It isn’t a college basketball matchup that will move the needle on a national level, but one of Sunday’s more intriguing matchups from a betting and bubble perspective sees Mississippi State travel to Missouri for the second time in three days.
The Bulldogs are on the outside looking in of the NCAA Tournament picture and might need to win out to avoid needing to win multiple games in the SEC Tournament to make the March Madness field.
Missouri, meanwhile, appears headed for its third losing season in coach Cuonzo Martin’s five seasons in Columbia, which could spell the end of his tenure.
The two teams met in Starkville on Friday night, with Mississippi State claiming a 68-49 win. Will they get the sweep tonight in the rematch?
Mississippi State vs. Missouri College Basketball Matchup Info and Betting Odds
- Game Matchup: Mississippi State Bulldogs (15-11, 6-7 SEC, 9th in SEC) vs. Missouri Tigers (10-16, 4-9 SEC, 12th in SEC)
- Venue & Location: Mizzou Arena (Columbia, Missouri)
- Date: Sunday, February 20, 2022
- Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
- TV: SEC Network
- Spread: Mississippi State -4.5 (-110), Missouri +4.5 (-110)
- Total: OVER 132.5 (-110), UNDER 132.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: Mississippi State -225, Missouri +175
Odds are via BetMGM.
Will the Bulldogs Finally Win a Road Game?
If Ben Howland’s team does not end up in the March Madness field come Selection Sunday in a few weeks, they will have several what-ifs to look back on.
The Bulldogs have had opportunity after opportunity to pick up valuable Quadrant 1 wins at home and on the road, and they have come up short more often than not. As a result, they are currently not even on the bubble radar of the latest bracket predictions at CBS or ESPN.
Mississippi State owns home wins over Alabama and Arkansas, with the latter win getting a boost by virtue of the Razorbacks’ run of 11 wins in 12 games.
But there have been missed opportunities and blown leads in the following games against teams that will, should, or could be in the NCAA Tournament: vs. Colorado State, at Florida, at Kentucky, at Arkansas, vs. Tennessee, at LSU, and at Alabama. Even three wins in that bunch would have the Bulldogs not only in the field, but with a single-digit seed.
That said, Team Rankings gives MSU a 43 percent chance of making the field of 68, and with a NET that sits at 46 entering Sunday, metrics are more on their side than for other teams in the same boat.
A win at Missouri will not serve as a significant boost for their March Madness hopes, but a loss would certainly be damaging.
To secure the season sweep of the Tigers will require the Bulldogs to do something that they have yet to do something they have yet to do this season: win a true road game.
It’s certainly not for a lack of chances, however.
Mississippi State’s 2021-22 Season Road Woes
- Ole Miss: surrendered a season-high 82 points in an 82-72 loss
- Florida: led 61-53 with 8:57 left, went scoreless for five minutes down the stretch in an 80-72 loss
- Kentucky: rallied from 16 down in the second half to force overtime, where they scored only two points in an 82-74 loss
- Texas Tech: held to a season-low 50 points in a 76-50 loss in the Big 12/SEC Challenge
- Arkansas: trailed by one with two minutes left in a 63-55 loss
- LSU: went ahead 48-45 with 9:22 left then scored only seven points over the next eight minutes in a 69-65 loss
- Alabama: led 64-57 with 7:52 left then scored only two points over the next seven minutes in an 80-75 loss
If you are a Mississippi State fan or have bet on the Bulldogs on a regular basis this season, those results have to make for infuriating reading, along with similar collapses against Colorado State and Tennessee.
However, just as March Madness metrics are still favorable for Mississippi State despite their rage-inducing results, betting metrics are actually rather favorable for them as well, all things considered.
2021-22 Spread & O/U Betting Results for Mississippi State
- Spread: 15-11-0 ATS (9-4-0 in SEC play, 3-4-0 on the road)
- O/U: 14-12-0 (9-4-0 in SEC play, 3-4-0 on the road)
Those numbers certainly aren’t as good as they could be, but they are also not as bad as they could be, given who they have played on the road.
Also, KenPom metrics still have a lot of love for the Bulldogs, despite their string of near-misses and second-half issues.
KenPom Metrics for Mississippi State
- Rank: 39th
- Offensive Efficiency: 29th
- Defensive Efficiency: 67th
For what it’s worth, here are some teams that aren’t in the top 70 in both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency: Purdue, Iowa, LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio State, Boise State, Colorado State, Wyoming, and Miami (FL). All ten of those teams currently come in as a #9 seed or better in ESPN’s latest bracketology update.
It’s safe to say that they won’t have a better opportunity than this to pick up a road win. Missouri is last in the SEC in scoring at 65.4 points per game, last in three-point shooting (28.1 percent), and 12th in field goal percentage (42.6 percent). The Tigers have been held to 65 or fewer points 15 times, including nine times in SEC play.
In Friday’s matchup in Starkville, the Tigers–who were dealing with travel-related issues that resulted in the game’s start time being pushed back–made only 31.4 percent of their shots and were only 3 of 17 from outside. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, made almost 50 percent of their shots and controlled the game from the midway point of the first half.
Mississippi State vs. Missouri Prediction & Pick
Mississippi State 71, Missouri 59 (Mississippi State -4.5 & UNDER 132.5)
Mississippi State is a much better team at both ends of the court with a healthy Tolu Smith. The junior big man has been limited to only 13 games this season, missing multiple games in a row in four different stretches.
But he has played in their past five games, his longest run of good health and availability this season, and in Friday’s win, he had 16 points in 28 minutes.
Guard Iverson Molinar, who is third in the SEC in scoring at 18.3 points per game, had just 13 points, but with Smith and others contributing, Molinar did not have to shoulder the load as much as he has many other times this season.
Friday’s game marked only the sixth time this season that Molinar scored under 15 points. In the previous five instances, he has averaged 19.2 PPG in the following game, and the Bulldogs are 5-0 SU and ATS.
Mississippi State is 10-1 SU and 8-3 ATS this season when they have held an opponent to 65 or fewer points, and that augurs well for their chances tonight in Columbia. Travel issues may not have helped the Tigers on Friday, but poor offensive performances have been the norm for them in SEC action.
The under has hit six times in the 11 games in which the Bulldogs have held the opposition to 65 or fewer points, and four of their past five games overall have gone under.
Look for those trends to continue and for Mississippi State to break its road losing streak behind a strong game by Molinar.