How to Watch
No. 8 seed Oklahoma (15-10, 9-8 Big 12) vs. No. 9 seed Missouri (16-9, 8-8 SEC): 6:25 p.m. CT at Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Live Stream: March Madness Live
Commentary: Tom McCarthy, Avery Johnson and Lauren Shehadi
Radio: Sooner Sports Radio Network (KRXO 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 (as of 1 p.m. CT)
- The Tigers were terrific in non-conference action and were then able to start 6-3 in SEC play. Prior to the current 3-6 skid, Cuonzo Martin’s team picked up wins over Oral Roberts, Oregon, Wichita State, Liberty, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama — all of whom were in this year’s field of 68.
- Since the win over Alabama, Mizzou has dropped two games to Arkansas and another to LSU. There’s no shame in that, but the loss the Georgia and the pairs of losses to Ole Miss during that stretch are a bit more alarming.
- The Tigers are currently No. 48 in KenPom’s Team Efficiency Ratings, sitting at No. 51 in adjusted offensive efficiency and No. 55 in adjusted defensive efficiency.
- Mizzou is led in scoring by guards Dru Smith and Xavier Pinson, who each average 14.1 PPG. One of the most impactful players, however, is 6’10”, 260-lb. Jeremiah Tillman, who is averaging 12.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 1.4 BPG.
- No Harmon for Sooners - OU received a gut-punch with the news of De’Vion Harmon being unavailable for the opening weekend due to COVID-19 protocol, as the team was in the process of trying to regroup and regain confidence following a 1-5 stretch. Austin Reaves has been trying to do far too much offensively during this stretch, so it will be very important for him to to overcompensate for Harmon’s absence. He’s a fantastic creator, and he still has enough weapons at his disposal to continue to play the role of facilitator.
- Late-game woes - Speaking of Reaves, OU’s inability to close games can largely be attributed to his tendency to play “hero ball” after the final media timeout. However, the fact that OU has been right in these games with quality opponents could indicate that a slight tweak in crunch-time offensive philosophy could be the fix. This is why I’m not giving up on this team just yet.
- An old enemy - Lifelong OU hoops fans hold a special ire in their hearts for the Missouri Tigers and their fans. The two have faced each other twice since Mizzou’s defection to the SEC, but the high-stakes nature of this one really makes it feel like a true reunion. The Sooners are 114-97 all-time against the Tigers and are 1-0 against them in the NCAA Tournament. The only other NCAA Tournament matchup came in 2002, when OU topped Mizzou in the Elite Eight to advance to the program’s fourth Final Four appearance. Mizzou fans are perhaps the most unjustifiably obnoxious group of fans on the planet, and watching the Sooners end that team’s Cinderella run was beyond satisfying.
Prior to Harmon’s absence, I would’ve picked the Sooners. Without him, I can unfortunately imagine Reaves trying to do a bit too much — whether it’s out of necessity or not.
Mizzou 72, Oklahoma 70
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