• WHEN/ WHERE: 6 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tenn.
• TV/RADI O: ESPN2; KMBZ (980 AM, 98.1 FM)
• ABOUT MISSOURI (13-2, 1-1 SEC) : With wins at North Carolina State and Auburn, Missouri has already matched its total for road wins from last season. That’s encouraging, but Memorial Gymnasium is a tough place to play with the odd setup, an elevated floor and benches on the baselines. Senior forward Tony Criswell was suspended at Auburn and coach Frank Haith said it’s a fluid situation regarding his reinstatement for the Vanderbilt game. Criswell is the top option off the bench in the frontcourt, but the Tigers proved at Auburn they can win with freshman Torren Jones and junior Keanau Post. Missouri is 3-3 all-time against Vanderbilt, but 0-2 on the road.
• ABOUT VANDERBILT (8-6, 0-2 SEC): The Commodores are still adjusting to Eric McClellan’s dismissal. McClellan, a sophomore transfer from Tulsa who played with Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson for one season, was Vanderbilt’s leading scorer. He was suspended for the spring for violating the university’s academic policy and subsequently dismissed after Vanderbilt learned about his Sept. 17 arrest for misdemeanor theft. Three Commodores still average at least 10.5 points, but the team is down to seven scholarship players. Vanderbilt is 0-6 in nationally televised games this season.
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• BOTTOM LINE: Vanderbilt senior Rod Odom, who usually plays the three, presents a matchup problem with his length and shooting range. He’s 6 feet 9 and hits 44.2 percent of his threes. Of course, Missouri also has a long, athletic team, particularly around the perimeter. The Tigers do a better job getting to the free-throw line with 86 more attempts on the season. Missouri also shoots a much higher percentage at the stripe (72.5-64.2 percent), so free throws might make a big difference in the outcome.
|F||3||Johnathan Williams III||6-9||Fr.||6.8|