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Mizzou Women host the Kansas State Wildcats in the SEC-Big12 Challenge

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Dual basketball games tonight with Missouri Men’s Hoops taking on UCF in Orlando and the Missouri Women’s Hoops team hosts Kansas State.

Sophie Cunningham is excited to play the game for specific reasons:

Give Sophie Cunningham the chance to play in an old rivalry game, and she will gladly accept it, even if she doesn’t know much about the opponent.

She grinned the moment Kansas State was brought up Tuesday before practice.

“I’m excited for it just because it has the word Kansas in it,” Cunningham said.

The former Big 12 rivals last faced each other in the regular season in 2012. The Tigers defeated the Wildcats 67-48 in the 2015 WNIT.

The Wildcats are tough, they held their own against a top five opponent (UCLA) in their only loss, and won each of their other games. They’re a good defensive team who’ve yet to give up more than 65 points, and have a balanced scoring attack with three double digit scorers.

Look for Mizzou to try to find some openings for Sophomore Jordan Chavis who isn’t shy about letting her 3-point shot fly:

Pingeton lost experience and strong outside shooting when she graduated guards Lindsey Cunningham and Sierra Michaelis, who nearly made 35 percent of their 313 combined three-point attempts a season ago. They were also poised leaders. So to fill the void they left, Pingeton has been most demanding of one player who isn’t even a starter: Jordan Chavis.

“We definitely needed someone to step up and continue to help us spread that court,” Pingeton said of Chavis. “She had some good minutes last year. She had some good game experience. She knew that was going to be a part of role her role this season, and she’s responded really well.”

Chavis, a sophomore, is fifth on the team in minutes with 22.2 per game and plays both guard positions for the Tigers, who are 5-1 and host Kansas State on Thursday. Chavis is Missouri’s most important bench player this season, able to play alongside either star Sophie Cunningham or point guard Lauren Aldridge, a transfer from Kansas.

On the Men’s side, people are noticing Michael Porter Jr’s brother is a really really good basketball player, despite so many many people saying this for so very very long. But it’s nice for Jontay to see the spotlight shone on him a little bit:

“His skill set is really impressive for his size and his age,” Missouri senior transfer Kassius Robertson said. “He does a really good job shooting the ball. I think he is shooting like 90-something percent from the free-throw line, and his rebounding is off the charts, especially in big games like” against West Virginia.

Most expected Porter to provide some much-needed length and shooting range for Missouri this year. Few expected his passing ability, rebounding and defense to make him an instant game-changer.

The freshman is averaging 10.9 points and leads the team in rebounding with 6.7 per game. He’s also averaging 2.3 blocks and 2.0 assists while shooting 49 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range.

With the Tigers taking on UCF on the road, most of the players on the roster (including the veterans) are still learning how to win. Also, check out Alex Schiffers feature on Mizzou Assistant Coach Cornell Mann, who is trying to reestablish the Michigan pipeline to Columbia.

More Links:

  • Mizzou Women’s Volleyball are officially headed to the NCAA tournament, and as you may have heard they are going to play Kansas on Friday. But have you watched the video from Mizzou Athletics yet? No? Here’s your chance!:
  • The Vols Coaching search could certainly be going better...