Missouri takes on Wichita State in a non-conference matchup. Can the Tigers continue its winning ways after beating Pittsburgh?
TV Schedule: Sunday, December 3, 3:00 pm ET (ESPN2)
Location: Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri
So far this year it has been hard to pin down exactly what this Missouri team will be moving forward. But after knocking off Pittsburgh on their home court, Mizzou got their biggest win this season and provided fans with a little hope for the rest of the season. The Tigers had one of their best defensive performances of the year, holding the Panthers to 64 points, well under their season average. Missouri was led once again by Sean East II who dropped 21 points in the 7-point win over Pitt.
Missouri (6-2) looks to keep their winning streak going when they host the Wichita State Shockers out of the AAC on Sunday. Through the first eight games, Missouri has consistently been led in scoring by Sean East II, who is averaging over 16 points. Noah Carter and Nick Honor are both also averaging in double figures to help keep the offense running. Other than their poor shooting performance against Memphis, Missouri has shot the ball well this season, making over 46 percent of their shots.
Through the first eight games of the season, the Tigers are giving up 66.6 points per game. At this same point last year, Mizzou was giving up nearly 72 points per game. Much of the improvement on this end of the court can be attributed to adding size in the offseason. Missouri has also improved its rebounding. The Tigers are grabbing over 34 rebounds per game, more than four more rebounds per game than last year. Noah Carter leads the team with 6.6 rebounds per game. Missouri is also one of the best teams in the country when it comes to blocking shots. The Tigers are blocking nearly seven shots per game, with Aidan Shaw accounting for 2.1 per game.
Wichita State (7-1) will be a huge test for the SEC team. The Shockers are one of the better-scoring teams in the country, averaging over 80 points. Wichita State has five players averaging nine points or more so far this season. They are led by a trio of Juniors who are scoring in double figures. Colby Rogers is averaging 16.5 points, Xavier Bell is averaging 15.4, and Kenny Pohto is adding 13.9 points per game.
The Shockers are also pretty good when it comes to blocking shots, averaging over five blocks per game. But where Wichita State really excels is on the boards, grabbing 45 rebounds per game. Pohto and Dalen Ridgnal lead the team with just under eight rebounds per game. The Shockers have great size, with five players listed at 6’7” or taller, which might be a cause for concern for Missouri.
Missouri will have its work cut out for them. While the offense has looked decent this year, Missouri is prone to long scoreless stretches. The Tigers will need to have a solid outing offensively to keep up with the high-scoring Shockers. On the defensive end, they’ll need their best rebounding performance of the season to keep Wichita State off the boards. Over the past couple of years, Missouri has struggled against teams with size and against teams who rebound well.
I like Missouri in this one. They have shown that they have what it takes to take down good teams already this season. The Tigers will need to be focused right from the tip and take care of the ball. If they can limit their turnovers, score consistently, and keep the rebounding battle close then I like their chances.