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Preview and Live Game Thread: Mizzou and Memphis clash at Mizzou Arena

An intriguing early regular season matchup arises as Memphis comes to Columbia for the first time since 2002.

Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation

Missouri 55 | Memphis 70


1st Half Notes

  • Noah Carter nails a three-pointer to start this one off. Very intense perimeter ball pressure from Memphis early on.
  • Careless fouls on both ends to start things off.
  • Grill misses a three, but Martin with great effort to reel in another offensive board. He kicked it back out to Honor for a 3-pointer, and it’s looking line another high-energy performance from Martin.
  • Slick dump-off from Caleb Grill to Kaleb Brown. Mizzou has been whipping the ball around the floor thus far.
  • Memphis’ athletics and insane average wingspan is making it tough for Mizzou to really penetrate and make passes inside the arc. The visiting Tigers are a team full of top-tier athletes, and they have no weakness when it comes to speed, size, strength, jumping ability and reach.
  • 13:42: Great read from Noah Carter to swipe away that backdoor pass.
  • Sean East II is facilitating at a high level right now. He drew in two defenders, spun away and then knew that Aidan Shaw would be cutting to the rim for an easy dunk. He’s showing major improvements through these first two games.
  • Offensive spacing for this team is off the charts. Every player knows where to be, when to cut and when to get out of the way.
  • Sean East II just SNATCHED Jahvon Quinerly’s ankles on a step-back three-pointer. The irony of him doing that to a man that is known for his freakish handle and highlight tapes. Maybe East II should’ve been a member of jelly fam.
  • Yeah, that guy is deep into his bag tonight.
  • He then finds Noah Carter with a half-court scoop pass that the forward turns into an and-one. Free-flowing offense is alive and well in COMO right now.
  • 7:51: Veteran move from freshman Anthony Robinson III to throw his head back and draw that foul.
  • John Tonje into the game for the first time this season, hits a fadeaway jumper on his opening possession. Really intrigued to see what the versatile guard from Colorado State can do.
  • Heat check from East II, who appears to be unable to do anything wrong tonight.
  • Mabor Majak also into the game, and he’s fighting hard with Jordan Brown down low. He may be a step slower, but Majak’s length appears to be affecting Memphis in the paint.
  • Memphis appears to have weathered the early storm and slowed the pace of this game down. Mizzou will need to respond in the final four minutes.
  • A Jordan Butler sighting. Despite the uptick in competition, Gates is continuing to play a plethora of players.
  • Memphis’ bigs are playing extremely physical when they get the ball anywhere by the block. Mizzou really doesn’t have anybody that can hang in a one-on-one scenario down low, so doubles are coming often. Remains to be seen if Memphis’ forwards can take advantage with some timely kick-outs.
  • Mizzou has gone cold to end this half, missing its last four shots. Memphis is beginning to settle into this one on the offensive end as well.

2nd Half Notes

  • A quick 5-0 run for Memphis out of half makes this a two-point game. Nick Honor responds swiftly with a three-pointer.
  • This looks like the first gut-check of the season for Mizzou. Memphis has taken a two-point lead after dominating the opening minutes of this half, forcing Gates to take a timeout.
  • Tough foul from Noah Carter in a three-pointer from Caleb Mills.
  • Memphis has gained visible confidence out there, and the Tigers in blue are smelling blood. Mizzou needs a game-changing bucket soon.
  • Trent Pierce makes an appearance at a pivotal moment.
  • Jesus Carralero Martin is one ambitious passer.
  • Memphis has opened up a 10-point lead thanks to domination on the glass and Mizzou going ice-cold from the field.
  • 12:30: Anthony Robinson III has been fairly aggressive in pursuing a perimeter shot in such a high-profile game. He draws a foul to get Mizzou back to within single-digits.
  • Crowd is certainly back into the game at Mizzou Arena, and the home team is responding in suit. The best way to get back into any game: the free throw line.
  • Until the offense gets back into rhythm, Mizzou will have to continue to get tough stops on defense to hang in this one.
  • Memphis has already committed nine fouls with 10 minutes left in this game. Free throws will be key down the stretch for Mizzou.
  • Some questionable shot selection from Trent Pierce in this one. He’s thrown up a pair of contested 3-point shots when Mizzou had a chance to take back momentum.
  • Have to point out that Anthony Robinson III is not backing down from the challenge of checking Jahvon Quinely full-court. He’s been right in Quinerly’s grill regardless of if he gets beat or not.
  • Big minutes for Anthony Robinson III here. Gates showing that he trusts the freshman guard.

Pregame Updates

  • The saxophone quartet national anthem was one of the more pleasing openings to a sporting event I’ve ever experienced.
  • The starters for tonight: Nick Honor, Caleb Grill, Sean East II, Jesus Carralero Martin, Noah Carter.

5 Fan Questions:

  1. Who will lead the team in scoring?
  2. How many 3-pointers will Nick Honor hit?
  3. Will Mizzou have over or under 15 forced turnovers?
  4. How many blocks will Aidan Shaw have?
  5. Who will lead the team in rebounds?

Lastly, drop your game predictions and MVPs down below.

Mizzou vs. Memphis Game Info

Time: 8:00 p.m. CT

Date: Friday, Nov. 9, 2023

Location: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Mo.

TV: SEC Network

Preseason Opponent Preview: Memphis

The Starters


PG: Nick Honor (Grad)

SG: Sean East II (Grad)

SG: Caleb Grill (Grad)

PF: Noah Carter (Grad)

PF: Jesus Carralero Martin (Grad)

Notable Sixth Man: Tamar Bates (Junior)


G: Jahvon Quinerly (Senior)

G: Jaykwon Walton (Senior)

F: David Jones (Senior)

F: Malcom Dandridge (Senior)

F: Nick Jourdain (Junior)

Notable Sixth Man: Jordan Brown (Senior)

*Starting lineup from both teams’ season openers

Get To Know Memphis: The blue Tigers from down south

Memphis is one of the more notable mid-major programs throughout the history of college basketball. The program has bounced around conferences from being an independent, to the Missouri Valley, Metro Conference, Great Midwest Conference and Conference USA before finding its most recent home in the American Athletic Conference in 2013.

In terms of success, both Mizzou and Memphis are very similar.

NCAA Tournament Appearances: Missouri (29), Memphis (28)

Conference championships: Memphis (18), Missouri (15)

Conference tournament championships: Missouri (8), Memphis (8)

The main advantage Memphis has over Mizzou historically is three final four appearances with two title game appearances in 1973 and 2008. Penny Hardaway assumed the head coach position in 2018 after Tubby Smith was fired from the program. After winning the NIT in 2021, he’s taken Memphis to the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons.

But due to Hardaway being suspended three games due to recruiting violations, it will be Rick Stansbury leading Memphis to Mizzou Arena. Stansbury was a longtime coach at Mississippi State (198-2012) as well as Western Kentucky (2016-2023), compiling a record of 442-255 between both schools.

As for Memphis roster, out goes Kendric Davis, Deandre Williams, Elijah McCadden, and Keonte Kennedy from a season ago. Hardaway replenished his squad by adding Jaykwon Walton, who Mizzou saw last year at Wichita State, as well as another familiar face in Jahvon Quinerly, the 2021 SEC Tournament MVP and the conference’s Sixth Man of the Year at Alabama.

In Memphis’ season opening 94-77 victory, Walton and Quinerly combined for 26 points. St. John’s transfer David Jones tallied 15, while Louisiana transfer and former McDonald’s All-American Jordan Brown scored 11 of his own. Caleb Mills, who came over from Florida State, added 10 points and seven rebounds himself, while Malcom Dandridge added 10 points. Dennis Gates wasn’t hesitant to compliment how talented Hardaway’s bunch is this season.

They run. It’s a transition team as well. They do great things off the dribble. They are tremendous in certain areas defensively. They shoot the ball well. It’s a different team because I think this is one of Coach Hardaway’s most talented teams.” - Dennis Gates.

Like Mizzou on Monday, Memphis shot exceptionally well in their opener, going 50.7% from the field and 39.3% from behind the arc.

3 keys to the game

  1. Win the free throw advantage.

In what will very likely be a close contest between two talented teams, it could come down to who is better at the charity stripe. Since Gates’ arrival in Columbia, capitalizing at the free throw line is something Mizzou takes pride in.

What Mizzou needs to take from Monday’s win into Friday: “Our free throw percentage and our 3-point percentage. Those things are very important to us,” - Dennis Gates.

Missouri was near perfect from the free throw line in its 22-point victory over Arkansas Pine-Bluff. The team went 17 of 19 (89.5%). Missouri’s three starting guards (East, Grill, and Honor) were good in getting to the line, knocking down 15 of 16 shots. In Memphis victory over Jackson State, it went 65.2% from the line off of 15 of 23 shots.

2. Win the rebounding battle

Even against lesser talented opponents last season, Mizzou struggled on the offensive and defensive boards. In a small sample size of a single game against the Golden Lions, we saw significant improvement, most notably from Aidan Shaw, who snagged a career-high nine rebounds, followed by Caleb Grill’s seven. While MU won its rebounding battle, Memphis did not against Jackson State.

3. Limit the mistakes

While Gates was happy with his team’s first performance of the 2023-24 season, he wasn’t pleased with the amount of times Mizzou turned the ball over against Arkansas Pine-Bluff.

What Mizzou needs to improve on for Friday: “I want to have a better assist-to-turnover ratio. I thought 13 turnovers were too many. I thought we had a single digit number and then there was a spell, maybe in the game or with my substitution pattern that I got to be more cognitive of and not put our guys in bad situations,” - Dennis Gates.

As mentioned up top, Mizzou and Memphis will possibly result in a close final outcome. Last season, Mizzou played in seven games that were deciding by five points or less. Within those seven, only one of those games Mizzou turned the ball over more than the 13 it committed on Monday against Arkansas Pine-Bluff. The Tigers also won all seven of those contests.

Game Prediction

KenPom Prediction: Mizzou 81, Memphis 80

My Prediction: Mizzou 88, Memphis 87

Yes, Memphis is miles better than Arkansas Pine-Bluff, and likely an NCAA Tournament team. This is a great test for Mizzou early in its non-conference schedule, and a high level of play is needed to be able get to 2-0 on the young season.

But home court advantage and Memphis being without Hardaway plays a big advantage here. It would be a different story if this game was at FedExForum, which it will be next year.

What we did learn from Missouri on Monday is just how deep this team is, which on paper I expected it to be heading into this year. We of course have seen what Nick Honor, Noah Carter and Sean East II bring to the table, as well as Caleb Grill from Iowa State, but it was a pleasant surprise to see Bates help Mizzou pull away for good, Carralero-Martin display a defensive presence early on, as well as Shaw showing signs of improvement on the court.

As mentioned before Memphis comes in as a strong team, too, and with a lot of veterans and talent will keep this game close. Gates described how he was pleased with Mizzou’s connectivity and with the team having one player than could go off on it’s roster it’s easy to see why the Tigers could finish the night off victorious.