Mizzou hoops entering “the dog days before the madness” against LSU
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Mizzou men's basketball teams enters February 16-5 on the season and 4-4 in SEC play. Kicking the month off, the Tigers will host LSU Wednesday at 8 p.m.
With a month full of conference games, Dennis Gates is expecting the competition to take it up a notch.
"We're in a part of the season, these are the dog days before the madness," Gates said. "There's several things that happen in February that prepares a team and puts teams in positions to have success. I think it's important for us to stay short term and make sure we focus on our next opponent."
Mizzou guard D'Moi Hodge also said that he's expecting the February games to be more physical and intense.
"It's getting closer to the end goal," Hodge said. "Everybody has dreams and aspirations so I feel like everybody's going to come with their best shot."
Mizzou announced Tuesday that two upcoming Saturday games have sold out, Feb. 18 against Texas A&M and March 4 against Ole Miss. This marks seven home sellouts for the season.
"It starts with our fans. They're giving us their very best and the atmosphere speaks for it. Ultimately, they've got us to this point thus far and I appreciate that," Gates said. "Last game we announced a sell out during a sell out and you have to understand the magnitude of that. To say that we've had every Saturday game sold out in our SEC season, no one would have thought that such would be done."
LSU is entering the game on an eight game losing streak, 12-9 on the season and 1-7 in SEC play, but Gates said all of that goes out the window in the new month.
"February everybody's 0-0 and as you move into March you have to approach it that way" Gates said. "They're not a replicate of their record. It's just one of those things where you have to look beyond that."
As Hodge worked his way out of shooting slump in mid-January, he said the biggest thing was making sure he was in a good spot mentally.
"I feel like it's more of a mental state when it comes to shooting and making sure to you're keeping the confidence to keep shooting the same shots," Hodge said.
Hodge has not only been a huge offensive threat averaging 14.6 points, but his defense has led the way. As the 2022 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year, Hodge continued his defensive success at Mizzou currently averaging 2.38 steals per game ranking first in the SEC and tenth nationally.
Tip off at Mizzou Arena against LSU is set for Wednesday at 8 p.m.