Wildcats, Tigers tussle in Columbia
Competing with only seven scholarship players isn’t ideal for any coach, let alone someone in charge of a prestigious program like Arizona. So can Sean Miller steer his undermanned group away from potential danger at Missouri?
This afternoon, the two schools collide for the second straight year. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the Wildcats odds of -380 to take care of business on the road. Kim Anderson’s team, on the other hand, represents a +290 underdog.
While No. 20 Arizona’s struggling to fill a number of positions, the absence of point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright continues to hurt the most. The stalwart junior suffered a high ankle sprain against Texas Southern on Nov. 30. To make matters worse, elite scorer Allonzo Trier has yet to suit up due to an undisclosed eligibility issue.
Still, Miller’s crew seems considerably sturdier than the Tigers (5-3), who absorbed an embarrassing home loss to North Carolina Central nearly two weeks ago. Despite being a perimeter-oriented squad, Mizzou is shooting just 29.1 percent from downtown. Only freshman Frankie Hughes averages more than 13 points per game.
Thankfully for ‘Zona (7-2), its stellar frontline remains intact. Expect 7-foot forward Lauri Markkanen and center Dustan Ristic to get MU into foul trouble from the opening tip. Nonetheless, those missing pieces in the backcourt will guarantee a lower-scoring affair in general.
SATURDAY NCAA FREE PICK: ARIZONA/MISSOURI UNDER 135 POINTS