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Missouri Hoops Preview: Texas A&M

Missouri heads to College Station for a meeting of teams that desperately need to put one in the win column.

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Where were you one month ago?

When the new year was brand spanking new, did you have hopes and aspirations for 2022? Goals that needed to be met or resolutions that you were determined to see through? If so — and you’re still hanging strong — then good for you! But for everyone who’s already lapsed in the endless war of attrition and disappointment toward enlightenment or self-actualization... boy, have I got the basketball team for you!

Last we left the Texas A&M Aggies (just a little less than a month ago), they were 15-2 and ready to take the SEC by storm. Buzz Williams has spent the first few years of his College Station residency pounding the pavement into something of a workable foundation for A&M. The result in year three has been a notable leap in quality — 131 in 2020 KenPom, to 137 in 2021 to 68 in 2022 — and, at least in January, the feeling that the Aggies could really challenge for a top four spot.

The Aggies flew into Columbia, Mo., and stole a three-point road victory over our very own Big 12 deserter program. Since then, it’s been agony and woe.

The Aggies are currently riding a five-game losing streak some of which have been understandable (a six-point home loss to Kentucky), some of which have been nail-biting (three-point road loss to Arkansas) and some of which have been head-scratching (eleven-point home loss to South Carolina.), A&M, at one point undefeated in SEC play, have slipped all the way to ninth in the conference standings and are running out of time to assert themselves onto the NCAA bubble.

Maybe they can get back to basics where this whole losing streak thing began? Their Jan. 15 win over Missouri was the last of an eight-game winning streak for the Aggies, who have come a long way in exerting their superiority over the once-Big 12 champions. Despite the two schools emotional distance, there would be something slightly poetic to Texas A&M staging their big late season push on a season sweep of the Tigers, who really need to get a win for entirely different reasons.

In all likelihood, no one will remember this February meeting of two teams that weren’t factoring into the endgame of 2022. But that’s the beauty of sports! Any game can become a nexus between futility and a Cinderella run. What’s the old saying? “That’s why they play the games”?

The Scout

The Starters

Position Missouri (8-13) Texas A&M (15-7)
Position Missouri (8-13) Texas A&M (15-7)
PG Jarron Coleman (Jr., 6'5", 210) Marcus Williams (So., 6'2", 197)
CG Javon Pickett (Sr., 6'5", 215) Hassan Diarra (So., 6'2", 196)
WING DaJuan Gordon (Jr., 6'3", 190) Tyrece Radford (Jr., 6'2", 200)
PF Kobe Brown (Jr., 6'8", 250) Ethan Henderson (Sr., 6'8", 193)
POST Trevon Brazile (Fr., 6'9", 215) Henry Coleman (So., 6'8", 243)

Note: These starting lineups are projected.

To read our full scout of Texas A&M, check out the game preview we ran earlier in January.

When Missouri has the ball...

Missouri Offense vs. Texas A&M Defense

Team Adj. Eff. Poss. Length eFG% TO% OR% FTA/FGA 3P% 2P% FT% Blk% Stl%
Team Adj. Eff. Poss. Length eFG% TO% OR% FTA/FGA 3P% 2P% FT% Blk% Stl%
Missouri 102.8 (171) 17.7 (217) 46.7 (294) 21.5 (326) 32 (65) 29.6 (192) 27.9 (347) 49 (199) 71.9 (155) 9.4 (202) 10.5 (288)
Texas A&M 95.8 (52) 17.7 (219) 47.3 (66) 24.8 (11) 33.1 (331) 33.4 (257) 32.6 (127) 46.4 (56) 73.6 (282) 11.8 (69) 14.4 (2)
NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

What to Watch | Limit turnovers, crash the boards

Missouri isn’t a very good team — this shouldn’t shock you! — but their recipe for victory is pretty simple: limit turnovers, create second chances. If they do one of those things, they’ll be competitive. If they do both, they’ll probably win. They didn’t do either particularly well in the first match up and they still got within four points of victory. Limiting turnovers against a Buzz Williams team is an unenviable task for even the steadiest ball-handling teams, but at least they can make more of an effort to sell out in the paint. A bounceback game from Kobe Brown would be helpful

When Texas A&M has the ball...

Texas A&M Offense vs. Missouri Defense

Team Adj. Eff. Poss. Length eFG% TO% OR% FTA/FGA 3P% 2P% FT% Blk% Stl%
Team Adj. Eff. Poss. Length eFG% TO% OR% FTA/FGA 3P% 2P% FT% Blk% Stl%
Texas A&M 107.6 (87) 16.8 (96) 50.8 (138) 19.4 (223) 33.8 (33) 33.8 (79) 33.9 (165) 508 (132) 65.5 (335) 11.1 (311) 10.8 (311)
Missouri 100.1 (127) 17.5 (186) 50.6 (211) 18.6 (184) 31.3 (289) 32.6 (244) 35 (252) 49.4 (168) 68.6 (68) 11.5 (75) 9.6 (157)
Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

What to Watch | Crash the boards... again!

Texas A&M is a poor shooting team that also gives up a lot of turnovers — sound familiar? Where the Aggies can find a way to beat you is by creating lots of second chances for themselves, and Missouri should be all too familiar — the Aggies +7 margin on the offensive glass was the reason they took home that win in January. If Missouri needs to sacrifice a little bit in the way of game speed, they should for the sake of preventing Texas A&M from cleaning up their own misses.

KenPom predicts...

Texas A&M 71, Missouri 61 | Both teams are desperately in need of a win here, perhaps Missouri more so in an existential way. The formula is there — hold the Aggies to a poor shooting night and don’t let them get too many second chances. Now it’s just a matter of, you know, doing it.