Missouri 68 | Arkansas 74
1st Half Notes
- Missouri Starting Lineup: Gomillion, Hodge, Honor, DeGray III, (Kobe) Brown
- Tiger offense starting strong, getting out in transition as they have been for the past coupe of games.
- Missouri shooting 3-for-5 from the floor and 2-for-4 from 3-point land.
- Sean East II comes off the bench early and hasn’t come off the floor. Has fives points to start this game.
- Kobe Brown with an early two fouls at the 16:16 mark.
- Tigers are 6-for-7 from the free throw line.
- Largest deficit of the season for Arkansas right now. 14 points.
- Arkansas is on a 4:25 scoring drought.
- Tigers force turnovers on back-to-back possessions, defense looks locked in.
- Missouri’s ability to play defense one-through-four/five with almost every lineup is really showing its worth in SEC play. Not a ton of size, but a bunch of players that can move and fight for position well.
- Arkansas has managed to gain some momentum with some hustle plays. Still have yet to really figure out the Tiger zone though.
- Razorbacks with nine team fouls at the 4:57 mark. Kamani Johnson and Makhi Mitchell each with two.
- Despite their shooting struggles, Arkansas is surviving off of second-chance buckets.
- Nick Honor hits a three-pointer off a Kobe Brown offensive rebound. The ball is moving no matter who has it.
- Lead extended back out to 15, stalling Arkansas’ run.
- Razorbacks have ten offensive rebounds.
2nd Half Notes
- D’Moi Hodge and Davonte Davis get tangled up, each awarded fouls.
- Lead cut to one point, Dennis Gates calls a timeout. Arkansas has taken all the momentum coming out of the half.
- Game is getting physical, with plenty of foul calls in the opening minutes.
- Nick Honor with a massive three that seems to steady the flow for Mizzou.
- Arkansas is getting hot and the crowd is feeding into their energy. Another early timeout for Gates as Missouri now faces a four point deficit.
- Noah Carter has let the hair fly. An Arkansas turnover takes us into the under twelve timeout.
- Tigers are struggling to get stops now after a dominant defensive first half. On the offensive end, however, the team is responding with tough makes to stay within striking distance.
- Kobe Brown picks up his third foul at the 7:25 mark. His fourth foul follows at the 6:31 mark.
- Aidan Shaw has secured a lot of important rebounds on both ends of the floor tonight.
- Tigers work their way into the bonus at the 5:41 mark.
- Nick Council IV has scored 16-points in the second half taken over this game.
- Tre Gomillion with a massive three-pointer to cut the Arkansas lead to five with four minutes left. Council IV commits an offensive foul right after.
- Anthony Black’s first three of the night comes at a great time for Arkansas.
- Gomillion takes a rushed shot on a fast break, could have cut the lead to two.
- Nick Honor splits a pair of free throws, making the Arkansas lead 69-66.
- Council IV ices this game by hitting six free throws.
Arkansas freshman Nick Smith Jr. will not be at Bud Walton Arena for tonight's game against Missouri. He is seeing a specialist for his knee, per a team spokesperson.— Mason Choate (@ChoateMason) January 5, 2023
5 Fan Questions:
- Who will lead the team in scoring?
- How many 3-pointers will D’Moi Hodge have?
- How many turnovers will Mizzou force?
- What will the halftime score be?
- How many points will Kobe Brown have?
Lastly, drop your game predictions and MVPs down below.
Mizzou-Arkansas: What’s At Stake
Rivalry games do not get much better than this.
Missouri (12-1, 1-0 SEC), for the first time since February 2021, was unveiled as a Top-25 team to begin the new year, slotting in at No. 20 (21 in coaches poll). The ascension under first-year head coach Dennis Gates has come unexpectedly, and the Tigers have back-to-back statement victories over ranked opponents to show for it.
Gates and Co. will now have an opportunity to guide Mizzou to its first ever 2-0 start in Southeastern Conference play. A key behind that journey will be senior forward Kobe Brown, who became just the third Division I player in the last 25 years to score at least 30 points in back-to-back wins against ranked teams, and is just one-point shy of 1,000 career points.
Arkansas (11-2, 0-1 SEC), on the other hand, is becoming accustomed to success, making it to the Elite Eight each of the past two seasons. Under fourth-year head coach Eric Musselman, the Hogs have also grown into a recruiting powerhouse, notching the nation’s No. 2 class last season.
As a part of its roster construction, Arkansas scooped sophomore forward Trevon Brazile from Mizzou following the departure of former Tigers’ head coach Cuonzo Martin. The highly-anticipated revenge game will be rescheduled, however, after Brazile tore his ACL in the first half of a game against UNC-Greensboro.
A victory for either side will immediately catapult them up further in the SEC standings as well as the Top-25 rankings, boosting their résumés for March. For a Mizzou program that has never defeated three consecutive ranked opponents, it will once again cement the notion that it’s a new era of Tiger hoops.
Arkansas, coming off of an unexpected SEC opening loss to the LSU Tigers, will look to improve upon its 32-26 all-time record against Mizzou, including four consecutive victories. The last time these two teams met while ranked, No. 4 Mizzou defeated No. 7 Arkansas, 89-88, on Dec. 13, 1989.
A rare, ranked battle between a pair of the country’s most electric teams will reignite a rivalry that dates back over 70 years.
When: Wednesday, January 4
Where: Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas
Time: 7:30 PM CST
KenPom Win Probability: 23%
PG: Nick Honor (GR; 10 PPG)
SG: Tre Gomillion (GR; 5.7 PPG)
SF: D’Moi Hodge (GR; 16.5 PPG)
PF: Ronnie DeGray III (JR; 2.5 PPG)
C: Kobe Brown (SR; 15.6 PPG)
Key Bench Players: Forward Noah Carter (SR; 10.6 PPG) and Guard DeAndre Gholston (GR; 10.5 PPG)
PG: Devo Davis (JR; 8.2 PPG)
SG: Anthony Black (FR; 12.2 PPG)
SF: Ricky Council IV (JR; 17.9 PPG)
PF: Jordan Walsh (FR; 8 PPG)
C: Makhi Mitchell (SR; 7.5 PPG)
Key Bench Players: Trevon Brazile (SO.) and Nick Smith Jr. (FR.) are both out indefinitely with injuries, leaving Jalen Graham (SR; 5.4 PPG) as the only bench player with 5+ points.
*These are projected starters for each team, based on previous games and media updates
Get To Know Arkansas
Defense is the name of the game for the Hogs.
Arkansas showcases the nation’s fifth-best adjusted defensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy, holding opponents to a 28.4% mark from beyond the arc, a 47.2% tally from two-point range while also grabbing 12.5 steals per game.
Similarly to this year’s Tigers, the Hogs capitalize on opponents’ mistakes and turnovers to drive their offensive success.
In five of its 13 games, Arkansas has forced at least 20 turnovers, guiding the Hogs to the nation’s No. 10 turnover margin (+5.5) and No. 13 mark in turnovers forced per game (18.08/gm). Those tallies have allowed Arkansas to out-score opponents via the fast break game, giving the Hogs a top-50 adjusted tempo.
Arkansas’ ability to break out in transition makes up for its inability to shoot effectively on three-point opportunities. The Hogs shoot just 30% from beyond the arc, which ranks 320th in the nation, and average an uninspiring 4.8 three-pointers per game.
As a result, two-pointers account for over 60% of Arkansas’ total points. Without those high-efficiency makes, the Hogs are limited offensively with a middle-of-the-pack free throw percentage and an above-average reliance on fast break opportunities.
As for the Arkansas roster, the Hogs will showcase their starters throughout a majority of the game.
Ricky Council IV will lead this charge, as a 17.9-point per game scorer. The junior guard averages the most minutes played in SEC play, ranks No. 3 in the conference in scoring and has grabbed 23 steals.
Giving Arkansas its second double-digit scorer is Anthony Black, a freshman who leads the team in assists, steals and three-pointers while adding an all-around impact on the court. Black shoots 50% from the field, including a 36% mark from beyond the arc despite averaging slightly less than three three-point attempts per game.
Devo Davis, Jordan Walsh and Makhi Mitchell round out the starting lineup, combining for 23.7 points per game while helping to anchor the rebounding game. Walsh, in particular, has taken a step forward recently, averaging 11.8 points and shooting 59.4% over his last four games.
As mentioned earlier, the Hogs will be without two major contributors on offense, Brazile and freshman Nick Smith, Jr., who are both sidelined with injuries. Smith is ruled out indefinitely with a right knee injury after averaging 12.8 points per game, and Brazile is sidelined after averaging 11.8 points and six rebounds per contest.
3 Keys To The Game
1. Slow down Ricky Council IV
Ricky Council IV is the workhorse of the Hogs, and he will prove to be quite a handful for Mizzou.
Council, a transfer from Wichita State, shoots 48% from the field and he’s had four games in which he’s scored more than 20 points, including in the loss to Creighton. Against LSU, Council only scored 13 points, and he will be looking for a bounce-back performance tonight.
Tigers fans will become acquainted with Council all evening, as the guard has played all 40 minutes in regulation three times and all 20 minutes of a half 12 times. His presence will be even more crucial without Smith and Brazile, making him a consistent challenge to Mizzou’s guard tandem.
Tre Gomillion, Nick Honor, Sean East II and DeAndre Gholston will be the main names to watch, as they will each take turns facing off against Council as well as his formidable duo partner, Anthony Black.
2. Win the points off turnover battle
This game will likely go one of two ways.
Either each team will pick each other apart, utilizing their stingy defensive schemes...or this will become a slower-paced game with each team searching for open looks.
Regardless of style of play, however, points off turnovers will become extremely valuable in determining the victory. If the former of the two options comes to fruition though, these opportunities will be magnified.
Arkansas has out-scored opponents in points off turnovers in 10 of its 13 games, but the loss against LSU stands as one of those. The Hogs did outscore Creighton 21-3 in points off turnovers in Arkansas’ only other loss, but the team succumbed to a poor two-point shooting display.
3. Force Arkansas to shoot its way to victory
The blueprint for a potential upset is there, as evidenced with LSU one week ago.
Arkansas shot just 4-25 from beyond the arc while failing to knock down catch-and-shoot opportunities and open looks. That performance, coupled with the Hogs’ lack of efficiency from distance, showcases that Arkansas is not unbeatable.
A key to making this a reality, however, will be to establish an early lead and force the Hogs into playing catch-up on the scoreboard. In these recent victories, the Tigers jumped ahead early, using their own three-point barrage, which will be needed again.
My Prediction: Arkansas 80 | Missouri 83
KenPom Prediction: Arkansas 84 | Missouri 76
I have two predictions for everyone.
For starters, Kobe Brown will reach the 1,000-point mark.
Secondly, Mizzou will make history with its third consecutive victory over a ranked opponent.
In order for the latter half of that statement to become a reality, Brown will once again need to continue his recent stretch of dominant play. Arkansas does not have as much star power in the post as it does in the backcourt, so exposing that weakness will be important.
D’Moi Hodge and Honor will also play a large role, expanding the court with their three-point prowess. Their hot shooting will be needed in order to combat a high-scoring effort from Black and Council.
In the end, the Tigers will once again provide a season-defining victory, capitalizing on the Hogs’ missing pieces while continuing to reshape the new era of Mizzou Hoops.