Feb. 23—Mizzou's recent three-game slide started with a sloppy loss at Ole Miss, Tuesday's opponent in Columbia.
The 80-59 outcome in Oxford on Feb. 10 was a head-scratcher for Missouri. The Tigers were coming off a victory over Alabama, had climbed to No. 10 in the polls and playing with confidence. But the Rebels suffocated Mizzou with a 1-3-1 trap and coupled that with 57% floor shooting, the best by Ole Miss in a league game since 2015.
"We've got too many good players on the floor to let someone's defense dictate how we play on the offensive end," Mizzou guard Drew Buggs said.
Ole Miss led by five at halftime before collecting its biggest victory over a top 10 team — the Tigers were No. 10 at the time — since 2002.
"We got punched in the mouth when we went there," Tigers forward Mitchell Smith said. "With them coming in here it gives us a chance to show them how we play."
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Mizzou Arena, Columbia
TV: SEC Network
Betting line: Missouri by 4
Radio: KMBZ (98.1 FM)
6-1 Jr. 10.8
6-6 So. 7.8
Romello White 6-8 Gr. 10.8
Jeremiah Tilmon 6-10 Sr. 13.6
Kobe Brown 6-7 So. 7.5
6-5 Sr. 9.8
Xavier Pinson 6-2 Jr. 14.5
6-3 Sr. 13.9
About Ole Miss (12-9, 7-7 SEC): Until their home loss to Mississippi State on Saturday, the Rebels had been playing like a team that wants to be in the NCAA Tournament. After a slow start, Ole Miss won four straight, including resume-building victories over Tennessee and Mizzou. Mississippi entered Monday No. 62 in the NET rankings. When they're at the top of their game, the Rebels are creating havoc on defense. They ranked in the top 20 nationally with 16.7 turnovers forced per game and 8.4 steals per game.
About No. 24 Missouri (14-6, 7-6 SEC): The Tigers are coming off their best game in two weeks, a 15-point victory at South Carolina. Mizzou had five players in double figures for the second time this season (Oregon). Their 93 points was the second most this season and best in SEC play. Kobe Brown has been hot lately. In the last five games he's averaging 12.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and shooting 67 percent from the floor.
Prediction: What is it about Ole Miss? All 17 meetings between the schools have come during SEC play and the Rebels have won 14 of them. Ole Miss is 5-2 in Columbia. No SEC opponent has more victories over Mizzou.
Maybe the Tigers spent a little time in their players' only meeting last week on how to attack the Rebels. Missouri is safely in the NCAA Tournament but doesn't need any confidence-shaking slide as the regular seasoin winds down.
Mizzou learns from its mistakes from the loss in Oxford, takes care of the ball, and reverses fortune on Tuesday.