(Photo by Dak Dillon/USA Today Sports)
The Missouri Tigers are riding a two game winning streak into Georgia to open Southeastern Conference play. The Bulldogs (7-4) are coming off a loss on Saturday night a Florida.
The lone mutual opponent these two teams share is Kansas State. Georgia fell in a close battle to the Wildcats 68-66 on December 4th, while Missouri got crushed 66-42 in the CBE Classic in Kansas City.
For Mizzou, the need to place a strong emphasis on defending do-it-all wing Yante Maten. The sophomore has averaged 16.6 points per game, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks. He also leads the team in field goal percentage at 57.7%.
The man who I am calling upon to show up tonight in Athens, Georgia is none other than the former Mr. Basketball in Georgia himself in Jakeenan Gant. His defense has impressed over the past few games, and he has the length to slow Maten down a little.
Above all, Missouri needs to come out just as, if not more intense than the Bulldogs. Dive for lose balls, play 30 seconds of intense defense, and do that for two full halves.
What else can they do? Georgia has been and is a better team, so they can’t magically become more talented than them overnight. The only thing they can do is play harder than them.
We’ve seen good things from this Tiger team these past two games, but the competition will be absolutely nothing like they’ll see tonight.
Georgia won’t take this game lightly, they’ve already lost the conference opener against Florida. I feel like they’ll try to force their will upon Missouri early, and it’ll be up to Kim Anderson and the leaders of this Tigers team to counter it.
I think this has the potential to get ugly, but I think Mizzou scratches and claws to make this a close game. I’m thinking somewhere along the lines of 72-65 Dawgs’.