No. 4 seed Mizu recorded one of the program’s biggest wins since joining the SEC in 2012 by defeating No. 5 seed Tennessee in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament on Friday, 79-71. Now, the Tigers are entering uncharted territory as they will play in their first ever semi-final.
They tied No. 1 seed Alabama, the team that defeated them in their first game on January 21 inside Mizzou Arena, 85-64. Coincidentally, both teams have lost three games since then, with the Crimson Tide falling to Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas A&M – all coming down the road. Alabama looked like the regular season champ in the tournament opener against No. 8-ranked Mississippi State on Friday, though the Bulldogs, 72-49.
MU coach Dennis Gates He said he would be up all Friday night watching each of the Crimson Tide games since the Tigers last played them to prepare for Saturday’s encounter. It should be a fun stylistic match, with both teams wanting to put in points in haste, each ranking in the top 100 of the modified KenPom percussion rating and in the top 20 of the modified KenPom offensive efficiency rating. Missouri is going to look a lot different to Alabama than it did last time, since a senior forward Kobe Brown He missed the last meeting due to an ankle injury. The team hopes the limited time to prepare will work in their favour.
“It’s a quick turnaround. It reminds me a little bit of AAU-style juveniles,” Senior Rangers Nick Honor He said. “It’s going to be a fast-paced game. They want to score and we want to score. And we’re also a solid defensive team as well. So it’s going to be a penalty shootout and a battle, so it should be exciting.”
Information about the time
Missouri (24-8, 11-7 SEC) vs. Alabama (27-5, 16-2)
when: 12 m ct
where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
series: Alabama leads, 13-7
Line: Alabama -9.0
Kienbaum predicted: Alabama 86 Missouri 77
By the numbers
Best lineup in the last 5 rounds (per CBB analytics)
Shawn East II De Moy Hodge DeAndre Golston Noah Carter Kobe Brown
Number of minutes played: 12
Attack rating: 156.5
Defensive rating: 71.1
Net rating: +85.3
1. Earn turnover margin. Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas A&M all did something in common in their wins over Alabama: They forced the Tide to cough up the ball at a high rate. Alabama recorded 50 turnovers in those three games combined. For the season, the team was slightly below average in handling the ball, giving it 18.8% of possessions according to KenPom, which ranks 232nd in the nation. The Crimson Tide coughed up the ball just seven times in a dominant win over Mississippi State on Friday. And in the Mizzou game earlier this year, the Tigers scored just six points from 10 forced turnovers. To get the best out of Alabama, Missouri will need to do a better job of pressing.
2. Run the Crimson Tide away from the 3-point line. Alabama relies heavily on taking and executing outside shots to fuel its offense. According to KenPom, 47.6% of the team’s field goal attempts come from outside the arc, which ranks ninth in the country. The Crimson Tide isn’t a shooting team, connecting on 33.9% of their 3s, but the triples still account for 36.6% of the points they’ve scored this year, which ranks 33rd in the NCAA. Freshman Forward and SEC Player of the Year Brandon Miller He leads the way for Alabama, making 40.5% of his three-pointers this season. Against Mississippi State on Friday, Miller went 4-9 from deep while the Crimson Tide as a whole went 13-37. Tigers cannot allow their opponent to heat up.
3. Get to the free throw line. Both the Volunteers and the Aggies were able to wear Alabama down by catching more foul shots from the Crimson Tide. Tennessee went 16-25 while Texas A&M went 27-28. Alabama was 26-31 in the two games combined. When Mizo went up against the Crimson Tide earlier this year, they surrendered 32 free throw attempts for the visitors, who made 25 of them. The Tigers went just 15-19. Alabama doesn’t do a great job of stopping opponents from reaching the bar, giving up 33.3 missed shots per 100 field goal attempts. Missouri should try to use that to their advantage, especially when going into a game expecting it to be a shootout.
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