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Mizzou Hoops Presser: Illinois Week

Mizzou men’s basketball head coach Dennis Gates, as well as graduate guards DeAndre Gholston and D’Moi Hodge, met with the media to discuss tomorrow’s Braggin’ Rights Game.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Missouri Tigers (10-1) face off against another rival tomorrow night as the No. 16 Illinois Fighting Illini makes their way to the Enterprise Center in St. Louis for an 8 p.m. tip.

This matchup marks yet another rivalry game for the Tigers, who lost to kansas in the Border War Showdown less than two weeks ago. Since then, Mizzou has played one game, a “neutral site” affair against a possible NCAA Tournament team in the UCF Knights, and the Tigers won a buzzer-beating three-pointer from graduate guard DeAndre Gholston.

Illinois, however, will pose a stiffer challenge. The Fighting Illini are not only one of the best teams in the Big Ten, but they also rank high among the national leaderboards and standings. For yet another season, the Braggin’ Rights Game looks to be a good one.

The Isiaih Mosley Question

I’d like this to be brief because the whole story, and picture, are unknown.

What we do know is that during the allotted media time session (the last 15 minutes of practice), senior guard Isiaih Mosley was not on the floor at the Enterprise Center.

When asked about his absence, Mizzou head coach Dennis Gates kept the same sentiment as before.

“I’ll continue to say the same thing that I always have said—Continue to respect Isiaih Mosley’s privacy, and that’s what I will continue to protect as well.”

There’s no doubt about Mosley’s talent and ability, which have shown in flashes. However, problems with his transition to the Tigers have arisen, and it’s important to not only respect those issues but also remain supportive. At the end of the day, first and foremost, Isiaih Mosley is a human being and an individual with his own problems.

Gates bids safe travels to everyone, excited for this tradition

The incoming winter weather across the nation is upon everyone’s minds as Thursday quickly approaches.

“I just hope everyone travels safely during this time as there’s a storm coming and hopefully (they) get to their destinations with no issues,” Gates said.

For St. Louis, the timing is not ideal as the winter weather is projected to hit the area sometime in the mid-morning to afternoon before (hopefully) clearing out at game time. Despite the looming concern, the Tigers and Fighting Illini have stuck to the plan to play.

“I want everyone to understand, the game, right now, is still going on,” Gates said. “We’re definitely excited to have another opportunity to be in a great basketball [matchup] with unbelievable tradition.”

In its entirety, Illinois has 25 wins in the Braggin’ Rights series to Mizzou’s 15. Thursday night will mark yet another chapter in that storied tradition.

“Obviously, me being a kid from Chicago, the historic values a rivalry like one of college basketball’s best,” Gates said.

The game offers a unique experience for Mizzou’s roster, too, as most have not played in this rivalry game at all.

“I’m looking forward to having fun with all my teammates...and embrace the opportunity of playing in front of all these fans,” D’Moi Hodge said.

“The atmosphere (is going to) be crazy,” Hodge added.

“The way we lost last time (against kansas) ... to have it so close together makes it very exciting and fun that we can take it out on another opponent,” Gholston said.

Other Quotes

  • “It was astonishing what Norm [Stewart] was able to do, and that’s what drew me to this place,” Gates said. “Mizzou has this very special, special program and I’ll stand on the shoulders of our tradition.”
  • “I offered [Illinois’] Terrance Shannon, Jr. his first scholarship at a mid-major coming out of Lincoln Park High School,” Gates said. “He’s grown tremendously as a basketball player. He’s an NBA guy, physically gifted (and) one of the better athletes in college basketball.”
  • “I think we have to continue to do the small things and when we do the small things, they add up to the big things.”
  • “I’m excited to see who we are and this is the opportunity for us to kind of create our identity,” Gates said.
  • “It’s a possession-by-possession game, a game of runs, and we just got to be able to be in a position to withstand Illinois runs.”
  • Gholston on this past week after the buzzer beater: “It’s been really chaotic, a little bit exciting (with) people congratulating me.”
  • “I got to give it to Ben Sternberg...He messed up a lot of parlays,” Gholston said when asked by Ben Sternberg on who has the better buzzer-beater this season.