At a Glance: Missouri

A closer look at Illinois next opponent -- the Missouri Tigers.

Illinois (9-2) vs. No. 23 Missouri (10-0)
Sat., Dec. 21 - 4:30 CST - St. Louis, Mo. Scottrade Center (22,153)
ESPN2 - Dave O'Brien, PBP & Jimmy Dykes, analyst

Notes (per Missouri sports info:

> This weekend's game marks the 20th anniversary (almost to the day) of Mizzou's 108-107 triple overtime win against Illinois on Dec. 22, 1993 ... The Tigers got a game-tying hoop from Lamont Frazier in the final seconds of regulation and erased a nine-point deficit in the final 1:20 to get the victory ... It was the final game of the series at the St. Louis Arena.

> Missouri moved into the Top 25 last week and will enter the game nationally-ranked for the fourth consecutive year ... At least one of the two clubs have been nationally in 26 of the 33 seasons the series has been played in St. Louis.

> Missouri is looking to continue its neutral-court success under Head Coach Frank Haith ... The Tigers are 14-4 in neutral-site games over the last three seasons, including a 3-0 mark this year ... Mizzou has been even better in neutral-site games within the state of Missouri ... MU has won eight consecutive games under Haith at neutral sites in the Show-Me State (2-0 in St. Louis, 6-0 in Kansas City).

> Missouri is looking for its fifth consecutive win in the series ... The Tigers have never won five straight in the series vs. Illinois and the run of four consecutive MU wins came after Illinois reeled off nine straight "W's" from 2000-08 ... Mizzou also won four consecutive from 1991-94 and since that 1991 game the series is tied, 11-11, over the last 22 meetings.

> Head Coach Frank Haith is 2-0 in Braggin' Rights contests, including an 82-73 win last season, but while Haith is making his third appearance coaching in this game, just three Tigers, Jabari Brown, Earnest Ross and Tony Criswell, have ever played in the Braggin' Rights Game and each of those three appeared in 2012 ... Mizzou enters the game Saturday with a grand total of 86 career minutes played in the Braggin' Rights Game.

> Despite Missouri's fast start, the Tigers have just one starter returning from last season's 23-11 team (Brown) and no players are back that saw action on that 30-5 club during the 2011-12 campaign ... In fact, Missouri's top scorer (Clarkson), rebounder (Williams III) and assist man (Clarkson) have all played less than one full season for the Tigers ... Mizzou is the lone current unbeaten team with just one starter returning from the previous season and Missouri (1) and Kansas (0) are the only clubs in college basketball currently ranked with one or fewer starters back from last season.

Probable starters:

Jonathan Williams, III: F, 6-9, 223, Fr. - 6.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg
Ryan Rosburg: F, 6-10, 252, So. - 5.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Jordan Clarkson: G, 6-5, 193, Jr. - 19.4 ppg, 3.9 apg
Jabari Brown: G, 6-5, 214, Jr. - 19 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Earnest Ross: G, 6-5, 228, Sr. - 14.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg

Off the bench:

Tony Criswell: F, 6-9, 240, Sr. - 6.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Wes Clark: G, 6-0, 171, Fr. - 6.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Stefan Jankovic: F, 6-11, 242, So. - 3.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg

Series history:

Series record: Illinois 27-16
Record @ St. Louis: Illinois leads 20-12
Last meeting: No. 12 Missouri 82, No. 10 Illinois 73 - Dec. 22, 2012
Series streak: Missouri W4
Groce vs. Missouri: 0-1

Notable quotable:

"Honestly, its going to be a great challenge. It really starts with their three perimeter players, those guys are really talented. Their 4s and 5s complement them really well. I really like Williams and his motor, he's got a great defensive rebounding game as a freshman. And as I mentioned, the three perimeters, those guys are responsible for over 60 percent of their scoring, shot taking, 3s taken, assists, steals, anything, you can keep going right down the line. Those three are as talented a trio on the perimeter as we'll play all year. Our guys are looking forward to the challenge. It's one of those games that's easy to get up for, it's an exciting environment, our guys are always talking about it during the offseason and how excited they are to be a part of one of the most exciting rivalries."

-- John Groce

Fun fact:

Notable alumni include: Brad Pitt, Sheryl Crow and Jon Hamm

Missouri school info:

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