Missouri takes on No. 21 Texas A&M

For Missouri to knock off Texas A&M on Saturday, Rosburg and Puryear are going to need touches.
Missouri forward Ryan Rosburg (44) slams down an open dunk near the end of the basketball game against Tennessee on Feb. 13 in Mizzou Arena. The dunk caused the arena to erupt with cheers as it helped ensure the Tigers’ victory for the night.

After a nine-point loss to the Stefan Moody-led Ole Miss team on Tuesday, the Missouri men’s basketball team will return to the court to face No. 21 Texas A&M on Saturday.

Mizzou (10-18, 3-12 SEC) has lost two straight games since their late-season resurgence against Tennessee and South Carolina, and this game against Texas A&M (21-7, 10-5 SEC) will be their first in Mizzou Arena since those games. Here are three things that need to happen for Missouri to win:

Embrace home-court advantage: Some might disagree, but in terms of ranking, this game will feature the best team Missouri has hosted at home all year. Texas A&M is nationally ranked and one of the better offensive teams in the country — they average 17.4 assists per game, which ranks ninth-best.

Missouri’s crowd at 3 p.m. Saturday should be one of the better crowds the team has had behind them all year. The Aggies are a former Big 12 opponent, they have premier players in seniors Danuel House and Jalen Jones, and Mizzou Arena should be quite full by the time this game tips off.

What does that mean? It means the team needs to start fast and keep the crowd in it if they want to have a chance at pulling off the upset.

Feed the paint: Missouri’s done a great job in recent contests tailoring their offensive strategy toward the inside games of senior center Ryan Rosburg and freshman forward Kevin Puryear. The two are Missouri’s most dynamic scorers inside, and as the team has seen, the scoring inside opens up the perimeter for sophomore guards Namon Wright and Tramaine Isabell.

For Missouri to knock off Texas A&M on Saturday, Rosburg and Puryear are going to need touches. Whether it’s Rosburg going one-on-one with Aggie freshman Tyler Davis or Puryear stepping out to the short corner, it’s critical for Missouri to make sure these two are scoring.

Stay out of foul trouble: This is something that’s plagued Mizzou all year. Whether you’re talking freshman point guard Terrence Phillips or Rosburg down low, the Tigers have struggled to stay out of foul trouble.

Ultimately, this will be a critical factor Saturday. Texas A&M is deep and big, and if Missouri doesn’t have all its weapons available, the team be in trouble come Saturday evening.

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