Tennessee guard Victor Bailey Jr. (12) shoots against Missouri's Kobe Brown (24) during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (Calvin Mattheis/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP, Pool)

SEC Basketball: Tennessee, Mississippi State Face Off

After a chaotic week of unexpected losses, the No. 18 Tennessee Volunteers will look to bounce back against the middling Mississippi State Bulldogs on Tuesday, Jan. 26th. Tipping off at 7:00 p.m., the game will feature two teams that have lost two straight games in the past week.

Tennessee

The Volunteers, led by head coach Rick Barnes, were 10-1 on the season before their trip to Gainesville. With their single loss coming to No. 9 Alabama, the team and fanbase were beginning to look ahead to the SEC Tournament; they have not secured an SEC Tournament title since 1979. However, the team was quickly brought down to earth over the course of their next seven days.

The Vols started their week with a shocking loss to the unranked Florida Gators. Even though Florida was missing their leading rebounder, senior Colin Castleton, the Vols were still out-rebounded by the Gators, 36-44 in a lopsided loss. With a final score of 75-49, the road would not get any easier for Tennessee as they would return to Thompson-Boling Arena. Awaiting them was No. 19 ranked Missouri, who were eager to exact revenge for their matchup earlier in the season when the Vols won by 20. Missouri won the game by nine, and these two losses dropped Tennessee to No. 18 from No. 6.

Mississippi State

Head coach Ben Howland and his Mississippi State Bulldogs will look to pull off an upset in Knoxville. While the team has grabbed a few big wins, such as a 15-point win over Missouri and a three-point win over Florida, the team has been plagued by inconsistency. After scoring 72 against the Gators, they could only manage to put up 46 against their rival, Ole Miss.

If the Bulldogs want a chance at victory against the Vols, they will need their sophomore stand-outs to rise to the challenge. Sophomore guards D.J. Stewart Jr. and Iverson Molinar lead the team in points, combining for 35.5 points per game on average. Fellow sophomore Tolu Smith will need to control the boards on both ends for Mississippi State, as he averages almost four offensive rebounds a game, and five defensive rebounds a game.

Where to Watch

The game between the Vols and Bulldogs will tip-off at 7:00 p.m. The game can be viewed on the SEC Network.

About Carson Cashion

Carson Cashion is a first-year student at the University of Florida, and has a major in journalism- sports and media. Originally from the Orlando area, Cashion covers the UF Gymnastics Team, having formerly covered Oak Hall Sports.

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