Scouting Missouri

News, notes and quotes on No. 2 KU's Border War battle with No. 22 Missouri Saturday at 11 a.m. (CT) at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo., on CBS in the regular-season finale for both teams. A Jayhawk victory would give Kansas the outright Big 12 championship.

Kansas is 28-2 and 13-2 in the Big 12 following its 64-51 win over Texas A&M on Wednesday.

Also sending thoughts and prayers to Ed Manning's family. Manning, the former KU assistant coach under Larry Brown from 1983 to the 1988 national championship season and father of Jayhawk legend and current Kansas men's basketball assistant, Danny Manning, died Friday at age 67. He was a longtime NBA scout and proud father and grandfather.

SCOUTING Missouri

Missouri (22-8, 8-7 Big 12) has the nation's eighth longest homecourt winning streak at 17 games. MU will be looking to bounce back after losing two straight games at Kansas State (80-70) and at Nebraska (69-58) on Tuesday. The Tigers, who had previously won four straight, are led by Marcus Denmon. The 6-3 junior guard, who has paced MU in scoring in four of its last five games, leads the team in scoring (16.8 ppg), steals (53), three-point field goals (72), and three-point field goal percentage (46.5)

Other Tigers averaging in double figures are junior forward Laurence Bowers (11.5 ppg), junior forward Ricardo Ratliffe (10.9 ppg, team-high 6.4 rpg), sophomore guard Michael Dixon (10.3 ppg) and junior guard Kim English (10.3 ppg). Freshman guard Phil Pressey, who leads the Tigers with 106 assists, averages 6.5 points per game.

MU averages 82 points per game and allows 70.6. The Tigers are shooting 46.9 percent from the field, 37.9 percent from three-point range, and 72.7 percent at the free-throw line. They're holding opponents to 43.3 percent shooting and 33.5 percent from beyond the arc, while being outrebounded 36.8 to 35.8 boards per game.

LAST TIME OUT

KU beat MU, 103-86, in the last meeting in Allen Fieldhouse on Feb. 7. Marcus Morris led five Jayhawks in double figures with 22 points, while Mario Little scored a career-high 17 points off the bench. Missouri was led by Bowers with 19 points and Pressey with 17.

KU shot 60.7 percent from the field and 57.9 percent from three-point range, while dominating the boards, 38-21. MU, though, shot an impressive 51.7 percent from the floor and a scorching 57.7 percent in the first half.

The Jayhawks, who led just 46-42 at halftime, scored 57 points in the second half.

KU coach Bill Self is looking for a better defensive effort in Round Two.

"We have to do a better job defensively," Self said. "We allowed it to be a horse contest the first half against them, and they stepped up and made all of their shots."

KU'S BIG 12 DOMINANCE

KU, which clinched a tie for the Big 12 title with its win over the Aggies Wednesday, has now won 11 of the 15 Big 12 regular-season championships (includes ties), including the last seven. Kansas' 54 conference titles are the most in NCAA Division I. KU's seven-straight league titles set a school record, eclipsing the six straight from 1922-27.

JAYHAWKS HYPED FOR BORDER WAR

KU is plenty hyped for this Border War battle in Columbia.

"It's Missouri," Self said. "It's the rivalry more than anything else. We could play shirts and skins with nobody in the stands, and I think our guys would be excited to play. That's probably the primary thing, but also the chance to win the league outright is a big factor."

KU definitely does not want to share the Big 12 title with Texas, which is one game behind Kansas and plays  Baylor Saturday night in Austin.

"In all honesty, I don't think anybody would like to share if they don't have to," Self said. "I think in this particular situation it's good to be selfish. We don't have anything against Texas personally, but we'd just assume the trophy resided only in Lawrence as opposed to Lawrence and Austin."

"We're definitely not happy sharing it," junior forward Markieff Morris added. "We want to win it outright every year. It's going to be a tough game for us at Missouri, but we're going to try to get it done."

"TIGHT HUDDLE"

KU was whipped by KSU, 84-68, on Valentine's Day in its last time in a hostile road environment at Manhattan after the Jayhawks had jumped to No. 1 in the polls earlier that day. Kansas knows it must keep its poise Saturday in what should be a frenzied Mizzou Arena.

"We're going to feel some pressure," Self said, "so we need to have a tight huddle and really talk about why we didn't succeed in Manhattan to make sure our mindset is such that we have a better chance to succeed in Columbia."

LOOKING AHEAD TO KANSAS CITY

Kansas is guaranteed either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed and first-round bye for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship March 9-12 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The Jayhawks will open postseason play on Thursday, March 10 at either 11:30 a.m. if they are the No. 1 seed or 6 p.m. if they are the No. 2 seed.

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