Fresh off of a 16-point home victory over Ole Miss, the Aggies find themselves tied with Auburn atop the SEC standings and emerging on the bubble in the NCAA tournament projections. Now, the Ags are taking their 3-0 SEC record to the Show Me State looking to demonstrate for fans, reporters, analysts, and the tournament selection committee that they are worthy of their rising national profile. Texas A&M faces Missouri on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 CT with television coverage on SEC Network.
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The Tigers come into this game at 7-8 overall with a 1-2 record in SEC play. Their notable wins include an 80-75 overtime victory over SMU in the opening game of the Jacksonville Classic, an 8-point victory over Utah at home, and a stunning upset of Alabama last Saturday at home, 92-86. Mizzou has a top-20 strength of schedule nationally, and it is reflected in their losses, which include Florida State (81-58), Wichita State (61-55), Kansas (102-65), Illinois (88-63), Kentucky (83-56), and Arkansas (87-43). Cuonzo Martin is in his fifth season at the helm of the Tigers and has amassed a 73-64 record in that time, including NCAA tournament appearances in 2018 and 2021.
Similar to the Aggies, Mizzou features a host of players who are new to the program. Only five of the twelve players on Missouri’s roster are upperclassmen, and four players are transfers who played elsewhere last year. There are also four freshmen and a redshirt freshman on the Tigers’ roster. The unquestioned MVP for Missouri is 6’ 8” junior forward Kobe Brown, who leads the team in scoring with 14.7 points in 29.7 minutes per game. Brown is also the team leader in rebounds and steals, and second in blocks and assists. The guard trio of Amari Davis, Jarron Coleman, and Javon Pickett also carry a significant scoring load, each averaging better than 9 points per game.
The Aggies have the statistical edge both offensively and defensively. Mizzou doesn’t shoot the ball particularly well, ranking fourth from last nationally in 3 point percentage and shooting just over 40% from the field. They are a good offensive rebounding team and use those boards to create second chance points. However, they are a good free throw shooting team. On the defensive side, the Tigers don’t create an extraordinary number of steals or turnovers, but they are a top 75 squad nationally in blocks. With A&M’s top 50 offensive rebounding matched up against the Tigers’ average defensive rebounding, I expect the Aggies to be able to create some second chance points in this one.
On paper, this matchup looks very similar to Oregon State. If the Aggies take care of their business and impose their will, I would expect to see a double-digit victory. However, if the Ags take this game lightly and are caught looking ahead to Wednesday’s matchup against #18 Kentucky, Mizzou could very well shock the Aggies and steal a win.