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Today, non-conference action sees the Missouri Tigers host the Southern Illinois Salukis.
Both teams enter Sunday’s contest at, or just under .500, with Missouri standing 5-4 and Southern Illinois 4-6. The SEC’s Tigers have almost cleared the mid-major opponents on their schedule while falling vs. Butler, Oklahoma and Xavier. The one concerning loss on Missouri’s schedule comes recently vs. Charleston Southern. Meanwhile, Southern Illinois has split its last four after a four-game losing streak. The Salukis’ most recent win came Dec. 4 vs. 3-8 Norfolk.
Southern Illinois looks for offensive help vs. power 5 opponentPicking up the offensive pace a bit of late, Southern Illinois has earned half its 2019-2020 wins in its past four games. Overall, the Salukis average a meager 64.9 ppg under first-year head coach Bryan Mullins. Unfortunately, that number ranks #307 nationally. Those limitations were exploited last Sat. 72-69 by the 3-9 Southern Miss Golden Eagles. Contrasted with today’s opponent, the Salukis enter Missouri reeling from an upset loss. Conversely, the Tigers played spoiler recently vs. Temple. Momentum definitely plays a major role in today’s large spread lean toward Missouri.
Any Southern Illinois chance to cover resides in its #57 ranked defense which allows just 62.8 ppg. Though, that’s a tall order for a mid-major on the road. Frosh Marcus Domask (14.8) ppg and senior Barrett Benson (11.3) lead SIU’s offensive charge as top-scorer Aaron Cook (15.0) remains sidelined.
Missouri seeks fifth 15-plus point win todayMissouri put together its finest performance this season Dec. 7 while giving 7-2 Temple its second loss 64-54. Sophomore reserve Javon Pickett added 16 points to lead a balanced Missouri effort vs. the Owls. During year three of Cuonzo Martin’s sideline tenure, Missouri is holding opponents to 59 ppg (#22 NCAA). Defensive efforts have sparked the Tigers’ five wins this year, and almost produced a Nov. 12 OT upset of nationally-ranked Xavier.
Mark Smith (11.8 ppg) leads Missouri’s deliberate offensive effort. Contrasted to their solid defensive stand, the Tigers average just 66.4 ppg and have been unable to score meaningful baskets vs. upper level programs. Still, Missouri boasts four wins this year by 15-plus points. That’s a heavy consideration coming into today’s contest.
- Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Sunday games.
- Tigers are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400.
- Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
- Tigers are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
Trends courtesy of Covers.com
- Salukis are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Given each team’s contrasting momentum, I’ll advise taking Missouri today with the Cover. Again, the Tigers have gained four wins this season vs. opponents comparable to SIU by 15 points. From home, and with an impressive recent victory over Temple, all the indicators point toward a repeat large win today from the Tigers. Further, Missouri has become stronger as the year progresses and Southern Illinois enters today after an upset loss last weekend. Also, consider the Salukis are 0-3 away and Missouri is 4-1 from home. Take the Tigers to Cover vs. SIU.
Prediction: Missouri Covers
Full-Game Total Pick
Opposite differing competition levels, each team prides itself on defense. The numbers see SIU and Missouri rate among college basketball’s elite statistical point-stopping units. However, Missouri is applying itself vs. much stiffer opposition than Southern Illinois. That stated, I feel today’s total will go just Over the modest 121 opening total. Look for Missouri to score in the low 70’s while keeping SIU in the low 50’s for a number that falls in the mid 120’s. Take the Over.