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Missouri Basketball Preview and Live Thread: SEMO comes to town as the last mid-major on the schedule

The in-state Redhawks venture to Columbia looking to pull off an upset.

NCAA Basketball: Houston Christian at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri 96 | SEMO 89


First Half Notes

  • Nick Honor with an early run-out layup. Noah Carter gets a jump ball right after as the defensive energy looks great.
  • Sean East II with a pretty leaner high off the glass in transition. Then, the smaller guard gets an offensive rebound and also forces a jump ball on the next possession.
  • Team definitely looks locked in for this “trap game.”
  • Kobe Brown with a steal that East converts into a layup on the other end.
  • SEMO is passing the ball around, but Mizzou’s rotations have been on point.
  • Isiaih Mosley now into the game for Missouri.
  • This team is really pushing the ball every time they get a rebound off a miss.
  • Kobe Brown with an and-one.
  • Aidan Shaw alley-oop from Sean East, and the Tigers have really opened this game up in transition. SEMO forced to call a timeout.
  • A Noah Carter 3 ends a SEMO run that saw the lead get cut to just 3.
  • Tigers took that SEMO run to heart, have extended the lead back out to 7 thanks to multiple big dunks and run-outs.
  • A Kobe Brown 3-pointer at the buzzer keeps the lead at double-digits entering the half.

Second Half Notes

  • Up-and-down tempo continues in the second half.
  • Redhawks have drawn two charges in a row.
  • Another Kobe Brown and-one, the senior is certainly having a nice bounce back game.
  • A Gimillion lay-up then SEMO turnovers is converted into a Nick Honor 3-pointer. Tigers now have an 8-point lead.
  • Lead now up to 15 thanks to some great shooting and increased intensity on defense.
  • Kobe Brown with 3 fouls.
  • Tigers are getting to the foul line a lot this half, have shot 17 free throws and made 13 of them.
  • Brown with a football pass to D’Moi Hodge down the floor for a layup.
  • Sean East II with an impressive and-one layup.
  • Hodge with another 3-pointer, seems like a dagger at this point.
  • East II is gliding through the SEMO defense like there is almost nobody there. He now has 17 points.
  • Brown with a clean back-door pass to Hodge for a layup. Brown with 24, 8, and 4 on the day.
  • Tigers going to have to hit some free throws to clinch this game.
  • Phillip Russell is legit.

Pregame Notes

Five Questions!

  1. Will the Tigers cover?
  2. Who will be the leading scorer?
  3. How many rebounds will Kobe Brown grab?
  4. How many points will Noah Carter have?
  5. What will the final score be?

Lastly, drop your game predictions and MVPs down below!

Fresh off an impressive overtime victory over Wichita State on the road, the Missouri Tigers (8-0) head back to Columbia to host Southeast Missouri State before their figurative murderer’s row of scheduling begins.

The Redhawks enter this game at 5-3, having already taken down a high(er) major opponent in South Florida (the Bulls are “technically” a major opponent). They would love nothing more than to take down the state school and get a signature non-conference win.

This in-state battle serves as the last mid-major game for Missouri, as they play Power 6 opponents from here on out. The Tigers have gotten out to a hot start in Dennis Gates’ first season, averaging 22.1 assists per game (no. 1 nationally), an anemic assist-turnover ratio of 1.92 (no. 2 nationally) and 14.1 steals per game (no. 1 nationally) while averaging 92.6 points per game (no. 5 nationally). Still, they can utilize this as a last tune-up game before the schedule really heats up.

Game Info

When: Sunday, Dec. 4th

Where: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Mo.

Time: 3 p.m. CST

TV: SEC Network

Spread: Mizzou -23.5

KenPom Win Probability: 97%

The Starters


PG: Nick Honor (Grad)
SG: D’Moi Hodge (Grad)
SF: DeAndre Gholston (Grad)
PF: Kobe Brown (SR)
C: Noah Carter (SR)


PG: Rusell Phillip (SOPH)
SG: Aquan Smart (SOPH)
SF: Chris Harris (SR)
PF: Kobe Clark (SOPH)
C: Josh Earley (JR)

*Lineups are projected

Get To Know: Southeast Missouri State

Coming off a 14-18 season in 2021, the Redhawks have gotten out to a much stronger start in 2022. At 5-3, they have taken down the likes of South Florida, Evansville, and Boston University, while only losing to Bradley, UC Davis, and Milwaukee, all of which are respectable mid-major programs. They enter this game at #261 in KenPom rankings.

On the defensive end, SEMO excels. They rank 20th in 3-point percentage allowed (26%) and rank 29th in opposing free throw percentage (62.4%, although they don’t necessarily contribute much to this). In all of their wins, they’ve held the opposing team to 61 or less points.

Offensively, they are abysmal inside the arc, shooting a paltry 39% from 2-point land, good for 353rd in the nation (via KenPom, out of 362 teams). Their 35.5% shooting percentage from 3-point land offsets that a bit, but outside of Chris Harris and Phillip Russell, there isn’t much to fear on the offensive end.

With that being said, Harris and Russell deserve a lot of attention. Harris, who transferred from Saint Louis University in 2021 and is a Cape Girardeau native, is used on 28.3% of the Redhawks’ possessions (123rd in the nation, via KenPom). Russell has an assist rate of 32.2 (63rd in the nation). Their play styles complement each other, and each has the potential to take over a game.

Sophomore power forward Kobe Clark leads the team with 9.7 rebounds per game in his first season at SEMO after transferring from Georgetown. Redshirt senior guard Israel Barnes led the team with 22 points against Milwaukee on Monday, so look out for him to potentially keep up his hot shooting.

3 Keys To The Game

1. Continue to spread the love

As discussed, SEMO fields a fairly solid defense which has sometimes caused problems for opposing teams this season. Luckily for the Tigers, they’ve excelled on offense this season, and it has been in large part thanks to them averaging over 20 assists per game. As long as they keep that trend up and don’t allow the Redhawks to dictate the pace and style of this game, then they should have another 10+ point victory in hand.

2. Contain Russell and Harris

SEMO has two go-to guys. Chris Harris and Phillip Russell were previously mentioned, and they play extremely well with each other. They are almost always on the floor for the Redhawks, and they have a very high usage-rate.

The Tigers have done well for the most part in perimeter defense this season, with Nick Honor, Sean East II and Tre Gomillion being pesky on the outside. Still, some guards/wings (Jelani Simmons of Southern Indiana, Clark Slajchert of Penn, Terry Collins of MVSU) have been able to get hot against this team. If Russell and Harris both have effective games, then SEMO certainly has a shot.

3. Staying focused on the task at hand

We all know kansas is coming to town next weekend. That’s been the game circled on everyone’s calendar for months now, and the hype is already building. However, to maintain the positive thoughts around this team entering one of the biggest games of the year, the Tigers have to win on Sunday.

The major concern here is that Mizzou has played so many mid-major foes at this point that the roster gets lazy and doesn’t take SEMO seriously. That would spell disaster for this team, so it’s up to Gates and the leadership (Kobe, Tre, D’Moi, etc.) on this roster to ensure that that does not happen.

Game Prediction

My Prediction: Missouri 88 | SEMO 63

KenPom Prediction: Mizzou 89 | SEMO 67

This is certainly a trap game. Sandwiched between a tough road win against Wichita State and a date with kU is SEMO, meaning Dennis Gates has to keep his team focused in this one. While they haven’t played many big-name programs, the Redhawks have played some quality competition and fared well, although their 16-point loss to Milwaukee on Monday was their worst of the season.

SEMO’s defense could pose problems for the efficient Missouri offense if they have an off-day, but I just can not see them being able to score with the Tigers for 40 minutes. As long as they stay focused, don’t allow the Redhawks to get hope early on, and can contain the duo of Russell and Harris, then this should be a relatively easy win.

Most importantly, this is the last stepping stone to enter the kansas game unbeaten. This is the last tune-up before we really get a feel for the potential of this team.