Missouri (16-6) at Ole Miss (15-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 8, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Tad Smith Coliseum (9,061) -- Oxford, Mississippi. Television: FSN. Home Record: Missouri 10-2, Ole Miss 9-3. Away Record: Missouri 3-3, Ole Miss 4-4. Neutral Record: Missouri 3-1, Ole Miss 2-0. Conference Record: Missouri 4-5, Ole Miss 6-3. Series Record: Ole Miss leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: Both the Missouri Tigers and the Ole Miss Rebels will try to rebound from losses earlier in the week when the squads meet up on Saturday afternoon for an SEC showdown at Tad Smith Coliseum.
Since starting the season an outstanding 12-1 in non-conference action, Missouri has tapered off during SEC play, going just 4-5. The Tigers had been winners of two straight games before their current two-game losing streak to nationally-ranked squads Kentucky (84-79) and Florida (68-58).
Ole Miss had won four straight games before losing two of its last three contests, with its most recent setback coming at Kentucky on Tuesday night, 80-64, to fall to 15-7 overall and 6-3 in the league. The good news for the Rebels in this matchups is that they have played very well on their home floor, winning nine of 12, including four in a row.
The teams never met before the 2012-13 season, Missouri's first campaign in the SEC. The Rebels won two of three meetings, including a 64-62 triumph in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.
The Tigers put forth a stellar effort at Florida on Tuesday night and they even held a lead with less than 10 minutes to play, but the Gators pulled away for good following a 16-3 run. Although they drained eight 3-pointers, their offense could not get untracked against the stingy UF defense, shooting just 39.6 percent from the field, while also getting outscored at the free-throw line, 24-8. Jabari Brown scored 15 points and dished out six assists and Jordan Clarkson poured in 14 points, but the two leading scorers combined to shoot only 10-of-27 from the floor.
Missouri's offense experienced atypical results going up against one of the nation's best defenses earlier in the week, as it shoots an impressive 46.1 percent from the field this season for 74.2 ppg, and it is able to pair that stellar point production with a solid scoring defense (67.4 ppg). The team also leads the SEC in free-throw percentage (.719) and owns a +6.5 rebounding margin. Brown is the league's most prolific scorer, pouring in 20.1 ppg on greater than 50 percent shooting, which includes an outstanding 65-of-137 showing form 3-point range (.474). Clarkson acts as an excellent second option with 18.7 ppg and 3.3 apg, while Earnest Ross (13.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg) rounds out a strong scoring trio.
Although the Rebels trailed by just one point at the half of their most recent contest, they were never able to overtake the lead in the second stanza, and Kentucky pulled away late to saddle them with a 16-point setback. They shot a mere 38.5 percent from the field on the evening, while allowing UK to make good on 51 percent of its tries from the floor, and they were also outscored at the foul line by a hefty 26-8 margin. Marshall Henderson shot just 6-of-18 from the field but still finished with a team-best 16 points, while Jarvis Summers and LaDarius White put up 11 points apiece.
Ole Miss has a strong offensive attack this season, scoring 76.9 ppg, with a large portion of that production coming thanks to its 7.9 3-pointers per game at a 36.6 percent clip. It also shoots just shy of 70 percent from the foul line and sports a +3.0 turnover margin, all of which help mask the league's worst scoring defense (71.5 ppg). Henderson puts up 19.1 ppg due largely to his heavy volume, as he shoots only 36.4 percent from the field, although he has made an SEC-best 81 3-pointers. Summers (17.5 ppg) is much more efficient than his backcourt mate, making 50.8 percent of his shots (including 52.2 percent from beyond the arc), while also handing out nearly four assists per contest. Aaron Jones isn't much for scoring (6.7 ppg), but he's still a mainstay in the paint with 6.9 rpg, 2.4 bpg and 1.0 spg.
In what figures to be a high-scoring game, expect Ole Miss to continue with its home success by edging out the Tigers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ole Miss 79, Missouri 77
02/08 10:26:59 ET