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Men’s Basketball Preview: We’re Talkin’ Missouri

The Big 12 SEC Challenge is here!

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Cyclones’ Last Time Out

On Wednesday, the Iowa State Cyclones went on the road to Stillwater, Oklahoma and came away with a tense and gritty road win against the Cowboys. This physical, back and forth contest featured 28 lead changes and 15 ties and was an excellent basketball game to watch; if you weren’t a Cyclone fan, that is. Despite some late game turnovers, missed free throws, and open looks by the Cowboys, Iowa State ultimately had the answer, as Izaiah Brockington came up clutch repeatedly down the stretch, carrying the Cyclones to an 84-81 OT win.

Tigers’ Last Time Out

Missouri gave the top-ranked Auburn Tigers a real scare on Tuesday, falling by a final score of 55-54. Auburn’s K.D. Johnson scored a bunch of points in the last two minutes and made a key and-one basket to give Auburn the lead with 1:29 left in the game. While Auburn undoubtedly had a bad game, and a key injury to Wendell Green Jr. contributed, Missouri played inspired basketball, as they have of late. Despite early season woes, Missouri has played much better against the likes of Texas A&M and Alabama, and they wrestled wins away from Alabama and Mississippi in recent weeks.

Player to Watch

Missouri is a very balanced team and is often led in scoring by one of three players: 6’8” junior forward Kobe Brown, 6’5” junior guard Jarron Coleman, and 6’2” junior guard Amari Davis. That said, Kobe Brown is the one to keep an eye on, as the big man is very solid on the glass and is a good scorer who flashes range from deep at times. He is averaging nearly 14 points on 48% shooting from the floor and 76% from the free throw line to go with 9 rebounds per game this season.

Pick Three

1 – Gabe Kalscheur makes three or more 3-point baskets and scores 15 points

2 – Iowa State plays solid defense and holds Missouri to less than 60 points

3 – Jarron Coleman and DaJuan Gordon randomly get hot and make three 3-point baskets each

What Will Happen

While the season got off to a rough start for Cuonzo Martin and the Missouri Tigers, they have played much better basketball as of late, taking Auburn to the wire and rattling off a win against top 25 Alabama. On the season, Missouri’s statistics reflect their 8-11 record. With a NET ranking of 155 (1-5 on the road and 2-6 in Quad I games) and KenPom ranking of 133 (178th Adj O and 120th Adj D), this is absolutely a game that Iowa State should and must win.

Iowa State shows up comparably on offense (108th Adj O), so I expect both teams to struggle a bit to score. Missouri has some decent size down low but will not present any more challenges in the paint than your typical conference foe. Iowa State’s guards match up very well with Missouri’s and keeping Coleman and Gordon from getting easy looks from three will be critical for the Cyclone guards, and their efforts on the glass will be critical.

On paper, Missouri is an OK SEC team that has played a brutal schedule and is starting to play better basketball of late. The Big 12 – SEC challenge always throws an odd curveball into the mix, so these games are always hard to predict. While Iowa State is coming off a big road win following a brutal home loss, Missouri is coming off an inspired effort against Auburn, complete their first big time home atmosphere of the season. Iowa State seems to be in the best spot situationally.

When the fat hits the fire, Iowa State is simply the better team across the board and should win this game by 5-10 points. Nothing has come easy for this team at any point during the last few weeks, but this should be an opportunity for the Cyclones to put up some points in front of a good crowd in Hilton Coliseum.

Iowa State – 70

Missouri – 58