Missouri vs Kansas State Basketball Preview

On Tuesday evening (6:00 P.M., ESPN2), the #3 Missouri Tigers (25-2, 12-2) play host to the Kansas State Wildcats (18-8, 7-7) in conference action.

On Tuesday evening (6:00 P.M., ESPN2), the #3 Missouri Tigers (25-2, 12-2) play host to the Kansas State Wildcats (18-8, 7-7) in conference action.

Kansas State comes in off of a 57-56 road win at Baylor.

The Tigers are tied with Kansas for first place in the Big 12, and are coming home off of a 71-62 road win at Texas A&M.  In the second half of that contest, Matt Pressey turned his ankle and limped off the court, and did not return in that game.  He practiced with the team on Monday, and Coach Haith reported that Matt Pressey "will be ready to play" against Kansas State.

Earlier this season, Missouri lost at Kansas State by a score of 59-75.

"They took us out to the woodshed,"  said Missouri Head Coach Frank Haith, referring to his team's loss at Kansas State. "I mean, they whipped us.  It's as simple as that.  They physically dominated the game, and they physically dominated us, on the glass, and in all aspects of the game.  I mean, it was a butt-whipping.  They took it right to us."

"We understand that there's no doubt that K-State can come in here and whip us just like they whipped us in Manhattan, if we ain't ready to play,"   continued Coach Haith.  "We've got to be ready to play.  And it's going to take a yeoman's effort for us to beat K-State, even in our own house.  They're that type of team that can really take us out, and be very physical with us."

In that earlier game in Manhattan, Kansas State held Missouri to a season-low 59 points, which is more than 20 points below their season average, and to a season-low 32.7% in field goal shooting, which is more than 17% below their season average.  Kansas State dominated the Tigers in the paint that day, with a 46-18 advantage on points in the paint.  Kansas State shot 49% from the field on that day in Manhattan, 6 percentage points above their season average, and the Wildcats's 79 points that day was 8 points above their season average, and 13 points above their conference scoring average. 

In addition, the Wildcats turned the tables on Missouri that day in the assist-to-turnover department, as the Big 12's eighth-ranked assist-to-turnover team outperformed the league's best in that department by a 1.3 to 0.7 margin.

Coach Haith's assessment of what took place on January 7th in Manhattan appears to be accurate, and his candor is appreciated.

On Monday, Kansas State Head Coach Frank Martin was asked his impression of what took place in Manhattan?  His response was insightful, but also contained some psychology directed at his own team.

"I don't think there was anything special to it,"  replied coach Martin, referring to Kansas State's 75-59 win over Missouri.  "It was one of those games.  I think we were coming off of an embarrassing performance at Kansas.  It was our conference home opener.   And I just think, I don't want to speak for (Missouri), you'd have to ask (Coach Haith) about this, but they had just been pounding people into oblivion, and they probably came in here a little too relaxed for a Big 12 road game.  We were fortunate to make shots, and kind of get away from them.  They kept battling, and battling.  We kind of created some separation that was hard (for them) to overcome.  I don't anticipate that we're going to get anything (on Tuesday) but the best game that they've played all year."

Kansas State is a very physical team, and they will try to make this game as ugly as possible in an attempt to gain every physical advantage.  The Wildcats have tremendous size, depth, and athleticism.  K-State leads the league in possessions.   

Kansas State's leading scorer is 6'4" junior guard Rodney McGruder, who is averaging 16.2 points/game, 5.2 rebounds/game, 1.4 assists/game, and 1.2 steals/game in conference play.  In conference games, he's Kansas State's only double-digit scorer.

Kansas State Starters (18-8) - Based on the most recent game

Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown

F 21 Jordan Henriquez 6-11 250 Jr. 6.0 4.6 0.6 0.3 Port Chester, N.Y.

F 32 Jamar Samuels 6-7 230 Sr. 10.0 6.3 1.3 1.0 Washington, D.C.

G 13 Angel Rodriguez 5-11 180 Fr. 7.7 2.4 2.8 1.1 Miami, Fla.

G 22 Rodney McGruder 6-4 205 Jr. 14.5 5.3 1.3 1.2 Washington, D.C.

G 55 Will Spradling 6-2 180 So. 10.2 2.3 2.7 0.8 Overland Park, Kan.

In conference, Coach Martin is regularly playing 10 people.  And, he's getting balanced scoring from a number of players, as the Wildcats have 6 players who are averaging at least 5 points/game in conference.  Two of Coach Martin's top scoring threats are 6'7" senior forward Jamar Samuels, who is averaging 8.7 points/game, 5.7 rebounds/game, and 1 steal/game in conference play, and 6'2" sophomore guard Will Spradling, who is averaging 8.8 points/game, and 2.7 assists/game in conference.  Between them, Spradling and McGruder have hoisted over half of K-State's 3-PT field goal attempts in conference games.  McGruder is making 38% of his 3-PT attempts in conference play, while Spradling is making just 27% of his 3-PT field goal attempts in conference.  But, don't be lulled into thinking that Spradling isn't a dead-eye 3-PT shooter.  In conference games, teams are aware of his shooting prowess, and he's taken more guarded shots from behind the arc.

There's three more Wildcats to pay attention to behind the arc.  In conference play, Samuels is shooting 36% from behind the arc, as he's taking 3-PT shots primarily from straight up top. 

In just 21 minutes/game, 5'11" freshman PG Angel Rodriguez (8.0 points/game, 3.2 assists/game, 1.2 steals/game, 54% FT% in conference games) is getting up almost three 3-PT shots/game in conference play.  He's making just 28% from out there, but when he's not breaking people down off of the dribble, he's not afraid to jack it up.  The Wildcats most accurate 3-PT shooter in conference play has been 6'1" junior guard Martavious Irving, who's been more judicious about taking three-pointers, and in conference, he's made half of his 3-PT attempts.

In non-conference play, 6'6" sophomore Shane Southwell was shooting 40% from 3-PT land, but he's not taking, or making, many three-pointers in conference play.  Southwell is averaging 1.7 assists/game, and he's one of just two Wildcats, along with Will Spradling, who has more assists than turnovers. 

Coach Martin has a big man duo to dwarf the diminutive Tigers, in 6'11" junior forward Jordan Henriquez (4.5 points/game, 3.7 rebounds/game, 1.7 blocks/game in conference games) and 6'7" freshman forward Thomas Gipson (5.8 points/game, 5.7 rebounds/game in conference).  And, minutes have increased during conference play for 6'10" freshman forward Adrian Diaz, to make it a trio of tall trees rotating through the paint for the Wildcats.

Coach Frank Martin's club really gets after it on the defensive end, and they like to extend their defense to the perimeter, and get into the passing lanes.   They also like to play defense with their hands.   On the defensive  end, the Wildcats have turned their conference opponents over nearly 17 times per game.

On offense, they are an attacking team, as well.  As a result of their sustained efforts to get the ball inside, Kansas State has taken nearly 22 free throws/game in conference play, which ranks third in the conference, although the Wildcats have made just 67% of their free throws in conference, which ranks ninth in the Big 12.

In conference, K-State has turned the ball over more than 15 times per game, which ranks ninth in the conference.  And as a team, Kansas State has a 0.8 assist/turnover ratio in conference games, which ranks eighth in the Big 12. 

The Wildcats have scored 65.9 points/game, and have shot 42% from the field in conference play.

Missouri is the most efficient offensive team in the country, scoring 1.18 points/possession.    The Tigers rank second nationally in field goal percentage, at 50.3%.  Other national ranking for the Tigers include fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.53), sixth in turnover margin (+4.59), sixth in scoring (79.9), fifth in free throw percentage (77%), and the Tigers have committed the tenth-fewest turnovers (10.4 turnovers/game) in the country.

In addition, Missouri ranks first in the Big 12 in scoring (74.1 points/game) in conference games, and the Tigers are first in the Big 12 in turnovers (+2.57 turnovers/game) and assist to turnover ratio (1.36 A/T) in conference games.

A win on Tuesday would raise the Tigers' record to 26-2, which would be the best start in Missouri history.  In 1989-1990, and again in 1993-1994, Missouri stood at 25-2, but each time the Tigers lost their next game.

With 102 career victories, Marcus Denmon, Kim English, Steve Moore and Jarrett Sutton are the winningest senior class in Missouri history.  On Tuesday, Denmon and English will tie Mike Sandbothe for the most games played (134) in Missouri history.

Denmon is one of Missouri's all-time greats, a certain All-Conference player for the second straight year, and a strong All-American candidate.   The Kansas City (MO) native needs 38 points to move ahead of Rickey Paulding into ninth place on Missouri's career scoring list.

On Monday, Coach Haith touted English as an All-Conference player, as well.

"Kim English has been absolutely incredible!  What he's done,"  said Coach Haith.  "Most importantly, he's our leader.  And, he's been tremendous in that aspect, and just one of the great leaders I've ever been around.  The fact that he's bought in to playing out of position, and we play mostly man (defense), guarding other teams' power forward, and just doing a tremendous job of that, doing his work early, just studying his opponent, and looking to their strengths and their weaknesses.  He's been absolutely incredible with that!  And then he's had his best year offensively.  You look at his numbers: field goal percentage, 3-PT percentage, free throw percentage.   All of those numbers are up from his previous three years.  He's having a tremendous year.  All seven of those guys are valuable.  I don't think we could do without any one of those seven guys, but Kim English is having a tremendous, all-conference type year."  

In conference, and for the season, Missouri has 5 double-digit scorers.  And in conference, Missouri has 5 players who are shooting at least 35% from behind the 3-PT line.  Neither of the other two Missouri players have taken a 3-PT shot in conference.

One of those other players is senior forward Ricardo Raliffe, who is leading the nation in field-goal percentage, at 72.6% on the season.

Missouri Starters (25-2) - Based on the most recent game

Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown

F 10 Ricardo Ratli?e 6-8 240 Sr. 13.7 7.0 0.6 0.7 Hampton, Va.

G 12 Marcus Denmon 6-3 185 Sr. 17.8 5.2 2.3 1.4 Kansas City, Mo.

G 24 Kim English 6-6 200 Sr. 14.2 4.1 1.6 1.4 Baltimore, Md.

G 03 Matt Pressey 6-2 195 Sr. 6.7 3.2 1.7 0.9 Dallas, Texas

G 01 Phil Pressey 5-10 175 So. 10.0 3.4 5.9 2.1 Dallas, Texas

Another one of Missouri's double-digit scorers, and at 41% from behind the arc in conference play, the Tigers' top three-point shooter in conference games, is junior Michael Dixon, who has come off of the bench all season for Missouri.  In conference games, Dixon has averaged 12.6 points/game and 3.3 assists/game.  He has a 1.8 assist/turnover ratio in conference games.  Dixon is also one of four Missouri guards with an assist/turnover ratio in conference games of at least 1.5 assists/turnover.  In conference, Missouri's four guards, Denmon, Dixon, and the Presseys, have a collective 1.9 assist/turnover ratio.

Lately, Dixon has really raised the level of his play on both ends of the floor.  On Monday, K-State's Coach Martin was asked about Dixon?

"I think Mike Dixon has been great!  He's been tough,"  replied Coach Martin.  "His energy, his toughness, his willingness to make hard shots, if I was his teammate, I know I'd love to be on the court with him, because I don't think I've ever seen him go on the floor ever since I first watched him as a sophomore in high school, and play without enthusiasm.  That young man is wired with enthusiasm!  It's got to be contagious.  The way that he plays is a whole lot of fun!"

Fun.   I think that sums up my expectations for Kansas State at Missouri on Tuesday.

Earlier, Coach Haith repeated his team's recipe for success, which includes playing great defense, rebounding the basketball effectively, and getting to the free throw line, where Missouri shoots 77% as a team.  I think the Tigers will be ready to play.

"We understand that Kansas State really handed it to us early in the year,"  said Coach Haith.  "And, we've got to have our very best effort to have success on Tuesday night."

Comparative Statistics

Missouri   Kansas State

Record:  25-2  18-8

FGM:  750  638

FGA:  1491  1472

FG %:  .503  .433

3pt FGM: 215  145

3pt FGA:  555  440

3FG %:  .387  .330

FTM:  443  427

FTA:  575  649

FT %  .770  .658

Points:  2158  1848

Per Game: 79.9  71.1

Reb./Gm 32.3  38.3

Steals  8.6  6.2

Assists:  16.0  14.0

Blocks:  2.9  4.7

his team's loss at Kansas State.  "I mean, they whipped us.  It's as simple as that.  They physically dominated the game, and they physically dominated us, on the glass, and in all aspects of the game.  I mean, it was a butt-whipping.  They took it right to us."

"We understand that there's no doubt that K-State can come in here and whip us just like they whipped us in Manhattan, if we ain't ready to play,"   continued Coach Haith.  "We've got to be ready to play.  And it's going to take a yeoman's effort for us to beat K-State, even in our own house.  They're that type of team that can really take us out, and be very physical with us."

In that earlier game in Manhattan, Kansas State held Missouri to a season-low 59 points, which is more than 20 points below their season average, and to a season-low 32.7% in field goal shooting, which is more than 17% below their season average.  Kansas State dominated the Tigers in the paint that day, with a 46-18 advantage on points in the paint.  Kansas State shot 49% from the field on that day in Manhattan, 6 percentage points above their season average, and the Wildcats's 79 points that day was 8 points above their season average, and 13 points above their conference scoring average. 

In addition, the Wildcats turned the tables on Missouri that day in the assist-to-turnover department, as the Big 12's eighth-ranked assist-to-turnover team outperformed the league's best in that department by a 1.3 to 0.7 margin.

Coach Haith's assessment of what took place on January 7th in Manhattan appears to be accurate, and his candor is appreciated.

On Monday, Kansas State Head Coach Frank Martin was asked his impression of what took place in Manhattan?  His response was insightful, but also contained some psychology directed at his own team.

"I don't think there was anything special to it,"  replied coach Martin, referring to Kansas State's 75-59 win over Missouri.  "It was one of those games.  I think we were coming off of an embarrassing performance at Kansas.  It was our conference home opener.   And I just think, I don't want to speak for (Missouri), you'd have to ask (Coach Haith) about this, but they had just been pounding people into oblivion, and they probably came in here a little too relaxed for a Big 12 road game.  We were fortunate to make shots, and kind of get away from them.  They kept battling, and battling.  We kind of created some separation that was hard (for them) to overcome.  I don't anticipate that we're going to get anything (on Tuesday) but the best game that they've played all year."

Kansas State is a very physical team, and they will try to make this game as ugly as possible in an attempt to gain every physical advantage.  The Wildcats have tremendous size, depth, and athleticism.  K-State leads the league in possessions.   

Kansas State's leading scorer is 6'4" junior guard Rodney McGruder, who is averaging 16.2 points/game, 5.2 rebounds/game, 1.4 assists/game, and 1.2 steals/game in conference play.  In conference games, he's Kansas State's only double-digit scorer.

Kansas State Starters (18-8) - Based on the most recent game

Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown

F 21 Jordan Henriquez 6-11 250 Jr. 6.0 4.6 0.6 0.3 Port Chester, N.Y.

F 32 Jamar Samuels 6-7 230 Sr. 10.0 6.3 1.3 1.0 Washington, D.C.

G 13 Angel Rodriguez 5-11 180 Fr. 7.7 2.4 2.8 1.1 Miami, Fla.

G 22 Rodney McGruder 6-4 205 Jr. 14.5 5.3 1.3 1.2 Washington, D.C.

G 55 Will Spradling 6-2 180 So. 10.2 2.3 2.7 0.8 Overland Park, Kan.

In conference, Coach Martin is regularly playing 10 people.  And, he's getting balanced scoring from a number of players, as the Wildcats have 6 players who are averaging at least 5 points/game in conference.  Two of Coach Martin's top scoring threats are 6'7" senior forward Jamar Samuels, who is averaging 8.7 points/game, 5.7 rebounds/game, and 1 steal/game in conference play, and 6'2" sophomore guard Will Spradling, who is averaging 8.8 points/game, and 2.7 assists/game in conference.  Between them, Spradling and McGruder have hoisted over half of K-State's 3-PT field goal attempts in conference games.  McGruder is making 38% of his 3-PT attempts in conference play, while Spradling is making just 27% of his 3-PT field goal attempts in conference.  But, don't be lulled into thinking that Spradling isn't a dead-eye 3-PT shooter.  In conference games, teams are aware of his shooting prowess, and he's taken more guarded shots from behind the arc.

There's three more Wildcats to pay attention to behind the arc.  In conference play, Samuels is shooting 36% from behind the arc, as he's taking 3-PT shots primarily from straight up top. 

In just 21 minutes/game, 5'11" freshman PG Angel Rodriguez (8.0 points/game, 3.2 assists/game, 1.2 steals/game, 54% FT% in conference games) is getting up almost three 3-PT shots/game in conference play.  He's making just 28% from out there, but when he's not breaking people down off of the dribble, he's not afraid to jack it up.  The Wildcats most accurate 3-PT shooter in conference play has been 6'1" junior guard Martavious Irving, who's been more judicious about taking three-pointers, and in conference, he's made half of his 3-PT attempts.

In non-conference play, 6'6" sophomore Shane Southwell was shooting 40% from 3-PT land, but he's not taking, or making, many three-pointers in conference play.  Southwell is averaging 1.7 assists/game, and he's one of just two Wildcats, along with Will Spradling, who has more assists than turnovers. 

Coach Martin has a big man duo to dwarf the diminutive Tigers, in 6'11" junior forward Jordan Henriquez (4.5 points/game, 3.7 rebounds/game, 1.7 blocks/game in conference games) and 6'7" freshman forward Thomas Gipson (5.8 points/game, 5.7 rebounds/game in conference).  And, minutes have increased during conference play for 6'10" freshman forward Adrian Diaz, to make it a trio of tall trees rotating through the paint for the Wildcats.

Coach Frank Martin's club really gets after it on the defensive end, and they like to extend their defense to the perimeter, and get into the passing lanes.   They also like to play defense with their hands.   On the defensive  end, the Wildcats have turned their conference opponents over nearly 17 times per game.

On offense, they are an attacking team, as well.  As a result of their sustained efforts to get the ball inside, Kansas State has taken nearly 22 free throws/game in conference play, which ranks third in the conference, although the Wildcats have made just 67% of their free throws in conference, which ranks ninth in the Big 12.

In conference, K-State has turned the ball over more than 15 times per game, which ranks ninth in the conference.  And as a team, Kansas State has a 0.8 assist/turnover ratio in conference games, which ranks eighth in the Big 12. 

The Wildcats have scored 65.9 points/game, and have shot 42% from the field in conference play.

Missouri is the most efficient offensive team in the country, scoring 1.18 points/possession.    The Tigers rank second nationally in field goal percentage, at 50.3%.  Other national ranking for the Tigers include fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.53), sixth in turnover margin (+4.59), sixth in scoring (79.9), fifth in free throw percentage (77%), and the Tigers have committed the tenth-fewest turnovers (10.4 turnovers/game) in the country.

In addition, Missouri ranks first in the Big 12 in scoring (74.1 points/game) in conference games, and the Tigers are first in the Big 12 in turnovers (+2.57 turnovers/game) and assist to turnover ratio (1.36 A/T) in conference games.

A win on Tuesday would raise the Tigers' record to 26-2, which would be the best start in Missouri history.  In 1989-1990, and again in 1993-1994, Missouri stood at 25-2, but each time the Tigers lost their next game.

With 102 career victories, Marcus Denmon, Kim English, Steve Moore and Jarrett Sutton are the winningest senior class in Missouri history.  On Tuesday, Denmon and English will tie Mike Sandbothe for the most games played (134) in Missouri history.

Denmon is one of Missouri's all-time greats, a certain All-Conference player for the second straight year, and a strong All-American candidate.   The Kansas City (MO) native needs 38 points to move ahead of Rickey Paulding into ninth place on Missouri's career scoring list.

On Monday, Coach Haith touted English as an All-Conference player, as well.

"Kim English has been absolutely incredible!  What he's done,"  said Coach Haith.  "Most importantly, he's our leader.  And, he's been tremendous in that aspect, and just one of the great leaders I've ever been around.  The fact that he's bought in to playing out of position, and we play mostly man (defense), guarding other teams' power forward, and just doing a tremendous job of that, doing his work early, just studying his opponent, and looking to their strengths and their weaknesses.  He's been absolutely incredible with that!  And then he's had his best year offensively.  You look at his numbers: field goal percentage, 3-PT percentage, free throw percentage.   All of those numbers are up from his previous three years.  He's having a tremendous year.  All seven of those guys are valuable.  I don't think we could do without any one of those seven guys, but Kim English is having a tremendous, all-conference type year."  

In conference, and for the season, Missouri has 5 double-digit scorers.  And in conference, Missouri has 5 players who are shooting at least 35% from behind the 3-PT line.  Neither of the other two Missouri players have taken a 3-PT shot in conference.

One of those other players is senior forward Ricardo Raliffe, who is leading the nation in field-goal percentage, at 72.6% on the season.

Missouri Starters (25-2) - Based on the most recent game

Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown

F 10 Ricardo Ratli?e 6-8 240 Sr. 13.7 7.0 0.6 0.7 Hampton, Va.

G 12 Marcus Denmon 6-3 185 Sr. 17.8 5.2 2.3 1.4 Kansas City, Mo.

G 24 Kim English 6-6 200 Sr. 14.2 4.1 1.6 1.4 Baltimore, Md.

G 03 Matt Pressey 6-2 195 Sr. 6.7 3.2 1.7 0.9 Dallas, Texas

G 01 Phil Pressey 5-10 175 So. 10.0 3.4 5.9 2.1 Dallas, Texas

Another one of Missouri's double-digit scorers, and at 41% from behind the arc in conference play, the Tigers' top three-point shooter in conference games, is junior Michael Dixon, who has come off of the bench all season for Missouri.  In conference games, Dixon has averaged 12.6 points/game and 3.3 assists/game.  He has a 1.8 assist/turnover ratio in conference games.  Dixon is also one of four Missouri guards with an assist/turnover ratio in conference games of at least 1.5 assists/turnover.  In conference, Missouri's four guards, Denmon, Dixon, and the Presseys, have a collective 1.9 assist/turnover ratio.

Lately, Dixon has really raised the level of his play on both ends of the floor.  On Monday, K-State's Coach Martin was asked about Dixon?

"I think Mike Dixon has been great!  He's been tough,"  replied Coach Martin.  "His energy, his toughness, his willingness to make hard shots, if I was his teammate, I know I'd love to be on the court with him, because I don't think I've ever seen him go on the floor ever since I first watched him as a sophomore in high school, and play without enthusiasm.  That young man is wired with enthusiasm!  It's got to be contagious.  The way that he plays is a whole lot of fun!"

Fun.   I think that sums up my expectations for Kansas State at Missouri on Tuesday.

Earlier, Coach Haith repeated his team's recipe for success, which includes playing great defense, rebounding the basketball effectively, and getting to the free throw line, where Missouri shoots 77% as a team.  I think the Tigers will be ready to play.

"We understand that Kansas State really handed it to us early in the year,"  said Coach Haith.  "And, we've got to have our very best effort to have success on Tuesday night."

Comparative Statistics

Missouri   Kansas State

Record:  25-2  18-8

FGM:  750  638

FGA:  1491  1472

FG %:  .503  .433

3pt FGM: 215  145

3pt FGA:  555  440

3FG %:  .387  .330

FTM:  443  427

FTA:  575  649

FT %  .770  .658

Points:  2158  1848

Per Game: 79.9  71.1

Reb./Gm 32.3  38.3

Steals  8.6  6.2

Assists:  16.0  14.0

Blocks:  2.9  4.7


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