The Texas Longhorns clamped down on the Jayhawks in Lawrence last week, and have the conference lead at 5-0. Missouri lost an two early games, but put together their best performance against Iowa State last Saturday, and have had a full week to prepare for this game.
Missouri will do what they always do under Mike Anderson–full court pressure to create turnovers and easy scores. Missouri routinely gets outrebounded. Some of that rebound deficit is deceptive, though. It’s because they have more possessions that result in shots than their opponents do, and thus opponents have more defensive rebound opportunities. Missouri is amongst the nation’s leaders at both generating turnovers, and avoiding them on offense.
Marcus Denmon has emerged as the offensive leader for the Tigers. He has hit almost half of his three-point shots on the year. Michael Dixon is the penetrator, while Matt Pressey has started to come on strong after a mixed start to the season, and it has helped Missouri’s perimeter defense of late.
As he always does, Jordan Hamilton will present matchup problems for Missouri defensively if Texas can get to their half court sets. Cory Joseph, J’Covan Brown and Dogus Balbay are capable of handling Missouri’s pressure, and they’ll need to. I think Texas wins if they can keep the turnovers under 20 and stay reasonably close in turnover margin. Texas’ defense has been the best in the country at field goal percentage, and Missouri’s best chance to score will be off turnovers.
This should be a fun one to watch. Texas has the athletes to play Missouri’s style. It will be interesting to see how much they push it when Missouri invites them to run and take quick shots with the pressure. Texas should be the heavy favorite at the Erwin Center. Tip is at 9 pm est.
Before that game, Kansas tries to keep pace with Texas in the Big XII race by hosting Kansas State. (7 pm, ESPN). The Wildcats are a very disappointing 2-4 in the conference and 14-7 overall. Kansas was stunned by the home loss, but let’s not overreact. They are still 19-1 and one of the best teams in the country. I don’t see them losing a second game at Allen Field House.
[photo via Getty]