The Tennessee Volunteers visit the Missouri Tigers tonight after losing two of their last three. Missouri has its own problems, coming off a razor thin victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks (86-85), which ended MU coach Frank Haith’s first three-game losing streak.
Missouri can scarcely afford another loss in the conference after struggling to just a 5-6 record in the SEC.
Mizzou needs to contain the accurate Volunteers, who shoot 44.7% from the field, and especially senior Jordan McRae. McRae averages 19.2 ppg and has a 3p% of .396.
Tennesse forwards Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon are the defense’s rock and hard place. Stokes averages 10.3 rebounds per game and Maymon, 8.2, improving the team to an impressive +8.4 rebound margin, which outshines Mizzou’s own +6.4.
Despite the strong defense and accurate shooting, the Volunteers should fall short of the Tigers. While the Tigers have been stumbling around for the past couple weeks, they outshoot the Volunteers, 46.1% from the field, and have been exceptional from the foul line. They set a team record with 27 consecutive free throws this season.
Tennessee will have their own problems with the quiet and reserved junior guard Jabari Brown, who averages an excellent 20.3 points per game. He set a career high 33 pts against Kentucky and was key to victory against Arkansas with 25 pts. He has an outstanding .450 3P% and .806 FT%. He doesn’t appear to have any weaknesses on offense and keeps getting better. In his past five games, he has averaged 23.4 ppg, .932 FT%, and despite struggling with three pointers in the past two games, he still has a .400 3P%.
Nearly as impressive as Brown is junior Jordan Clarkson, with 19.2 ppg, .478 FG%, and .819 FT%. Adding in Earnest Ross (14.2 ppg) and the Tennessee Volunteers’ solid defense may still be overwhelmed, but it’s going to be close.
In a bizarre addition, the ever-crazy Westboro Baptist Church will be picketing the Missouri/Tennessee game in protest of openly gay football player, Michael Sams. Note to Missourians: don’t punch the crazies.