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Oklahoma Sooners Basketball vs. Missouri: Preview, thread & how to watch

Oklahoma and Missouri rekindle one of the better hoops rivalries from the old Big Eight days.

NCAA Basketball: Oklahoma at Stanford Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering a humbling defeat at the hands of the Stanford Cardinal, the Oklahoma Sooners will attempt to get back on the right track against an old rival from the Big 12/Big Eight days.

Oklahoma (5-1) vs. Missouri (4-2) in the Hall of Fame Classic: 6 p.m. CT at the Sprint Center (Kansas City, Mo.)

TV: ESPNews

Commentary: Jason Benetti and Bryce Drew

Live Stream: WatchESPN

Radio: Sooner Radio Network (107.7 FM The Franchise in Oklahoma City; KTBZ 1430 AM in Tulsa; Tune In Radio App) with Toby Rowland and Kevin Henry announcing

Line: Missouri -1.5 (as of 4:30 p.m. CT)

About Missouri

  • The Missouri Tigers have suffered two losses to quality opponents in Xavier and Butler, with both coming in low-scoring contests. In Monday’s loss to the Bulldogs, Mizzou’s offensive execution didn’t look much different than Oklahoma’s against Stanford. What was different, however, was the team’s defensive intensity — something that waned severely for the Sooners as they continued to struggle on the offensive end. On the season, the Tigers are 13th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric.
  • Mizzou is under the direction of head coach Cuonzo Martin, who is in his third season in Columbia. After leading the Tigers to an NCAA Tournament bid in his first season, Martin’s team finished 15-17 overall and 5-13 in SEC play in 2018-19. Things aren’t expected to be much better in 2019-20, with the team picked to finish 13th in the SEC.
  • The Tigers are led in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals by junior guard Dru Smith, who sits at 12.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.3 APG and 2.2 SPG. Smith sat out last season after transferring from Evansville, where he averaged 13.7 PPG and 4.6 APG as a sophomore.

Three Things

  • Old Rivals: The old conference rivals are meeting up for the 211th time this evening, with Oklahoma holding a 113-97 advantage in the series. Two of the conference’s most historically-successful hoops programs have waged plenty of memorable battles in Norman, Columbia and Kansas City, but perhaps no moment was more memorable than legendary OU head coach Billy Tubbs’ critique of the officials during a high-profile matchup with Norm Stewart’s Tigers.
  • Sloooooooooow starts: With the exception of the win over Oregon State, each of Oklahoma’s first-half performances have been less than stellar. No start, however, was worse than the 17-0 hole the Sooners dug themselves into last evening, and they weren’t able to dig themselves out in this instance. It’s already an incredibly concerning trend, and it’ll obviously be a frustrating situation if it happens again in front of a partisan crowd in KC. No, this won’t resemble the environment the Sooners used to face at the old Kemper Arena, but even with a 6 p.m. tipoff, it’ll be enough to help the Tigers to some extent.
  • Offensive execution: Even after the rough start to Monday night’s game, Oklahoma still found itself right back in the game after a 10-0 run. However, never got within seven points from that point on due in large part to the team’s apparent unwillingness to demonstrate a modicum of offensive patience. Stanford’s game plan was to prevent Austin Reaves and Brady Manek from catching a shooting, and OU just had no answer to that strategy. Expect Missouri to mimic the Cardinal in this regard, so the Sooners will need to buckle down and show a bit more discipline if they don’t want to lose a second game.

Prediction

I don’t expect a pretty performance, but I think Reaves and Doolittle will do enough to give OU an edge.

Oklahoma 65, Missouri 63