Missouri and Alabama both looking to change the trajectory of their season in a rematch.
When: Saturday, January 22 at 6:00 ET
Where: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, AL
Watch: SEC Network
Missouri and Alabama are both heading into Saturday night’s matchup with statement—and potentially season-changing—wins from this week, but only one will be able to carry the momentum into next week.
Mizzou has been the SEC’s most inconsistent team this season. Boasting nine new players, the program has certainly had its growing pains. However, the Tigers have started to show some potential after Tuesday’s first true road win of the season against Ole Miss.
While the team had high hopes in the wake of wins against Utah in December and 15th-ranked Alabama in January, they were followed immediately by brutal losses to border rivals Illinois and Arkansas respectively.
Mizzou’s win against the Rebels marks their best performance of the season against a major-conference opponent. That being said, lots of eyes will be on the Tigers heading into Saturday night’s matchup. The Tigers have failed to capitalize on one of their biggest wins but will need to in order to turn the season around and compete for an NIT bid in March.
As for Alabama, they ended their three-game losing streak at home against No. 13 LSU. The streak, cascading from the 92-86 loss to Mizzou in their last meeting, caused them to fall out of the AP Top 25 and down to 24th in the NET.
The win against LSU might have boosted the Crimson Tide in the rankings, but it also brought to light an issue that can no longer be ignored. During the second half, Alabama went 0-15 from beyond the arc, tanking their three-point percentage to 21% for the night.
Shooting for three certainly isn’t a strength for Mizzou either, ranking 349th of 350 teams in Division 1. However, the Tigers’ improved shot selection significantly rectified the issue on Tuesday. Mizzou only attempted seven shots, which is the lowest of head coach Cuonzo Martin’s tenure, but by converting four, were able to improve their field-goal percentage to 62.7%, a season-high that blows their previous record of 50.9% against Eastern Illinois out of the water.
Alabama’s performance in the paint might have saved them last time against LSU, but Mizzou looked a lot stronger on defense this week. Either the Crimson Tide will need to have a better shooting night, or they’ll need to quickly change game plans and wear down the young Tiger roster.
While it is certainly not as dire for the Crimson Tide to split the series with the Tigers, both teams are going to need to put together solid second halves of conference play. That begins with Saturday night.