The Dennis Gates era started out with a bang. The Tigers won a shootout over Southern Indiana by a score of 97-91 on Monday behind the efforts of Kobe Brown (20 points, 14 boards). Now, with the first game jitters out of the way, the Tigers shift their focus to game two.
The Penn Quakers will stroll into town on Friday night looking to pull off a major upset. The Quakers have been known to cause Power 6 teams fits in the past, and they are consistently a contender in the Ivy League. They opened up their 2022-23 campaign at Iona, where they lost 78-50.
While Penn may not be the most flashy name in sports, the Quakers may very well be Mizzou’s toughest test up until they venture to Wichita on November 29th.
Missouri vs. Penn
When: 7:00 p.m. CT
Where: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, MO
TV: SEC Network+
Radio: Tiger Radio Network // Sirius/XM -119/199
DraftKings Line: Mizzou -20.5, O/U 132.5
KenPom Win Probability: 95%
Penn in 2021
The Quakers finished 211th in the KenPom ratings for 2022 with a 12-16 overall record. They began the year with tough matchups against Florida State, Utah State, Davidson, Arkansas, and Villanova. They lost all of those games but played every team within 20-points, save for the Seminoles.
Penn went on to rebound in Ivy League play, finishing 9-5 in conference action. In the Ivy League Tournament, Penn lost a close game (67-61) to Yale in the semifinals.
Their weak point was defense. The Quakers allowed teams to score 109 points per 100 possessions, good for 295th in the country according to KenPom. Still, their shooting ability kept them in a lot of games, and a season-sweep of a good Harvard team is nothing to scoff at.
What To Expect From The Quakers
Penn comes in at 163rd in the initial KenPom Ratings for the 2022-23 season. The Quakers lost star guard Jelani Williams to graduation this offseason, but they return nearly everybody else.
Jordan Dingle enters the season as one of the favorites for Ivy League Player of the Year. He’s racked up 880 points through his first two seasons, and he seems on pace to break Penn’s all-time scoring record. However, Dingle took 36.1% of his team’s shots last season, good for 6th in the country. Penn cannot rely on him too much at risk of becoming too one-dimensional.
Jonah Charles and Clark Slajchert return as elite shooters on the outside, while sophomore guard George Smith emerged as a great perimeter defender down the stretch last season. The rest of the squad returns largely intact.
Nearly this entire team can shoot the ball from the perimeter, making them a tough guard when they spread a defense out.
Against Iona, that was not the case, however. The Quakers shot a horrific 3/25 from behind the arc, something they are not accustomed to doing. They also turned the ball over 18 times in an overall sloppy offensive performance. Penn will need to clean up their game if they want to compete with the Tigers.
PG: Nick Honor (Grad)
CG: D’Moi Hodge (Grad)
SF: DeAndre Gholston (Grad)
PF: Kobe Brown (SR)
C: Noah Carter (SR)
PG: Jordan Dingle (JR)
CG: Clark Slajchert (JR)
SF: Lucas Monroe (SR)
PF: Gus Larson (SOPH)
C: Max Lorca-Lloyd (SR)
These are projected lineups
Three Keys To The Game
- Will The Quakers get hot from the outside?
When you play an Ivy League school, you have to worry about the 3-point line. Penn is no different, as they made 8 three-pointers per game in 2021. They will let it fly from deep, and it will just be up to Mizzou to keep them from getting into a rhythm, and running the correct guys off the line when need be. Southern Indiana, as we all know, miraculously found much success from behind the arc.
Penn uncharacteristically shot very poorly (3/25) from 3-point land against the Gaels. Don’t expect them to do that again.
2. Can Mizzou dominate in the interior?
Another common theme when playing an Ivy League school is a general size advantage. That will not be the case against the Quakers, as they have four players measuring in at 6’9” or above. Still, Penn plays a perimeter-oriented game, meaning that Mizzou should be able to have success in the painted area, both on the glass and in the points column. Kobe Brown, Noah Carter, Ronnie DeGray III and even Tre Gomillion all should have chances to use their strength down low.
3. Can the Tigers shoot well from outside?
So, this kind of contradicts the previous key, but hear me out. Penn generally forces opposing teams to keep everything on the wings and top of the key. So, at least at first, Mizzou will have to make Penn respect their ability to shoot from the outside. After last year’s 3-point production from the Tigers (made only 5.2 per game), that’s a pretty good strategy from the Quakers.
Most people are relying upon Isiaih Mosley to lead the way from 3-point land, but D’Moi Hodge has been the one to let it fly so far (7 attempts against USI). If the Tigers can make Penn stretch their defense to the 3-point line, then it should be easy pickings down low.
Mizzou 82 | Penn 72
Penn will challenge Mizzou. There’s no doubt about that. They are too well-coached and too prolific from the outside to just roll over and take a beating (unless they just go ice cold shooting-wise like they did against Iona). This will be a fight from start to finish, and I see the Tigers clinging to a 5-8 point lead throughout the game.
Still, this is a different Tiger team than the one that was embarrassed by Kansas City in the second game last season. They’ll be able to handle Penn’s runs and close the game out from the free throw line. Expect another big game from Kobe Brown, as he’ll be playing some bully ball in the paint.