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No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 10 Utah State preview for March Madness First Round matchup

No. 7 Missouri and No. 10 Utah State face off in the First Round of the 2023 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of the game and how to watch.

Nick Honor #10 of Missouri Tigers high fives Dennis Gates against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the second half during the semifinals of the 2023 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 11, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo by Carly Mackler/Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament begins on Tuesday, March 14th with the First Four, and then moves on to the First Round on Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17. The No. 7 seed Missouri Tigers will face the No. 10 seed Utah State Aggies.

Here’s an early look at what we can expect from the matchup.

Game date: Thursday, March 16
Game time: 1:20 p.m. ET
TV channel: TNT
Location: Sacramento, CA

Odds: Utah State -1.5

No. 7 Missouri

It’s hard to overstate how good a job first-year head coach Dennis Gates has done with the Missouri Tigers. He took a team that few projected finishing in the top half of the SEC and led them to their first double-bye (by virtue of the No. 4 seed) in the SEC tournament since joining the conference a decade ago. His team is scrappy and could give a higher-ranked team a scare in the Big Dance.

Record: 24-9, 11-7 SEC
Coach: Dennis Gates
Qualifier: At-large
KenPom overall: 51
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 9
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 179
Pace: 92
PPP overall: 1.102
Leading scorer: Kobe Brown
NET: 42
Quad 1 record: 6-8
Against The Spread: 16-16-1
Over Total: 18-15

No. 10 Utah State

Utah State put up a fight to keep their March Madness hopes alive. While the Aggies weren’t quite able to grab that automatic bid, they battled valiantly against San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game that exemplified the end of their season. A five-game winning streak closed out the regular season for Utah State, with wins over New Mexico and Boise State in the tournament bolstering the Aggies’ resume.

Utah State’s offense has been a powerhouse this season, scoring 79.1 points per game (28th in the nation) at a 48% clip (23rd in the nation). The Aggies add 16.9 assists per game (10th in the nation) and protect the ball well with a 1.41 assist-to-turnover ratio. The Aggies offense is led by guard Steven Ashworth with 16.3 points per game.

Record: 25-8, 13-5 Mountain West
Coach: Ryan Odom
Qualifier: At-large
KenPom overall: 18
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 13
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 64
Pace: 108
PPP overall: 1.100
Leading scorer: Steven Ashworth
NET: 19
Quad 1 record: 2-5
Against The Spread: 21-12-0
Over Total: 20-13-0