NCAA Tournament Round of 64: No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 10 Utah State First Look At The Tigers

NCAA Tournament Round of 64: No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 10 Utah State First Look At The Tigers

Mountain West Basketball

NCAA Tournament Round of 64: No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 10 Utah State First Look At The Tigers


NCAA Tournament Round of 64: No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 10 Utah State First Look At The Tigers

Who are the Tigers?

Contact/Follow @HardwoodTalk & @MWCwire

Utah State receives an at-large bid and No. 10 seed after run to MWC title game. There they find SEC for Missouri.

After a stunning run to the Mountain West Tournament Championship game last Saturday. The Utah State Aggies, who fell short against the regular season & tournament champion San Diego State, are still going dancing.

Having the conference rated so highly since very early on in the season certainly helped the Aggies Case on selection Sunday. After successfully navigating a non-conference slate with quality wins over San Francisco & Oral Roberts. The only blemish Utah State had to overcome was a 75-72 loss to Weber State at home in mid-December.

It was never a guarantee for Ryan Odom’s group but hearing the Aggies name called as a No. 10 seed Sunday was just the right amount of reassurance for this great Utah State team. They drew SEC opponent Missouri in their first round matchup, here is a little about the Tigers.

Who Are The Tigers


The Tigers are led by first year head coach Dennis Gates. A former California guard who got his first head coaching gig in the Midwest at Cleveland State.

There he led the Vikings to back to back Horizon League regular season titles. Also winning two Coach of the Year awards and making a trip to the big dance (the programs 3rd ever) and NIT. It was impressive enough to make the jump to the SEC last offseason.

Prior to his arrival, his predecessor had taken the Tigers to two NCAA Tournaments and has Missouri ranked in the top-10 just a season prior before stumbling to a 12-21 (5-13) finish. Back in the big dance in just year one has fans in Columbia jumping with excitement for the future.

Star Players

Sr. G-Kobe Brown (6-8, 250)

Stats: 15.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.5 SPG & 44.7% from three

Gr. G-D’Moi Hodges (6-4, 188)

Stats: 14.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.6 SPG, 1.6 APG & 40.1% from free

Gr. G-DeAndre Gholston (6-5, 215)

Stats: 10.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG & 1.8 APG

How Did They Get Here

The Tigers secured an at-large bid by giving a very convincing non-conference performance. This as well as battling it out in the ever demanding SEC. Their resume began to truly take shape in late December. During the Holiday Break, Missouri managed to secure back to back wins over two top-25 ranked opponents.

Routing the No. 16 Illinois Fighting Illini in a neutral site cross border rivalry game in St. Louis. While then kicking off conference play against No. 19 ranked Kentucky squad, with a double digit win in Columbia.

Coach Gate’s squad then navigated their way throughout uber-competitive SEC. With wins over Arkansas, securing the sweep of a top-5 Tennessee Vols team and adding another top-25 win over Iowa State. Who themselves competed in the highest rated league in the nation in the Big 12.

The Tigers resume was stamped with a loss to eventual SEC Tournament champions Alabama last week. But the committee looked at an exciting Missouri team who could hang with the best of them and awarded them a No. 7 seed.

Biggest Wins

Neutral Site-No. 16 Illinois 93-71

Home Against-No. 19 Kentucky 89-75

@-No. 5 Tennessee 86-85

NET: 42nd

KenPom: 51st

RPI: 34th

Larry Muniz covers college basketball as a writer for Mountain West Wire and WAC Hoops Digest. Also as a co-host of the college basketball podcast “Hoops Talk W/Jay & Larry”. He is also a USWBA Member.


More MWWire