Missouri looks to hold serve at home against a capable power conference opponent in Seton Hall.
TV Schedule: Sunday, December 17, 5:00 pm ET (ESPN)
Location: T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri
The Missouri Tigers (9-3) and Head Coach Dennis Gates look to get back to their winning ways after a nine-point loss on the road to No. 2 Kansas last Saturday. Mizzou took the early lead and were unable to stave off a Kansas run. Things got worse before they got better for the Tigers, at one point staring down an 18-point deficit midway through the second half. Missouri didn’t give up and got the game to within eight points but ultimately ran out of time.
In the loss to Kansas, a game where neither team shot particularly well, Nick Honor had one of his best offensive games of the season scoring 17 points while hitting four threes. Sean East II once again led the Tiger's offense dropping 21 points to lead all scorers.
East continues to be the biggest surprise for Missouri this year. I don’t know if anyone thought he would take this big of a leap in his second year under Gates. This season he has scored 20 or more points in six of the ten games the Tigers have played. He is also shooting a mind-blowing 60 percent from behind the arc, taking an average of 2.5 threes per game.
Next up for Mizzou is Seton Hall (6-4). The Pirates are looking to pick up their first win against a high-major program this season. Their four losses have all come against teams from one of the power conferences. Their most recent game was a win over Monmouth, taking down the Hawks 70-61. Isaiah Coleman led Seton Hall with 17 points off the bench.
Kadary Richmond has led the Pirates in scoring this season, averaging just under 15 points per game. Three other Seton Hall players are averaging double-digit points and are looking to put together one last strong performance before they start Big East play on Wednesday.
On paper, Missouri and Seton Hall are evenly matched. Both teams are averaging close to 74 points per game and are giving up just under 68 points per game. One area where Seton Hall holds an advantage is on the boards, like most of Missouri’s opponents. The Pirates are averaging 12.8 offensive rebounds per game. This will be something Mizzou will need to keep in mind. On the other end, the Pirates are one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country, making only 28.9 percent of their shots from behind the arc.
I like Missouri in this matchup. The Tigers should be able to take advantage of a Seton Hall team that has yet to win this season away from their home court. If the Tigers can play confidently like they did against Kansas and force the Pirates into taking threes and keep them out of the paint then Missouri should roll to a win.