Mizzou ended his 13-year drought Thursday with a first-round win in the NCAA Tournament over Utah State. Now, the team has a chance to wrap up another run of the decade-plus program.
The No. 7 seed has not made it to the Sweet 16 since 2009. They are currently just one win away from making it to the second weekend of the Big Dance and moving to Louisville, Ky.
No. 15 seed Princeton is the team currently standing in their way. The Ivy League Tigers beat No. 2 seed Arizona on Thursday 59-55, which was the most surprising win of the tournament until No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson beat No. 1 seed Purdue on Friday, 63-58.
The win over the Wildcats was Princeton’s first against any high school this season. Coach Mitch Hendersonwho was a member of the Tigers’ last team to win the NCAA tournament in 1998, said there are a few programs they played this year that are stylistically similar to Missouri, like Cornell, but none have the same talent.
“We haven’t seen the size, the athleticism and the way they guard,” said Henderson. “But, I mean, just like with Arizona, we’ve never seen two people that big on the field together. It has to be Will to win again.”
Mizzou’s assistant coach Kyle Smithpeters He was assigned to lead the Boy Scouts at Princeton. He noted that both Tigers teams run similar sets — he told the MU players that they’ve been preparing for this game for four months. His main advice to the team was to avoid the same mistakes the Wildcats made.
“I think the biggest thing we need to focus on is ourselves and making sure our mindset is that we don’t overlook this opponent,” Smithpeters said. “You have to respect them. I felt like there were two or three times in the Arizona game where Arizona had a chance to put it away, and they really took that opportunity. And Princeton is allowed to hang out, hang out, and then crazy things happen in this game of basketball when you let that happen.” .
Missouri Technical Director Dennis Gates He noted after Thursday’s win that not many people chose his Tigers to beat the Aggies. That likely won’t be the case again when they play a lower ranked Princeton squad.
But many of Mizzou’s players said their mentality won’t change – they remain a dubious side all season with something still to prove.
“Some people think that we will lose tomorrow,” Nick Honor He said on Friday. “I know we might be favorites, but we’ll always carry that chip on our shoulders because of all the work we put in. At the end of the day, it’s March Madness, so everyone, you know what I’m saying, the championship deserves to be here. We’ll just play our game and do our thing.” “.
Information about the time
Missouri (25-9, 11-7 SEC) – Princeton (22-8, 10-4 Ivy League).
when: 3:10 PM PT / 5:10 PM PT
where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
series: Missouri leads 2-0
Line: Missouri -6.5
Kienbaum predicted: Missouri 80, Princeton 74
Best lineup in the last 5 rounds (per CBB analytics)
Nick Honor – Sean East 2 – De Moy Hodge – Noah Carter – Kobe Brown
Number of minutes: 30
Attack rating: 153.5
Defensive rating: 111.1
Net rating: +42.4
1. Find the right match for Tosan Evbuomwan. The senior forward serves as Princeton’s de facto point guard, often picking up the ball and leading the team with 4.8 assists per game — per KenPom, he assists 32.0% of the Tigers’ baskets while on the ground, which ranks 43rd in the nation. His ball-handling abilities may make it difficult for him to protect Mizzou forwards, but at 6-foot-8, he can be too tall for MU guards to block. He was the only Princeton player to score in a double-double against Arizona on Thursday, scoring 15 points. Evbuomwan is not quite a shooter, only connecting on 26.9% of his three-pointers with less than one attempt per game, so any defender’s primary focus will be to prevent him from reaching the edge and trust the rest of the players. The team must cut off any lanes of traffic. The SEC Tigers will likely shuffle through several different players to find the right man to guard him. The more comfortable they feel with someone, the better.
2. Run Princeton off the 3-point line. The Ivy League Tigers shoot slightly below average from the outside, resulting in 33.3% of their trees being sunk. However, it does not discourage Princeton from taking as many as 3 every night. According to KenPom, 40.7% of the team’s field goal attempts come from outside the arc, which ranks 89th in the country. Although only two players shoot over 34.0% from depth, six of them shoot at least three triples per game. Mizzou proved he could stop the team from finding a rhythm along the perimeter, holding Utah to 4-24 from 3 and holding Alabama to 8-27 in the previous game. Arizona held Princeton 4-25 in their first-round matchup, and it would take a similar effort from Missouri to come out on top.
3. Take the ball away from Princeton. MU made a solid run winning by a turnover margin against Utah State on Thursday, forcing the Aggies to cough up the ball 15 times to 10. USU wasn’t a team that gave the ball often, either, just 17.6% of possessions. Princeton is better at taking care of the ball, giving up just 16.9% of its possessions, which ranks 85th in the NCAA. The Ivy League Tigers scored 11 times to Arizona’s 13 on Friday, helping the team slow the Wildcats, leading to a low-scoring contest. Princeton is also one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the country, accounting for 22.7% of available errors, which means Mizzou won’t have many other opportunities to earn additional possessions without making a turnover. The SEC Tigers can’t afford to fall into the same trap as Arizona.
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