch out for Coach Gates shrinking the floor with zone defenses.
Missouri vs Mississippi State Betting Pick
To beat Mississippi State, you need to avoid getting rattled and make perimeter shots. Missouri excels at both, and the Tigers have been particularly scorching from downtown recently. In its last three games, Mizzou is an otherworldly 43-of-87 (49.4%) from beyond the arc.
The regression monster lurks, of course, and Mississippi State’s defense is intimidating. Plus, Mississippi State should crush the offensive glass unless Diarra is able to play big minutes.
Controlling the pace will be pivotal. If Missouri cannot force turnovers and turn the game into a free-flowing affair, that favors the visitors.
But if the Bulldogs keep this in the half-court, their size and physicality could wear down the Tigers.
Ultimately, this comes down to the number. At +3 or better, I will take Missouri on the road. If it sinks below that, I would stay away.
Pick: Missouri +3 or Better
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