When/where: About 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
TV/radio: SEC Network; KMBZ (98.1 FM)
About Missouri (15-16): Missouri goes into Thursday’s SEC second-round game fresh off its first postseason win under Cuonzo Martin. The Tigers did just enough to beat Georgia in the first round, with only Jordan Geist and Xavier Pinson being the team’s reliable scorers. The trio of Torrence Watson, Javon Pickett and Jeremiah Tilmon went a combined 1-for-17 from the floor, but Martin attributed that to rust from Pickett, who missed Saturday’s game because of back spasms. Watson had good looks, Martin said, that just didn’t go in, while Tilmon had his usual battle of foul trouble. MU had just 11 turnovers against Georgia.
About Auburn (22-9): Auburn is KenPom’s top team in defensive turnovers at 25.1 percent, which makes Thursday a brutal matchup for MU. Mizzou had 20 turnovers at Auburn on Jan. 30 and were only down three at halftime before a rough second half. Jared Harper and Bryce Brown are one of the toughest backcourts in the conference and Auburn has plenty of depth in its frontcourt, despite the injured Austin Wiley. Wiley is averaging 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds for the year, but his status for Thursday is up in the air. Auburn is one of the top three-point shooting teams in the SEC as well, with a 37.5 percent clip. The winner faces No. 4 seed South Carolina in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Prediction: Missouri puts up a better fight than it did at Auburn in January, but Pearl’s squad turns MU over too much and outshoots them for a Cinderella run to happen. Auburn 70, Missouri 57