This preview video will examine the upcoming matchup between the Memphis Tigers and the Missouri Tigers in college basketball. Memphis is no stranger to facing SEC opponents, having recently faced Missouri in college football, where they suffered a close defeat.
A Glimpse into the Past: Memphis vs. Missouri in Football
The previous meeting between Memphis and Missouri occurred in college football, with the Tigers facing off in St. Louis. Unfortunately, Memphis fell short, losing by a score of 34-27 in a game that was essentially a home game for Missouri. Despite the loss, it was evident that Missouri could make critical plays when needed, which played a crucial role in the outcome.
Transitioning to College Basketball
Now, the focus shifts to college basketball as Memphis heads to Missouri for a basketball showdown in Columbia. Missouri had an impressive 2022-2023 season, making it to the NCAA tournament under the leadership of Head Coach Dennis Gates in his first year. The team finished with a notable 25-11 record and qualified for the tournament, defeating Utah State in the first round but falling to Princeton in the second round. The Tigers were one of ten programs clinched an NCAA Tournament berth from the Southeastern Conference last season.
Key Players to Watch
As we anticipate the upcoming matchup, it’s essential to identify key players who could significantly impact the game. Nick Honor, a point guard who started all 35 games for Missouri last season, is expected to play a crucial role in directing their offense. Honor’s ability to facilitate and make plays will be essential for Missouri.
However, one notable absence for Missouri will be Connor Vanover, a seven-foot center who was a significant acquisition in the offseason. Unfortunately, Vanover will miss this matchup due to suspension from participating in the Portsmouth Invitational, an event similar to an NBA Combine. This suspension presents an opportunity for Memphis to exploit the absence of a key player. However, Missouri will be counting on backup center Mabor Majak, who’s listed at 7’2, and forward Aidan Shaw.
Memphis’s Defensive Focus
The defense will be critical as the two Tigers teams prepare to face each other. Memphis must prioritize defense, including rim protection and securing offensive and defensive rebounds. Players like Malcolm Dandridge and Jordan Brown will play pivotal roles in controlling the boards and providing second-chance opportunities. The defensive lapses in Monday’s matchup against Jackson State cannot happen against Missouri.
A High-Scoring Affair
Both teams boast potent offenses capable of putting up significant points. In their recent game against Arkansas Pine Bluff, Missouri showcased their scoring ability, scoring over 100 points, including a dozen three-pointers. Memphis must be vigilant in defending the perimeter, especially against sharpshooters like John Tonje, who can be a game-changer. During his time at Colorado State, Tonje hit 39 percent of his threes on just under five attempts per game and grabbed 4.7 rebounds per game. The former Ram talent also scored double-figures in 26 of 33 games last season.
The Impact of Penny Hardaway’s Suspension
It’s noteworthy that Memphis Head Coach Penny Hardaway will not be on the sidelines for this game, serving a three-game suspension. Rick Stansbury, the interim head coach, will lead the team in Hardaway’s absence. While the team adjusts to this change, it will be crucial for the players to maintain their focus and execute the game plan effectively.
A Resume-Building Game
Despite being early in the season, this matchup is significant for both programs. A win over Missouri would enhance Memphis’s resume, especially if Missouri lives up to expectations and enjoys a successful season under Dennis Gates. It’s an opportunity for Memphis to secure a notable victory over a top-tier SEC opponent.
Regarding score prediction, I foresee Memphis coming out on top in a closely contested game. I predict that Memphis will win with a score of 89-83. This victory would mark a positive start to the season and set the tone for future matchups.
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