Game Preview: Missouri vs Illinois

We break down the Braggin' Rights game as Mizzou and Illinois prepare to meet up in St. Louis

The Missouri Tigers (7-3) will face off against the Illinois Fighting Illini (8-3) on Wednesday evening (8:30 P.M., TV ESPN2) at the Scott Trade Center in St. Louis.


Illinois is a big team, compared to Missouri, and may be the best team that the Tigers have faced this season.  The Illini are lead by junior guard Demetri McCamey (14.2 pts./game), and feature five starters who each average double figures in scoring.  They are a deep team, with nine or ten players getting regular minutes.  Illinois has dominated this series of late, and comes into this contest having won each of the last nine games between these schools.


Missouri is led in scoring by three sophomores, Kim English (16.1 pts./game), Marcus Denmon (10.5 pts./game), and Laurence Bowers (10.2 pts./game).  Senior guards Zaire Taylor, and J.T. Tiller are each averaging just under 10 pts./game.


I've noticed a couple of recent trends regarding multiple individual Tigers' players that are very positive.  Freshman guard Michael Dixon and sophomore guard Miguel Paul are shooting a pretty good percentage, while posting team leading assist to turnover ratios of more than 2.5 to 1.  Their presence on the floor helps Missouri on both ends.  On the offensive end, these two do a better job of taking care of the basketball and getting it to the forwards where they can do something with it. Defensively, these two bring a quickness to the floor that escalates the chaos, and increases the tempo. 


Kim English and Justin Safford are doing a better job of rebounding the basketball.  The team needs for them to raise it up just another level on the boards, but this is a positive trend.  In addition, they have each been taking better shots of late, and have raised their FG%s.


Of course, this team will always "hang it's hat on their defense", and bringing a defensive mindset to the floor every game is essential for everyone on the team, if they are to have a successful season.  I hear a lot of people saying that if Missouri hits shots, they'll be OK.  I don't really see it that way.  To me, that's putting the cart before the horse.  This team shoots well when they share the ball and get good shots, and that kind of offensive approach is the natural by-product of every player bringing that tough, defensive mindset.  English and Safford are two keys in this.  The team needs them to bring a hard hat and lunch pail mentality onto the floor at all times. Hopefully for Missouri, they're both going in that direction.


As I heard Coach Anderson say, "There was a Justin Safford sighting the other night."


University of Missouri Tigers (7-3, 0-0 Big 12)
(Based off previous game's starters)
Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown
F 15 Keith Ramsey 6-9 217 Sr. 5.9 5.9 1.7 2.1 Murfreesboro, Tenn.
F 21 Laurence Bowers 6-8 205 So. 10.2 5.6 1.5 1.3 Memphis, Tenn.
G 24 Kim English 6-6 200 So. 16.1 3.1 1.4 2.0 Baltimore, Md.
G 10 Michael Dixon 6-1 175 Fr. 8.2 1.6 2.8 0.7 Kansas City, Mo.
G 11 Zaire Taylor 6-4 189 Sr. 9.0 3.1 3.1 2.7 Staten Island, N.Y.

University of Illinois Fighting Illini (8-3, 0-0 Big Ten)
(Based off previous game's starters)
Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown
F 24 Mike Davis 6-9 220 Jr. 12.5 9.5 1.1 0.4 Alexandria, Va.
F 54 Mike Tisdale 7-1 235 Jr. 10.8 5.5 1.0 0.2 Riverton, Ill.
G 32 Demetri McCamey 6-3 200 Jr. 14.2 3.0 5.4 1.6 Bellwood, Ill.
G 03 Brandon Paul 6-4 195 Fr. 10.4 2.6 1.9 1.0 Gurnee, Ill.
G 01 D.J. Richardson 6-3 185 Fr. 10.8 2.3 3.3 0.7 Peoria, Ill.

Comparative Statistics
            MU  ILL
Record:    7-3  8-3
FGM:       298  331
FGA:       645  331
FG %:     .462 .491
3pt FGM:    92   68
3pt FGA:   224  176
3FG %:    .411 .386
FTM:       135  138
FTA:       185  189
FT %      .730 .730
Points:    823  868
Per Game: 82.3 78.9
Reb./Gm   36.9 37.8
Steals    13.3  6.1
Assists:  17.9 17.5
Blocks:    6.1  4.7
Season Statistics
TOTAL 3-PTS REBOUNDS
## Player GP GS Min Avg FG FGA Pct 3FG FGA Pct FT FTA Pct Off Def Tot Avg PF FO A TO Blk Stl Pts Avg
24 ENGLISH, Kim 10 6 221 22.1 54 125 .432 24 61 .393 29 36 .806 10 21 31 3.1 15 0 14 21 0 20 161 16.1
12 DENMON, Marcus 10 4 201 20.1 35 81 .432 21 51 .412 14 22 .636 11 28 39 3.9 11 0 12 13 3 12 105 10.5
21 BOWERS, Laurence 10 3 198 19.8 43 69 .623 2 2 1.000 14 14 1.000 28 28 56 5.6 20 0 15 10 17 13 102 10.2
04 TILLER, J.T. 7 7 163 23.3 23 55 .418 3 12 .250 18 22 .818 6 10 16 2.3 16 0 20 17 1 8 67 9.6
11 TAYLOR, Zaire 10 9 278 27.8 29 62 .468 16 28 .571 16 24 .667 9 22 31 3.1 21 0 31 14 3 27 90 9.0
10 DIXON, Michael 10 4 181 18.1 32 70 .457 11 27 .407 7 11 .636 2 14 16 1.6 14 0 28 10 0 7 82 8.2
23 SAFFORD, Justi n 10 7 184 18.4 30 66 .455 5 12 .417 11 14 .786 10 28 38 3.8 21 0 12 15 9 7 76 7.6
15 RAMSEY, Keith 10 10 254 25.4 24 41 .585 0 2 .000 11 16 .688 23 36 59 5.9 23 0 17 17 13 21 59 5.9
03 PAUL, Miguel 9 0 126 14.0 13 28 .464 7 16 .438 5 10 .500 2 6 8 0.9 11 0 26 10 0 8 38 4.2
33 STONE, Tyler 5 0 26 5.2 5 11 .455 0 0 .000 0 1 .000 2 5 7 1.4 1 0 1 1 1 1 10 2.0
25 SUTTON, Jarrett 5 0 20 4.0 3 11 .273 3 11 .273 0 0 .000 0 1 1 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 1.8
32 MOORE, Steve 10 0 110 11.0 6 19 .316 0 2 .000 4 7 .571 4 10 14 1.4 21 0 3 7 11 7 16 1.6
35 UNDERWOOD, John 6 0 38 6.3 1 7 .143 0 0 .000 6 8 .750 8 9 17 2.8 13 0 0 0 3 2 8 1.3
TM TEAM 20 16 36 3.6 0 5 0
Total 10 298 645 .462 92 224 .411 135 185 .730 135 234 369 36.9 187 0 179 140 61 133 823 82.3
Opponents 10 208 555 .375 45 169 .266 151 208 .726 138 237 375 37.5 185 - 104 220 30 67 612 61.2


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