The Red Raiders are coming off of a 48-77 Monday evening loss at Baylor.
On Wednesday, Missouri defeated the Iowa State Cyclones by the final score of 78-72, to clinch second place in the Big 12 Conference.
Just over a month ago, the Tigers posted a 63-50 home win over the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech has been described as one of the hardest playing teams in the country. Texas Tech Head Coach Billy Gillispie doesn't have the most talented team, but the Red Raiders are dangerous, in part because they play so hard.
In conference, Texas Tech is regularly playing ten players. On the season, the Red Raiders are led by 6'7" freshman forward Jordan Tolbert, who with season averages of 11.6 points/game and 5.8 rebounds/game, is the only Texas Tech player scoring in double figures on the season. In conference, Tolbert is averaging 8.9 points/game and 5.6 rebounds/game.
In conference games, 6'7" sophomore Jaye Crockett is averaging 10.3 points/game and 5.9 rebounds/game, which leads the Red Raiders in both categories.
The Red Raiders lone senior, 6'10" Robert Lewandowski, is scoring 5.9 points/game and grabbing 3.1 rebounds/game, in conference play.
Coach Gillispie has a trio of guards who shoot the basketball very well, in 5'11" sophomore Javarez Willis, who is averaging 8.4 points/game, 2.4 rebounds/game, 1.4 assists/game in conference, and who has shot 80% FT% and 32% 3-PT FG% in conference games, 6'1" junior Ty Nurse, who is averaging 7.5 points/game and 2.5 assists/game in conference play, and who is shooting 37% 3-PT FG%, and 90% FT% in conference, and 5'9" freshman Luke Adams, who is averaging 3.6 points/game, and 1 assist/game, and who has shot 34% 3-PT FG% and 73% FT% in conference games.
Texas Tech Starters (8-21, 1-16) - Based on the most recent game
Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown
F 2 Terran Petteway 6-6 185 Fr. 3.4 2.2 0.7 0.2 Galveston, Texas
F 32 Jordan Tolbert 6-7 210 Fr. 11.6 5.8 0.7 0.6 Fort Worth, Texas
C 15 Robert Lewandowski 6-10 245 Sr. 6.7 3.6 1.1 0.1 Overland Park, Kan.
G 4 Ty Nurse 6-1 185 Jr. 8.8 1.8 1.9 0.8 Vancouver, B.C.
G 5 Javarez Willis 5-11 170 So. 8.5 2.4 1.9 0.6 Homer, La.
In Big 12 play, the Red Raiders have scored just 53.6 points/game. Texas Tech has shot just 39% from the field in conference games, and the Red Raiders have been out-rebounded by more than 5 rebounds/game in conference. But, the statistic that really shines a light on Texas Tech's offensive struggles is their 0.6 assist/turnover ratio in conference games.
Still, Texas Tech is a scrappy bunch, and they are always a dangerous opponent who will play with ferocity until the final buzzer. And looking ahead, if the Red Raiders can get past Oklahoma State in the first round of the Big 12 Tourney next Wednesday, the Tigers could be facing Coach Gillespie's crew in back-to-back games.
A win on Saturday would give this year's Tigers the most regular-season wins in school history. In 1989-1990, Missouri finished the regular season at 26-4. The 2008-2009 team, of which several of this year's seniors were a part, won a total of 31 games, including 6 post-season wins.
Missouri's 74.7 points/game in Big 12 games ranks first in the conference. On the season, Missouri ranks first nationally in offensive efficiency, averaging 1.17 points per possession. The Tigers also rank third nationally in field goal percentage, at 49.9%, fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.54), sixth in turnover margin (+5.6), sixth in scoring (79.7 points/game), and tenth in free-throw percentage (77%).
Missouri Starters (26-4, 13-4) - Based on the most recent game
Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown
F 10 Ricardo Ratliffe 6-8 240 Sr. 13.9 7.2 0.6 0.6 Hampton Va.
G 12 Marcus Denmon 6-3 185 Sr. 18.0 5.1 2.2 1.5 Kansas City, Mo.
G 24 Kim English 6-6 200 Sr. 13.9 4.3 1.6 1.3 Baltimore, Md.
G 3 Matt Pressey 6-2 195 Sr. 6.1 3.0 1.7 0.9 Dallas, Texas
G 1 Phil Pressey 5-10 175 So. 9.9 3.4 6.1 2.1 Dallas, Texas
Marcus Denmon heads into Lubbock with 1697 career points, which is tied with Melvin Booker for sixth on Missouri's career scoring list. I think it's fitting that Denmon spends a couple of days tied with Booker, another Tiger great to whom Denmon has often drawn comparisons. Booker himself recently acknowledged that he sees a lot of himself in Denmon, yet he was quick to add that Denmon is the better player of the two. Denmon needs just 63 points to move past Arthur Johnson into fifth place, and 140 points to move past Steve Stipanovich into fourth place, on Missouri's career scoring list.
Ricardo Ratliffe leads the nation in field-goal percentage, at 71% FG%, which is on pace to set a single-season school record.
Phil Pressey did set a single-season school record for assists (183 assists) against Iowa State, surpassing Anthony Peeler's previous single-season mark (179 assists in 1989-1990).
Phil Pressey leads the Big 12 Conference in assist (6.1 assist/game) and steals (2.1 steals/game), while his 2.4 assists/turnover ratio ranks second in the conference.
But for all of their offensive output and efficiency, the Tigers' on-court fortunes reside in their ability to defend and rebound. Here's a recent sampling of their recipe for success according to Missouri Head Coach Frank Haith.
"We've got to rebound and defend," said Coach Haith. "When we have success in defending and rebounding, we usually do pretty well. And, we've got to be tough enough to come down and execute and run offense, because we've got to make other teams play defense. There's no question about that."
I'll add a couple of more ingredients to produce a particularly savory result. Get the ball to Ricardo Ratliffe, and especially get the ball to Marcus Denmon!
Missouri Texas Tech
Record: 26-4 8-21
FGM: 832 600
FGA: 1669 1380
FG %: .499 .435
3pt FGM: 238 134
3pt FGA: 622 374
3FG %: .383 .358
FTM: 488 391
FTA: 636 557
FT % .767 .702
Points: 2390 1725
Per Game: 79.7 59.5
Reb./Gm 32.3 30.4
Steals 8.4 5.3
Assists: 16.1 11.1
Blocks: 2.8 3.1