Tiger Basketball Preview: Vanderbilt Visits

The Vanderbilt Commodores come to Mizzou Arena Wednesday to tip off against the Missouri Tigers

On Wednesday evening (8:00 P.M., ESPNU) at Mizzou Arena, the #15/#11 Missouri Tigers (6-1) play host to the Vanderbilt Commodores (7-1). Vanderbilt is receiving votes in both polls, is coming of of a 85-76 win over Belmont, and also owns a 72-65 win over North Carolina. The Commodores' only blemish this season is a 74-71 neutral site loss to West Virginia. Last year, Vanderbilt defeated Missouri 89-83, in Nashville.

Vanderbilt is led by 6'4" sophomore G John Jenkins (18.6 points/game), who is hitting 38% from behind the arc, and 91% at the FT line, and 6'11" junior C Festus Ezeli (13.3 points/game, 7.8 rebounds/game). Another junior, 6'7" G/F Jeffrey Taylor (12.1 points/game, 3.9 rebounds/game) gives the Commodores a third double-digit scorer.

Kevin Stallings' Commodores have outscored opponents by a 79-63 margin, and are winning on the boards by a 40-31 margin. As a team, Vanderbilt has struggled some taking care of the basketball, and they venture into Columbia with a 0.98 A/TO ratio, averaging 16 turnovers/game.

The Commodores have just two players who have garnered more assists than turnovers, including 6'3" junior G Brad Tinsley (9.4 points/game, 4.9 rebounds/game, 5.3 assists/game, 1.6 A/T ratio) and 6'7" junior F Andre Walker (3.7 points/game, 3.9 rebounds/game, 3.3 assists/game, 2.6 A/T ratio).

Coach Stallings' team shoots the ball well, with five players who shoot at least 38% from beyond the arc. As a team, the Commodores are hitting 38% from 3-PT land, and are making 76% of their FTs.

Coach Stallings plays 9 guys, and brings in size, rebounding, and scoring off of the bench, including 6'8" junior F/G Lance Goulbourne (7.9 points/game, 6.5 rebounds/game), 6'9" senior F Steve Tchiengang (4.8 points/game, 4.4 rebounds/game), 6'9" freshman F Rod Odom (5.8 points/game), and 6'1" freshman G Kyle Fuller.

For Missouri, 6'3" junior G Marcus Denmon (16.4 points/game) is coming off of a career week, and was named Big 12 Player of the Week for his performances against Georgetown and Oregon. This was after being named the MVP of the Cancun Challenge. On the season, Denmon is making 56% of his 3-PT attempts, and is hitting 90% of his FTs. And, for the second straight week, 6'8" junior F Ricardo Ratliffe (12.4 points/game, 8.3 rebounds/game) was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week. Ratliffe is adjusting well to major college basketball.

In addition, Missouri brings three more double-digit scorers into this game, including 6'8" junior F Laurence Bowers (11.1 points/game, 6.1 rebounds.game), 6'1" sophomore G Michael Dixon (10.9 points/game, 4.1 assists/game, 2.6 A/T ratio), and 6'6" junior G Kim English (10.4 points/game).

Coach Anderson regularly plays 10 players for Missouri. His top reserves include 6'2" junior G Matt Pressey (6.7 points/game, 1.9 A/T ratio), 5'10" freshman G Phil Pressey, 6'9" junior F Justin Safford (6.3 points/game, 4.1 rebounds/game), 6'9" junior F Steve Moore, and 6'6" freshman G Ricky Kreklow.

Matt Pressey has started two games for the Tigers, and a strong argument can be made for more playing time for the hard-nosed defender, and Coach Anderson's "glue guy". He doesn't shoot it as much as Kim English, but a statistical comparison indicates that Matt is shooting the ball slightly better than English, and he's doing a much better job of playing defense, and of taking care of the basketball.

Moore leads the team in blocked shots, with just under 2/game, despite playing somewhat limited minutes, and Kreklow's all-around performance, including 50% shooting on 3-PT FGAs, seems to warrant increased playing time, as well.

Comparative Statistics

Mizzou Vanderbilt

Record: 6-1 7-1

FGM: 214 109

FGA: 450 445

FG %: .476 .470

3pt FGM: 51 64

3pt FGA: 136 169

3FG %: .375 .379

FTM: 114 153

FTA: 161 201

FT % .708 .761

Points: 593 635

Per Game: 84.7 79.4

Reb./Gm 36.3 40.6

Steals 10.7 5.4

Assists: 17.3 15.8

Blocks: 5.4 5.3

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