Missouri and Arkansas is a matchup of the bottom two teams in the WCC. Which of them will come out with a win?
TV Schedule: Wednesday, January 31, 8:30 pm ET (SECN)
Location: Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri
Year two under Head Coach Dennis Gates hasn't gone well by most standards. Missouri (8-12) has yet to win a game in SEC play. The Tigers dropped to 0-7 on Saturday following a 72-64 loss at South Carolina, the worst start in conference play since the 2016-27 season.
Sean East II recorded his seventh 20-point game of the season, scoring 21 points in the loss to the Gamecocks. Tamar Bates added 16 points and seven rebounds. The Tigers won the rebounding battle 29-28 but couldn't overcome only two made threes and 12 turnovers.
East II continues to lead Missouri with 16.2 points and 4 assists per game. Bates is adding 13 points per game. Noah Carter and Nick Honor are scoring in double figures as well. Missouri is averaging 73.6 points per game but giving up 73.5, not great numbers considering the Tigers struggle to find consistent scoring for long stretches. Mizzou averages 8.2 steals and 5.2 blocks per game, which helps keep games close, but the lack of offensive weapons ultimately costs them games.
Next for Missouri is a home game against Arkansas (10-10). The Razorbacks were a top-15 team to start the season but currently sit with Mizzou at the bottom of the SEC standings. Arkansas is coming off a 63-57 loss to Kentucky on Saturday. Makhi Mitchell led the team with 12 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks in the loss. Tramon Mark and Khalif Battle both added 11 points.
The Razorbacks average 75.2 points per game on offense. Only two Arkansas players are averaging double-digit points, Tramon Mark with 17.4 per game and Khalif Battle with 11.5 per game. Arkansas doesn’t shoot the ball well, only making 43.8 percent from the floor, but nearly 19 made free throws per game help make up for it.
Arkansas struggles on the defensive end, giving up nearly 77 points per game. Razorback opponents are making just under eight threes per game, hitting 34.2 percent from behind the arc. One area where Arkansas excels on the defense is blocks, currently ranked No. 2 in the country with 6.7 per game.
I like Missouri’s chances to pick up its first conference win against Arkansas. The Tigers won’t see many defenses worse than its own down the stretch and need to take advantage of those that are. The Tigers are due for a big offensive performance. Mizzou has only scored more than 70 points twice in conference play, but Arkansas has only held one conference opponent to under 76 points, so something has to give.