After stunning Arizona 59-55, #15 Princeton hopes to continue their Cinderella story by defeating #7 Missouri. The over-under is the largest of the Saturday games at a sizable 146 total points. Princeton isn’t a massive underdog here as Missouri is only favored by 6.5 points. My prediction will capitalize on this since I expect Missouri to win by 8-10 points and cover.
Princeton vs. Missouri Prediction
Missouri loves to run; they rank 80th in pace and own one of the best transition offenses in the country. They pair this with the 44th highest three-point attempt rate and a 36.2 3PT%. That’s a dangerous combination, and Missouri subsequently ranks 22nd in Offensive Rating, 7th in KenPom’s Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and 26th in ShotQuality’s Adjusted Offensive ShotQuality.
Princeton defense is 244th in Adjusted Defensive ShotQuality. They have been average defending transition opportunities, allow plenty of attempts at the basket, and can struggle to handle isolation scorers that weaponize off the dribble threes. That’s concerning considering Missouri’s offense thrives in these departments. Kobe Brown and D’Moi Hodge likely wreak havoc as a result.
Missouri’s defensive issues are a mixed bag here. They hold their own in the half-court by defending cuts well and deterring shots at the basket. Their mediocre transition defense also won’t be a huge liability against a half-court heavy Princeton offense that rarely runs in transition. When they did achieve these possessions, Princeton wasn’t particularly efficient too.
However, Missouri allows a plethora of unguarded catch and shoot attempts. Princeton seldom takes off the dribble jumpers and always seeks out catch and shoot jumpers instead, so Missouri may be in trouble here. If Princeton is going to win, then it will be because of this area.
Overall, Missouri’s pace and three-point shooting likely gives them enough of a cushion to overcome their defense and cover.
Princeton vs. Missouri Prediction: Missouri -6.5
Princeton vs. Missouri Odds
Missouri is a 6.5-point favorite, and their moneyline is at an ugly -250. For Princeton’s +230 moneyline to hold a positive expected value, they must win here at least 31% of the time.
Missouri is an average team against the spread this season (17-16-1), while Princeton is slightly better (16-12). The over has been 18-16 for Missouri games and 16-12 for Princeton games. There is no strong trend here, although Princeton cover and over every game would have been profitable.
Princeton vs. Missouri Key Matchups
Which team will win the key matchups?
Princeton Offensive Rebounding
Missouri allowed the highest opponent offensive rebound percentage in the country, so second chance points are an Achilles Heel for them. They are -15 in offensive rebound differential over their past three games. If Keeshawn Kellman, Caden Pierce, and Tosan Evbuomwan can constantly control the glass and provide Princeton much needed put-backs, then their offense has a chance to keep pace with Missouri.
Missouri 3PT Shooting
D’Moi Hodge (7.3 3PA, 40.5 3PT%) and Kobe Brown (3.2 3PA, 45.8 3PT%) lead Missouri from deep. The duo can get scorching hot, and they combined to shoot 8/14 in their first round win over Utah State. Princeton holding Arizona to 3/16 (18.8%) from three is a bit misleading as Arizona was supposed to shoot 8/16 (50%) based on the shot quality of their attempts (per ShotQuality). If Hodge and Brown play to their normal standards, then Missouri should cover here behind their three-point shooting. Because I believe they will, it’s a huge reason behind why I have Missouri covering the -6.5 spread in my Princeton vs. Missouri prediction.
— Mizzou Hoops (@MizzouHoops) March 16, 2023