Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin on Tennessee
When/where: 6 p.m. Tuesday at Mizzou Arena, Columbia
TV/radio: ESPN2; KMBZ (98.1 FM)
About Missouri (9-3): After eight days off, Missouri opens conference play against a Final Four contender at home. Missouri beat Tennessee last season at Mizzou Arena in a close game, but had the likes of Kassius Robertson and Jordan Barnett to help with scoring. The Tigers are currently riding a six-game winning streak, but will need all hands on deck to deal with UT. Mizzou has never beaten a top-three team at home and an upset win would go along way towards the Tigers chances at an NCAA Tournament berth.
About No. 3 Tennessee (12-1): Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said he’s been hard-pressed to find a weakness in Rick Barnes’ squad and it’s easy to see why. The Vols come to Columbia on an eight-game winning streak, fresh off a 46-point victory over Georgia on Saturday. Junior Grant Williams is a triple-double threat and is having an All-American caliber season, while senior Admiral Schofield is right behind him. Forward Kyle Alexander will be a tough matchup for Jeremiah Tilmon in the post and MU “will need more than threes” to beat UT, according to Martin.
Prediction: Missouri is playing its best basketball of the season but so is Tennessee. The Vols are a top-three team with tons of scoring and experience, which the Tigers are lacking in both categories. MU keeps it interesting but has its win streak snapped. Tennessee 70, Missouri 59