No online sportsbooks had released a total at time of writing, but on the spread the Tigers were favored by 4.5 points the last time we checked. So far this season Missouri has gone 13-3 SU and 6-7-1 ATS, while Alabama clocks in at 8-8 SU and 5-8 ATS.
Alabama Crimson Tide
After three straight losses (Wichita State, Xavier and UCLA), the Crimson Tide have responded by winning three of their last four, with the three victories coming over Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Robert Morris.
The latest win came over the Bulldogs and it certainly was a dominant performance from start to finish. Alabama ran out to a 38-26 lead by halftime and never looked back in the 80-61 win – they also covered for backers as 12-point favorites in the NCAA basketball odds.
Trevor Releford continued to excel, this time by putting up a game-high 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting. He hit six threes and also contributed four rebounds, four assists and one steal.
Shannon Hale, Retin Obasohan and Rodney Cooper also scored in double figures in the comfortable win, as the Crimson Tide shot 52.6 percent overall and 40.0 percent from beyond the arc. They also forced 14 turnovers out of Mississippi State.
We're interested to see if Alabama can keep it up on the road. They've certainly been battle-tested away from home, having played the likes of Duke, Oklahoma and Drexel on neutral courts as well as UCLA in Los Angeles. How will they handle the atmosphere in Columbia this weekend?
Missouri's rough start to SEC play continued on Thursday in a 75-78 setback at Vanderbilt. The Tigeers entered the game as small 1.5-point favorites but never really had control in the loss.
The Tigers were held to 39.1 percent shooting overall and 26.1 percent from three, with Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross the only three to score in double figures. Brown had a great all-around game, ending up with 22 points and six boards in 36 minutes. Clarkson went for 18 points and seven boards, though he was an inefficient 7-of-18 from the floor.
With that loss, Missouri moved to 1-2 in the conference, with the one win coming by two points against Auburn. Their other loss was at home to Georgia back close to two weeks ago.
Clearly the Tigers still have a lot of things to work on should they wish to really challenge once Marsh rolls around. They have been able to get good wins over the likes of UCLA and NC State, but a home loss to the Bulldogs is unacceptable.
Surely Missouri will come out fired up from the opening tip to try and make up for that letdown.
College Basketball Pick
It's been a good start for Alabama in terms of their conference play, but we don't see them winning at Missouri here on Saturday. We'll be taking the Tigers as our NCAA basketball pick for this
The Tigers still have more talent in our eyes, with Clarkson, Brown and Ross forming a nice experienced trio. Throw in a all-out hustle guy in Ryan Rosburg and some freaking athletic ability out of Johnathan Williams III, as well as a couple good bench options in Tony Criswell and Wes Clark, and we think Missouri is the superior squad.
We also believe the Tigers will come out with a lot of focus after a shaky start to their SEC schedule. This is a good opportunity for them to prove they shouldn't be taken lightly. Back Missouri to cover the number at home.
Pick: Missouri Tigers -4.5