Mississippi State Bulldogs vs Tennessee Volunteers: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN, USA.

When: Tuesday, March 5th at 9pm EST.

How (TV/Radio): SEC Network

Mississippi State Bulldogs (Away)

Head Coach: Ben Howland {Overall: 21-8, .724 W-L% | Conference: 9-7, T-4th in SEC}

A virtual lock to make the NCAA tournament, the Bulldogs will look at this game as an opportunity to boost a resume that boasts just one win over a ranked team in four chances. That victory came against the-16th ranked Auburn at home in Starkville on January 26th. Ben Howland’s team will not have history on its side in this matchup, as Mississippi State has not beaten a ranked Volunteers squad on the road since 1983.

The Bulldogs finished off the month of February with five straight wins, before beginning the current month with a loss at Auburn last Saturday. Mississippi State lost 80-75 in a game where senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon had a double-double of 25 points and 11 rebounds, while junior guard Tyson Carter followed with 21 points.

Tennessee Volunteers (Home)

Head Coach: Rick Barnes {Overall: 26-3, .897 W-L% | Conference: 14-2, T-1st in SEC}

After being ranked number one in the nation for five straight weeks, the Volunteers have suffered a couple of hiccups, albeit to ranked opponents in Kentucky and LSU. Tennessee’s tournament resume looks impressive nonetheless, as it includes a win over then-top-ranked Gonzaga in December, as well as a road win against an in-state rival, Memphis, the following game.

It could be argued that Tennessee’s best win came last weekend at home against 4th ranked Kentucky. The Volunteers avenged a February 16th loss by hammering the Wildcats 71-52. Junior guard Jordan Bone led the way with 27 points, while the team’s leading scorer, Grant Williams, chipped in with 24 points of his own. Tennessee really clamped down Kentucky on defense, as the Wildcats were held to 31% shooting and only had one player reach double figures.

Mississippi State Roster Notes

Sophomore guard Nick Weatherspoon is out indefinitely after being suspended on February 16th for violating team rules.

Tennessee Roster Notes

Redshirt freshman forward Zach Kent is out with a knee injury and is doubtful to play at all this season.

Head-to-Head: Lamar Peters vs Jordan Bone

Lamar Peters

Point Guard | 6-0, 185lb (183cm, 83kg) | L.B. Landry HS | New Orleans, LA | Junior

11.3 PPG | 5.3 APG | 1.8 RPG | 1.7 SPG | 0.0 BPG | 3.0 TOV | .388 FG% | .377 3P%

Jordan Bone

Point Guard | 6-3, 180lb (190cm, 81kg) | The Ensworth School | Nashville, TN | Junior

13.6 PPG | 6.1 APG | 3.1 RPG | 0.7 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 2.0 TOV | .482 FG% | .362 3P%

Although this game features players who can light up the scoreboard in Weatherspoon, Williams, and Schofield, the matchup to focus on will be between junior point guards who are tasked with putting the aforementioned players in position to score. Both players lead their teams in assists but are capable of contributing in other areas of the game.

Lamar Peters is a point guard that many college coaches would use as a template when recruiting the high school ranks for the position. He usually sticks to his role as a playmaker but can be called upon to provide offense by himself, as he did in a 28 point performance against Clemson in December. Peters is also a pest on defense, as his ability to force turnovers has been a key to the Bulldogs’ success. This was evident in their February 26th game against Missouri when Peters tallied six steals in the winning effort.

Although he is not quite the ballhawk that Peters is, Jordan Bone has been a crucial piece to Tennessee’s remarkable season. The brother of former Volunteer, Josh Bone currently leads the conference in assists but has also proven to be a threat from outside the arc when called upon. His shooting ability was fully on display against Kentucky last weekend when he shot a perfect 5 for 5 from the perimeter as part of his 27 point performance.

Mississippi State at Tennessee Predictions and Odds

The Volunteers are listed as 8 point home favorites by oddsmakers against the Bulldogs. The over/under for the game is currently set at 148.