Breaking down the South Region: What to expect for Missouri

Missouri's Kobe Brown, center, looks for a shot between Arkansas' Kamani Johnson, right, and...
Missouri's Kobe Brown, center, looks for a shot between Arkansas' Kamani Johnson, right, and Ricky Council IV during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in Columbia, Mo. Missouri won 79-76.(AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)(L.G. Patterson | AP)
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 12:25 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Missouri’s first season under head coach Dennis Gates has already featured the program’s best appearance in an SEC Tournament. On Sunday, it added an NCAA Tournament berth to its mantel, as the Tigers were given the 7 seed in the South Region.

The Tigers went 24-9 this season and finished fourth in the SEC.

Missouri’s opening matchup and tournament route:

The Tigers open the tournament with the third game on the schedule. They’ll play Thursday at 12:40 p.m. CT against 10th-seeded Utah State. The Aggies went 26-8 this season in the Mountain West and are loved by predictive metrics.

KenPom ranks Utah State as the 18th-best team in the country in adjusted efficiency.

The matchup will be played in Sacramento, and the winner will get to play either 2nd-seeded Arizona or 15th-seeded Princeton. Arizona won the Pac-12 Tournament and went 28-6 this season.

Other SEC teams:

Alabama was given the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed and the South region’s geographical advantage. The second weekend will be played in Louisville, Kentucky, at the KFC Yum! Center.

Players to Watch:

  • Alabama forward Brandon Miller: Miller was the SEC Freshman and SEC Player of the Year following an impressive season on the court. The Antioch, Tennessee, native averaged 19.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting more than 40 percent from 3-point range as a 6-foot-9 wing.
  • Arizona forward Azuolas Tubelis: Tubelis helped the Wildcats win the Pac-12 Tournament title with a win over UCLA on Saturday night. As a junior, he averaged 19.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game on an Arizona team that went 28-6 this season.
  • Baylor guard’s Keyonte George and Adam Flagler: Baylor’s offensive profile is elite because of their duo of guards. Flagler, a senior, was named to the All-Big 12 First Team this season. Meanwhile, George was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, helping the Bears to a 22-10 record and a 3 seed.
  • Missouri forward Kobe Brown: Brown was All-SEC First Team and was the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the conference announced last week. He was the only player in the country to shoot above 55 percent from the floor and above 40 percent from 3-point range this season.