BASKETBALL

Alabama basketball vs. Missouri: Score prediction, scouting report

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama basketball Kryptonite is mined at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri.

In his time leading the Crimson Tide, coach Nate Oats has not yet found a way to beat Missouri on the road.

Oats and company hope to change that this season. Bad results in Columbia aside, this year's Missouri team isn't an easy out for anyone. It sits in the top half of the SEC. The Tigers (14-4, 3-3 SEC) have put together a solid first season under new coach Dennis Gates so far. Missouri has wins over Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Arkansas as well as losses to Texas A&M, Florida and Arkansas.

Next up is Alabama (16-2, 6-0) on Saturday (5 p.m., SEC Network) at Mizzou Arena.

Here's a look at Missouri and how it matches up with the Crimson Tide.

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Projected starting lineup for Missouri

Guard Nick Honor (senior): 5-foot-10, 200 pounds. Averages: 8.9 points, 1.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 1.1 turnovers

Guard Tre Gomillion (senior): 6-foot-4, 210 pounds. Averages: 5.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.2 blocks, 0.9 turnovers

Guard D'Moi Hodge (senior): 6-foot-4, 188 pounds. Averages: 14.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 2.6 steals, 0.5 blocks, 0.7 turnovers.

Forward Ronnie DeGray (junior): 6-foot-6, 225 pounds. Averages: 2.2 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.4 blocks, 0.3 turnovers

Forward Kobe Brown (senior): 6-foot-8, 250 pounds. Averages: 15.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.4 blocks, 2 turnovers

Brown is third in the conference in field-goal percentage (56%). A year ago, he scored 30 at home against the Crimson Tide but Alabama limited him to six points in Tuscaloosa.

Missouri's rotation

Missouri has a significantly older lineup than Alabama. The Tigers have mostly upperclassmen in the starting lineup, and much of the depth is made up of upperclassmen as well. That's a stark contrast with Alabama, which has three freshmen in the starting lineup.

The Tigers have 10 players who average 10 minutes or more.

How Missouri stacks up with Alabama in scoring, defense and tempo

KenPom tracks adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, which are points scored and allowed per 100 possessions. Alabama is strong offensively but Missouri is actually ranked higher. Defensively, the Crimson Tide has a significant advantage over the Tigers.

Alabama plays faster than Missouri, but the gap isn't as big as it has been for the Crimson Tide and some other SEC teams. KenPom measures the adjusted tempo statistic based on the number of possessions per 40 minutes.

Adjusted offensive efficiency:

Missouri: 117.8 (6th nationally)

Alabama: 116 (12th)

Adjusted defensive efficiency:

Missouri: 104 (183rd)

Alabama: 89 (6th)

Tempo

Missouri: 71 (40th)

Alabama: 74.1 (3rd)

Score prediction

Alabama 89, Missouri 80: These are two of the country's best in terms of offensive efficiency. There could be plenty of scoring. In the end, Alabama's defense provides the edge and helps the Crimson Tide get the victory.