PowerMizzou - Tiger Tipoff Preview: Florida
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Tiger Tipoff Preview: Florida

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After more than a week off between games, Missouri will look to rebound from its recent skid, in which the Tigers have lost four of five games. Doing so won't be easy, however. Missouri travels to Florida on Wednesday. Led by current SEC Player of the Week Tre Mann, the Gators have won three games in a row.

Here's everything you need to know to get set for the game.

The play of point guard Xavier Pinson will go a long way toward determining Missouri's chances of upsetting Florida on the road on Wednesday.
The play of point guard Xavier Pinson will go a long way toward determining Missouri's chances of upsetting Florida on the road on Wednesday. (Mizzou Athletics)

                                         TIP TIME INFORMATION

Missouri (14-7) vs Florida (13-6)

WHEN: 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Exactech Arena, Gainesville, Florida

TV: SEC Network

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

SERIES: Florida leads 7-3

KenPom Prediction: Florida 75-70

                                       THE STARTING LINEUPS

Florida Probable Starters
Player Class Height PPG RPG APG

Tre Mann

SO

6-5

14.7

5.8

3.6

Tyree Appleby

JR

6-1

10.8

3.2

3.2

Noah Locke

JR

6-3

10.6

2.5

0.8

Anthony Duruji

JR

6-7

6.2

4.1

0.6

Colin Castleton

JR

6-11

12.9

5.8

0.9

Mizzou Probable Starters
Player Class Height PPG RPG APG

Dru Smith

SR

6-3

13.9

3.6

3.7

Mark Smith

SR

6-5

10.0

2.9

1.1

Xavier Pinson

JR

6-3

14.0

3.0

3.0

Jeremiah Tilmon

SR

6-10

12.9

7.7

0.8

Kobe Brown

SO

6-7

7.9

6.0

0.7

                                                  BY THE NUMBERS

Statistical Matchup
Mizzou Category Florida

73.9

PPG

75.9

71.5

PPG Allowed

69.9

45.4

Field Goal %

46.8

31.6

Three-Point %

35.9

+0.5

Rebound Margin

+1.4

13.3

Turnovers

14.5

41

Offensive Efficiency Rank

29

64

Defensive Efficiency Rank

31

161

Tempo

142

18

Strength of Schedule

25

                                        MIZZOU KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Execute better on the offensive end. Missouri's offense let it down late in the game against Ole Miss. The Tigers couldn't find an answer for the Rebels' 2-3 zone defense and saw a 50-50 tie turn into a 58-50 deficit in the span of a couple minutes. Florida has been playing solid defense lately, including sprinkling in some zone against Kentucky on Saturday. The Gators have held each of their past three opponents under 40 percent from the field and under 23 percent from beyond the three-point line. They rank 42nd nationally in three-point defense, 59th in steal rate and fourth in block rate. Key for Missouri will be not turning the ball over — Florida is 9-2 this season when it is even or better than its opponent in the turnover column — and not settling for three-pointers, but rather attacking the basket.

2. Get to the line. Speaking of attacking the basket, something that has been missing for Missouri of late has been getting to the free throw line. Missouri was the best team in the SEC at doing so for much of the season, but the Tigers have only attempted more than 15 free throws in two of their past six games. They eclipsed that number in 13 of the first 15 contests this season. The good news is that Florida has been fairly foul-prone this year, ranking No. 292 nationally in opponents' free throw attempts per field goal attempt. Getting to the line figures to be the easiest way to generate easy scoring opportunities against Florida's stingy defense. If Missouri is going to do so, it will likely be because point guards Xavier Pinson and Dru Smith bounce back from rough outings against Ole Miss and attack downhill. Smith scored 22 points against Florida last season.

3. Win the battle of the big men. While the leading scorers for both Missouri and Florida play on the perimeter, both teams like to play through the post. Florida's Colin Castleton has scored in double-figures in 12 of the 18 games he's played this season. He's also a prolific shot-blocker, averaging 2.3 swats per game, second in the SEC. He has four games this season in which he's recorded at least five blocks, including an eight-block game against Ole Miss. If Missouri is going to have a chance to beat the Gators, Jeremiah Tilmon needs to be able to defend Castleton one-on-one without getting into foul trouble, while also showing the ability to score over the Florida big man on the other end. If Tilmon is out of the game or ineffective on offense and Castleton is able to help, Missouri's guards will find it exponentially more difficult to score at the rim.

                                     POWERMIZZOU PREDICTION

There have been stretches this season where Missouri has looked like a better team than Florida, and the Tigers are certainly capable of winning this game if they play well. But given how these two teams have played lately, it's tough to envision Missouri pulling off this road upset. Florida is surging while Missouri is floundering, having lost four of its past five with the only win coming over lowly South Carolina. If Missouri is going to have a chance, it's going to need to win the turnover battle and get big games from at least two of Tilmon, Pinson and Dru Smith.

FINAL SCORE: Florida 73, Missouri 66