The SEC basketball tournament commences with a pair of lower seeded games on Wednesday and the favorites are expected to cruise to the second round of action and cover the spread.
Mississippi State (15-15, 16-11 ATS) has whipped LSU twice this season. Back in January and on the road, 95-78 as two point underdogs and four days ago 88-76 as 8.5-point home favorites in Starksville.
That ended the Bulldogs seven-game losing streak in which they were often competitive at 4-3 ATS. Coach Ben Howland has one of the youngest and smallest team’s in the conference and they are at their best when running and in the transition game, exactly like they have been in both meetings this season. I.J. Ready runs the Mississippi State offense as their point guard and he is generally a good decision-maker, but it is imperative he keeps everything flowing to keep LSU on the defensive.
LSU (10-20, 11-18 ATS) opened as a 6.5-point underdog. Last year’s team was never whole even with Ben Simmons and this year’s squad never came together and yesterday it was reported head coach Johnny Jones will be let go once the Tigers have been eliminated from this event. What possible motivation LSU players might have had has been stripped away with this news. With LSU 1-10 ATS versus teams who attempt 21 or more three-point shots a game this season, for college basketball picks I’ll take Mississippi State The winner has little time to celebrate, playing tomorrow at 3:30 ET against Georgia.
Missouri (7-23, 12-13 ATS) enters this tournament on a six-game losing streak (3-3 ATS) and has been shooting even worse than they had all season. These Tigers were the poorest shooting team in the SEC at 39.1 percent and during this losing streak it has been even worse at 35.8 percent. Missouri lost by five points to Auburn on Jan. 10th as a Pick at home and this past Saturday 89-78 on the receiving end of nine points. Mizzou has only won once in 13 tries (5-7 ATS) away from Columbia.
Coach Bruce Pearl is of the opinion a couple of victories will lock down a NIT bid for his youthful squad and believes the more games Auburn (18-13, 16-13 ATS) plays in March, that experience will be invaluable down the road. Auburn basically plays a four-guard lineup, with third-leading scorer Danjel Purifoy more of a wing player (6’7) than a true guard. The Tigers from Alabama will be out to push the pace and keep on average of 80.3 PPG to keep the pressure on Missouri to make shots to stay in the game. Sportsbooks sent out Auburn as six-point favorite and for college basketball picks I think the pace will be too much for Missouri and the favorite covers.
Doug Upstone wrote this for www.sportsbookreview.com