The quarterfinals of the SEC tourney continue today and this evening and in the early evening session we get a potentially good one. Mississippi State takes on Tennessee. The Vols are a 7.5-point favorite with the total at a minuscule 131.
There is no question that Tennessee is hot at the right time of the year. Since the beginning of February they have won 9-of-10. They’ve taken down good, bad and indifferent teams from all across the SEC and all of that will be helpful in the SEC dance. The Vols have squared up with a lot of different styles of teams including this Mississippi State team almost exactly a month ago in Starkville. That was their lone matchup and in it Tennessee won by 9.
Mississippi State is another grinder team in the conference that is more athletic and skilled than their record would indicate. They’ve been in some real battles with LSU, Alabama and Auburn and in all just managed to drop the game. Ben Howland’s group has had some rough losses but they still manage to shoot 45.7% from the field and allow just 66.7 points per game. They are in the ballpark of a big win.
I don’t think that win is coming tonight. Tennessee will epitomize the buzzsaw colloquialism this evening. The Vols may start slow (because everyone is in these tournaments), but there is going to be a big, big run probably before the half that Mississippi State is going to have to kill to stay in this thing and it’s so hard to do that when these runs are so fueled by suffocating defense. Tonight, we Vols -7.5.