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Live Game Thread: Mizzou Hoops faces upset-minded Princeton with Sweet 16 berth on the line

Looking for its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2009, No. 7 seed Missouri challenges No. 15 Princeton in Sacramento.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Utah State vs Missouri Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri 63 | Princeton 78


1st Half Notes

  • Landborg puts Princeton on the board first with a layup, but Noah Carter responds with Missouri’s first 3-pointer.
  • Princeton is here to play. Landborg has eight of the Tigers’ first 10 points. Carter has all seven points for Missouri.
  • One 3-pointer marks the difference between Missouri and Princeton at the first TV timeout. Mizzou has one turnover and has yet to force one.
  • Ryan Landborg is on a mission. The senior is already at 11 points, nearing his season average.
  • The tempo is much in favor of Princeton, which has found success via its guards. Missouri has made just one 3-pointer on four attempts.
  • Princeton is on a 6-0 run, and the Tigers are clicking on both ends.
  • Nick Honor ended the scoreless stretch with a 3-pointer, but Princeton is slicing this Missouri defense apart.
  • Missouri is one for its last 11 shot attempts. Princeton just knocked home another 3-pointer.
  • Mizzou is shooting 30% from the field, including 25% from behind the arc. The Tigers also have two turnovers.
  • Noah Carter is up to 12 points. Hodge and Brown have a combined five.
  • Princeton is on a 7-0 run and it looks like the Ivy League Tigers want this game more. Missouri has not scored in nearly three minutes, and this game continues to get out of hand.
  • D’Moi Hodge finally gets on the board with a jumper. Missouri still trails by 12 points.
  • Entering halftime down seven points is a positive for Missouri. The Tigers closed the half on a 7-0 run.
  • Landborg: 15, Carter: 12 are the leading scorers

2nd Half Notes

  • Kobe Brown starts the second-half scoring with a jumper. Expect more from his this half.
  • Princeton responds with a quick 7-0 run. Lead back to 12 points.
  • D’Moi Hodge is down after a hard fall, clutching his head. He is being helped to the bench, and we’ll await word on whether he’ll be back.
  • Missouri is 1-6 from the field this half, looking uncharacteristic and out of sorts.
  • Mizzou just knocked down all of its first five free throws, bouncing back on the blocks from Mohamed Diarra.
  • Both teams are on cold stretches from the field. Missouri is one for its last 10, while Princeton is one for its last 11.
  • Blake Peters with back-to-back 3-pointers off the bench.
  • Prince is on a 10-0 run, and Missouri’s tournament run looks to be slowly coming to a close.
  • That’s 11 3-pointers for Princeton. Upset looks to be incoming in Sacramento.
  • The clock is ticking on Missouri’s season. An 18-point comeback in less than four minutes will be needed.
  • Missouri takes a final timeout and will look to end its season on a positive note.
  • Missouri’s season ends at 25-10.

Pregame Updates

Missouri Starters: Nick Honor, D’Moi Hodge, DeAndre Gholston, Kobe Brown and Noah Carter

Princeton Starters: Ryan Landborg, Matt Allocco, Caden Pierce, Tosan Evbuomwan and Keeshawn Kellman

The Missouri Tigers stand in the way of the next Cinderella story of March.

After defeating No. 2 Arizona in a shocking 59-55 victory, No. 15 Princeton is looking to become just the fourth No. 15 seed to make the Sweet 16.

A No. 15 seed has advanced to the Sweet 16 in each of the past two seasons—Saint Peters and Oral Roberts—which suggests that Missouri should be weary not to look past these lower-seeded Tigers.

Luckily for Missouri, it had an opportunity to watch Princeton’s upset after defeating Utah State 76-65 for its first NCAA Tournament victory since 2010. Mizzou will now aim for a trip to the second weekend for the first time since 2009, when it reached the Elite Eight.

The Columbia-based Tigers have reached new heights under first-year head coach Dennis Gates, while Princeton is in its second NCAA Tournament under 12-year head coach Mitch Henderson, who led the his Tigers to three tournament appearances as a player.

Both coaches have an opportunity to pick up a statement victory in the biggest game of their coaching careers, and it all begins Saturday evening.

Missouri’s Round of 32 Info

When: Saturday, March 18

Where: Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California

Game Time: 5:10 PM CT


Ken Pom Win Probability: 69%

Odds: Missouri -6.5

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The Starters


PG: Nick Honor (Grad, 7.9 PPG)

SG: D’Moi Hodge (Grad, 15.1 PPG)

SF: DeAndre Gholston (Grad, 10.7 PPG)

PF: Kobe Brown (SR, 15.9 PPG)

C: Mohamed Diarra (JR, 3.5 PPG)

Key Depth: Noah Carter (SR, C, 9.5 PPG), Sean East II (SR, PG, 7.3 PPG), Tre Gomillion (Grad, SF, 4.8 PPG) and Aidan Shaw (FR, PF, 2.7 PPG)


PG: Matt Allocco (JR, 10.9 PPG)

SG: Ryan Landborg (SR, 12 PPG)

SF: Caden Pierce (FR, 8.3 PPG)

PF: Tosan Evbuomwam (SR, 15 PPG)

C: Keeshaw Kellman (SR, 8 PPG)

Key Depth: Xaivian Lee (G, FR, 5 PPG), Blake Peters (G, SO, 5.5 PPG) and Zach Martini (F, JR, 5 PPG)

These lineups are projected based on prior data

Get To Know Princeton

Let’s meet the Ivy League champion, Princeton Tigers.

The Tigers won both the Ivy League Tournament as well as the regular season title, boasting a balanced offense and defense.

Princeton is led by Tosan Evbuomwam, a 6-foot-8 post player who scored a team-high 15 points and added seven rebounds against Arizona. Evbuomwam is primarily a threat in the paint, shooting 54% on shots within the arc.

His efforts within the paint are aided by the guard tandem of Matt Allocco and Ryan Landborg. The pair, alongside guard Blake Peters, are the Tigers’ strongest 3-point shooting threats. Allocco shoots 41% from behind the arc followed by Peters (38.3%) and Landborg (30.6%).

As a team, Princeton drills 33.3% of its attempts from the three-point line. The Tigers’ biggest strength, though, is inside the arc, where they hold the 49th-best shooting percentage (53.6%) in the nation.

Defensively, Princeton is a strong rebounding team but it does not force turnovers. It ranks 348th in the nation in turnover percentage, relying more on forcing contested shots. The Tigers hold opponents to top-100 marks in 2-point percentage (47.3%) and 3-point percentage (32.7%).

Princeton’s roster lacks much Division-1 experience or depth, two areas that a veteran Missouri squad will aim to exploit. That won’t come easy against an Ivy League challenger that only averages only 16.2 fouls per game and has shown discipline in key games.

Henderson, who is all too familiar with postseason play, will have his Tigers prepared to potentially wreak havoc, bust brackets and continue the storyline of the 2023 Princeton Tigers.

Keys To The Game

For Missouri’s keys to the game, please check out this piece from the data wizard duo—Matt Watkins and Matthew Harris.

The pair details the hometown Tigers’ need to play up-tempo, space the floor and connect for efficient jumpers throughout the arc. Defensively, Missouri should utilize its full-court pressure, make an impact in the post and defend the perimeter, specifically on catch-and-shoot opportunities.

Princeton also relies on a shallow bench, so applying pressure in the post against its dominant figures will play a major role in the impact that Evbuomwam and Kellman have.

Game Prediction

My Prediction: Missouri 76 | Princeton 68

KenPom Prediction: Missouri 80 | Princeton 74

Missouri is still undefeated when scoring at least 70 points, adding to the feat in the opening round victory over Utah State. Against Princeton, who boasts a stingy defense inside the arc, that mark will be tough to reach.

However, D’Moi Hodge and Kobe Brown continue to be leaders for the Mizzou offense, and their offensive momentum should carry over in a high-impact game for the Tigers.

Princeton, a team that ranks 111th in NET, falls within the Quadrant 3 category, and while this detail matters less in March, it’s important to note that Missouri is undefeated in games against opponents in Quadrants 2-4.

Trends and statistics aside, the main differentiator in this contest will be the matchup between Kobe Brown and Tosan Evbuomwam. The pair will go head-to-head all evening, and it’ll put more pressure on their supporting cast to execute when it matters most.

Missouri’s cast, which boasts experience and the rigor of playing an SEC schedule, is in a stronger position to live up to the moment and punch its ticket to a Sweet 16.