Mizzou ended a 13-year drought on Thursday by winning its first-round NCAA tournament game over Utah State. Now, the team has a chance to end another decade-long streak for the program.
The No. 7 seed Tigers have not gone to the Sweet 16 since 2009. They are currently just one win away from reaching the second weekend of the Big Dance and relocating to Louisville, Ky.
No. 15 seed Princeton is the team currently standing in their way. The Ivy League Tigers upset No. 2 seed Arizona 59–55 on Thursday in what was billed as the most surprising win of the tournament until No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson upset No. 1 seed Purdue 63–58 on Friday. did not beat
The win over the Wildcats was Princeton's first against any high-major school this season. head coach mitch hendersonJoe, who was a member of the last Tigers team to win an NCAA tournament in 1998, said this year he played some programs that are stylistically similar to Missouri, such as Cornell, but none that were similar in talent. .
Henderson said, “We haven't seen the size and the athleticism the way they guard.” “But, I mean, like Arizona, we've never seen two human beings that big on the court together. Gotta have the will to win it again.
Mizzou Assistant Coach Kyle Smithpeters was tasked with leading the scouts at Princeton. He said that both the Tigers squads run the same set – he told the MU players that they have been preparing for this game for four months. His main advice for the team was to avoid the mistakes the Wildcats made.
Smithpeters said, “I think the biggest thing we need to focus on is ourselves and make sure our mindset is that we are not neglecting this opponent.” “You have to respect them. I felt like two or three times in the Arizona game, Arizona had a chance to pull it away and they really presented the opportunity. And it gave Princeton the opportunity to move around, move around, and then take the lead in this basketball game.” Crazy things happen in sports when you let it happen.
missouri head coach dennis gates Told after Thursday's win that many people would not have picked their Tigers to beat the Aggies. That likely won't happen again when they play a lower-seeded Princeton team.
But several Mizzou players said that their mindset won't change — they are still a team that has been doubted all season and still has something to prove.
“Some people out there think we'll lose tomorrow,” senior point guard nick honor said on Friday. “I know we may be liked, but we're always going to carry that chip on our shoulder because of all the work we do. At the end of the day, this is March Madness, so everybody, you know That's what I'm saying, deserves to be here in the tournament. We'll just play our game and do what we do best.”
tip time information
Missouri (25-9, 11-7 SEC) vs. Princeton (22-8, 10-4 Ivy League)
When: 3:10PM PT/5:10PM CT
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
series: Missouri leads 2-0
Line: Missouri -6.5
Kenpom Prediction: Missouri 80, Princeton 74
Best lineup of last 5 matches (per CBB Analytics)
Nick Honor-Sean East II-D'Moi Hodge-Noah Carter-Kobe Brown
Minutes played: 30
Offensive Rating: 153.5
Defensive Rating: 111.1
Net Rating: +42.4
1. Find the right matchup for Tosan Evbuomwan. The senior forward serves as Princeton's de facto point guard, bringing the ball up often and leading the team with 4.8 assists per game — according to KenPom, he makes 32.0 of the Tigers' baskets when he's on the floor. assists %, which ranks 43rd in the world. Nation. His ball-handling ability could make him difficult for Mizzou's forwards to guard, but at 6-foot-8, he may have been too tall for MU's guards. He was the only Princeton player in double digits against Arizona on Thursday, scoring 15 points. Evbuomwan isn't much of a shooter, connecting on just 26.9% of his 3-pointers on less than one attempt per game, so the primary focus for any defender is preventing him from reaching the rim and relying on the rest. Will happen. The team will cut off any passing lanes. The SEC Tigers are likely to toggle through a few different players to find the right man to guard him. The sooner they feel comfortable with someone, the better.
2. Run Princeton away from the 3-point line. The Ivy League Tigers shoot slightly below average from outside, sinking 33.3% of their threes. However, that doesn't stop Princeton from taking a high number of 3s every night. According to KenPom, 40.7% of the team's field goal attempts come from beyond the arc, which ranks 89th in the nation. Although only two players shoot above 34.0% from deep, six of them launch at least one triple per game. Mizzou proved it could keep a team from finding a rhythm along the perimeter, holding Utah State to 3-4-24 and holding Alabama to 8-27 before the game. After Arizona held Princeton 4-25 in their first-round matchup, it would take a similar effort from Missouri to come out on top.
3. Take the ball away from Princeton. MU did a solid job of winning by turnover margin against Utah State on Thursday, forcing the Aggies to fumble the ball 10 times over 15 times. Just 17.6% of assets. Princeton is even better at taking care of the ball, giving it up on just 16.9% of its possessions, which ranks 85th in the NCAA. The Ivy League Tigers committed 11 turnovers to Arizona's 13 on Friday, helping the team slow down the Wildcats, resulting in a low-scoring contest. Princeton is also one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the country, garnering 22.7% of available misses, meaning Mizzou won't have many other opportunities to earn additional possessions without generating turnovers. The SEC Tigers can't afford to fall into the same trap as Arizona.
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