Place: Mizzou Arena (Columbia, MO)
TV: SEC Network
Line: Missouri is favored by 4
Advanced Metrics via KenPom: Texas A&M has a 30% chance to win
Results of Note
Any way you slice it, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt are the two worst teams in the SEC (special shouts to Georgia, who is almost as bad). I open with this because Missouri’s two SEC wins to date are over… Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. The Tigers should have defeated LSU at home and they let that game slip away, but every other SEC loss has been by double digits. They’re not good, but they appear to be better than the dregs.
You will probably recall their game against us three weeks ago, when A&M played so badly that many wondered if the team would grab another SEC victory this season. So far, they’ve been correct.
Things to Watch
Before the first game, I cautioned against leaving the Tigers open from beyond the arc. That’s still in play, as Missouri is 3rd from long range in the SEC. They are 2nd in the SEC on the offensive glass, but their turnover margin is abysmal. They don’t take care of the ball (14th of 14 in Turnover %), they don’t protect the rim (14th of 14 in Block %) and they don’t create transition opportunities (14th of 14 in Steal %).
On paper, this appears to be a game we can win. On paper, Missouri doesn’t appear likely to capitalize on the things we don’t do well.
But again, we can’t ignore the curb stomping Missouri gave us at home. So who knows.
A couple of weeks ago, I held faint hope that we could break of out the bottom four and avoid the dreaded opening night of the SEC Tournament. That hope is gone. The standings have cast Missouri, Georgia, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt adrift, and the only remaining drama is where the four teams will fall between 11-14.
That’s really the only selling point for this game - it’s one of three remaining contests where we’re playing someone in our “tier.” It may not be good basketball, but it should be close.