Point spread: Missouri -5
The Missouri Tigers take-on the Villanova Wildcats this Tuesday night in a Big 12-Big East clash in this year’s Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. The game is slated to tip-off at 7 p.m. (ET) and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Missouri is off to a strong start with a 7-0 record straight-up that includes an 87-58 victory over Notre Dame on Nov.21 as a four-point favorite and a 92-53 romp over then-No.18 California as a one-point favorite the next night in the CBE Classic. The Tigers are 3-1 against the spread and the total has been evenly split at 2-2.
So far this season Missouri has had little problem putting the ball in the net with an average of 86.3 points a game and a 52.5 shooting percentage from the field. Marcos Denmon and Kim English have led the way with a combined 27.2 points and 10.1 rebounds a game through the first seven contests.
Villanova is off to a 5-2 SU start but is just 1-5 ATS with the total being evenly split at 3-3. The Wildcats dropped an 80-68 decision to St. Louis as one-point underdogs and followed that up with a 65-64 loss to Santa Clara as 8.5-point favorites in the 76 Classic in late November. They got back to their winning ways with a 73-65 victory over Penn this past Saturday, but could not cover as 13-point home favorites.
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Maalik Wayns is the team’s leading scorer with 18.7 points a game and Mouphtaou Yarou is averaging 16 points and a team-high 8.4 rebounds a game. The team is scoring 76.7 points a game while shooting 44.5 percent from the floor. The Wildcats are holding their opponents to 66.3 points a game and pulling down an average of 39.4 rebounds a game.
Missouri is 7-2 ATS in its last nine non-conference games, but just 1-4 ATS in its last five games against the Big East. The total has gone ‘over’ in four of its last five neutral-site games.
Villanova is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games against the Big 12 but just 1-6 ATS in its last seven non-conference games overall. The total has stayed ‘under’ in its last five games against the Big 12.
It is highly doubtful that the Wildcats will be able to keep pace with the high-scoring Tigers late into the second half. Stick with Missouri all the way in this one as it improves to 8-0 on the year.
The Pick: Missouri 78 Villanova 64
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