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Mizzou Hoops Live Thread and Preview: Reeling rivals meet as No. 25 Arkansas comes to town

The Tigers are looking to bounce back after two road defeats against visiting Arkansas, who is amidst a three-game losing streak.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Florida Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri 79 | Arkansas 76


1st Half Notes

  • Ricky Council IV starts off the scoring for the Hogs with a tough step-back three to continue his stellar shooting from the two teams’ first matchup.
  • Video review for a foul on Kobe Brown. He appeared to be pulled down upon receiving an inbounds pass.
  • Tigers struggling to even get into their sets on the offensive end.
  • Arkansas jumps out to a quick 7-0 lead. Mizzou Arena in a stunned silence, and Dennis Gates called a timeout to regroup.
  • Isiaih Mosley has entered the game to the overjoyed cheer of Mizzou fans.
  • Football team being honored for their win over Arkansas at the media timeout, Drink and players are on the court with the Battle Line trophy.
  • D’Moi Hodge with a monster block off the glass on a cutter. Mosley follows it up with a drawn charge.
  • Kobe Brown breaks the seal on the basket with a lay-up.
  • Mosley gets aggressive for the first time, draws a foul on Anthony Block while trying to drive. He then loses a defender before having a 3-pointer rim out, but then gets a steal. The guy is here to play ladies and gentlemen.
  • Mo Diarra hits a three and the building is alive.
  • Arkansas’ Jordan Walsh picks up his second foul at the 12:16 mark.
  • Diarra forces a steal, playing easily his best game of the year. He’s been as active as I have seen him this season.
  • Mosley with a great feed to Diarra, who draws a foul. This duo has inspired the team and crowd alike.
  • Brown picks the pocket of Ricky Council IV and gets an and-one on the other end. A really acrobatic effort for him to get the ball to the basket while he was falling down.
  • Tigers are beginning to make Arkansas look uncomfortable. Hogs already have eight turnovers, and Mizzou is pushing as soon as they touch the ball.
  • Tre Gomillion picks up his second foul at the 8:57 mark.
  • Tie game at the 8:30 mark, as Arkansas has really fallen apart on the offensive end. They’ve also already committed 10 team fouls.
  • Mo Diarra now has two fouls. Both teams are having to send players to the bench due to foul trouble in the first half.
  • Shaw with two-straight threes for Missouri. He’s taken on the D’Moi Hodge role tonight.
  • Shaw and Diarra are 3-for-3 from behind the arc. Everybody else is 0-for-8. Go figure.
  • Nick Honor back into the game with one foul. He had not played since the opening minutes of the game.
  • Shaw, Mosley, Gomillion and Diarra now all have two fouls.
  • Gholston gets a defender off his feet, powers through him for an and-one. He would miss the free throw.
  • Mosley is getting his swagger back. The jump-shot might not be there yet, but his scorer’s mindset is.
  • Hodge punches home a dunk to take the lead, but Davonte Davis responded with a cold three-pointer to silence the crowd and take a lead into halftime., but

2nd Half Notes

  • Tigers come out in a zone to start the half.
  • Davis, after scoring the last 8 points of the first half for Arkansas, has missed three 3-pointers to start the half.
  • Nick Honor with a 3-pointer to ignite the crowd and give Mizzou a four-point lead. Tigers get a steal and Brown punches home a dunk. Musselman takes a timeout at the 16:41 mark.
  • Tigers are absolutely picking the pockets of Arkansas’ guards.
  • DeAndre Gholston has three fouls at the 15:32 mark.
  • Diarra with a Mizzou career-high five points.
  • Mosley with his third foul at the 14:36 mark. Tigers up to five team fouls.
  • Diarra now have four fouls. Arkansas will be in the bonus on the next foul call.
  • Arkansas with three players with 3 fouls. The two teams just appear to be exchanging runs of fouling.
  • Arkansas goes on a quick 4-0 run to take a 49-47 lead. Dennis Gates takes a timeout.
  • Aidan Shaw not backing down on Jordan Walsh. The Arkansas wing went up for a monster dunk, but Shaw sent both of them to the floor with a hard foul.
  • Walsh picks up his fourth foul on an offensive rebound.
  • Gates with another timeout.
  • Tigers now in the bonus at the 8:51 mark.
  • Hodge called for a technical foul, his third.
  • Walsh with a quick five points, forcing Gates to call a timeout. Game looks on the verge of getting out of hand.
  • Walsh fouls out of the game.
  • Davis has hit every big shot Arkansas has needed.
  • Tigers have rallied from a 10-point deficit to make it six. Hodge to the line for two free throws out of the timeout. Just when Mizzou seemed out of it, they’re right back in it.
  • Kobe Brown with two big offensive rebounds to salvage a possession. Hodge to the line looking to cut the Arkansas lead to two.
  • Hodge misses the second free throw, but just like they’ve been doing the whole game, the Tigers force a turnover in the backcourt.
  • Tied with 1:13 remaining. Arkansas gets fouled.
  • Hodges takes a charger, this team is showing that they are willing to grit this one out.
  • Brown fouled, will go to the line with 29 seconds left.
  • “Kobe” chants erupting on the floor as he exits with an injury. East II can close this game out from the line.

Pregame Updates

  • Isiaih Mosley is on the floor warming up in lay-up lines.

5 Fan Questions:

  1. Who will lead the team in scoring?
  2. How many three-pointers will D’Moi Hodge hit?
  3. What percentage will the Tigers shoot from the field?
  4. How many assists will Nick Honor have?
  5. Who will be the MVP?

Lastly, drop your game predictions and MVPs down below.

Free falling.

That phrase may be the perfect way to describe the Missouri Tigers and Arkansas Razorbacks, who both enter tonight’s matchup on season-long losing streaks.

Mizzou, after jumping to the No. 20 spot in the rankings, lost road matchups against Texas A&M and Florida. The Tigers are 2-0 at home but 0-3 on the road against Southeastern Conference foes, and they will take to Norm Stewart Court this evening looking for redemption.

Arkansas defeated No. 20 Mizzou at home two weeks ago, dealing the Tigers their first SEC loss. Since then, however, the Hogs have not replicated those winning ways, suffering defeats at the hands of No. 22 Auburn, No. 4 Alabama and Vanderbilt.

Defensive lapses and inefficiency have contributed to each teams’ downfalls, and both look to be in dire need of a signature victory to turn the tide.

The Tigers enter the rivalry game slotted No. 57 in the KenPom rankings, while the Hogs counter with a No. 22 mark despite the recent string of defeats. Arkansas also enters the matchup at No. 25 in the latest AP Top 25, slipping from the No. 15 spot this past week.

After strong non-conference starts, the wheels have started to slow down for both programs and rank in the bottom half of the SEC standings. (Mizzou is 8th and Arkansas is 11th, respectively.)

Just two weeks ago, it looked as if these may be two of the teams to beat in the conference.

Fourteen days later, each are looking to rewrite their script before it’s too late.

Game Info

When: Jan. 18

Where: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, MO

Time: 8:00 p.m. CST

TV: SEC Network

KenPom Win Probability: 49%

The Starters


PG: Nick Honor (Grad; 9.2 PPG)

SG: D’Moi Hodge (Grad; 14.9 PPG)

SF: Tre Gomillion (Grad; 5.5 PPG)

PF: Ronnie DeGray III (JR; 2.3 PPG)

C: Kobe Brown (SR; 15.6 PPG)

Key Bench Players: Noah Carter (SR; 10.7 PPG), Sean East II (SR; 8.0 PPG) and DeAndre Gholston (Grad; 10.5 PPG)


PG: Davonte “Devo” Davis (JR; 8.9 PPG)

SG: Ricky Council IV (JR; 18.3 PPG)

SF: Anthony Black (FR; 12.4 PPG)

PF: Jordan Walsh (FR; 6.9 PPG)

C: Makhi Mitchell (SR; 7.8 PPG)

Key Bench Players: Joseph Pinion (FR; 2.9 PPG), Kamani Johnson (SR; 2.5 PPG) and Makhel Mitchell (SR; 3.5 PPG)

*These are projected lineups based on previous game data.

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Get To Know The Hogs

The first matchup between these two teams featured a 17-point Arkansas comeback, in which the Hogs found a majority of their success in the second half. Rock M’s own Parker Gillam provided a recap here.

Ricky Council IV, the SEC’s second-leading scorer, paved the road for Arkansas in the first game, scoring 21 of his 25 points in the second half alone. A lesser-known commodity, freshman guard Joseph Pinion, had his own break-out game against the Tigers with a career-high 13 points on 50% shooting from beyond the arc.

The Hogs struggled against Mizzou’s zone defense throughout much of the first half, committing 10 turnovers in the opening frame. Arkansas committed 17 total turnovers, resulting in 21 points for the Tigers.

Perhaps the greatest discrepancy, however, came on the glass.

Arkansas grabbed 40 rebounds, including 15 of the offensive variety, to Mizzou’s meager 23 total rebounds. Those second chance opportunities resulted in 17 points for the Hogs and proved to be the difference in a six-point game.

In essence, the game itself showcased what the Arkansas brand of basketball is.

The Hogs primarily score inside the arc and via the free throw line, accounting for nearly 80% of their total points. From the three-point line, Arkansas shoots 29.1% and the three-point shot only accounts for 18.5% of its total points, which is the third lowest mark in the country.

Rebounding is not a strength of the Hogs, but they effectively limit opponents from earning offensive rebounds and second-chance opportunities. Arkansas’ defensive presence also extends the the three-point line where they only allow opponents to make 31.6% of those attempts.

A concern of late for the Hogs is foul trouble. In its past three games, all losses, Arkansas has granted opponents 94 total free throws with 74 personal fouls. That’ll be an area that the Hogs look to limit as Mizzou shoots an SEC-best 75.4% from the charity stripe.

Fouls have been of primary concern for starting center Makhi Mitchell, who has fouled out in the last two games, and Anthony Black, the Hogs’ second-leading scorer, has totaled 12 fouls amidst this losing skid.

Council, Arkansas’ X-Factor, continues to carry the weight, accounting for an SEC-high 35:43 minutes per game. His playmaking primarily features drives to the basket and earning trips to the free throw line, explaining why he ranks second in the SEC in free throws made (75).

Anthony Black and guard Devo Davis are the other names to watch for their scoring abilities.

Davis, as fans saw in the first game, flashes a midrange jumper that complements Council’s drive-to-the-paint mentality. Similar to Council, Black earns trip the free throw line with drives to the rim, but he also serves as an effective distributor.

Off the bench, it’ll once again be time to watch for a streaky three-point shooter.

Joseph Pinion provided that punch two weeks ago, and it’ll be another opportunity for him to create a lasting image in the eyes of Tigers’ fans. Black, a 32% shooter from long distance, could also spark the Hogs.

3 Keys To The Game

1. Jumpstart D’Moi Hodge and Nick Honor

Mizzou has not looked the part of its high-scoring offense of late and a large factor for that shift is the disappearance of D’Moi Hodge and Nick Honor. As for why this may have occurred, check out Matt Watkins’ The Verdict, which was published Tuesday.

The duo has combined for 16.25 points over the Tigers’ last four games, well below their season average of 24.1. They have connected on just 11 three-pointers in those contests, including a recent rough stretch for Hodge who is 3-15 in his last two games.

Those (generally) high efficiency scorers and three-point threats are key reasons for Mizzou’s victories this season, but their inability to generate offense in a half-court setting is something that’s becoming quite apparent.

Hodge and Honor, the H2O duo, will need to overcome their recent slumps and break out against an Arkansas team who allowed 10 three-pointers against Vanderbilt. Without them, the Tigers will likely be looking at another loss.

2. Force Transition Opportunities

If there is anything the road games against Texas A&M and Florida taught Mizzou fans, it is that the Tigers do not operate well in the half court.

That weakness stresses the importance of creating transition opportunities through on-ball pressure, turnovers and anticipation. Mizzou failed to maintain that game plan for an entire 40 minutes in each of its losses, and it’ll be vital to rediscover it.

Even if the Tigers are unable to play their transition game, off-ball movement will be key because Mizzou is a team that thrives on movement and passing.

In recent games, defenses have adapted to that with tight defense, forcing players into isolation, which is only a spot where few players can seriously make a difference. Opening up those passing lanes with off-ball movement and screens will in turn make this offense run, both figuratively and literally.

3. Compete on the boards

Against Arkansas last time out, Mizzou lost the battle of the boards 40-23, and that type of showing will not result in a victory.

Mizzou discovered some success against Florida, grabbing 10 offensive rebounds, but those opportunities only resulted in six second-chance points.

If the Tigers can replicate a similar effort but cash those into points, this’ll look like a different team. At the same time, Mizzou has to put in the effort on the defensive end to prevent Arkansas from controlling the pace through its own rebounding.

Once again, rebounding will be of key importance. With more rebounds, the Tigers will likely draw more fouls, sending more Arkansas players to the bench and giving them opportunities to build on the conference-best free throw percentage.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Texas A&M Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

What To Expect

My Score Prediction: Missouri 76 | Arkansas 75

KenPom Prediction: Missouri 80 | Arkansas 81

Home court advantage is flipped for this contest, giving Mizzou an advantage that it has capitalized on all season with the exception of one Dec. 10 game.

In front of a home crowd and student section that will be invigorated after returning from winter break, the atmosphere will play into the type of team Mizzou is. The Tigers will go through stretches both good and bad, but it’ll be how they respond that matters.

Three-point shooting and transition offense will be of main concern for Mizzou, while Arkansas will rely on its baskets within the arc and rebounding. Foul trouble, a problem for both teams, will be the primary indicator of the result.

Kobe Brown and D’Moi Hodge must stay out of elevated foul counts for the Tigers, and the same will be said for Council, Black and Mitchell on the Arkansas side.

Once again though, fans will see a competitive and back-and-forth matchup that features high-scoring and physical defense. In the end, it’ll provide a much-needed win for either team, and I believe Mizzou will prevail behind a resurgent game for Hodge.