Tuesday previews: Miss. St.-Tenn. and Kansas St.-TCU

By Greg Peterson  (VSiN.com) 

Tennessee At Mississippi State (7 p.m. ET on SEC Network)

Opening Line: Mississippi State -1.5

Offensive Efficiency: Tennessee #100, Mississippi State #110

Defensive Efficiency: Tennessee #28, Mississippi State #31

Rebound Rate: Tennessee #121, Mississippi State #64

Percent of Shots are 3s: Tennessee #219, Mississippi State #166

Free-Throw Shooting Percentage: Tennessee #50, Mississippi State #291

Pace: Tennessee #225, Mississippi State #205

Tennessee and Mississippi State are similar teams currently in very different positions because Tennessee played a much better non-conference schedule.

Both are driven by their defenses and do just enough on offense to take down talented teams. The Bulldogs are built around their guards with size. Tennessee does its work with gritty undersized forwards that fight for rebounds.

Mississippi State is right at the national average in 3-point rate, but does not hit many of them. The Bulldogs are an all-around bad shooting team, which makes getting second chances of paramount importance.

Tennessee has the lower rebounding rate, but plays more forwards and has superior outside shooting. This team is loaded with guys who are between 6-5 and 6-7, who do a little bit of everything and who get the job done at the free-throw line.

Tennessee is unique in that it is willing to adapt to another team’s pace, playing a mix of shootouts and rock fights. Mississippi State is the same way, scoring as many as 109 points and as few as 61 in wins.

This ultimately will come down to which team can execute its offensive strength. Tennessee will look to shoot a high percentage from 3-point range while Mississippi State will look to get second and third chances on the offensive glass.

Kansas State at TCU (9 p.m. ET on ESPNU)

Opening Line: TCU -6.5

Offensive Efficiency: Kansas State #63 TCU #8

Defensive Efficiency: Kansas State #116, TCU #249

Rebound Rate: Kansas State #286, TCU #15

Percent of Shots are 3s: Kansas State #147, TCU #238

Free-Throw Shooting Percentage: Kansas State # 65, TCU #170

Pace: Kansas State #322 TCU #87

Kansas State is trying to sew up an NCAA Tournament bid with another quadrant-one win. TCU looks to be a lock for the big dance, but its seed is bouncing all over the place.

TCU is one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, but plays close to no defense in comparison to most other Power 5 schools. Kansas state is also stronger on offense and a weaker defensive team, but the disparity between the two is much smaller.

Kansas State has a depth issue, as only six players score meaningful points with a lot of those points coming off isolation jump shots. TCU does a better job of getting assists due to having a bit more overall team size, which leads to more post-up opportunities.

Kansas State defeated TCU 73-68 at home when these two hooked up in January, with Kansas State getting the game played at a slower pace. TCU is at its best when going up-tempo and getting buckets in transition while Kansas State's forte is playing more of a slow, grind-out-the-shot-clock game.

If TCU can get the pace more in its favor, it will be in a better position to win and cover this time around. TCU has won just one game when scoring fewer than 70 points. That came against New Mexico in December.

Kansas State shot over 50 percent the first time these teams met and should try to do the same again. Even when Kansas State is not making shots, the Wildcats are the better free-throw shooting team and will try to use that to its advantage.

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