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WBB: Non Conference Review and Tennessee Preview

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Use this as your game thread

Yes, I'm gettng tired of using the same photos, too
Yes, I'm gettng tired of using the same photos, too
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

After a 13-0 start to the season against some fairly soft competition (schedule rated 275th per Sagarin), the Tigers take a major step up in competition as SEC play begins tonight when Tennessee comes to visit. While the guys at Rocky Top Talk predicting between a 6 and 12 point victory for the Vols, the Sagarin ratings say Mizzou by 7 including the home court advantage.

Before we delve more into tonight's game, let's take a look at how Mizzou got here. Mizzou's best wins are St. Mary's, Missouri State, and Colorado. These are the only current Sagarin top 150 teams the Tigers have played.

Leading the way for the Tigers as been all-everything freshman Sophie Cunningham, who leads the team in scoring and is second in rebounding and assists from her 2 guard slot. Jordan Frericks is second in scoring and has grabbed 108 boards to lead the team despite being only 6'1". She does an excellent job of reading shots and positioning herself.

Player FGM FGA FTM FTA ORB DRB A TP MIN AdjGS GS/M
Cunningham, Sophie 72 121 38 43 23 51 43 204 346 18.1 0.68
Frericks, Jordan 63 106 38 58 42 64 16 164 306 14.7 0.62
Porter, Cierra 50 79 38 48 18 41 21 138 249 11.2 0.58
Michaelis, Sierra 50 110 13 16 9 32 23 138 251 9.1 0.47
Cunningham, Lindsey 20 42 16 20 4 36 58 70 296 6.8 0.30
Porter, Bri 19 49 15 18 18 16 6 53 166 5.2 0.40
McDowell, Kayla 19 54 14 17 18 27 7 55 166 3.3 0.26
Robinson, Juanita 19 53 10 12 8 11 15 59 157 3.2 0.27
Stock, Morgan 23 65 4 6 4 14 9 64 152 3.0 0.26
Hudyn, Michelle 11 30 1 2 9 20 2 26 126 2.0 0.21
Doty, Lianna 6 11 3 9 2 16 23 17 171 1.7 0.13
Stock, Maddie 14 56 2 2 4 20 13 41 154 1.3 0.11
Shephard, Carrie 5 12 0 0 1 3 6 11 60 0.4 0.08

One interesting thing to note is the depth of Missouri's bench. Look how evenly the minutes are distributed between the first seven bench players. This depth provides flexibility if someone is having an off night and against the competition to date, has provided the Tigers with a freshness edge in the fourth quarter.

Not surprisingly, the trifecta standings mirror the season-long stats:

CUNNINGHAM, Sophie FR 22
FRERICKS, Jordan JR 20
PORTER, Cierra FR 12
MICHAELIS, Sierra JR 9
CUNNINGHAM, Lindsey JR 8
McDOWELL, Kayla SO 3
PORTER, Bri SO 3
ROBINSON, Juanita SR 1

By class, that's juniors 37, freshman 34, sophomores 6, and seniors 1.

So what does this mean as the Tigers face the Vols this evening? Tennessee stands at 9-3 on the year against the 24th toughest schedule so far per Sagarin, with losses against #7 Stanford, #8 Texas, and #43 Virginia Tech (all Sagarin rankings). The Vols best wins are over #9 Oregon State and #18 Syracuse.

The one common opponent the teams faced is Wichita State. Both teams went on the road for the matchup, with the Tigers notching a 57-31 win and the Vols winning 58-51. I don't know how much weight Sagarin puts on this common opponent or Mizzou's typically large margins of victory, but that might provide some insight into why those ratings favor the Tigers despite the soft schedule.

Tennessee is big, including a 6'6" player, and per RTT focuses on the inside game. Having watched about five minutes of them this year and considering that there are no stats to be found on the UT web site, we will have to leave the analysis to that.

Mizzou loves to play inside-out. While the Tigers will shoot the three, this is not last year's team. It will be interesting to see if the Tigers can have success inside against the bigger Vols. You all know that I'm not big on predictions, but I'm expecting a close game that could go either way. We will certainly learn something about Mizzou tonight either way.