Tiger Basketball Preview: Big 12 Tourney

The Missouri Tigers begin play in the Big 12 conference tournament against the Texas Tech Red Raiders tonight in Kansas City

On Wednesday night (8:30 P.M., Big 12 Network), the Missouri Tigers (22-9, 8-8) take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders (13-18, 5-11), at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, in the first round of the Big 12 Conference Tournament.  


The Tigers are seeded 6th in the Tournament, and would face #21 Texas A&M (23-7, 10-6) on Thursday, in the same time slot (8:30 P.M., ESPN2), if they are able to advance past the Red Raiders.
Should Missouri advance beyond the second round, they would play in the evening semifinal on Friday (8:30 P.M., Big 12 Network).


The Finals of the conference tournament will be played on Saturday (5:00 P.M., ESPN).


In the two teams' previous meeting, Missouri eked out a 92-84 win over Texas Tech at Mizzou Arena, in what was an unimpressive performance by the Tigers.


In that game, the Tigers were led in scoring by Marcus Denmon, who had 20 points, on 9 of 13 shooting.  Kim English had scored 16 points, including 7 of 11 from the FT line, and had garnered 7 rebounds for Missouri.  On that evening, Missouri shot 58% from the field, including 47% from behind the 3-PT line, and had collected 18 assists on 36 made baskets.
Coach Anderson had utilized a smaller line-up fo

r a portion of that game, at least partly due to Missouri's bigs being in foul trouble, and Ricky Kreklow had come in and had given Missouri a big boost, with his energy on defense, and by hitting the boards.


For Texas Tech, 5'11" senior G John Roberson had scored 21 points against Missouri, and  6'3" senior G David Tairu had finished that game with 17 points.  The Red Raiders had won the battle of the boards by a 38-31 margin, but had committed 17 turnovers on the game.


On Monday, Texas Tech University President Guy Bailey announced that the Red Raiders' Head Coach, Pat Knight, will be relieved of his duties at the conclusion of the season.


Knight will continue to coach the team through the Big 12 Conference Championships. 


Roberson, who is averaging 15.1 points/game, 4.3 assists/game, and is hitting 43% of his 3-PT attempts, in conference play, is Coach Knight's leading scorer.  He's a tough match-up, because of his quickness off of the dribble, in addition to his excellent perimeter shooting.


During conference play, the Red Raiders shot 39% as a team from behind the arc.  In addition to Roberson, Tech's primary 3-PT threats are 6'6" senior F Brad Reese (10 points/game, 3.9 rebounds/game, 32% 3-PT FG%, in conference play), and Tairu (9.4 points/game, 43% 3-PT FG%, in conference play).


Completing the Red Raiders' starting line-up is 6'10" junior F/C Robert Lewandowski (7.3 points/game, 4.5 rebounds/game, in conference play), and 6'7" senior F D'Walyn Roberts (7.3 points/game, 6.1 rebounds/game, in conference play).


Regulars off of the bench for Tech include 6'7" freshman F Jaye Crockett, 6'5" senior F Mike Singletary (11.6 points/game, 5.5 rebounds/game, in conference play), 6'8" junior F Paul Cooper, and 5'11" freshman G Javarez Willis.   Crockett is a versatile player whom Coach Knight compared to some of the interchangeable guys that Missouri has on their roster.  He gave Missouri some problems around the basket in that earlier encounter.


A couple of other reserves, 6'2" sophomore G Mike Davis, and 6'4" senior G Wally Dunn, have seen very limited action for the Red Raiders during conference play.


Three Missouri players were recognized earlier this week with All-Conference honors.  Marcus Denmon was named First Team All-Big 12.  Denmon was the only guard in the conference with a field goal percentage over 50%.  He's also the first guard to lead Missouri in scoring and shoot over 50% from the field since Melvin Booker (93-94).


Laurence Bowers and Ricardo Ratliffe were named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.  Bowers was also named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team.  Ratliffe was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, and to the Big 12 All-Rookie Team.


In addition to Missouri's big three, a pair of guards, Phil Pressey and Michael Dixon, have also played pretty well for the Tigers during conference play.


For Missouri, who staggered to an 8-8 finish in conference play, a win or two in Kansas City would be a shot in the arm for the program.


Comparative Statistics
Missouri    Texas Tech
FGM: 909 802
FGA: 1959 1796
FG %: .464 .447
3pt FGM: 229 170
3pt FGA: 620 467
3FG %: .369 .364
FTM: 479 484
FTA: 654 670
FT % .732 .722
Points: 2526 2258
Per Game: 81.5 72.8
Reb./Gm 35.6 33.5
Steals 9.7 6.0
Assists: 16.6 13.2
Blocks: 5.2 4.3


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