(17) Missouri (15-4) at LSU (10-7)
Wednesday, January 30, 8 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Maravich Center (13,215) -- Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Television: SEC Network. Home Record: Missouri 12-0, LSU 9-2. Away Record: Missouri 0-3, LSU 1-5. Neutral Record: Missouri 3-1, LSU 0-0. Conference Record: Missouri 4-2, LSU 1-5. Series Record: LSU leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The 17th-ranked Missouri Tigers will try once again to secure their first true road win of the season when they pay a visit to the LSU Tigers for an SEC showdown on Wednesday night.
Missouri is fresh off a pair of wins last week over South Carolina (71-65) and Vanderbilt (81-59) to climb five spots in the latest AP poll. It is still hoping to get over the hump away from home this season however, as it has dropped true road games at UCLA (97-94), Ole Miss (64-49) and Florida (83-52).
LSU's season began on a positive note, as the team won nine of its first 11 matchups, but things have not gone as well since it began SEC play. Following a 75-70 loss at Kentucky last Saturday, it now sits alone in last place in the conference standings at 1-5.
LSU won the only previous matchup between these two programs, taking a 68-63 decision back in 1980.
With the help of a 19-0 run in the first half, Missouri took a commanding 49-20 lead over Vanderbilt on Saturday afternoon and never looked back. Mizzou is typically the SEC's fourth-best scoring team, putting up 75.6 ppg on 44.6 percent from the field, and it did not disappoint the last time out, shooting nearly 55 percent from the field, including 11-of-21 from beyond the arc. Alex Oriakhi posted his eighth double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Jabari Brown led the way with 21 points. Phil Pressey logged 12 points and six assists, and Keion Bell also netted a dozen. Missouri was able to cruise to the win without the presence of its top scorer Laurence Bowers (16.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg), who remains out of action with an MCL sprain. In his absence, Brown (15.1 ppg) would once again act as the unit's top scoring threat, with Pressey (11.9 ppg, SEC-best 7.2 apg) feeding him the ball. Oriakhi (10.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.5 bpg), Earnest Ross (10.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Bell (9.1 ppg) round out a balanced squad that is dangerous both in the backcourt and down close to the basket.
LSU found itself down by double-digits to Kentucky at halftime over the weekend, and while it made the game interesting down the stretch, the Tigers simply couldn't overcome a 39.7 percent shooting effort. Johnny O'Bryant III matched a career-high with 21 points in the setback, and made it his third consecutive double-double by adding 12 rebounds. Anthony Hickey chipped in with 15 points, while Andre Stringer netted 13. On the season, LSU boasts a respectable scoring average (71.9 ppg), while at the same time sporting one of the worst scoring defenses (68.5 ppg). Shavon Coleman paces a balanced attack with 12.1 ppg, and he gets his hands dirty with 7.4 rpg, 1.6 spg, and 1.1 bpg. Hickey (11.9 ppg) is an outstanding perimeter defender with a nation-leading 3.8 spg, and O'Bryant III is a threat for a double-double every night as he generates 11.7 ppg and 8.1 rpg. Stringer (10.8 ppg) and Charles Carmouche (9.4 ppg, 3.8 apg) are also consistent pieces to the Tigers' puzzle.
Missouri has had its share of troubles away from Columbia, but in its defense, its three losses came to very good teams, which LSU is far from. Figure Mizzou to run past LSU in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Missouri 74, LSU 68
01/30 10:35:57 ET