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Mizzou Hoops Preview and Live Game Thread: Tigers look to avoid Trap Game against Ole Miss

Missouri men’s basketball will travel to Oxford, Mississippi, in hopes of jumping back on track against a pesky Rebels team.

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri 89 | Ole Miss 77


1st Half Notes

  • Isiaih Mosley is in the starting lineup. His first appearance of the year, joining Aidan Shaw, who is starting in his second game.
  • Aidan Shaw nearly finishes off a 25-foot lob from D’Moi Hodge with a reverse, but it rims out.
  • Hodge hits a three. Let’s see if he can get going early.
  • Brown hits a three to cut the Ole Miss lead to one, and the Tigers finally get a stop right after.
  • Hodge hits another. This is looking promising.
  • Another. Is the shooting slump over?
  • 6-for-8 start from behind the arc. Would ya look at that?
  • Myles Burns with an and-one to cut the Mizzou lead to six. Diarra enters the game and draws a foul in response.
  • Ole Miss on a 6-0 run. Rebels continue to get paint penetration.
  • Diarra with six points early on, receiving big minutes yet again. He has appeared to get more and more comfortable in every game he plays in, and looks like the highly-touted player Mizzou recruited.
  • East II gets a steal and then draws a foul on a pull-up three. Crafty play.
  • Mosley hits his first three of the season, Tigers have 36 points at the 8:59 mark. Kermit Davis takes his third timeout of the half.
  • Kobe Brown with a nifty spin move to get into the paint, and he fights through contact to keep the lead at ten entering the under ten timeout.
  • Nick Honor rips the ball away from an Ole Miss player but commits a rare turnover on the next possession.
  • Brown takes a charge to the chin. He’s been very willing to step in and take offensive fouls this season.
  • DeAndre Gholston with two fouls.
  • Diarra with a monster block at the rim, and Mosley hits another three to reclaim the momentum.
  • Mosley is feeling himself, hitting team’s ninth three-pointer on a step-back.
  • Daeshun Ruffin has hit two 3s in a row for Ole Miss, appearing to get back into a rhythm. He draws a foul on the next possession.
  • Mosley dives into the bench for a loose ball. He’s shown that he’s not just an offensive player in these past two games.
  • Announcers beginning to talk about what Dennis Gates’ teams will look like with his recruited players. It should look pretty good.
  • Ole Miss hits a floater at the buzzer to steal some momentum before halftime.
  • To only lead by six after such a successful half leaves a sour taste.

2nd Half Notes

  • Nick Honor with a nice-looking floater, his first points of the night.
  • Hodge with a beautiful bounce-pass between defenders on a fast break for a Mosley lay-up.
  • The same thing that happened above literally just happened again.
  • Ole Miss suffering through a 2:19 scoring drought.
  • Hodge hits another three-pointer, but the Tigers appear to have cooled off in the second half overall.
  • Diarra with an athletic steal-and-save on defense, and he follows it up with a three-pointer. He has only impressed in this game, and he has a career-high 11 points.
  • Carter hits his first three of the night, completing the comeback shooting performance for most of Mizzou’s major shooters.
  • Kaleb Brown into the game for some rare minutes.
  • Tigers now 14-for-27 from behind the arc. They are 13-0 when scoring 70 points or more this season.
  • Mosley with yet another dirty step-back three. Safe to say that he has regained his offensive swagger.
  • Rebels have mounted a late rally, now only trail by eight.
  • Tigers salting this game away with quality looks at the rim.
  • Mizzou picks up their first road conference win of the season.

Pregame Updates

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 floor?
  4. How many points will Isiaih Mosley have?
  5. Who will be the MVP?

Lastly, drop your game predictions and MVPs down below!

A pair of the Southeastern Conference bottom-dwellers from last year will face off tonight, looking to rewrite their storybook on the 2022-23 season.

Missouri men’s basketball (14-5, 3-4) is heading back on the road in Southeastern Conference play, traveling southward to face the Ole Miss Rebels (9-10, 1-6), who will be determined to avenge the pair of losses they suffered to Mizzou one season ago.

Not many things went well for the Tigers last year, but they did defeat Ole Miss three times, including in the SEC Tournament and in a 25-point drubbing in Oxford.

The Rebels, off to an unrevolutionary start to conference play, will undoubtedly be ready to spoil Mizzou’s bounce-back season under first-year head coach Dennis Gates and seek vengeance on last year’s losses.

Sandwiched between ranked matchups against Alabama and Iowa State, the Tigers will try not to overlook a determined Ole Miss team that is fighting for a signature victory under fifth-year head coach Kermit Davis, whose coaching seat is quickly and quietly warming.

Mizzou enters the matchup at No. 63 in the KenPom rankings, while the Rebels slot in at No. 87 after losing eight of their last 10 games. Ole Miss has yet to pick up an SEC victory at home, but the Tigers are also entering the game having not earned an SEC road victory.

Amidst a season of uncertainty and talent across all levels, it’s important not to overlook opponents of any caliber, but Mizzou will need to channel that belief against the Rebels to avoid an ugly loss in what looks to be a true ‘trap game.’

Game Info

When: Tuesday, Jan. 24th

Where: The Pavilion at Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi

Time: 6:00 p.m. CST

TV: SEC Network

KenPom Win Probability: 48%

The Starters


PG: Nick Honor (Grad; 8.7 PPG)

SG: Tre Gomillion (Grad; 5.3 PPG)

SF: D’Moi Hodge (Grad; 14.0 PPG)

PF: Ronnie DeGray III (JR; 2.1 PPG)

C: Kobe Brown (SR; 15.7 PPG) *Game Time Decision

Key Depth: Guard Isiaih Mosley (SR; 9.0 PPG), Forward Noah Carter (SR; 10.3 PPG), Guard Sean East II (SR; 8.2 PPG) and Guard DeAndre Gholston (Grad; 10.7 PPG)

Ole Miss

PG: James White (SO; 3.2 PPG)

SG: Amaree Abram (FR; 8.0 PPG)

SF: Matthew Murrell (JR; 14.9 PPG) *Game Time Decision

PF: Jaemyn Brakefield (JR; 8.9 PPG)

C: Jayveous McKinnis (SR; 5.0 PPG)

Key Depth: Forward Myles Burns (SR; 6.4 PPG); Guard Daeshun Ruffin (SO; 8.7 PPG); Guard TJ Caldwell (FR; 4.7 PPG)

*These are projected lineups based on prior matchups and game information.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Mississippi Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Get to Know Ole Miss

Ole Miss is off to an underwhelming start, a statement that is becoming a theme throughout Davis’ tenure, after being selected to finish ninth in the SEC Preseason Media Poll.

The Rebels are tied for last in the SEC, struggling to piece together complete games against a tough conference slate that has already featured Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn and Arkansas. Their lone SEC victory is over the South Carolina Gamecocks, the only other conference team with a losing record.

Despite the lack of conference success, Ole Miss does hold victories over No. 24 FAU and Temple, the latter of whom defeated No. 1 Houston on Sunday.

A key contributor to the Rebels’ winning ways is their defense, which holds opponents to a 44.8% mark on two-pointers and showcases the SEC’s third-best mark in blocked shots.

Ole Miss also grabs 11.8 offensive rebounds per game, the nation’s 65th-best tally, and boasts the 67th-best field goal percentage defense at 41.2%. Their defensive efficiency makes up for the offensive weaknesses that plague the team as a whole.

The Rebels own the SEC’s third-worst three-point shooting percentage (30%), free throw shooting mark (67.2%) and points per game (67.0 PPG). Additionally, they average 13.3 turnovers per game while showcasing a bottom-third tempo.

Due to its lack of volume scoring, only one Ole Miss player averages double-digit points—Matthew Murrell. A junior forward, Murrell primarily finds success within the arc but does hold the second-best free throw percentage in the SEC as well.

Adding to Murrell are a plethora of middle-of-the-pack scorers, including a trio of effective rebounders in Jaemyn Brakefield, Myles Burns and Jayveous McKinnis. The trio average a combined 15.6 rebounds, making them primary threats to an uninspiring Mizzou rebounding effort.

Ole Miss also offers a unique touch off the bench, as 40% of its minutes come from bench players. That mark is the 18th-most in the nation, including the second-most in the SEC.

TJ Caldwell, a 35% three-point shooter, will be a name to watch, as a potential breakout player for the Rebels. He will hope to become the latest freshman to torch the Tigers from beyond the arc.

Opponents shoot a lot of three-pointers against Ole Miss without much luck (33.4%), which will be expected once again with Mizzou. The Rebels, even with their rebounding success, do tend to give up offensive rebounds though, making second-chance opportunities on those missed shots of vital importance as well.

3 Keys to the Game

1. Find a Way to Jumpstart D’Moi Hodge and the 3-PT Offense

Kobe Brown, who was held out on Saturday due to an ankle injury, is poised to return against Ole Miss, which will relieve pressure from D’Moi Hodge and Co. to manufacture a half-court offense.

However, the truth is that Mizzou’s offense feeds on chaos and unpredictability, a facet that is even more dangerous with an effective three-point presence. Parker Gillam, my fellow beat writer, touched on this in his latest piece.

The Tigers’ struggles of late are spelling doom, and it’ll be of vital importance to rediscover that long range success once again, beginning with the sharpshooter Hodge. At the same time, however, it’ll be important not to force shots and extend the drought even further.

2. Force the Tempo Early and Often

Ole Miss is not built to manufacture comebacks, featuring true weaknesses in the three-point shooting department and in free throw shooting. The Rebels also turn the ball over at a higher than average rate, a point of emphasis the Tigers will attack.

Mizzou has the opportunity to come out sharp on the defensive end early and establish its tempo. In each of their road losses, the Tigers have failed to do this; instead, falling victim to attempting a half-court offense.

Forcing early turnovers and making shots will drive this key, and a fast start will be essential in showing Ole Miss that this won’t be another road defeat. The flip side, however, is that Mizzou may succumb to a slower tempo and fail to shoot themselves out of a slump.

3. Make Ole Miss beat you via the 3-PT Line

Yes, this is a bold take that I may regret.

Ole Miss does not shoot characteristically well from beyond the arc, however, and the Rebels attempts the second-fewest three-point shots per game in the SEC.

The Rebels generate a majority of their points from within the arc, finding much more success there than at the free throw line or three-point arc. As a result, it’ll be important to force Ole Miss outside of the paint and into an uncomfortable offensive position.

It’ll then be up to Mizzou’s perimeter defense to prevent Murrell, Brakefield or Caldwell from outshooting the team from beyond the arc.

What to Expect

KenPom Prediction: Ole Miss 75 Missouri 74

My Prediction: Ole Miss 68 Missouri 78

KenPom is projecting yet another road loss for Mizzou, and this one would be a killer.

I, on the other hand, believe in a bounce-back victory against an Ole Miss team that is amidst a downward spiral.

Either way, this game provides all the ingredients for a true ‘trap game’ for the Tigers, who will have to play this on short rest after battling against then-No. 4 Alabama and before taking on Iowa State.

One note I keep going back to is the fact that Mizzou is undefeated when reaching 70 points, which I do believe they’ll reach against Ole Miss. At that point, it’s time to consider whether the Rebels will outscore their season-average against a mediocre Tiger scoring defense.

Ole Miss struggles to hit the three-point jumper, similar to Mizzou, but I think this is the bounce-back game for the Tigers. That three-point shot will prove to be the factor between these two feisty teams.

Mizzou, if that comes to fruition, will be able to make this game a track meet in the tempo department, emphasizing a key strength of their offense. If the shooting woes continue, however, the Tigers will be in line to suffer their worst loss of the season.

Also, as Jon Rothstein reported Tuesday morning, Matthew Murrell and Kobe Brown will be game-time decisions, possibly leaving both teams without their leading scorers. If they both do miss this game, Mizzou’s depth will overwhelm Ole Miss for a victory. But if only one plays, then watch out for that star to make their impact felt.