Missouri-Oregon basketball preview
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Tiger Tipoff Preview: Oregon

At this time last week, Missouri still planned to travel to Connecticut to participate in a multi-team event at the Mohegan Sun Arena. But as has become the norm in 2020, COVID-19 intervened.

One of the Tigers' two scheduled opponents, Oregon, was one of several teams to withdraw from the tournament. On Friday, Missouri followed suit. By Monday, the two teams had announced plans to play one another just two days later. Wednesday night, they will meet In Omaha.

It will be the first game of the season for Oregon, which lost Pac-12 Player of the Year and first-team All-American Payton Pritchard from its roster during the offseason. The Ducks were scheduled to play Eastern Washington last week, but the game got canceled after two Eagle starters tested positive for COVID-19. Missouri started its season last Wednesday with a 91-64 rout of Oral Roberts.

As we will for every high-major non-conference matchup and SEC game this season, we preview the first significant test for the Tigers here. Below is everything you need to get set for the matchup: a rundown of each roster, keys to the game and a prediction.

Jeremiah Tilmon and Missouri will face their first significant test of the season with a neutral-site matchup against Oregon.
Jeremiah Tilmon and Missouri will face their first significant test of the season with a neutral-site matchup against Oregon. (Jessi Dodge)

                                         TIP TIME INFORMATION

Missouri (1-0) vs. Oregon (0-0)

WHEN: 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: CHI Health Center, Omaha, Nebraska

TV: Fox Sports One

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

SERIES: Missouri leads 5-0 (Last meeting: Mizzou won 83-80 in 2010)

KenPom Prediction: Oregon 71-67

                                       THE STARTING LINEUP

Mizzou Probable Starters
Player Class Height PPG RPG APG

Dru Smith

SR

6-3

16.0

5.0

6.0

Xavier Pinson

JR

6-2

17.0

3.0

4.0

Mark Smith

SR

6-5

18.0

3.0

2.0

Kobe Brown

SO

6-7

5.0

8.0

0.0

Jermiah Tilmon

SR

6-10

8.0

12.0

1.0

                                                  BY THE NUMBERS

Statistical Matchup (2019-20 stats listed for Oregon)
Mizzou Category Oregon

91.0

PPG

75.9

65.0

PPG Allowed

66.7

53.1

Field Goal %

47.0

35.0

Three-Point %

39.6

+12

Rebound Margin

+2.0

17.0

Turnovers

11.9

56

Offensive Efficiency Rank

6

45

Defensive Efficiency Rank

76

                                        MIZZOU KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Keep up the pace. Missouri delivered on its offseason pledge to play faster during its season-opener. The Tigers had 74 possessions against Oral Roberts. Only twice last season did the team record more than 74 possessions per 40 minutes in a game. And afterward, Cuonzo Martin and players said they think the Tigers can play even faster. Oregon, meanwhile, played slow last season. The Ducks ranked No. 319 nationally in tempo. The quick pace seemed to benefit Missouri and its deep stable of guards, as evidenced by the fact that Dru Smith, Mark Smith and Xavier Pinson all scored at least 16 points. If the Tigers can establish a similarly quick pace (without playing sloppy) and force Oregon to try to keep up in its first game of the season, that could be an advantage.

2. Get more of the same from Tilmon. Martin said Tuesday that he expects the 12 rebounds Jeremiah Tilmon grabbed in the first game of the season, tied for the most in his career, to become an every-game occurrence. Of course, to do that, Tilmon will need to stay on the floor, something that has been a challenge throughout his career. Tilmon only recorded one foul in 27 minutes against Oral Roberts, but will face a tougher task in the past Wednesday in 6-foot-11 N'Faly Dante. It's no secret at this point in his career that the more Tilmon plays, the better it is for Missouri, but Tilmon has often struggled to string together consistent performances.

3. Knock down open shots. We may not know much about Oregon's roster post-Pritchard, but it seems a safe bet that Dana Altman's team will be able to shoot. Oregon ranked second nationally in three-point percentage a season ago. The Ducks have ranked in the top 15 in the country in offensive efficiency three of the past four seasons. In other words, this doesn't look like a game Missouri will be able to win 55-54. The Tigers will need to take advantage of scoring opportunities by not turning the ball over and making open three-pointers, two areas in which it struggled a season ago. Three-point shooting, in particular, hampered the Tigers during the first half of last season. Missouri looked better in that regard last week, knocking down 10 of 25 shots from long range, so there's hope that was a one-year anomaly, but the team certainly still has some proving to do from behind the arc.

                                     POWERMIZZOU PREDICTION

Early-season, non-conference matchups are difficult to predict even in a normal year. This year, with Oregon yet to play its first game and the matchup coming together with two days' notice, it's difficult to hazard anything more than a wild guess. But Missouri's experience could loom large in this one. Oregon's features eight players who have yet to play in a game for the Ducks — three freshmen and five transfers. Only three returning players saw more than 14 minutes per game last season. Missouri, meanwhile, ranks as the 13th most-experienced team in the country. Oregon might be more talented, but the Ducks are due to experience some growing pains early in the season, so we'll give the Tigers a slight edge.

FINAL SCORE: Missouri 75, Oregon 71