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Previewing the Lipscomb Bison

The headline for this took a little bit to write as I googled "Lipscomb Athletics"

We play these guys, not Texas. Just FYI
We play these guys, not Texas. Just FYI
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

After back-to-back-to-back losses to Power Conference teams, Mizzou turns its attention to the mighty (checks google) Atlantic Sun conference for their next opponent, the mighty Bison of Lipscomb University.

Presenting the Lipscomb Bison

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

by HHKB Chris: All things must come to end, and so we have reached the conclusion of our non conference schedule with the Lipscomb University (linked in case you'd like to enroll) Bison from Nashville, Tennessee! This will be the first of three teams Mizzou has to play from said state, and of the three they have the least offensive court (I imagine). Lipscomb is a private liberal arts college and like many schools it has a motto, "Truth shall make you free." Nice, this being a private college, I doubt anything is free, and if you want some truth Bison, Mizzou is gonna run all over you! Ha, #trashtalk.

Perusing the internet I found out some information on Lipscomb you may not have realized, they have a coffee spot called "Starbucks." Me, I don't drink coffee, but I hear this is quite the popular brand name and may have a few locations around the country. They've also got a yearly event called "Singarama" which sounds about as interesting as Mizzou's "Mizzouapalooza", though I imagine when NashVegas is right outside your door, you'd probably just head downtown for drinks and the like and skip all that. In my head I figure the Lipscomb kids give the Vanderbilt kids a good what for on the streets, but that's probably not what's going down at all.

As I said above, Lipscomb's mascot is a bison, not to be confused with a buffalo. You know what the difference is? Buffalos don't live in this country, they live over in Africa and Asia, the Bison you see is American.

not a buffalo - bison

the more you know

Their mascot has an affliction that just bugs me so completely, it wears full clothing, mind you it doesn't look as silly as the K-State mascot, but still, mascots, be nude! You're free to do whatever you want in there, don't put clothes on top of clothes, you're doing this all wrong.

Recently, said fully clothed Bison met one of those Duck Dynasty guys, they took a selfie...the Bison may then have bene turned into jerky with the Ron Popeil RonCo food dehydrator, I DON'T KNOW!

Photo Credit:

Now, with such a small school Lipscomb has alumni to be sure, but not many that are notable. They have a couple congressman, baseball players, and country singers but their most famous alum is Pat Boone! Boone is a countryish singer and also frequent coverer of Motown hits and finally neighbor to Ozzy Osbourne, so he's got all that going for him. But honestly, that's really it. Lipscomb students, I beseech you to go out there and do something weird for the purposes of future previews!

Here's Pat Boone singing things. This clip is from 1981, coincidentally that was the last time he changed his hairstyle.

This game will be taking place at Mizzou Arena Saturday afternoon, also shown on the SEC Network, so if you can't make it it's on the TV. I would give you hints as to where to go when in Columbia MO, but if you don't know by now, well you're doing CoMO wrong.

About Their Basketball Team

by Sam Snelling: The Bison bring with them to Columbia a not-so-stellar 5-8 record. It is a whole single loss worse than Missouri's 5-7 record. I can just imagine the raucous crowd at Mizzou Arena on Saturday. Two of those wins came against Missouri Assistant Coach Brad Loos father Dave's team the Austin Peay Governors, so Lipscomb has eclipsed their allotted wins vs. the Loos family for the 2014-15 season, which is good for Missouri.

Lipscomb isn't a good basketball team. They currently rank #263 according to KenPom. That's 109 spots lower than Missouri. However that's 19 spots ahead of UMKC. :/ I think we can agree that Missouri is a bit of a different team than the one that lost to UMKC, but still, let's not get too overconfident. Two more of their wins came against teams that do not currently play in the NCAA Division One (Transylvania and Berry College are both Div III). They've lost to Belmont (2x), Vanderbilt, Princeton, Texas, Colorado, UT-Chatt, and Tennessee Tech. They haven't defeated a team with an RPI of less than 200, which should bode well for the Tigers.

The Bison are led by sophomore Josh Williams (28.8 mpg, 14.6 ppg) and senior Malcolm Smith (26.7 mpg, 13.7 ppg). Seven players average more than 20 minutes though, which is something. They tend to play 9 most games, but the top 7 are the production. Williams and Smith are very similar players. They both run about 6'5, 205-210 lbs and also get 5 boards and a couple assists per game. Malcolm has a twin brother Martin, who is also pretty good but has been plagued lately by an injured foot. If he's healthy, they'll have a lot of 6-5 wings to go to. Brett Wishon is a 6'9 Stretch-4 type who hits about 40% of his three's. And Nathan Moran is a small 5-9 point guard who is the other three point threat. All in all, they've got some decent guys, and some talent that can hurt you if you don't come prepared.

I expect Mizzou to win this game. By how much will be a testament to how far they've really come in the last few games.

No Q&A today, as amazingly Lipscomb and the Atlantic Sun don't really provide a big SBN presence or site for us to find somebody to ask questions... so we're moving right along to our 3 keys...

1) Defend hard

Lipscomb has lost a lot of games, when they do, it's usually to very good teams who defend them hard. They're not a great defensive team, giving up on average around 76 points a game. And frankly, after many of the defensive struggles they've had of late, they could use a team that they can gain some confidence on offensively. More importantly though is limiting Lipscombs opporunities. They're prone to turning the ball over and can be held down. Mizzou needs to keep up their strong defensive numbers, and take advantage of Lipscombs... uh, less than strong defensive numbers.

2) Three Point Opportunities

If you want to keep a team that has less talent than you in the game, you provide them a lot of clean looks from the 3-point area. With Wishon and Moran the Bison have two high percentage three point shooters, so you focus on limiting their opportunities. With the Smiths, and Williams you have guys that don't necessarily shoot a high percentage, but can make three's. So you focus on making them take guarded three's. Mizzou succeeded at limiting Forte in the Oklahoma State game, they'll need to be cognizant of these players on Saturday.

3) Do You

After two straight games of finding themselves, this young Tiger team is playing it's best basketball of the year. They are simply a more talented team than Lipscomb is. How far this team has come since the start of the season will be evidenced by how they perform in this game. If Missouri plays a close game, there is too much evidence that they "got up" for Illinois and Oklahoma State games, rather than actually improving. They need a convincing win. They need to take a team that they are better than, and beat them soundly. Can they do that?

The good news is that the last two games for Missouri have been almost fun to watch. Its always better when you win, but what has made this version of basketball more entertaining is that they've been competitive against good teams. Now they're playing a not-so-good team. They'll most likely be playing in a quiet environment with little fan support. They'll need to generate their own energy, which is often hard for a young team. The motivation they'll need should be found in getting off the three game slide they've been on before heading into a tough SEC schedule.

If they can turn it around and get things going, this version of the Tigers have an opportunity to screw up a lot of SEC seasons. They have the ability to be a similar team to Georgia last year, where they hit the right key at the right time and carried that momentum through conference play. Then the question becomes how many wins can they get before they wrap it up?

Frankly, I see this game being about a 10-12 point spread. I think Mizzou gets comfortably up in the second half and coasts a bit, so we'll guess the score to be around 74-62. With my trifecta of JW3, Teki and Wright. I hope this is a good game for Wright to get some confidence going.

Leave any trifecta picks in the comments below if you'd like.