Missouri vs Nebraska in Big 12 opener

Missouri opens Big 12 conference play Saturday in Nebraska, a win will send the Tigers well on their way to a possible NCAA berth. How important is Saturday's matchup on the road? Very important!! A lot is at stake Saturday in Lincoln, go inside for a pre-game look at the Big 12 match up.

University of Missouri Tigers (13-2, 0-0) vs. University of Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-3, 0-0) 2008-09 Regular Season Game 16 - January 10, 2009 - Lincoln, Neb.

Tip-off: 1 p.m. CST Arena: Bob Devaney Center - Lincoln, Neb. (13,595)

TV: ESPN2 - (Terry Gannon play-by-play; Stephen Bardo analyst)

Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly play-by-play; Gary Link analyst)

Rankings: Mizzou: RV/RV, Nebraska: NR/NR in Associated Press / USA Today Coaches polls.

Series: Missouri leads 122-90 overall; in Lincoln the Huskers lead 54-41.

Coaches: Missouri: Mike Anderson (Tulsa '82); 136-71 overall (7th season); 47-60 at Mizzou (3rd) Nebraska: Doc Sadler (Arkansas '82); 215-87 overall (9th season); 47-30 at Nebraska (3rd)

For Openers

Missouri opens Big 12 Conference action on Saturday, as the Tigers travel to Lincoln, Neb., to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers on ESPN2 ... Missouri and Nebraska have been locked in some tight contests over the last two seasons, as each of the last two meetings at the Bob Devaney Center have gone into overtime ... Missouri won last year's meeting in Lincoln 86-78 ... Over the last two years, four of the five games have been decided by five points or less, with those two OT games ... In Mizzou's home game with NU last year the Tigers played with just six scholarship players.

Mizzou opens Big 12 action on the road for the first time since the 2003-04 season ... The Tigers had played four consecutive league openers at home and went 3-1 in those games ... Actually, Missouri has never won a Big 12-opener on the road ... The Tigers are 0-3 in those games.

Missouri is off to its best start (13-2) since the 1994-95 season ... A win on Saturday would be the best start since that undefeated (14-0) Big Eight Championship club of 1993-94 ... That squad opened the year 25-2 and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Missouri is playing its second road game of the year and sixth game away from Mizzou Arena this afternoon ... The Tigers won at Georgia last weekend (83-76) and won two of three games in San Juan, P.R., including a solid 83-72 win over then-No. 19 USC.

Although Saturday's game is on the road, some kudos are in order for another perfect home non-conference season for Mike Anderson and the Tigers ... Since his arrival at MU, Anderson has directed Mizzou to a perfect 30-0 home mark in non-league play over the past three seasons, which includes a whopping 24.5 ppg. margin of victory and key wins vs. non-conference foes like Arkansas, California, Davidson, Mississippi State, Murray State, Oral Roberts and Purdue.

A huge key for Missouri in non-conference play was its bench... Missouri's "kamikaze line" is averaging 31.9 points a game this season and has outscored the entire teams of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (50-41), Stetson (45-44) and SIU Edwardsville (62-57) ... Those 62 tallies vs. SIUE were a school record.

The Tigers rank among the nation's leaders in several statistical categories heading into Saturday's game ... Mizzou is No. 5 nationally in scoring at 85.3 ppg, No. 2 in assists per game at 20.1, No. 2 in steals per game at 11.3 and No. 2 nationally in assist/turnover ratio at 1.6 ... Another fun stat: Missouri is No. 4 nationally with 65.2 FG attempts per game and the Tigers have already shot 152 more FGs than their opponents through 15 games thanks to their impressive turnover margin (+7.3).

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