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Mizzou Hoops Preview: LSU, Pt. 2

Missouri is out of the play-in round and looking to make some noise. Can they pull the upset against Will Wade’s elite, bought-and-paid-for defense?

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a phrase that’s often used by European soccer fans, most commonly when their team finds a way to win despite poor play, bad luck or otherwise undesirable circumstances. It’s a phrase designed to express a forward-looking perspective, one that acknowledges the negative while never losing sight of the positive: “We move.”

There’s no doubt that, “We move,” could’ve summarized the atmosphere of Mizzou’s locker room on Wednesday night. Missouri wasn’t perfect in their 72-60 win over Ole Miss — they shot poorly from deep and turned the ball over too much — but they’re moving and moving quickly. They’ll move on to the next round of the SEC Tournament today, where they’ll face the No. 5 seeded LSU Tigers. A 5-12 matchup? In March?

Color me intrigued.

Missouri should have a short memory with the Purple and Gold Tigers, who may have had their minds on other matters over the past few days. Not that bad publicity and NCAA violations are a novelty for Will Wade, but it’s undoubtedly challenging to focus your team when the NCAA comes knocking the week before tournament time.

The two teams met in Baton Rouge less than two weeks ago, and things didn’t exactly go Missouri’s way. Now Missouri gets another crack at their name brethren, this time in the friendly confines of Amalie Arena. Will a neutral setting prove to be enough of a swing for Cuonzo Martin’s team? Will the NCAA news be a distraction for LSU? It’s hard to say. We’ll know soon enough. As they say across the pond, “We move.”

The Scout

The Starters

Position Missouri (12-20) LSU (21-10)
Position Missouri (12-20) LSU (21-10)
PG Jarron Coleman (Jr., 6'5", 210) Xavier Pinson (Sr., 6'2", 154)
CG Javon Pickett (Sr., 6'5", 215) Mwani Wilkinson (So., 6'5", 206)
WING DaJuan Gordon (Jr., 6'3", 190) Brandon Murray (Fr., 6'5", 214)
PF Kobe Brown (Jr., 6'8", 250) Darius Days (Sr., 6'7", 245)
POST Trevon Brazile (Fr., 6'9", 215) Efton Reid (Fr., 7'0", 238)

Note: These starting lineups are projected.

Sam had the original scout from the first game, which took place less than two weeks ago. You can check that out here.

When Missouri has the ball...

Missouri Offense vs. LSU 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 104.3 (159) 17.9 (235) 47 (299) 21.3 (326) 31.1 (79) 29.9 (194) 27.8 (355) 49.6 (190) 73.6 (109) 9.5 (239) 10.9 (322)
LSU 88.2 (5) 17.6 (186) 44.9 (11) 25.2 (4) 30.6 (282) 38.1 (331) 27.7 (4) 47.8 (96) 67.9 (28) 14.7 (12) 15.7 (1)
NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Missouri Tigers vs Ole Miss Rebels Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What to Watch | Hit some shots, please

LSU’s defense, as Missouri learned a few weeks ago, doesn’t have many holes. They’re not great on the defensive glass or giving fouls, but they’re just about excellent everywhere else. They log more steals than anyone in the country, they lock down the three-point line, they block a ton of shots... you name it.

Missouri should be able to take advantage of LSU’s aggressive physicality and weak rebounding, but only one thing will bag them a pelt: they need to hit some shots. It’s as simple as that, and there’s no fun way to dress it up.

When LSU has the ball...

LSU 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%
LSU 108.1 (91) 16.3 (37) 49.5 (200) 20.4 (302) 34.5 (17) 32.1 (117) 32.3 (248) 50 (165) 72.2 (159) 8.6 (152) 9.5 (197)
Missouri 101.5 (132) 17.6 (183) 50.5 (202) 17.6 (227) 29.9 (255) 35.6 (301) 35.4 (280) 49.1 (153) 69.8 (82) 11.5 (64) 9.3 (165)
NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

What to Watch | Limit Pinson and second chances

As Sam pointed out in the previous preview, Xavier Pinson is the engine that keeps LSU’s ramshackle offense running — their record with and without him says as much. If Missouri can get him out of control, they may create enough chaos to drive the score down. Another way they can accomplish said low score? Crack down on the defensive boards. LSU’s one strength on the offensive end is their offensive rebounding. The Tigers did so in the February 26 game, and they’ll need a similar effort in Tampa.

KenPom predicts...

LSU 71, Missouri 60 | Jon Rothstein once said, “This is March,” and I have to agree. The magical month where anything can happen in the college basketball world leads me toward optimism when it comes to long odds like this. And that is what they are: long odds. Missouri’s troubled offense will need to hit enough shots to overcome LSU’s elite defense, which recently stifled the good Tigers. Hopefully, the rematch holds better results.