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Missouri Basketball Preview and Live Game Thread: Braggin’ Rights

It’s time for another rivalry game and another shot at a signature year one win for Dennis Gates.

NCAA Basketball: SE Missouri State at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri 93 | Illinois 71


First Half Notes

  • Starters for Mizzou: Tre Gomillion, D’Moi Hodge, Nick Honor, Ronnie DeGray III and Kobe Brown
  • Starters for the Fighting Illini: Terrance Shannon Jr., RJ Melendez, Skyy Clark, Matthew Mayer and Coleman Hawkins
  • Tipoff goes to Mizzou and we are underway
  • Honor to Hodge layup opens the scoring, and then DeGray adds a block. Gomillion with a offensive rebound and basket too.
  • Illinois has not been able to connect on its three-pointers, but Shannon Jr. works through the lane for a layup to put the Illini on the board.
  • The crowd is energized at the Enterprise Center, as the Tigers have jumped out to an early advantage. Mizzou has yet to make a three-pointer, however, so that’ll be a point of importance as this one progresses.
  • Illinois has made its last four field goal attempts and began sending pressure following a free throw from Shannon Jr. The Fighting Illini continue to send double teams and attempt to pressure ball handlers.
  • The Fighting Illini have hit a scoring drought, allowing the Tigers an opportunity to tie the game. From 3-PT range, Illinois is 1-8 and Mizzou is 0-4. The Tigers have also forced three turnovers, resulting in four points.
  • Kobe Brown knocks down the Tigers’ first three-pointer.
  • The Tigers are on a 10-0 run, jumping ahead with another three-pointer, this time from Hodge.
  • Defense is translating straight to offense for Mizzou. A pair of steals on back-to-back possessions has the Tigers cooking.
  • Illinois has six turnovers to Mizzou’s one, and the Tigers are amidst a 17-2 run in which they’ve overwhelmed the Fighting Illini offense.
  • Hodge banks in a three-pointer, as the lead grows to 16 points.
  • Kobe Brown with another defensive highlight, stealing a pass and dishing it to Hodge for a contested layup.
  • The Fighting Illini have not made a field goal in over eight minutes. Dain Dainja ends the stretch with an offensive rebound and layup.
  • Mizzou has limited Terrance Shannon Jr., forced eight turnovers and has looked like the better team thus far. Illinois cannot find a shot to fall and its affected its shot section as well.
  • Illinois had its loudest cheer from the crowd yet and Kobe Brown responded with a two-handed slam.
  • What a half for Mizzou. The Tigers look electric, and they may have easily just played their best half of basketball when it mattered most.

Second Half Notes

  • Shannon Jr. with a three-point play to begin the second half, and Gholston counters with a layup on the other end.
  • Tre Gomillion receives a Flagrant 1 Foul.
  • Perhaps the worst sequence for the Tigers this evening, included a trio of turnovers and handed Illinois points right back.
  • Kobe Brown knocks down a pair of free throws after a flagrant foul and Gomillion adds a layup.
  • Brown has 20 points and Hodge has 18 of his own, outscoring the entire Illinois offense themselves.
  • Shannon Jr. expressed some frustration, tugging Nick Honor for the ball, embodying the type of evening it is for the Fighting Illini. Mizzou is on yet another run, this time a 6-0 one.
  • Gomillion rises to the rim for a dunk and Honor adds a floater, as things continue to trend in Mizzou’s direction.
  • Gomillion struck again...
  • That’s a season-high 26 points for Kobe Brown.
  • Mizzou is shooting nearly 70% in the second half and has remained relentless in preventing the Fighting Illini to work themselves back into this one.
  • DeAndre Gholston continues to be an impressive addition off the bench. He’s made second-half impact plays in back-to -back games.
  • Kobe Brown registered a Mizzou Braggin’ Rights record 31 points.

Pregame Notes

  • Isiaih Mosley was spotted warming up, but that does not indicate whether or not he will see the court this evening.

Five Questions!

  1. Will the Tigers cover?
  2. Who will be the leading scorer?
  3. How many 3-pointers will D’Moi Hodge make?
  4. How many assists will the team have in total?
  5. What will the final score be?

Lastly, drop your game predictions and MVPs down below!

Good ol’ Braggin’ Rights. Missouri gets a shot at another arch rival in St. Louis tonight when they take on Illinois. The 10-1 Tigers are in search of a signature non-conference win to give them a boost right before SEC play starts.

The Tigers are coming off a 68-66 win over UCF last Saturday. DeAndre Gholston banked in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win the game, and the Tigers shot 52% from behind the arc on their way to a key non-conference win.

Illinois has looked unbeatable at times this season…and then very beatable at times. The Illini have yet to be consistent (to the dismay of Brad Underwood), but they still have the talent and coaching to be a Final Four-caliber team if everything comes together.

Both of these programs would really like to get this win to boost their respective résumés and take some positive momentum into conference play. Expect a high-energy, intense game in STL on Thursday.

Game Info

When: Dec. 22

Where: Enterprise Center, St. Louis, MO

Time: 8:00 CST


KenPom Win Probability: 32%

The Starters


PG: Nick Honor (Grad)

SG: Tre Gomillion (Grad)

SF: D’Moi Hodge (Grad)

PF: Kobe Brown (SR)

C: Noah Carter (SR)


PG: Skyy Clark (FR)

SG: Terrence Shannon Jr. (SR)

SF: RJ Melendez (SOPH)

PF: Matthew Mayer (SR)

C: Coleman Hawkins (JR)

NCAA Basketball: Alabama A&M at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Get To Know Illinois

Brad Underwood’s group have certainly faced their share of ups and downs. The Illini took down #8 UCLA before falling to #16 Virginia in Vegas earlier this season. They then handily took care of Syracuse before losing a close one to #22 Maryland. Then, they managed to take down #2 Texas and get blown out by Penn State (at home) in back-to-back games. Underwood expressed great displeasure with his team after the loss, stating that they deserved to be miserable during finals week (which was maybe a bit much). This is now their first true chance to shake off that sour taste.

The Illini have been a strong defensive team throughout this season. They rank 17th in adjusted defensive efficiency (90.4%) and effective field goal percentage (43.7%). They force turnovers on 23.2% of opposing team’s possessions and force teams to shoot a paltry 41.8% from 2-point land. Throw in a block percentage of 15.5%, and you’ve got a formidable defensive unit.

On offense, the Illini excel inside the arc, shooting it at a 57.2% clip. They also get an offensive rebound on 35.1% of their misses, good for 32nd in the nation. Still, in their three losses this season, offensive play has been the issue (61 against UVA, 66 against Maryland, 59 against Penn State).

In terms of personnel, everything starts and stops with Terrence Shannon, Jr. A transfer from Texas Tech, Shannon averages 17.8 points per game and 5.5 rebounds. He’s as tough and crafty as they come in the Big Ten, and he is currently appearing on most player of the year watchlists.

Coleman Hawkins acts as the “glue” guy. The 6’10 forward/center averages 9.5 points per game and leads the team in rebounds (6.1) and assists (4.2) per game, excelling in his third season.

Matthew Mayer transferred from Baylor this offseason and has been a quality addition with the experience he brings from a championship team. He led Illinois with 21 points against Alabama A&M on Saturday.

Mayer, Hawkins and Shannon Jr. are three of six players that average eight points or more for Illinois.

3 Keys To The Game

  1. Contain Terrence Shannon, Jr.

The former Red Raider has excelled in Champaign. The tough, crafty senior is a hard-guard for anybody in the country, so expect multiple Tiger defenders to get a crack at him. With his 6’6” frame, Honor may struggle for contain him, so more pressure will be on Hodge, Gholston and Gomillion.

His shot-making ability is what makes this offense go, and they count on him a lot to create on his own. If Mizzou can force others players to beat them, then that will go a long way in this game.

2. Getting Kobe Brown Going

The senior from Huntsville was expected to be an All-SEC caliber performer this season and a leader for this team. Not saying he can’t attain both of those things, but Brown has struggled in his past two outings. He had four points against Kansas and nine against UCF, and at times he just did not seem to be a major factor on the court.

While the Tigers were able to take down the Knights and have the depth for Brown to have off games, Mizzou will need more from him if they are to survive their conference slate. A bounce back performance against Illinois would be just what the doctor ordered.

3. Staying Hot From 3

It’s not necessarily something that can be planned or accounted for, but the 3-pointer has been a major equalizer for the Tigers this season. They struggled shooting from behind the arc against Kansas, and it showed. Then, they shot 52% against UCF and won. Hodge, Honor and Gholston have emerged as the key contributors from that range. They’ll be needed on Thursday.

Game Prediction

My Prediction: Illinois 82 | Missouri 75

KenPom Prediction: Illinois 82 | Missouri 77

The Tigers get a second crack at a signature win in a rivalry game. The Illini have had an up-and-down season thus far, but they are still plenty capable of being a top 15 team when they are playing at their best.

Containing Terrence Shannon, Jr. will be huge in this game, as will containing the Illini on the offensive glass. If there was ever a game for all five guys to crash the glass on defense, it’s this one.

In addition, Mizzou has to maintain their momentum from the UCF game. If Honor, Hodge and Gholston can stay hot from behind the arc, that would be a major plus. Carter and Brown are going to have to play big down low against the likes of Hawkins and Mayer as well.

In the end, this will be much closer than the Kansas game, but I just can’t see this Tiger team winning a game of this caliber yet. The UCF win was big, but it could have easily gone the other way. Mizzou’s upsets wins are more likely to come during SEC play when they have meshed more.

But, if Brown can bounce back and this team keeps up their hot-shooting from behind the arc, then they have a true shot. Regardless, there will be a lot on the line in the Enterprise Center on Thursday.