With a two-game skid, Tennessee basketball will look for its first SEC win Tuesday night. Here is our preview for the Volunteers at the Missouri Tigers.
After losing its SEC opener on Saturday 78-64 at home to the LSU Tigers, Tennessee basketball hits the road Tuesday night for another conference matchup. The Vols will face the Missouri Tigers in Columbia, Mo.
At 8-5 and 0-1 in the conference, this is UT’s second game with midseason enrollee Santiago Vescovi and first road SEC game. Rocky Top is facing its former head coach, Cuonzo Martin, and is playing its third game without Lamonte Turner, having lost the previous two.
In addition to its last two losses, Rick Barnes’s team has lost four of its last five games overall. Here is everything you need to know about Tennessee basketball’s Tuesday night matchup with so much attrition.
Tennessee Volunteers at Missouri Tigers
When: Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Mizzou Arena; Columbia, Mo.
TV: SEC Network
Live stream: WatchESPN
Just like Tennessee basketball, the Missouri Tigers are also 8-5 and 0-1 in the SEC. Martin’s team suffered three straight losses in non-conference play to the Butler Bulldogs, Oklahoma Sooners and Charleston Southern Buccaneers, but after that they won four straight, including solid victories over the Temple Owls and Illinois Fighting Illini.
Mizzou enters this game coming off a 71-59 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats on the road, which isn’t much to be ashamed of. Coming off a 15-17 season, this program appears to be taking a step forward amidst returning seven of its top nine scorers from last year.
The Vols, meanwhile, are trying to find their new identity with Turner having season-ending shoulder surgery. Josiah-Jordan James is still trying to develop at point guard, and while Vescovi is a true point guard, he still has to adjust to the college game. One bit of good news, though, is the fact that he clearly adds another three-point threat.
If Vescovi can settle down with his point guard play while improving his defense, James can develop and Jordan Bowden can get his shot back, UT has a chance to make a run. However, all of those things will be necessary for this season to not spiral out of control.