Tiger Tip-Off Preview: Ole Miss
Missouri’s 81-76 away win over LSU on Wednesday put plenty of pressure on the team to secure a top four seed in the SEC tournament next week.
A loss in the regular-season Finals would drop the Tigers to 6th or 7th place. But a win would put them in the top five, with their final position being decided by two more games taking place on Saturday: Kentucky in Arkansas and Tennessee in Auburn. If both the Wildcats and Volunteers win, Mizzou would be No. 5. If both teams lost, Missouri would be No. 3. In any other scenario, MU would secure fourth place and go straight to the Conference Quarterfinals.
head coach Dennis Gates said he hadn’t looked into all the different scenarios of how the seeding could erupt. All he knows is that it will be important for the Tigers to end the regular season with a win over Ole Miss.
The Rebels fell at home to Mizzou, 89-77, last month and haven’t been much better since, winning just two of their last 10 games. Ole Miss fired the head coach Kermit Davis on February 24 and named win case as an interim. The team beat LSU in its next game but lost to Texas A&M on Tuesday.
Saturday will will be an emotional day for Missouri as it is the senior guards last home game in their fifth year DeAndre Gholston, Tre Gomillion, D’Moi Hodge And Ben Sternberg. Gates said the team plans to honor all of its fourth-year players as well, whether they decide to return next season or not, inclusive Kobe Brown, Noah Carter, Sean East II, Nick honor And Isiah Mosley — a tradition Gates started when he was head coach at Cleveland State.
After the game, the Seniors’ Day celebration will take place. The Tigers will look to send their seniors into the postseason with a win and a double-bye.
“I want these two-legged guys to be where they are and not where they think they should be next because you might miss out on some incredible memories,” Gates said. “And so we focus on what we focus on. I want not only these guys to be recognised, but also our team. It’s still a credit to this team.”
TIP TIME INFORMATION
Missouri (22-8, 10-7 SEC) vs. Ole Miss (11-19, 3-14)
IF: 2:30 p.m. CT
WHERE: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Missouri
TV: SEC network
SERIES: Ole Miss leads, 15-7
KENPOM PREDICTION: Missouri 81, Ole Miss 72
BEST LINEUP OF LAST 5 EXITS (PER CBB ANALYTICS)
Nick Honor-Tre Gomillion-D’Moi Hodge-Noah Carter-Aidan Shaw
Playing minutes: 6
Offensive rating: 140.3
Defensive rating: 54.0
Net rating: +86.3
KEY TO THE GAME
1. Enter Matthew Murrell. Missouri and Mississippi’s rotations will look a little different than the first time they played each other. Isiaih Mosley started the Tigers’ first meeting but has not played in their last seven games. Tre Gomillion was sidelined with a groin injury — the game against the Rebels was the first he’d missed in his collegiate career — but he’s been back and healthy in his last four games. The same goes for Ole Miss’ top scorer Murrell, who sat in the team’s first matchup against Mizzou. The junior guard is a below-average shooter both inside and outside the arc, making only 44.1% of his 2-pointers and 31.9% of his 3-pointers. But he plays an important role in the rebel offensive as their chief guard and creator of firearms. In all three of the team’s SEC game wins, Murrell had double-digit points. Mizzou has to keep him from getting hot.
2. Barricade the color. Opponents often get off to a hot start from deep when the Tigers engage in zone defense and take advantage of the open looks they’re offered along the perimeter. But they also often tend to fall back to the mean as the game progresses. LSU, for example, drilled 11 threes in the first half of their game against MU but only sank three in the second half. The Rebels went 10-28 from long range in their first meeting with Missouri, but are among the top 20 worst 3-point shooting teams in the nation, accounting for just 30.0% of their Treys. Ole Miss would much rather score indoors, which is where 55.3% of his points come from, according to KenPom. The Tigers’ goal is to stop Ole Miss from reaching the hoop without giving up a high count of 3s.
3. Fire from deep. The 89 points Mizzou scored against the Rebels was the most they had accumulated in an SEC game that year. The Tigers were able to take it to Ole Miss, catching fire from the outside, sinking 16-30 and tying their season-high for most 3-pointers in a game. The team may have to do it without Mosley this time, who went 4-7 against Ole Miss from long range. But the Tigers shot the ball much better at home anyway, making 36.4% of their 3-pointers at the Mizzou Arena and only 33.8% away. The Rebels have allowed opponents to make 34.0% of their triples this season, meaning Missouri should be able to find an advantage down the arc.
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