Missouri advanced with a 78-59 win over Cornell, in which they held the Big Red to 36 percent shooting from the field. Leo Lyons led all scorers with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
The Tigers are led on offense by a pair of senior forwards – Lyons and DeMarre Carroll – who average 14.5 points/6.1 rebounds and 16.7 points/7.3 rebounds, respectively.
Lyons is a strong rebounder with solid passing skills and the ability to hit the mid-range jump-shot, and he has been one of Mizzou's most consistent scorers over the past two seasons.
Carroll, the transfer from Vanderbilt, has a relentless motor that makes him a force around the basket on both ends of the floor. He has big-game potential, as he dropped 29 points in a road win over USC and had a season-high 31 at Iowa State. Conversely, a big part of Illinois' 75-59 victory in this season's Braggin' Rights game was holding Carroll to 6 points and 1 rebound.
Junior combo guard Zaire Taylor, a transfer from Delaware, could also cause problems with his length. He stands 6-4 and has a 6-7 wingspan. Point guard J.T. Tiller, also a junior, is a strong perimeter defender who is adept as getting his hand in the passing lane. Their final starter, senior guard Matt Lawrence, is a 40 percent three-point shooter.
The Tigers are an up-tempo team that likes to use full court-pressure, and to keep bodies fresh for this style of play, they employ a rotation that sees nine players average at least 10 minutes per game.
The Golden Eagles and Tigers have split in eight previous meetings, with the most recent matchup a 101-92 overtime victory for Marquette en-route to the 2003 Final Four.
And on a campus where the greatest football Cinderella of our generation once practiced behind-the-back handoffs in the gloamin, one of these two teams will fulfill their dream of returning to the Sweet-16.