Game Preview: Arkansas at Missouri

In a true showdown of the “eye test” vs metrics, the unranked Razorbacks travel to Columbia to take on the 10th ranked Missouri Tigers. Despite the large gap in ranking and home court advantage, the metrics point to a real showdown on Saturday afternoon. Here are some important facts to consider in preparation for a big matchup in the SEC.

What the metrics say about Arkansas at Missouri:

Missouri: 38th in Ken Pom RankingsArkansas: 25th in Ken Pom Rankings
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency39th40th
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency51st25th
Adjusted
Tempo
127th20th

Key Players

Missouri –

Jeremiah Tilmon: The 6’10 senior had a career day in the earlier matchup between the Hogs and Tigers. He went for 25 points and 11 rebounds in a dominant performance. That being said, the Razorbacks were missing a key piece in Justin Smith last time these teams met. Look for Tilmon to remain impactful but not to the same extent as their previous meeting. You will likely see the Tilmon setting picks on a regular basis, working with Xavier Pinson at the top of the key.

Xavier Pinson: Another player who imposed their will against the Hogs earlier this season. The athletic guard went for 23 points in the game in Fayetteville. He will need to step up in this matchup as the Hogs should be better protected in the paint. His ability to work in the pick and roll and share the ball will be key to the result of this matchup.

Arkansas –

Moses Moody: The freshman star will need to step up on the road if the Hogs want to compete in this one. The young guard is averaging over 16 points per game. Look for Moody to work the midrange and perimeter to stretch the Missouri defense. If Moody is able to become the center piece of this offense the Razorbacks could become a very dangerous team.

Justin Smith: The Razorbacks were missing the Indiana transfer in a bad way in their last meeting with Missouri. Arkansas will need his physicality and defense to slow down Jeremiah Tilmon. Smith is not 100% healthy but seems to be getting healthier each game. If the Hogs were to win on the road it would be hard to pinpoint a more significant difference from the last game than Justin Smith.


Breakdown:

This should be a great game in Columbia. The Tigers will look to get back on track after a 21 point loss to Ole Miss in their last game. The Razorbacks will look to add an elusive marquee win to their resume. The Tigers are favored by half a point in Vegas, essentially making this one a toss-up. Ken Pom has Missouri winning 76-75 while Haslametrics also has it as a coin flip with a prediction of Missouri 76.67, Arkansas 76.58. Expect Musselman to have a few answers to the Missouri pick and roll game but it will still be hard for the Razorbacks to overcome the 10th ranked team in the country.

Prediction:

I expect this to be one of the most competitive games of the year. If the Hogs lose it will be damaging from a metrics standpoint, but nothing too detrimental. In a way the Hogs have a ton to gain and not a much to lose in this matchup. A road victory over a top 10 team is exactly what the Razorbacks need on their resume but is much easier said than done. Look for Eric Musselman to utilize some half-court traps to disrupt the pick and roll game. If Missouri executes from the perimeter they will be heavily favored to come out with a win. The Razorbacks need to avoid a slow start and play aggressive in transition. Again, I could see this going either way but it just feels like the Hogs are ready to get over the hump. In true battle of metrics vs the eye test I see the final outcome being:

Arkansas 72 Missouri 69

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