- Mizzou has run out the tunnel with new uniforms. They’re not black or gold but instead grey with a gold trim.
- Starters for Mizzou: Curt Lewis, Jordan Butler, Nick Honor, Noah Carter, and Tamar Bates.
- Tyrece Radford takes Noah Carter to the cup following Missouri’s first possession. 2-0 Aggies.
- Curt Lewis, inserted into the starting lineup, knocks down a 3-pointer. Tigers up 3-2.
- Following a nice defensive stand by Jordan Butler, Noah Carter finishes on a transition bucket. Jace Carter shortly thereafter knocked down a 3-pointer. Tied up at five.
- Carter, who had a nice start on Saturday, scores his fifth point on a 3-pointer. Tigers go back up ahead 8-7 at the first media timeout.
- Radford knocks down a pair of free throws. 9-8 Aggies.
- Anthony Robinson II just had a layup that seemed 100% going in but somehow rimmed out.
- Following a Carter turnover, Tyrece Radford capitalizes on transition score. 12-8 Aggies.
- Nick Honor knocks down a 3-pointer. It's now a 12-11 ballgame in the Aggies favor.
- Radford and Wade Taylor have extended the lead as Mizzou has zero points in the last six minutes. Aggies lead 16-10.
- Nick Honor floats his fifth point into the basket. On the next offensive possession, Tamar Bates knocked down a 3-pointer, but Garcia and Taylor scored in a span of about eight seconds following that.
- And Honor collects his sixth point. A&M leads 20-17.
- Hayden Heffner scores in transition. Aggies lead 22-17.
- Honor is on fire. He just knocked down his second 3-pointer. 22-20 Aggies.
- Hello Mabor Majak! He follows up with a rebound, dunk, and a and-1. We are tied up at 22 at the under eight media timeout.
- Majak’s free throw is good. Tigers back ahead 23-22.
- Radford gives A&M the lead back going between Majak and Aidan Shaw.
- Jace Carter extends the Aggies lead to 27-23 with a 3-pointer.
- No points for the Tigers in the last 4:29. Common theme of the season.
- Henry Coleman III adds a dunk. Texas A&M has extended its lead to 32-23.
- Missouri has five turnovers in the last seven minutes. Texas A&M leads 36-23. It’s a 16-1 run for the visitors.
- Anthony Robinson knocks down a pair of free throws. His first points of the game.
- Halftime: Texas A&M 38, Missouri 25.
- Nick Honor opens up the half with a bucket cutting the Aggies lead to 11.
- Bates cuts it to eight with a 3-pointer. Aggies still lead 38-30.
- Following a Wade Taylor IV bucket, Bates scores again. He has eight on the night.
- Curt Lewis records an and-1. It’s now a 40-34 game.
- Noah Carter, two free throws, 42-36 game.
- Carter follows up an A&M score with his ninth-point. 44-38 at the under-16 timeout.
- Bates cuts it to four for his 10th point. It’s a 44-40 game.
- Soloman Washington puts A&M back up six.
- As soon as Mizzou cut it to three, A&M extends it back to six.
- Its now a 7-0 run for Texas A&M that pushed the lead to 56-45.
- The Tigers dominated the start of the half, but the Aggies have retaken control outscoring MU 32-27 as they lead 70-52 with under five to play.
- Noah Carter goes over double-digits with an and-1. 73-54 ballgame with under four to play.
#Mizzou F Trent Pierce (illness) is also OUT tonight, per a team spokesperson. He's been going through pregame warm-ups but will not play.— Eli Hoff (@byEliHoff) February 8, 2024
Ding ding! Time for Round Two between the Tigers and Aggies.
Missouri and Texas A&M will square off for the second time this season on Tuesday, this time in Columbia. The Aggies won a true rock fight in Round One of this matchup and are pushing for an NCAA Tournament berth as one of the primary teams on the “bubble.”
Since the first meeting between these sides, Mizzou has struggled mightily. The Tigers fell to South Carolina in a back-and-forth affair before dropping a disappointing game to Arkansas and narrowly falling to Vanderbilt in Nashville.
Securing a victory over TAMU would give this Mizzou program sweet revenge, its first win over the Aggies since February of 2022 and some positive momentum entering the final stretch of the season.
Let’s take a look at how that could happen.
Time: 8:00 p.m. CST
Date: Feb. 7, 2024
Location: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Mo.
PG: Nick Honor (Grad, 10.3 PPG)
SG: Sean East II (Grad, 15.6 PPG)
SF: Tamar Bates (JR, 13.9 PPG)
PF: Noah Carter (Grad, 12.0 PPG)
C: Mabor Majak (SR, 0.1 PPG)
Notable Sixth Man: Aidan Shaw (SOPH, 3.3 PPG)
PG: Wade Taylor IV (JR, 20.0 PPG)
SG: Tyrce Radford (SR, 13.0 PPG)
SF: Jace Carter (JR, 6.6 PPG)
PF: Solomon Washington (SOPH, 5.3 PPG)
C: Henry Coleman II (SR, 11.0 PPG)
Notable Sixth Man: Andersson Garcia (SR, 6.0 PPG)
*These are projected starters. Also, in today’s college basketball, positions rarely mean much. Those are included purely for perspective on what matchups on the court may look like.
Get To Know Texas A&M
The Coach (Yes, a copy/paste from the first preview): Buzz Williams is one of the more engaging, energetic and personable coaches in the country. The two-time SEC Coach of the Year took over in College Station during April of 2019, and he’s transformed the TAMU basketball program into a consistently successful squad that is always one of the tougher teams in the SEC on both ends of the floor.
Williams began his head coaching career at New Orleans during the 2006-07 season but took over at Marquette right after. From 2008-14, Williams went to five NCAA Tournaments, racked up a 139-69 record and won the Big East regular season title in ‘14 with the Golden Eagles.
He was then hired to rebuild the Virginia Tech basketball program, which had not qualified for the big dance since 2007. Williams went 100-69 over five seasons and led the Hokies to three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, which is the first and only time that has ever occurred in VT history.
The Season Thus Far: The Aggies picked up a quality road win over Ohio State in the second game of the season, and they followed that up with a 2-1 showing at the ESPN Events Invitational (wins over Penn State and Iowa State, loss to FAU).
The rest of the non-conference slate for the Aggies was even more challenging. In Charlottesville, TAMU fell into the Virginia defensive trap and lost to the ‘Hoos by a score of 59-47. Williams’ group then cruised to a win over DePaul but fell in tight contests against Memphis and Houston. The beginning to SEC play was up-and-down, with a win over Kentucky surrounded by a plethora of close losses.
Since that first game against Mizzou, the Aggies dropped a close home contest to Ole Miss but rebounded to rally from a 13-point deficit and pick up their fifth-straight win over Florida.
The Key Stats: I mentioned that this is one of the more well-balanced teams in the nation, and the stats back it up. TAMU ranks 51st in adjusted offensive efficiency, reel in an absurd 43.4% of its misses and only commits 9.8 turnovers per game. The Aggies also rank 54th in defensive efficiency and have held 15 opponents to under 70 points. Their dominance on the glass is evident by their 43.8 rebounds per game as a team, which ranks 2nd in the nation.
Texas A&M is also 6-7 against Quads 1 and 2, while the Aggies are 7-1 against Quads 3 and 4.
The Stars: Texas A&M is led by a quartet of upperclassmen contributors, and they each have had unique career paths.
Wade Taylor IV started in 14 games as a true freshman in 2021-22 while he got his feet under him at the collegiate level. Then, he blossomed into a mainstay in the starting lineup the next season, averaging 16.3 PPG and 3.9 APG. He’s seen an uptick in both of those numbers this season, and he has become the manager of this offense and an overall team leader who is truly battle-tested in this conference.
Henry Coleman III is the second of those upperclassmen. The 6-foot-8, 240 lb. bruiser began his career as a four-star recruit in Durham. He was never able to crack the main rotation with Duke, and thus he moved on to C-Stat. Similar to Taylor, Coleman took a major leap forward in his sophomore season, averaging 11.0 PPG and reeling in a 6.2 RPG. His numbers took a slight dip last year, but Coleman is now pouring in 11.0 PPG and grabbing a whopping 7.4 RPG as an athletic, high-energy big.
To complete the trio, we have Tyrece Radford. He spent his freshman campaign under Williams at Virginia Tech and stayed in Blacksburg for one more season before joining his former coach in College Station. The 6-foot-3 guard is a do-it-all player with a high motor and some incredible athleticism, and he’s averaging 13.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 2.3 APG. Radford did battle injuries early in the season but is now healthy and coming off a 26-point performance against UF.
And, I would be remiss if I did not mention Hayden Hefner. The 6-foot-6 sharpshooter has struggled at times this season, scoring 7.4 PPG while shooting at 32.1% from behind the arc. But, he’s bound to have a bounce back game at some point.
3 Keys To The Game
- Match TAMU’s physicality
These first two keys are the same as they were for the meeting in College Station.
In this regard, Mizzou held its own, winning the rebounding battle by four at halftime before losing it by six. That’s serviceable against a Texas A&M team that survives thanks to its prowess on the glass.
So, at home, one would hope that the Tigers would be able to replicate a performance like that one. Noah Carter, Tamar Bates, Jordan Butler and even Curt Lewis were the stars on the glass last time around, and Gates will need another group effort to go toe-to-toe with the Aggies in this category yet again.
2. Take Wade Taylor IV out of a rhythm
Taylor dropped 19 points on 5-for-13 shooting (3-for-9 behind the arc) in the first meeting between these two teams. He was the star of the show for the Aggies, but he wasn’t necessarily the game-changer that allowed them to win.
Holding the potential SEC Player of the Year to under 20 points and 50% shooting yet again would bode well for Mizzou’s chances to win this game.
3. Find a way to win a game late
At the end of the day, this team won’t truly get over the hump until it can show that it is comfortable in late-game scenarios. Mizzou has become an expert at going toe-to-toe with any team yet not being able to close the deal late.
Against a team like TAMU that has so many veterans, the Aggies won’t be fazed late in this one, much like the first time around. Thus, the Tigers need to show that they’ve grown up when crunch time comes around.
KenPom Prediction: Texas A&M 72 | Missouri 69
My Prediction: Texas A&M 68 | Missouri 64
SEC play hasn’t been what we thought it would be, but there are still opportunities to salvage part of this season. This would certainly be a nice win to pick up, if anything just to finally take down the Aggies for the first time since 2022.
Recently, Mizzou has shown flashes of great potential yet overall been underwhelming. The loss to Arkansas was perhaps the team’s worst performance of the season, and the ensuing defeat to Vanderbilt added insult to injury.
“Some nights we may hit 10 threes, other nights we may hit two. Some nights we get to the line, some nights we don’t,” Gates said after the Arkansas loss. “We just don’t know what stats we can really count on.”
Just like last time, if Mizzou can match TAMU’s physicality and limit the scoring from Wade Taylor IV, then it’ll have a chance in this game.
In the end, I believe that the Tigers can exact some revenge and give the Aggies a scare, but a more experienced TAMU squad will prevail in the end.