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Missouri Men’s Basketball Preview and Live Game Thread: Vanderbilt visits Columbia

The Commodores are 8-6 up to this point and in need of a signature win to provide a spark to their season.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri 85 | Vanderbilt 82


1st Half Notes

  • Mizzou Starters: Nick Honor, Tre Gomillion, D’Moi Hodge, Ronnie DeGray III and Kobe Brown
  • Vanderbilt Starters: Tyrin Lawrence, Trey Thomas, Colin Smith, Myles Stute and Quentin Millora-Brown; no Ezra Manjon or Liam Robbins in the starting lineup, as they will once again come off the bench
  • Lawrence scores on Vanderbilt’s opening possession, and Trey Thomas adds a three-pointer a few possessions later.
  • DeGray III picks up Mizzou’s first points via a pair of free throws.
  • Mizzou has yet to make a field goal with Gomillion missing his first three shots, while Vanderbilt has connected on two three-pointers.
  • Rebounding has once again become a point of discussion early in this one. The Commodores nearly have as many offensive rebounds (2) as Mizzou has total rebounds (3).
  • Hodge drills a three-pointer for Mizzou’s first points of the game. Kobe Brown follows on the next possession with a dunk.
  • This’ll go down as Mizzou’s worst start to the season. The Tigers are shooting 22%, have three turnovers, committed six fouls and are being out-rebounded 11-5.
  • Gholston with four points to jumpstart Mizzou’s offense and Hodge follows with a three-pointer to make it a one possession game.
  • Hodge, who entered the game 26 points shy of 1,000, is already up to 12 points.
  • Mizzou takes its first lead behind a pair of Gomillion free throws.
  • The Tigers’ defense is beginning to prove their worth, forcing turnovers on three Vanderbilt possessions. Mizzou fails to convert on those attempts, however.
  • Hodge has 12 points, three steals, one block, two rebounds and no turnovers. Heck of a bounce-back so far following the Arkansas game.
  • Noah Carter lobs a pass to Aidan Shaw for a two-handed slam, giving Mizzou its largest lead of the game.
  • Vanderbilt has made five of its last seven shot attempts, working back to tie the game.
  • The Tigers had perhaps their worst start all season, but still remain knotted at the half. Kobe Brown was limited to just six minutes with foul trouble and has only two points.

2nd Half Notes

  • Vanderbilt is off to a 4-0 run to begin the second half, as the Tigers continue to shoot below-average from the field.
  • Noah Carter scores the first four points for Mizzou to knot the game back up.
  • DeAndre Gholston, a second-half talent, makes a heavily contested layup while being fouled and falling to the ground.
  • Noah Carter and Nick Honor drill three-pointers on back-to-back possessions.
  • Mizzou with a 10-0 run, and Vanderbilt responds with a pair of baskets.
  • Vanderbilt responds with an 8-0 stretch of its own, connecting on a pair of three-pointers.
  • Carter is keeping the Tigers afloat in the second half with 10 points.
  • Vanderbilt takes the lead on a three-point play and layup. Kobe Brown responds with a three-pointer.
  • The Commodores are 9 of their last 10 from the field.
  • Kobe Brown is heating up offensively. He is up to 16 points.
  • Hodge adds a triple as well, and Mizzou Arena is rocking.
  • Vanderbilt continues to attack the rim, finding success in the paint. The Tigers also got away with a goaltending to keep the game tied before Gholston scored a layup.
  • Mizzou’s free throw shooting is on full display. The Tigers are 20 of 23 from the charity stripe.
  • Vanderbilt misses its first of two free throws, down 78-75.
  • Carter makes both of his free throws, and Vanderbilt calls a timeout with 15 seconds to go in a four-point game.
  • Gholston with the game-winning steal, and Mizzou will escape a scare against Vanderbilt.

Pregame Updates

  • Eli Drinkwitz and recently hired offensive coordinator Kirby Moore addressed the media before tip-off between Mizzou and Vanderbilt—follow the thread from Dave Matter:

5 Fan Questions:

  1. Who will lead the team in scoring?
  2. How many 3-pointers will D’Moi Hodge have?
  3. How many turnovers will Mizzou force?
  4. What will the halftime score be?
  5. How many points will Kobe Brown have?

Lastly, drop your game predictions and MVPs down below.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri and Vanderbilt have generally resided amongst the bottom of the SEC standings in recent years. In 2023, the Tigers have managed to escape, while the Commodores are still looking for a way out in Jerry Stackhouse’s fourth season at the helm.

Vanderbilt is fresh off a 19-17 season, their best under Stackhouse, but an up-and-down 8-6 start to the season has left the Commodore faithful disgruntled. A road win over Missouri would be just what the doctor ordered for this team.

For the Tigers, they now enter the two-game-a-week grind of conference play, meaning that games are going to get a lot tougher and the resilience of this group will be put to the test. A loss to Vanderbilt would surely damage the NCAA Tournament hopes of this team. After suffering a tough, hard-fought loss to Arkansas, how will this team respond?

Game Info

When: Jan. 7, 2023

Where: Columbia, MO

Time: 11:00 a.m. CST


KenPom Win Probability: 82%

The Starters


PG: Nick Honor (Grad)
SG: Tre Gomillion (Grad)
SF: D’Moi Hodge (Grad)
PF: Ronnie DeGray III (SR)
C: Kobe Brown (SR)


PG: Ezra Manjon (SR)
SG: Tyrin Lawrence (JR)
SF: Myles Stute (JR)
PF: Colin Smith (FR)
C: Liam Robbins (SR)

These lineups are projected and based on prior game starters

Get To Know Vanderbilt

The Commodores have resided in the basement of the SEC for much of this season, but they’ve shown potential in knocking off some solid teams. Wins over Temple, Pittsburgh and South Carolina highlight a rough 8-6 start to the season, making this date with the Tigers all the more important in Jerry Stackhouse’s efforts to right the ship.

The Commodores have not been getting blown out of the water, however. They lost by 10 or less to Memphis, Saint Mary’s, NC State and VCU, and are coming off an 84-79 overtime win over South Carolina in their SEC opener.

Outside of blocking shots, which they do on 15.2% of opposing team’s possessions (good for 12th in the nation), Vanderbilt does not necessarily excel at anything.

Across the board, Vandy plays slightly above average defense and slightly below average offense. In nearly every one of their games (except for the OT outings against Temple and USC), both competing teams have finished in the 60-70 point range. They stay consistent and do not play at an ultra-high pace, contrary to what Missouri attempts to accomplish in speeding the game up.

The Commodores do not necessarily have any standout stars, but they do have three players averaging 10 or more points. 7’0” center Liam Robbins leads the team in both points and rebounds per game with 12.6 and 5.9, respectively. His intimidating presence inside has also allowed him to register 37 blocks on the season, and he is coming off a 22-point performance against the Gamecocks.

Forward Myles Stute is right behind Robbins at 11.0 points per game, and he acts as the three-point marksman. He’s shot at a 45.6% clip from behind the arc this season, and he is not afraid to let if fly when he is hot. Guard Tyrin Lawrence rounds out the trio, averaging 10.4 points per game.

Senior point guard Ezra Manjon leads the team with 3.1 assists per game and has a team-leading 17 steals to his name thus far. However, he also emerged as an offensive threat against South Carolina, leading the team with 24 points in the gutsy OT win.

3 Keys To The Game

  1. Dictating the pace

In the games Mizzou has played best (Illinois, Kentucky), the Tigers decided how the game was going to flow early on and never looked back. Gates and Co. want to push the ball up the floor, move it around, and get quality open looks for their weapons. That’s been what wins them games, and it’s what they need to maintain in conference play.

Vanderbilt plays a much slower style of game (ranking 265th in adjusted tempo), meaning one team’s style will win out. If Missouri can make this a track meet from the jump, then they should be able to secure a relatively easy win.

2. Managing Robbins’ presence

We all know that Missouri lacks size down low. After all, 6’8” Kobe Brown starts at the “center” position for this team. Despite the loss, Oscar Tshiebwe was able to take advantage of that size advantage to the tune of 23 points and 19 rebounds.

Robbins is a fairly skilled and imposing big-man that has really come into his own this season for the Commodores. Counting on him on the offensive end—especially on the glass—will be tricky in this one. On the flip side, Brown may be challenged in the paint by the sheer length of Robbins and his shot-blocking ability.

If Missouri lets him, Robbins could be a game-changer who disrupts the Tigers on both ends of the floor. Gates should, and will, have a plan to manage Robbins’ positioning on the floor and how they attack him.

3. Get D’Moi Hodge going

For the first time this season, D’Moi Hodge did not make a three-point shot in a game. That happened against Arkansas on Wednesday. The Razorbacks played some tight defense on Hodge, and it hurt the Tiger offense in the second half.

It goes without saying that Mizzou needs Hodge to shoot well to have success over these next two months. Coming off his quietest game of the season, Gates needs to ensure that he gets Hodge a couple of clean looks early on in this game.

Game Prediction

My Prediction: Missouri 85 | Vanderbilt 72

KenPom Prediction: Missouri 82 | Vanderbilt 72

In today’s SEC, this is one of those games you just have to win. A loss here would likely qualify as an ever-terrifying Quad 3 defeat and would cut the margin of error for this team in half.

Missouri has put their best foot forward to start this season. The loss to Arkansas does nothing to change that, as they fought hard on the road in a tough environment. They have the play style and personnel to be able to match up effectively with Vanderbilt, and they have been playing superior basketball thus far this season. How this team mentally responds to the heartbreaking loss on Wednesday will determine if they can take care of business on Saturday.

With so much experience on this roster, they should be able to rebound. And taking into account how they rebounded after the KU game, I expect a turnaround.

Even then, this is conference play. Anything can happen. The Commodores are a battle-tested group with a fair amount of talent on their roster. They can certainly hang with Mizzou in Columbia if the Tigers don’t play their brand of basketball on Saturday. The Tigers need to get hot from behind the arc again (especially Hodge), force turnovers and focus more on defensive rebounding

All in all, I like Missouri to fend off some Vanderbilt runs and secure another conference victory. This team seems mature enough to avoid “trap” games like this one, and the sold-out home crowd should yet again play a sizable factor against a team that has tendencies to be loose with the ball.