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Tiger Tipoff Preview: Arkansas

Prior to each of the major non-conference games and every SEC game for the Tigers, we will post the Tiger Tipoff Preview to get you set for the matchup. Here is our preview of today's matchup at Arkansas.

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                                         TIP TIME INFORMATION

Missouri (13-13) vs Arkansas (16-10)

WHEN: Noon

WHERE: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Arkansas

TV: SEC Network

RADIO: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly, Chris Gervino)

SERIES: Arkansas leads 27-25 (Mizzou won 83-79 on Feb. 8)

KenPom Prediction: Arkansas 72-64

                                       THE STARTING LINEUPS

Arkansas Probable Starters
Player Class Height PPG RPG APG

Adrio Bailey

SR

6-6

6.9

4.6

0.7

Reggie Chaney

SO

6-8

4.9

4.0

0.8

Desi Sills

SO

6-2

9.7

2.9

1.2

Mason Jones

JR

6-5

20.8

5.8

3.4

Jimmy Whitt

SR

6-3

14.5

4.8

1.7

Mizzou Probable Starters
Player Class Height PPG RPG APG

Dru Smith

JR

6-3

12.5

4.1

4.0

Xavier Pinson

SO

6-3

10.3

2.3

2.7

Kobe Brown

FR

6-7

5.3

3.3

0.6

Reed Nikko

SR

6-10

4.6

3.6

0.5

Javon Pickett

SO

6-5

7.3

3.8

1.4

Xavier Pinson and Missouri will look to stay hot when the Tigers travel to Arkansas on Saturday.
Xavier Pinson and Missouri will look to stay hot when the Tigers travel to Arkansas on Saturday. (Jessi Dodge)

                                                  BY THE NUMBERS

Statistical Matchup
Mizzou Category Arkansas

67.4

PPG

73.8

65.3

PPG Allowed

67.4

41.2

Field Goal %

43.6

31.0

Three-Point %

31.3

+0.5

Rebound Margin

-5.8

14.3

Turnovers

12.1

136

Offensive Efficiency Rank

102

103

Defensive Efficiency Rank

26

253

Tempo

62

54

Strength of Schedule

56

                                        MIZZOU KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Maximize the rebounding advantage. Missouri dominated Arkansas' undersized lineup on the glass in the two teams' first meeting of the season. The Tigers out rebounded the Razorbacks 52-35 overall and scored 16 second-chance points off 16 offensive boards. Missouri should have a similar size advantage in this matchup, especially if Jeremiah Tilmon returns to the lineup. If the Tigers can once again win the rebounding battle by double digits, they should have a decent chance to escape Fayetteville with their first win since 2014.

2. Slow down the Arkansas backcourt. Arkansas could get sophomore guard Isaiah Joe back for this matchup, which would be a huge boost for the Razorbacks. Joe was averaging 16 points per game before exiting the lineup with a knee injury. He has reportedly returned to practice this week, but as of this writing, his status for Saturday's game is unclear. Getting him back would alleviate some of the pressure on Mason Jones, who Missouri managed to hold In check two weeks ago. Javon Pickett drew the task of guarding the SEC's leading scorer and held him to 17 points on three of 14 shooting. Regardless of whether or not Joe plays, limiting Jones once again will remain a priority. With six games of 30 points or more to his name this season, Jones is good enough to get hot and beat Missouri by himself.

3. Let Xavier Pinson and Dru Smith keep doing their thing. Missouri has found its strength on the offensive end of the floor. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Pinson and Smith have combined to average more than 40 points per game across Missouri's last four, which started with the Tigers' win over Arkansas. The duo has found most of its success by relentlessly attacking the rim and either finishing or drawing contact — Pinson and Smith combined to shoot 17 of 19 from the free throw line against the Razorbacks. Arkansas leads the nation in three-point defense and Missouri has proven that it can't reliably shoot from deep, so look for the Tiger guards to continue to penetrate.

                                     POWERMIZZOU PREDICTION

Missouri and Arkansas could not be moving in different directions from a momentum standpoint. After a rough start to SEC play, the Tigers have righted the ship, winning three of their past four games with the lone loss coming late at LSU. Arkansas, meanwhile, has lost five consecutive games since Joe left the lineup. Considering that and the fact that Missouri just beat the Razorbacks two weeks ago, it would make sense to go with the Tigers again. But while a Missouri victory wouldn't come as a shock by any means, the Tigers still haven't won a road game during conference play, and Bud Walton Arena has been a house of horrors in the past seven years. We're taking Arkansas on a buzzer-beater.

FINAL SCORE: Arkansas 69, Missouri 68