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The beginning of January was rough for Missouri. The Tigers ended 2022 on a high note, earning a win over a win over Kentucky, who was ranked No. 19 at the time. But over the next three weeks, the team won just two games, falling to 3-4 in SEC play.

Mizzou bounced back last week with wins over Ole Miss and No. 12 Iowa State and enters February with a chance to extend its winning streak to three for the first time in a month, taking on LSU at home.

The southern Tigers showed promise early on under new head coach Matt McMahon, going 11-1 in its non-conference slate and opening conference play with a victory over No. 9 Arkansas on Dec. 28. LSU had an even worse January than Mizzou, losing eight consecutive, including a 76-68 home loss to Texas Tech in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday.

Both teams will look to start February off on the right foot.

“(LSU is) not a replicate of their of their record. They’re not that team,” Missouri head coach Dennis Gates said. “It’s just one of those things where you gotta look beyond that. They have some great players, they have a top-50 player in the country. There’s no doubt, you know, they’re coming in and they’re not looking at their record. They’re trying to win a ball game and we have to focus on the things that give us an opportunity to win a ball game as well.”


Missouri (16-5, 4-4 SEC) vs. LSU (12-9, 1-7)

WHEN: 8 p.m. CT

WHERE: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Missouri

TV: SEC Network

SERIES: LSU leads, 11-2



LSU Tigers

Missouri Tigers


Statistical Matchup


Sean East II-Isiaih Mosley-DeAndre Gholston-Kobe Brown-Mohamed Diarra

Minutes played: 5

Offensive rating: 137.4

Defensive rating: 74.0

Net rating: +63.4


1. Lock in on K.J. Williams. The big man followed McMahon from Murray State to LSU and has immediately become one of the most prolific scorers in the conference, averaging 17.2 points per game. Williams takes 30.3% of his team’s field goal attempts while he’s on the floor — he’s usually not on the bench for very long, either, averaging 32.0 minutes per game. Despite putting up a high volume of shots each night, Williams remains efficient with an effective field goal percentage of 55.6. The senior forward’s touch has dropped off a bit, though, coinciding with the team’s slump in conference play. Williams hasn’t shot above 50% in any of LSU’s past seven games. Mizzou should do what it takes to keep it that way.

2. Limit second-chance opportunities. The southern Tigers as a whole are not all that strong of an offensive unit, shooting just 47.0% on 2-pointers and 33.3% on 3s. The team has scored 70 points just once against SEC opponents. LSU does, however, do a solid job on the boards, where it grabs 30.6% of available offensive rebounds. Going up against a pair of 6-foot-10 behemoths in Williams and junior forward Derek Fountain, Mizzou likely won’t finish Wednesday’s game with an edge on the boards. But MU does need to make sure not to allow LSU to flex its size advantage and give up too many putbacks.

3. Get to the rim. LSU is a top-50 team in the country at protecting the 3-point line, allowing opponents to connect on just 31.0% of their attempts from beyond the arc. The Tigers’ interior defense isn’t nearly as good inside, where opponents have made an above-average 51.6% of its 2s. LSU also turns the ball over a significant amount, coughing it up on 19.3% of possessions and allowing teams to get to the basket on the fast break. Mizzou, an elite force inside the arc sinking 57.9% of its shot inside, which ranks sixth in the country, should look to win the points in the paint battle.

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