Tiger Basketball Preview: Northern Illinois

On Monday night at Mizzou Arena, the #9 Missouri Tigers play host to the Northern Illinois Huskies.We Preview the match-up

On Monday night (7:00 P.M., MSN) at Mizzou Arena, the #9 Missouri Tigers (11-1) play host to the Northern Illinois Huskies (3-6). Northern Illinois, of the MAC conference, is coming off of a 49-61 loss at Southern Illinois. Northern Illinois' best win is a two-point win at home over Illinois-Chicago.

Northern Illinois is coached by former Colorado coach Ricardo Patton. The Huskies leading scorer is 6'5" senior G Xavier Silas, who is averaging 26.2 points/game, and 4.6 rebounds/game. Silas puts up a lot of shots, and hits a good percentage. He's also getting to the FT line with frequency, and is hitting 90% from the charity stripe.

Northern Illinois has depth, as Coach Patton has been playing 10 or 11 people, but what they don't have is much height.

The Huskies starting forwards, 6'7" junior Tim Toler (7.1 points/game, 3.3 rebounds/game), and wide-bodied 6'6" freshman Nate Rucker (7.2 points/game, 4.4 rebounds/game) provide most of the size for northern Illinois. Coach Patton brings each of 6'7" freshman F Aksel Bolin, and 6'9" junior F Cameron Madlock off the bench for about 12 minutes/game.

In the back court with Silas, Coach Patton has a few more options. Starting guards, 6'2" senior Jeremy Landers (6.1 points/game), and 6'1" junior Bryan Hall (5.2 points/game, 3.2 assists/game), are followed in off of the bench by 6'4" sophomore G Tony Nixon (6.5 points/game), 6'5" junior G Lee Fisher (4.1 rebounds/game), 5'10" senior G Michael Patton, and 6'2" RSF G Antone Christian.

On the season, Northern Illinois has been outscored and outrebounded, and have committed more turnovers than they have dished out assists.

Missouri is led in scoring by 6'3" junior G Marcus Denmon, who is averaging 16.7 points/game. He is Missouri's best, and most complete player. He's also the Tigers' most intelligent player, and their best defender, as well as Missouri's Mr. Clutch.

The Tigers have five players averaging double-digit scoring, including Denmon, 6'8" junior F Ricardo Ratliffe (12.3 points/game, 7.3 rebounds/game), 6'8" junior F Laurence Bowers (12 points/game, 6.2 rebounds/game), 6'6" junior G Kim English (10.9 points/game), and 6'1" sophomore G Michael Dixon (10.6 points/game, 4.5 assists/game). Off of the bench for Missouri is 6'9" senior F Justin Safford (7.7 points/game), 6'2" junior G Matt Pressey (5.9 points/game), 6'6" freshman G Ricky Kreklow and 6'9" junior center Steve Moore.

Recently, Missouri's been doing a much better job of taking care of the basketball, and Ratliffe and Bowers are doing yeoman work inside. On the season, the Tigers are barely outrebounding their opponents, but have raised their collective assist to turnover ration to 1.4 A/T. And, Missouri is turning opponents over at 20 per game. That's where Missouri should be able to take advantage of Northern Illinois.

Comparative Statistics

MU NIU

FGM: 373 214

FGA: 780 510

FG %: .478 .420

3pt FGM: 91 53

3pt FGA: 235 156

3FG %: .387 .340

FTM: 183 165

FTA: 252 223

FT % .726 .740

Points: 1020 646

Per Game: 85.0 71.8

Reb./Gm 36.2 35.4

Steals 10.1 6.3

Assists: 18.3 12.8

Blocks: 5.3 2.3


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