Today's Paper News Sports Obits Digital FAQ Events Contests Classifieds Autos Jobs Newsletters

Missouri looks to snap NCAA Tournament woes against Utah State

by News Tribune | March 16, 2023 at 12:35 a.m.
Dennis Gates has led Missouri to the NCAA Tournament in his first season with the Tigers. (Associated Press)

After posting its winningest season in more than a decade, Missouri is set to tip off the NCAA Tournament.

The No. 7-seeded Tigers begin their 29th NCAA Tournament appearance when they tip off against the No. 10 seed Utah State Aggies at 12:40 p.m. today on TNT.

Missouri enters the tournament with a 24-9 overall record, its most wins since amassing 30 in 2011-12, including six wins against ranked opponents. The Tigers have won five of their past six games. 

The No. 7 seed is also the highest they have had since earning a No. 2 seed in 2012.

Today’s matchup will include two top-35 offenses in Missouri (79.5 points per game for No. 23) and the Aggies (78.6 points per game for No. 32).

Senior and All-SEC First Team forward Kobe Brown leads the Tigers with 15.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest. Brown is the only player in Division I shooting 55 percent overall and 40 percent from 3-point range.

Senior guard D’Moi Hodge is second with 14.8 points per game after averaging 20.4 points in Missouri’s past five contests on 55.4 percent shooting overall and 44.3 percent from 3.

Senior DeAndre Gholston also averages in double figures with 10.7 points per game, while senior guard Nick Honor leads the Tigers with 3.0 assists per contest.

Utah State enters the tournament as an at-large bid with a 26-8 overall record, including a seven-game winning streak that ended with a 62-57 loss to San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference Tournament championship for the Aggies’ most recent game. The 26-8 record is the best Utah State season since 2019-20 when the Aggies had an identical record.

Junior guard Steven Ashworth (6-foot-1) leads the Aggies with 16.3 points per game to go with 4.5 assists per contest. Graduate forward Taylor Funk (6-9) is second among five Aggies scoring in double figures with 13.3 points per game, while adding 5.5 rebounds per contest.

Junior guard Max Shulga (6-4) scores 12.1 points per game, while graduate forward Dan Akin (6-9) scores 12 points and brings down a team-high 6.9 boards and senior guard Sean Bairstow (6-8) scores 10.4 and brings down 5.1 rebounds per game.

Missouri is 22-28 all time in the NCAA tournament with appearances in the Elite Eight on five occasions (1944, 1976, 1994, 2002 and 2009). The Tigers are 10-13 all time in the Round of 64 and have lost their past five first-round matchups.

Missouri’s most recent win in the NCAA Tournament was March 19, 2010.

This will be the third meeting between the programs, with both previous meetings coming more than 50 years ago. Missouri and Utah State split a home-and-home series, with Utah State winning at home in 1967 and Missouri winning in Columbia in 1968.

Today’s winner will move on to play the winner of No. 2 Arizona and No. 15 Princeton on Saturday.


Sponsor Content