PowerMizzou – Tiger Tip-Off Preview: Vanderbilt

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Missouri’s three-game winning streak was snapped at Arkansas on Wednesday, with the team suffering a 74-68 loss. The Tigers now look to recuperate against Vanderbilt.

Led by head coach Jerry Stackhouse, the Commodores have had an up-and-down season so far, but opened conference play with an 84-79 overtime victory against South Carolina. Mizzou’s expecting a solid matchup against the visitors.

“It’s an SEC game,” senior forward Noah Carter said. “It’s our second game at home in the SEC but we expect all of them to be dogfights. And you know, that’s our mentality, we gotta go out there and play our hardest, give our best. And we need to bounce back, so we need to go out there and get this W.”

TIP TIME INFORMATION

No. 20 Missouri (12-2, 1-1 SEC) vs. Vanderbilt (8-6, 1-0)

WHEN: 11 a.m.

WHERE: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Missouri

TV: CBS

SERIES: Missouri leads, 8-7

KENPOM PREDICTION: Missouri 82, Vanderbilt 72

PROJECTED STARTERS

KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Stay away from Liam Robbins. Though the senior center comes off the bench half of the time, he leads Vanderbilt with 12.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Most of his points come from inside — Robbins will occasionally pull up from 3 but is only making 18.2% of his shots from distance this year. The 7-footer’s best skill, though is protecting the rim. Robbins averages 3.1 blocks per game and, per KenPom, swats away 15.1% of opponents’ 2-pointers, both marks ranking third in the country. In all but one of the Commodores’ losses this year, Robbins has one block or fewer. In all eight of the team’s wins, he’s swatted two or more. Mizzou shoots 60.6% inside the arc, second-best in the nation, but will need to be wary of Robbins’ limbs around the hoop.

2. Close out on Myles Stute. The team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 11.6 points per game is also its most lethal shooter. Stute attempts 6.4 shots from distance per game and sinks 45.6% of them, the 17th-most accurate 3-point shooter in the NCAA. In one game this season, Stute connected on 7-10 triples to lead Vanderbilt to an 89-87 overtime win over Temple. His shooting prowess helps space the floor for Robbins to work from the post, too — in the same game against Temple, Robbins had 20 points on 9-11 shooting from the field. Mizzou’s zone defense often allows opponents to find open looks along the arc. Stute is someone the team will need to stay close to.

3. Keep boxing out. Missouri head coach Dennis Gates didn’t think his team had poor effort rebounding against Arkansas, but it was the team’s worst performance on the glass this year with the Tigers struggling to deal with the Razorbacks’ size advantage. The Commodores won’t tower over Mizzou quite as much, but are still decent on the boards at both ends of the court. Per KenPom, Vanderbilt secures 31.6% of available offensive rebounds, which ranks 96th in the country, and allows opponents to grab just 26.7% of available offensive rebounds, which ranks 102nd in the nation. To keep from getting overpowered, the Tigers’ efforts need to be consistent on the glass.

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