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MBB Preview and Live Game Thread: Tigers welcome former Big 8 rival to Columbia for the Big 12/SEC Challenge

In the last installment of the conference competition, the No. 12 Iowa State Cyclones will travel to Columbia.

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

Missouri 78 | Iowa State 61


1st Half Notes

  • Missouri Starters: Honor, Moseley, Hodge, Brown and Carter
  • Iowa State Starters: Tamin Lipsey, Jaren Holmes, Gabe Kalscheur, Tre King and Osun Osunniyi
  • Iowa State and Mizzou both turn the ball over on their first possessions. Those miscues will be the difference in today’s game between two effective defensive teams.
  • Holmes strikes first for ISU, but Honor responds with a 3-pointer.
  • The Tigers have knocked down two of their first four 3-point attempts, and Kobe Brown has five points.
  • Mizzou has forced six turnovers in the game’s first five minutes, but the Tigers also have four turnovers of their own.
  • D’Moi Hodge with a pass to Mo Diarra for a slam off a turnovers, and Sean East II follows with a 3-pointer off a Cyclones turnover.
  • Kalscheur responds with a pair of wide-open 3-pointers from the wing and corner, respectively.
  • It has become a 3-point shootout, as both teams are playing physical defense inside the arc. Kobe Brown is up to 10 points.
  • An offensive rebound and outback from Kobe Brown over three Cyclone defenders emphasizes the strides he has made in the past year.
  • The Tigers have eight assists and have forced seven Iowa State turnovers.
  • Brown looks to have aggravated the ankle injury that he suffered against Arkansas following a foul in the paint, and he checks out of the game after making two free throws.
  • Brown checks back in quickly and immediately grabs an offensive rebound.
  • This game is settling into a more back-and-forth matchup as the two have begun to adjust to each other’s style of play.
  • Out of a timeout, Hodge immediately drains a 3-pointer. Ball movement on point today for the Tigers.
  • Kobe Brown with 16 first half points, and the Tigers forced 11 turnovers, resulting in nine points.

2nd Half Notes

  • A Kobe Brown layup and Nick Honor 3-pointer begin the second half scoring, as Mizzou jumps out to a 15-point lead.
  • Iowa State calls a timeout as Mizzou drills a trio of 3-pointers as a part of a 13-5 run to begin the second half.
  • The Cyclones knock down a layup out of the media timeout, bringing their deficit to 17.
  • Mizzou is shooting 58.8% from the field, including a 61.1% mark from 3-point range.
  • Hodge has 12 points on a quartet of 3-pointers. The addition and impact of Isiaih Mosley on this team cannot be understated.
  • DeAndre Gholston will have an opportunity for a four-point play coming out of the timeout.
  • Gholston with a double pump-fake, spin-move layup. Whew.
  • Mizzou calls a timeout following a 6-0 Iowa State run.
  • The Tigers are undefeated when reaching 70 points. They have 72 with seven minutes remaining.
  • Kobe Brown with a double-double, his second of the season.
  • Mizzou is on a field goal drought, one of its first of the game. Iowa State is within 14 points with less than five minutes to go.
  • The Tigers pick up the first win the SEC-Big 12 Challenge.

Pregame Notes

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!

In the final installment of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge, Missouri will host former Big 8 conference rival Iowa State. With the SEC reaching an agreement with the ACC for a future men’s and women’s basketball challenge, this will be the final year that the Tigers take on a Big 12 opponent in late January.

The Cyclones come into this game ranked No. 12 with a record of 15-4 (6-2). ISU has gone on a tear through the Big 12, taking down three ranked opponents and sitting tied for first place in the conference. They are certainly surprising all the people who picked them to finish eighth in the conference’s preseason media poll.

Missouri bounced back from a loss to Alabama with an impressive 89-77 win on the road at Ole Miss in which they shot 53% from behind the arc. The Tigers appeared to regain their shooting rhythm while also seeing Isiaih Mosley and Mohamed Diarra step into larger roles.

KenPom ranks Iowa State at 12th in its rankings, while Missouri slots in at No. 55. Expect another sold-out Mizzou Arena (this time in tiger stripes) to be rocking for this mid-season non-conference matchup.

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

Game Info

When: Saturday, Jan. 28

Where: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, MO

Time: 1:00 p.m. CST


KenPom Win Probability: 43%

The Starters


PG: Nick Honor (Grad)

SG: D’Moi Hodge (Grad)

SF: Isiaih Mosley (SR)

PF: Aidan Shaw (FR)

C: Kobe Brown (SR)

Key Depth: Tre Gomillion (G, Grad), DeAndre Gholston (SG/SF, Grad), Noah Carter (PF/C, SR), Sean East II (PG, SR)

Iowa State:

PG: Tamin Lipsey (FR)

SG: Caleb Grill (SR)

SF: Gabe Kelscheur (SR)

PF: Jaren Holmes (SR)

C: Osun Osunniyi (SR)

Key Depth: Robert Jones (C, SR), Demarion Watson (SF/PF, FR), Tre King (SF, SR)

*These starters are projected based on past lineups and pregame updates.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Get To Know Iowa State

The Cyclones have been one of the surprise teams of the season thus far. ISU picked up wins over Villanova and North Carolina in the Phil Knight Invitational, then took down St. John’s in the Big 12/Big East Battle. They were swamped by rivals Iowa in the Cy-Hawk series game, but they rebounded to open up Big 12 play.

After beating Baylor by 15, the ‘Clones won by five combined points against OU and TCU before stomping TTU by 34. Then, they barely lost to Kansas in Lawrence before regrouping to beat Texas, were upset by Oklahoma State, and took down No.5 Kansas State earlier this week. Such is life in the Big 12.

The ‘Clones figure to be a top five seed in the NCAA Tournament assuming nothing drastic happens, and they have a legitimate shot at winning the Big 12 regular season title if they can keep pace with the Kansas schools.

Iowa State makes their money on the defensive end. The Cyclones rank 8th in defensive efficiency (via KenPom), force turnovers at a nation-leading 28% of opposition’s possessions and get a steal on 14.6% of possessions.

Opposing teams shoot a paltry 31.4% from behind the arc against the ‘Clones. Missouri recently found their shooting touch against Ole Miss, so we shall see if they can maintain it against a different level of competition.

Moral of the story: ISU is pesky on the perimeter and makes opposing teams uncomfortable. When the perimeter pressure is so intense, it is hard for a lot of teams get into their normal offensive sets. That’s T.J. Otzelberg’s mindset, and it has worked well for him in his first two seasons in Ames.

On the offensive side, Iowa State has remained fairly mediocre throughout this season. However, they do excel at gathering their own misses (reel in 34.2% of their shots). Mizzou has struggled against strong rebounding teams this season due to their lack of size, although they were solid on the glass against Bama and the Rebels.

Iowa State is a great passing team as well. With no true go-to scorer, they assist on 57.8% of their makes.

While there may not be one guy that you fear on this Cyclone team, a lot of them can hurt you. Seven players average over six points per game, and they seem to alternate in who leads the team in scoring.

Senior guard Jaren Holmes has emerged as the go-to-guy, as he leads the team with 13.5 points per game and dropped 23 on K-State earlier this week.

Fellow seniors Gabe Kalscheur (13.1 points per game) and Caleb Grill (10 PPG) provide the additional firepower from distance. Each member of the guard trio shoots 36% or better from behind the arc, and they have shown the ability to heat up at a moment’s notice (ex. Grill with 31 against UNC, Kalscheur with 25 against Kansas, Holmes with 21 against UT).

Completing the quartet of senior leaders on this team is Osun Osunniyi. The 6’10” center has seen increased minutes since Big 12 play began, and he has taken advantage of that. Averaging just under one block per game, Osunniyi has become a great paint-protector for a program that has lacked one in year’s past. He’s coming off 16-point performance against K-State.

Ames-product Tamin Lipsey has started every game this season, and the freshman has quickly become a fan favorite thanks to his hometown status and team-leading 4.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

3 Keys To The Game

  1. Dictate the tempo

It has been a theme all season-long, but it may never be more important than in this game. As I have said before, Iowa State wants this to be in a grudge-match, a game that the fast-paced Tigers do not excel at playing.

The tempo will be dictated early in this game, making the first couple of minutes very revealing. Frankly, it might come down to something as simple as Mizzou making their first couple of shots. That would spread ISU out on defense and put them on their heels, not allowing them to take control of the game. Getting the ‘Clones into the mindset that they have to shoot to keep pace would be advantage Tigers.

2. Run Iowa State off the line

Grill and Kalschuer steal the headlines, but this team only has a handful of players that can’t shoot the ball from deep. The good news for the Tigers is that they practice against that kind of team every day. Iowa State’s personnel should allow Mizzou to switch 1-5 with little issue (for the most part), which will help in covering shooters off screens and picking up in the open floor.

Frankly, I think this is a favorable matchup for Mizzou on the defensive end. The only way, however, that I see this going haywire is if the ‘Clones just flat out-hustle the Tigers to spots on the floor. While Gates prides his team on being high-energy and effort, Otzelberg has been demanding that for years in Ames, and it works to perfection. This will be a gut-check game with how physical and intense it will be. Everything will be earned.

3. Maintain a balanced scoring effort

Brown, Mosley and Hodge combined for 62 points on Tuesday, and it was beautiful to watch. They formed a sort-of “big 3”, with each of them providing a different type of offensive spark.

While it does not have to be the three of them, the Tigers need balanced scoring from a host of guys. With Mosley and Diarra emerging as of late, it appears that Noah Carter and DeAndre Gholston have taken steps back in their production. Getting them more involved or seeing another stellar shooting performance from Hodge or Mosley would be great to support Brown’s expected numbers. For a team like Missouri, having 3-4 players in double-figures is a must to win, because it forces teams to spread out and account for multiple threats.

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

Game Prediction

My Prediction: Missouri 79 | Iowa State 74

KenPom Prediction: Iowa State 74 | Missouri 72

Another very, very tough home contest for the Tigers. Iowa State will directly challenge how Mizzou plays, looking to slow this game down and keep it in the 60s (K-State is the only Big 12 team to eclipse 70 on them).

The Tigers can not let that happen. Whenever they have been thrown out of their style of play this season, the game has gotten ugly. The recent shooting slump has been taken its toll on this team’s record, but Tuesday’s performance was certainly encouraging. However, the Cyclones would love nothing more than to see the Tigers struggle to shoot from behind the arc again, and they have a defense that can certainly make that happen.

On the flip side, Iowa State does two things well: offensive rebound and 3-point shooting. The former has been an issue for Mizzou all season-long, but the latter is a wild card in this game. If ISU comes in hot, they’ll likely run away with this one. If they come in cold, expect them to try to muck up this game.

With the recent emergence of Mohamed Diarra and Isiaih Mosley, the only thing that stands in this team’s way of winning appears to be perimeter shooting. The Tigers proved against Alabama that they can hang on the boards with a bigger team, and they have continued to force turnovers at a high rate. The final piece of the puzzle would be finding the shooting touch that they lost. They regained it on Tuesday, but they now have to string multiple sound shooting games together.

At the end of the day, this is an NCAA Tournament-caliber matchup and a Quad 1 win for either team, exactly what we want from the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Assuming neither team comes in shooting ice-cold, this should be a tightly-contested, physical contest that comes down to the final minutes. Both teams have closers, but I think Missouri’s stars make the necessary plays down the stretch to win this game.

Expect the crowd to have a major factor as well, as every game Iowa State has lost this season has been away from Ames.