Three things Missouri Basketball must do to beat Arkansas on Tuesday

Hosting Arkansas (8-7, 2-1) at 8 p.m. Tuesday night on the SEC Network, Anderson and Mizzou (8-7, 1-1) will need to mirror that readiness against former Missouri coach Mike Anderson’s “40 minutes of hell” strategy.
Freshman guard Terrence Phillips (1) attempts to drive the ball to the net Jan. 9, 2016, at Mizzou Arena against the Auburn Tigers. Missouri won 76-61. Phillips will be responsible for setting the pace against Arkansas.

Following the Missouri men’s basketball victory over Auburn on Saturday night, coach Kim Anderson said, “that was as ready as I’ve seen this group all year.” Although adding that he couldn’t put his finger on why, one who had watched the game could grasp that same sentiment.

Hosting Arkansas (8-7, 2-1) at 8 p.m. Tuesday night on the SEC Network, Anderson and Mizzou (8-7, 1-1) will need to mirror that readiness against former Missouri coach Mike Anderson’s “40 minutes of hell” strategy. Here are three things Mizzou must do to win that game:

Control the basketball: It’s easy to have this as a key to the game, because most Missouri fans understand why. Arkansas’s Anderson led Missouri to the Elite Eight in 2009, and many understand the pressure that his defenses apply. They press, they force the tempo, and they play a helter-skelter type of basketball that generates easy buckets.

In numbers, Arkansas ranks 41st in steals with 8.07 per game, and Kenpom.com has the Razorbacks scoring 109.9 points per possession, which ranks 47th. Steals and scoring can be a recipe for disaster for the opposing team, and freshman guard Terrence Phillips must be ready for that.

As Missouri’s point guard, Phillips has the ability to control the tempo. He’s accustomed to playing fast, but in a game like this, fast can turn into out of control very quickly, so he’s going to have to be cognizant throughout the entire 40 minutes for Missouri to win.

Contain the guards: Like Auburn’s Kareem Canty, Arkansas junior guards Anthlon Bell and Dusty Hannahs can fill it up. Both are elite three point shooters, but both are also threats when slashing to the hole. And with all of that, Bell and Hannahs’ points per game numbers — 17.3 and 16.3 — rank fifth and ninth, respectively, in the Southeastern Conference.

How can you stop them? Well, that’s certainly a tall task but containing them will be an important key for Mizzou. They’re both 6-foot-3 and versatile, so it might be a matchup problem for Mizzou. In terms of starters, freshman guard KJ Walton is expected to square off against one of them. With his height and athleticism, Walton should be well-suited to stop one of the two. Ultimately, though, it’s going to take a collaborative effort by the entire Missouri defense to keep Arkansas’s dynamic duo in check.

Embrace the home crowd: Against Auburn, this was key and Missouri lived up to it. After the game, Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said: “They play better at home because they’re a young team. They’ll beat people in here."

Mizzou Arena held 6,533 people on Saturday night, and the team certainly fed off of the crowd’s energy. Against rival Arkansas on Tuesday, the crowd will be bigger and louder, and the team will once again attempt to play better and beat the Razorbacks on their home court.

Projected Starters

Missouri

G - Terrence Phillips, 5-11, 175, Fr.

G - Wes Clark, 6-0, 180, Jr.

G - KJ Walton, 6-3, 197, Fr.

F - Kevin Puryear, 6-7, 236, Fr.

F - Russell Woods, 6-8, 225, Jr.

Arkansas

G - Jabril Durham, 6-1, 185, Sr. (7.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 7.5 apg)

G - Anthlon Bell, 6-3, 185, Sr. (17.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg)

G - Dusty Hannahs, 6-3, 203, Jr. (16.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.1 apg)

F - Keaton Miles, 6-7, 212, Sr. (4.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg)

F - Moses Kingsley, 6-10, 230, Jr. (16.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg)

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