After knocking off Temple and Illinois during their 4-game win streak, the Mizzou basketball team is hot heading into its SEC opener against Kentucky.
Mizzou basketball hit a huge bump in the road early this season when it lost at home to Charleston Southern. But since that loss, the Tigers have rattled off four straight wins, including two key wins against Temple and Illinois.
This momentum couldn’t have come at a better time for Missouri, as they are set to start SEC play on the road against Kentucky this Saturday. Shortly after, they host Tennessee and Florida before taking a two-game road trip.
With the SEC being slightly weaker than some expected, Missouri can be a dangerous team in conference play.
The Tigers allow less than 60 points per game, which leads all SEC teams. Their defense is also top-20 in the nation in opponent field goal percentage and opponent 3-point percentage. With that defense, Mizzou can hang in with any team in the conference.
The offense has been a bigger question for Missouri as no one outside of Mark Smith has really found their stroke from beyond the 3-point line.
However, the Tigers shot 16 of 31 from 3 in their most recent win over Chicago State. Torrence Watson finally came alive for Mizzou, sinking a home record eight 3-pointers on 13 attempts.
Without junior center Jeremiah Tilmon, Missouri scored 91 points in their 58-point win over the Cougars. Mark Smith and Dru Smith each scored in double-figures for the Tigers. This offensive versatility can make the Tigers tough to defend whenever they are connecting on a respectable amount of their shots.
Their first SEC opponent, Kentucky, has struggled this season, losing to Evansville and Utah so far. A hot Missouri team has the potential to play spoiler to the Wildcats in their conference home opener.
Mizzou follows that contest with its conference home opener against a streaky Tennessee team. After knocking off a ranked VCU team and competing with Memphis, the Volunteers dropped games to Cincinnati and Wisconsin, both by double digits.
Similarly, Florida has struggled this season and the Gators are the next visitors to Mizzou Arena after Tennessee. If Missouri can keep the momentum going, the Tigers have the chance to start conference play with three quality wins before hitting the road for matchups with Mississippi State and Alabama.
The Missouri Tigers have had their ups and downs so far this season, but they are definitely a team that has been tested, which will only help once conference play begins.