This Tuesday, the 3rd ranked Missouri Tigers will host the Kansas State Wildcats at Mizzou Arena in each team’s 15th conference game of the season. Missouri enters the game coming off a solid 9-point road win in College Station against the Texas A&M Aggies. The Tigers come in with an overall record of 25-2 and a mark of 12-2 in conference play, which is good for a tie at the top of the conference with the rival Kansas Jayhawks.
Kansas State comes into the contest off an impressive 1-point victory over the Baylor Bears down in Waco this past Saturday. The Wildcats are 18-8 overall, and an even 7-7 in Big 12 play, currently good for 5th place in the conference. Kansas State, one of only two teams to beat Missouri all year, looks to complete the season sweep of the Tigers for the first time since the 2006-2007 season.
Backcourt advantage: Missouri
The Tigers arguably have the best backcourt in the nation, as they lead the country in offensive efficiency and are 2nd in the nation in field goal percentage at 50.3 percent. Look for Phil Pressey, Michael Dixon, and Marcus Denmon to feed off the energy of the crowd at Mizzou Arena and force Kansas State’s young guards into turnovers. On average, Missouri forces an impressive 15 turnovers a game at Mizzou Arena during conference play.
Frontcourt advantage: Kansas State
Kansas State definitely has the advantage here, as they can throw a plethora of bodies at Ricardo Ratliffe and Steve Moore down low. Look for Jamar Samuels, Thomas Gipson, and the seven-footer Jordan Henriquez to flourish on the glass Tuesday night. Ricardo Ratliffe should get his points, but Missouri is going to need quality minutes from Steve Moore. Kansas State dominated Missouri in the rebounding category back on January 7th, out-rebounding the Tigers 37-22 en route to a 75-59 victory in Manhattan. Expect Kansas State to have a similar advantage on the glass, but not by such a wide margin.
While Missouri isn’t very deep at all off the bench, they arguably have the best sixth man in the nation in Lee’s Summit West product Michael Dixon. K-State’s bench hasn’t been all that productive, but at least they have more than 7 players that can come in the game and play effective minutes unlike the Tigers who can only turn to Dixon and Steve Moore off the bench.
Tuesday’s contest is being played in Columbia, where Missouri has yet to lose a game this season. While Kansas State is coming off an energizing victory over Baylor, the Tigers and their fans can almost taste a Big 12 title. Missouri needs this game desperately to keep their Big 12 Championship aspirations alive. And don’t think that 75-59 trouncing of the Tigers in Manhattan back on January 7th isn’t on their minds when they take the court for this one Tuesday night. The revenge factor will be a big part of this game for Missouri.
Missouri hasn’t lost a game at Mizzou Arena this season. Don’t expect that to change Tuesday night.