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PowerMizzou – Tiger Tip-Off Preview: Arkansas #PowerMizzou #Tiger #TipOff #Preview #Arkansas #englishheadline


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When Mizzou faced off with Arkansas two weeks ago, it felt like a heavyweight title fight — two of the best teams in the SEC slugging it out in front of a packed crowd.

But since the Razorbacks edged out the Tigers in Fayetteville, 74-68, both teams have been outclassed by the rest of the conference. Mizzou narrowly defeated Vanderbilt at home, then lost a pair of road games at Texas A&M and Florida. Arkansas dropped three in a row to No. 22 Auburn, No. 4 Alabama and Vanderbilt. The Razorbacks fell to No. 25 in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll while the Tigers dropped out of the rankings altogether.

Both teams enter this week’s matchup looking to keep the other on the ropes. Tigers head coach Dennis Gates thinks the game will have a conference tournament-type setting, with the teams having already seen each other recently and another anticipated big crowd with only 100 tickets for the game still available as of Tuesday.

“It’s one of those things where it’s going to be a scrappy game,” Gates said. “Coach (Eric) Musselman and his personality, you know, his players are going to obviously take on that. And we’ll continue to play our style of basketball and what we do.”

TIP TIME INFORMATION

Missouri (13-4, 2-3 SEC) vs. No. 25 Arkansas (12-5, 1-4)

WHEN: 8 p.m. CT

WHERE: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Missouri

TV: SEC Network

SERIES: Arkansas leads, 33-26

KENPOM PREDICTION: Arkansas 81, Missouri 80

PROJECTED STARTERS

BY THE NUMBERS

KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Keep shooting. During his appearance on Mizzou Radio on Monday, Gates spoke at length about trusting processes over results, specifically when it comes to the Tigers’ offense. The team had two of its worst shooting performances of the season last week against Texas A&M and Florida. But Gates showed clips of players getting to the exact same spots and shooting the exact same shots in games from earlier in the year. The only difference was that the ball fell through the hoop before and it didn’t last week. He doesn’t want his team to get discouraged. Gates pointed out that 11 teams in the AP Top 25 poll lost on Saturday, tying the record for most on a single day. Missouri just happened to be one of them. The team will have good nights and bad throughout the course of the year. Gates they can’t let the highs and lows to affect the process, though. He wants his players to shoot the same shots they have all year long.

“If they hesitate,” Gates said, “I’m going to take them out of the game.”

2. Box EVERYBODY out. One of the ways the Razorbacks overcame a 17-point deficit in its first contest against MU was by crashing the offensive glass. Arkansas scored 17 second-chance points off of 15 offensive rebounds. Four different players finished the game with seven or more rebounds. It was one of Mizzou’s worst nights on the boards this year. Senior forward Noah Carter noted the Razorbacks had a size advantage at practically every position. Gates didn’t think his players did a poor job of boxing the other team out. Arkansas was gifted seven defensive rebounds off of the Tigers’ missed free throws. But to make rebounding less of a factor in Wednesday’s rematch, it’ll take consistent effort from all five players on the floor.

3. Keep Ricky Council IV off the free throw line. Mizzou, for the most part, did a solid job defensively in its first go-around with the Razorbacks, holding them to 48.1% from the field and 28.6% from deep. Even Council, who had a game-high 25 points, shot a modest 6-15 on the night, including 2-7 from beyond the arc. But Council changed the game by drawing a high number of fouls. The junior guard had just one trip to the stripe in the first half, hitting 1-2, but took 11 free throws in the second half, draining 10. It’s the most he’s taken and made in any game this year despite only two fouls on Council being intentional. The Tigers likely won’t change their defensive approach — they’ll still apply pressure on the ball to force turnovers and sit back in their zone, baiting the poor-shooting Razorbacks to pull up from long range. But they’ll need to do a better of making Davis work for his points.

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