On Thursday evening (7:00 P.M., MSN), the #10 Missouri Tigers (12-1) play host to the Old Dominion Monarchs (9-2). Old Dominion is coming off of a 63-54 win over Presbyterian. Earlier this season, Old Dominion lost to Georgetown by the score of 59-62.
Last season, Missouri defeated Old Dominion 66-61, in the South Padre Island Invitational. This season, Old Dominion has beaten Clemson and Xavier on a neutral floor, and has already built a tournament-worthy resume.
Old Dominion is coached by Blaine Taylor, who is two wins away from becoming the all-time winningest coach at ODU. The Monarchs are big and physical, and are dominant on the boards, out-rebounding opponents by 13.4 rebounds per game. Coach Taylor has been regularly playing about 9 guys.
Old Dominion is led in scoring by 6'5" junior G Kent Bazemore (13.1 points/game, 5.1 rebounds/game, 2.3 steals/game), who is a volume shooter, with decent shooting percentages (45% FG, 36% 3-PT FG). The Monarchs are getting a near double-double from 6'9" senior C Frank Hassell (12.4 points/game, 9.7 rebounds/game, 1.9 blocks/game), and good production from 6'5" senior F Ben Finney (11 points/game, 6 rebounds/game).
Old Dominion's starting line-up includes 6'0" senior G Darius James (6.7 points/game, 3.2 assists/game), and 6'9" junior F Chris Cooper (4.6 points/game, 5.5 rebounds/game). Sometime starter, 6'8" senior F Keyon Carter (9.1 points/game, 6.1 rebounds/game) logs starter-like minutes for the Monarchs, followed off of the bench by 6'3" junior G Trian Iliadis (8.1 points/game), who is the Monarchs' leading 3-PT shooter (46% 3-PT FG), 6'0" junior G Marquel De Lancey, and 6'8" sophomore F Nick Wright.
Old Dominion averages 69.8 points/game. The Monarchs are a decent, but not a great shooting team. Their guards do a pretty good job of taking care of the basketball, and their big guys really get on the glass, on both ends of the floor.
Missouri is led in scoring by Marcus Denmon, at 17.2 points/game. But Denmon, who is shooting 52% from the field, 49% from beyond the arc, and 90% from the FT line, leads the Tigers in many more ways than just in scoring. The junior guard is Missouri's most complete player, their most intelligent player, and their best defender. He's the stabilizing force on the court for the Tigers, and simply put, he just makes sure that his team wins.
Denmon is joined in the starting line-up by a quartet of juniors, in Ricardo Ratliffe (12.4 points/game, 7.3 rebounds/game), Laurence Bowers (12.3 points/game, 5.9 rebounds/game, 2.4 blocks/game), Matt Pressey (6.9 points/game), and Kim English (10.3 points/game). Sophomore guard Michael Dixon (10.4 points/game, 4.8 assists/game, 2.7 A/T ratio) may start at the point for the Tigers, or come off of the bench. Senior F Justin Safford (7.8 points/game, 4.2 rebounds/game), junior C Steve Moore, and freshman G Ricky Kreklow complete Coach Mike Anderson's current regular playing rotation.
For Missouri, everyone will have to rebound, to try to slow down ODU's obvious advantage, and the Tigers will have to play with great defensive intensity, to create some extra possessions to help to offset some of ODU's rebounding advantage, by turning the Monarchs over, but more importantly, to push the pace of the game out of Old Dominion's comfort zone.
The game has been announced as a sellout.
Missouri Old Dominion
FGM: 410 272
FGA: 845 617
FG %: .485 .441
3pt FGM: 97 64
3pt FGA: 256 175
3FG %: .379 .366
FTM: 200 160
FTA: 279 248
FT % .717 .645
Points: 1117 769
Per Game: 85.9 69.8
Reb./Gm 36.6 42.4
Steals 10.3 7.3
Assists: 18.9 14.1
Blocks: 5.4 5.2