Looking to bounce back from the fifteen point shellacking by Alabama Tuesday night, the LSU Tigers return to the PMAC to face the red-hot Missouri Tigers. Winners of their last five games, the Tigers of the Mizzou variety boast a record of 18-8 (8-5).
The problem with bouncing back from Alabama to face Mizzou: the Tigers have been a tougher puzzle for teams to figure out lately. “Missouri, unfortunately is a lot like Alabama except that they shoot really well from three,” Coach Will Wade said in his Thursday night presser. “They are big and physical inside with the freshman (Jeremiah) Tilmon. I love their four man, (Kevin) Puryear. Jontay Porter is a good player. (Jordan) Barnett can make threes. They are problematic. They are a big, physical defensive team and they can knock down threes.”
Missouri ranks 43rd in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency (KenPom), good for 4th in the SEC. Although not a very strong rebounding threat, the Tigers have been very successful in stopping their opponents from scoring, allowing the twelfth-lowest effective shooting percentage in the nation.
As far as knocking down threes, their team 3pt shooting of 38.6% speaks for itself. That mark is good for 38th in the nation and 3rd in the SEC. Leading the long ball attack is shooting guard Kassius Robertson. The senior from Toronto leads the Tigers in scoring with an average of 16.6 points, and is currently shooting a deadly 42.2% from beyond the arc.
The Missouri Tigers currently rank 23rd in RPI, and 36th in the KenPom rankings. While their rankings and credentials are very impressive compared to LSU’s at this point, KenPom still gives the Tigers from Baton Rouge a one point edge. That one point win prediction factors in home court advantage, something the Tigers haven’t been able to get enough of this season. I don’t want to talk about things a few hours before they could come to fruition, but I shouldn’t have to tell you what a late season win over a team of Mizzou’s caliber could mean for LSU’s postseason hopes.
Projected Missouri Tigers Starting 5
#3 SG - Kassius Robertson: 16.6 PPG, 2.3 APG, 35.5 minutes
#11 C - Jontay Porter: 8.9 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 23.3 minutes
#21 SF - Jordan Barnett: 13.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 33.5 minutes
#24 PF - Kevin Puryear: 9.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 26.2 minutes
#15 PG - Jordan Geist: 7.4 PPG, 2.8 APG, 24.1 minutes
This afternoon’s contest will tip off at 1pm in the PMAC, and will be televised on ESPN2. You can listen on the radio at 98.1 FM, or follow along in the comments below or my live tweets @marq113. The game should finish with plenty of time to walk across the street and make the 4pm first pitch in Alex Box Stadium.