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Kentucky vs. Missouri viewing info, odds, what to watch for, and predictions

The Cats will look to avenge their loss to Missouri last season. Here’s what you need to know.

Rob Dillingham Dylan Ballard - A Sea Of Blue

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Missouri Tigers

  • Time: 7 pm ET
  • Date: January 9th, 2024
  • TV Channel: ESPN will have tonight’s TV coverage.
  • Announcers: Karl Ravech and Jimmy Dykes will be calling the action.
  • Location: Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center in Lexington, KY.
  • Online Stream: Stream the game online with WatchESPN and the ESPN app.
  • Radio: Tom Leach and Jack Givens have the UK radio call on the UK Sports Radio Network.
  • Replay: WatchESPN and the SEC Network (check local listings).
  • Rosters: UK | MIZZ
  • Stats to Know: UK | MIZZ
  • KenPom: UK | MIZZ
  • Team Sheets: UK | MIZZ

How do you see this one playing out? Let us know in the comments section!

Kentucky Basketball started the new year with an impressive road win at Florida, giving the Wildcats a 1-0 start in SEC play.

On Tuesday, the Cats return home to face the Missouri Tigers, who have gotten the best of Kentucky in two of the last three seasons.

Given how Missouri embarrassed the Cats last season, I would say this is one Kentucky’s staff will be motivated to win.

This year’s Missouri team lost eight players from last season’s roster, including their four top leading scorers. With an 8-6 record, the Tigers' best wins have come against Pittsburgh (54th in KenPom) and Minnesota (78th in KenPom).

That said, Missouri shoots and makes a lot of 3s, ranking top three in the SEC in both categories this season, and any team in the SEC is capable of winning if you come out flat.

Let’s take a look at the Kentucky Wildcats vs. Missouri Tigers matchup.

Defend the 3-point Line

It feels like opposing teams shoot an unreal percentage from three in Rupp Arena, but on the season thus far, opponents are shooting just 31.2% in Rupp. This is right in line with the 31% they have allowed this season thus far, ranked 75th nationally.

That said, Missouri has attempted the second-most 3s in the SEC this season and will hoist plenty more on Tuesday. With three guards all averaging double-figures and shooting 40%+ from three, including two shooting 50%+, the Wildcats need to close out on shooters.

Sean East II, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, is averaging 17.1 points per game while hitting 53.8% of his 3s on 2.8 attempts per game. In last year’s win over Kentucky, East scored 12 points on 4/4 shooting and hit his only attempt from deep.

East has reached double figures in 12 of 14 games this season and has scored 20+ points in six contests. Slowing him down will be key to getting the W.

Handle the Zone

Taking care of the ball is been a signature of this year’s Kentucky team, averaging just 9.4 per game and 14th nationally. However, to start the game against Florida, they had seven turnovers just in the first half.

Against Missouri, who often aggressively uses a 1-3-1 zone defense to create pressure and force mistakes, the Wildcats must make sound but quick passes. The Wildcats have performed well against zone this season, so it will be interesting to see how often Missouri will turn to this.

Make Free Throws

Missouri’s defense isn’t great, but they don’t give up things easily, particularly at the rim. The Tigers rank top 10 nationally in blocks per game, but also fouls at the second-highest rate in the SEC behind Alabama.

Penetration being a key part of Kentucky’s offense, they will get chances to kick it back out for open looks and rack up free-throw attempts. This has been one of Calipari’s better free-throw shooting teams at Kentucky, shooting 73.4%.

However, they did miss several 1-and-1s against Florida, and that cannot happen in close games if Kentucky wants to keep winning those

Opposing Players to Watch

G Sean East II, 6-3, 180 lbs

  • 17.1 PPG (5th in SEC)
  • 3.9 APG (T-5th in SEC)
  • 55.4% FG (3rd in SEC)
  • 53.8% 3P (2nd in SEC)

G Tamar Bates, 6-5, 195 lbs

  • 10.2 PPG
  • 53.3% FG (4th in SEC)
  • 53.1% 3P (3rd in SEC)

F Noah Carter, 6-6, 235 lbs

  • 11.5 PPG
  • 6.3 RPG