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Memphis vs Missouri: Preview, Keys to Success

The Memphis Tigers will travel to Columbia to face the Missouri Tigers Friday night in their second game of the 2023-24 season. 

Memphis will face its first test of the season against second-year coach Dennis Gates and his Missouri Tigers. 

Interim head coach Rick Stansbury will continue in place of Penny Hardaway who is serving a suspension.

Memphis defeated Jackson State 94-77 to open their season while Missouri handled Arkansas-Pine Bluff, scoring more than 100 points. 

Missouri enters this season with momentum as they won an NCAA tournament game a year ago, but like Memphis, Gates and company are relying heavily on transfers this season. 

Missouri brought in transfers Caleb Grill (9.5ppg) from Iowa State, Tamar Bates (6.1ppg) from Indiana, John Tonge (14.6ppg) from Colorado State, Jesus Carralelo (9.3ppg) from Campbell, and former Memphis Tiger commit Connor Vanover (12.7ppg) from Oral Roberts. 

Missouri was led by two returners on their roster against Arkansas Pine Bluff. Guard Sean East II scored 22 and 6th-year guard Nick Honor scored 18. 

Notably, Connor Vanover will not play for Missouri against the Tigers as the NCAA suspended him for the first three games of the season because he participated in the Portsmouth Invitational this offseason. 

Memphis enters the contest with several questions. While the offense looked to be all it was claimed to be against Jackson State, the Memphis defense struggled and did not have the look of a Penny Hardaway defense. 

Both teams are more than capable of scoring 80 points on any given night and considering the newness of both rosters, this game could be a shootout. 

Memphis also opted to start Nick Jourdain and Malcolm Dandridge over expected starters Caleb Mills and Jordan Brown in their first game. The Tigers did not start the game well, and it will be interesting to see who starts against Missouri. 

Missouri will be a hostile environment for Memphis and there could be some issues communicating, especially considering coach Hardaway’s absence. 

Memphis showed in the Jackson State game that their pressing and trapping defense, which has been a staple of the Penny Hardaway era, is their most effective defense right now. The Tigers should come out aggressive in this tough road environment. 

Memphis will need to play a more controlled game of basketball if they want to come out of Missouri with a win. Limiting turnovers and getting defensive stops will be the keys to a Memphis victory. 

The game will be played on Friday, November 10 at 8 p.m. CT at Mizzou Arena. The game will be available on the SEC Network. 

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