The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Building Momentum: Vanderbilt welcomes Mizzou following upset victory

After their first victory over a ranked opponent in nearly two years, the Commodores will look to pick up another win as they host Missouri on Tuesday night.
Barrie Barto
Vanderbilt forward Jordan Wright embraces the crowd during Vanderbilt’s win over LSU on Feb. 5, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto)

Following their biggest win of the season, the Vanderbilt Commodores (12-10, 4-6) will host the Missouri Tigers (9-13, 3-6) on Tuesday night. Missouri comes into the matchup in desperate need of a win after losing four of their last five games. The Commodores, on the other hand, will come into this matchup looking to build momentum heading into the second half of their season following a 75-66 victory over No. 25 LSU.  

The Commodores were able to win on Saturday night despite not having transfer center Liam Robbins on the court. Robbins made his season debut last Wednesday against Kentucky, but was inactive on Saturday due to an ankle injury he sustained in Friday’s practice. Head coach Jerry Stackhouse gave an update on Robbins’ situation during Monday’s media availability.

“He was back in workouts today and was non-contact. It was positive and I think it was good to ease his mind,” Stackhouse said. “We’ll still see how he recovers overnight, hopefully he’s able to give us a few minutes tomorrow. He’ll probably be a game-time decision.”

The Tigers have had an up-and-down season thus far, best exemplified by a thrilling victory over then-No. 15 Alabama on Jan. 8 followed up by a 44-point loss to Arkansas four days later. Mizzou has struggled greatly in the SEC, winning just three of their nine matchups in the conference. A win on Tuesday evening would be major for the Tigers, who sit just one spot behind Vanderbilt in the SEC standings. 

Regardless of whether or not he has the help of Robbins or not, Vanderbilt center Quinten Millora-Brown will have his hands full on Tuesday night with Missouri forward Kobe Brown. The junior big man leads the team in points (13.1), rebounds (8.1), steals (1.4) and blocks (0.9) while shooting a respectable 47% from the floor. In their last game, a victory over Texas A&M, Brown tallied 21 points to go along with six rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Aside from Brown’s overwhelming interior presence, Stackhouse also emphasized Mizzou’s ability to get contributions from a variety of scorers.

“Obviously, they have Kobe [Brown] as the focal point of their offense and everything goes through him,” Stackhouse said. “But they also have three or four guys averaging eight to 10 points and it shows you that they’re capable of getting 16 or 18. We’ve got to find a way to limit those guys.”

While the Tigers have been excellent on the interior, they have struggled in two major offensive facets: 3-point shooting and limiting turnovers. According to KenPom, Mizzou ranks in the bottom-40 of 358 qualified teams in both turnover percentage (21.5%) and 3-point percentage (28.3%) this season. For the Commodore defense, which has been very stout, these stats may shine light on some keys to victory: high-pressure defense while giving extra attention to Mizzou’s big men. 

Flipping to the other half of the court, the Commodores will be looking for a repeat performance from senior Rodney Chatman. The transfer guard has been battling injuries all season, only appearing in eight games thus far. However, Chatman found his shooting stroke again on Saturday night, making six 3s and pouring in a season-high 24 points. Facing a strong Missouri interior defense that ranks in the top-70 in the nation in both block percentage and opponent free throw percentage, according to KenPom, the Commodores may have to rely on their outside shooting to carry their offense. Look for Chatman along with shooters Myles Stute and Jordan Wright to get plenty of opportunities tomorrow night. 

Another key for Vanderbilt on Tuesday will be getting Scotty Pippen Jr. in rhythm. The star junior guard is averaging an SEC-leading 18.7 points per game, but is shooting just 41.8% from the field and a career-low 30.8% from 3. Pippen Jr. was instrumental in facilitating Vanderbilt’s offense in Saturday’s win, tallying nine assists to just two turnovers, but only scored seven points on 2-of-12 shooting. In an up-and-down shooting year for Pippen Jr., getting him shooting well to finish out the SEC schedule and heading into the SEC Tournament will be key for the Commodores. 

Though Missouri may not be as daunting an opponent as others that the Commodores have faced in recent weeks, the Tigers have impressive wins this season and a true star player in Kobe Brown. With Mizzou sitting just one game behind Vanderbilt in the SEC, this matchup should be highly contested.

Tipoff for Tuesday night is set for 8 p.m. CST at Memorial Gymnasium. 

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About the Contributors
Anish Mago
Anish Mago, Former Deputy Sports Editor
Anish Mago ('24) is from West Windsor, N.J., and is studying economics and political science in the College of Arts and Science. He previously served as a staff writer for the Sports section. When not writing for The Hustler, Anish enjoys playing basketball and rooting for all Philly sports. He can be reached at .
Barrie Barto
Barrie Barto, Editor-in-Chief
Barrie Barto ('25) is majoring in medicine, health & society with neuroscience and communication of science & technology minors in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Photography Director. When she's not strolling around campus with her camera, you can find Barrie cheering on the St. Louis Blues or tracking down the best gluten-free food in Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].
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