Busting Brackets

Missouri at Florida: 2023-24 college basketball game preview, TV schedule

Missouri v Alabama
Missouri v Alabama / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages

Missouri looks to spoil Florida's bubble hopes with a bad loss this week, still trying to get its first win in SEC play.

TV Schedule: Wednesday, February 28, 6:30 pm ET (SECN)
Location: Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida

Missouri (8-19) is on the verge of becoming the first team since the 2018-19 season to go winless in SEC play. Mizzou extended its losing streak to 14 games, dropping its latest game at Arkansas by 15 points. Sean East II led Mizzou with 33 points in the 88-73 loss, his career high. Nick Honor added 14 points, hitting four of the team's five made threes. The Tigers made a season-high 28 free throws, but couldn’t overcome 28 made free throws by Arkansas and 42 points from Khalif Battle.

Sean East II (17.0 ppg) has done his best to keep this Missouri offense afloat, scoring 20 or more points ten times this season. East is making 47 percent from three on nearly three attempts per game. Tamar Bates (13.6 ppg) has been the other reliable scorer on the season for the Tigers, scoring in double-figures in 16 of the last 17 games.

Noah Carter (11.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Nick Honor (10.9 ppg) have added some solid offense throughout the year, but Mizzou has struggled to get consistent scoring from players other than East and Bates.

Missouri’s offense is averaging 72 points per game, making 51.5 percent on two-point attempts. The one area on offense that Missouri has been great all season has been the free throw line. Mizzou doesn’t shoot many free throws, just under 18 attempts per game, but the Tigers have made the most of those opportunities, hitting nearly 79 percent from the line. In the loss to Arkansas on Saturday, Missouri made 93 percent of its free throws, going 28-30.

Mizzou’s defense has been the Tigers' biggest problem all season. Missouri has struggled to keep teams out of the paint, allowing opponents to make 50 percent from inside the three-point arc. Missouri has also dealt with foul trouble in almost every game this season, averaging 19.7 fouls while sending opponents to the line over 23 times per game.

Florida (19-8) has been playing some of its best basketball recently. The Gators are 4-1 over the past five games, with a win over No. 12 Auburn at home and a close loss to No. 13 Alabama on the road.

The Gators beat Vanderbilt 77-64 on Saturday to pick up win number nine in SEC play. Will Richard led all scorers with 21 points, and Walter Clayton Jr added 19 points in the win.

Florida has one of the best offenses in the country, averaging 84.8 points per game. Walter Clayton Jr (16.9 ppg) and Zyon Pullin (15.0 ppg) lead the team in scoring, both shooting just over 42 percent from the floor. Tyrese Samuel (13.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and Will Richard (11.7 ppg) are averaging double-digit points for this high-powered Florida offense. The Gators like to get to the basket, taking 65 percent of its shots inside the three-point line.

Florida’s offense has been so good, it hasn’t mattered much this season that the Gators are giving up 77.1 points per game. Florida plays at a fast pace and forces its opponents to play at that same pace. Florida's opponents take more than 64 shots per game, making 43.6 percent from the floor. The Gators are the best rebounding team in the country, grabbing 43.9 per game, with 15.9 being on the offensive end of the floor.

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The Gators give opponents a ton of scoring opportunities, but you need to be able to capitalize on those opportunities to beat Florida. Missouri’s offense hasn’t been able to do that very often this season. The Tigers don’t have enough offensive firepower to go shot-for-shot with Florida and haven’t been strong enough on defense to keep the Gators off the boards or slow down their offense. This is a recipe for disaster on the road. I think Florida rolls to a dominant win over a struggling Missouri team.