Game Preview: Missouri vs K-State

The Tigers travel to Manhattan on Saturday night for a big game against the #6 Wildcats. We break it down.

On Saturday evening (7:00 P.M., ESPNU), the Missouri Tigers (21-7, 9-4) travel to Manhattan, to take on the #6 Kansas State Wildcats (23-4, 10-3) in league play.


This contest sets up as a battle for second place in the conference in what is general considered to be one of the top two conferences in the country.  For the Tigers, what was sure to be a tough challenge on the road against a very good K-State team has taken on a new challenge, that of playing for the first time without starting forward, junior Justin Safford, who suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on Wednesday in the Tigers' win over Colorado. 

This new challenge presents itself as Missouri heads into a tough three-game stretch against two top-ten teams, in K-State and Kansas, sandwiched around the Tigers' final road game of the conference season, at Iowa State.  A sub-plot, if you will, is the intrigue surrounding the usage by Coach Anderson of Missouri's personnel, to account for the loss of the Tigers' fourth leading scorer and third leading rebounder, underscoring the "Battle in Manhattan', or if you prefer, the showdown for the second seed in the Big 12 Tourney.


Coach Anderson talked about playing K-State.  "It's going to be a big game, no question about it. We were fortunate to pull out a win here. They're one of the hotter teams playing right now in the country.  They're playing really, really well. You've got (Jacob) Pullen and you've got to deal with (Denis) Clemente.  They've got a lot of guys playing really well.  They're very physical and they attack the glass, which is not one of our strong points, but it's something we're going to have to get better at if we want to stand a chance."


The Wildcats come into this contest riding the wave of one of their best seasons in school history.  They are, of course, led by the backcourt tandem of Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente.  Pullen is averaging 18.8 points/game and 3.8 assists/game during his junior season and he is shooting 40 percent from behind the 3-PT line.  Clemente is one of the faster guards in the country and averages 16.0 points/game and 4.1 assists/game.  Up front, the Wildcats are deep and talented, led by Curtis Kelly (11.5 points/game, 6.4 rebounds/game), and Jamar Samuels (11.8 points/game, 5.2 rebounds/game), who comes off the bench. 

Kansas State is very physical, and plays a very aggressive, physical style of pressure defense.  One of their primary offensive plays is to crash the offensive glass.  The Wildcats have regularly played about 9 guys during conference games, but a closer look reveals some intersting iformation about their depth.  Five players have accounted for 80% of their FGAs during league play, seven players account for 91% of shots taken.  Two players, Pullen and Clemente have accounted for 78% of the 3-PT FGAs that Kansas State has taken in league play.  Those two also shoot FTs very well, but after that, some of the Wildcats really struggle at the line.


For Missouri, Marcus Denmon is one of the better shooting guards in the Big 12 Conference at 48% from the field and 46% from 3-PT land during conference play.  He has elevated his play of late, and unlike many of his teammates, has actually shot the ball better on the road than at home.  Laurence Bowers continues to shoot the ball well, at 56% from the field, and 44% from behind the 3-PT line.  The Tigers will once again need to utilize a "gang rebounding" approach to keep up with K-State on the boards.  Playing fast, too fast for the Wildcats, will give the Tigers the slight edge that they will need to offset Kansas State's size advantage.


Missouri Tigers (21-7, 9-4 Big 12)
Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown


F 15 Keith Ramsey 6-9 217 Sr. 5.8 5.5 1.4 1.6 Murfreesboro, Tenn.
F 21 Laurence Bowers 6-8 205 So. 10.6 5.6 1.3 1.0 Memphis, Tenn.
G 04 J.T. Tiller 6-3 200 Sr. 8.3 2.9 3.3 1.4 Marietta, Ga.
G 11 Zaire Taylor 6-4 189 Sr. 8.4 3.0 2.6 1.8 Staten Island, N.Y.
G 24 Kim English 6-6 200 So. 14.4 3.6 1.2 1.5 Baltimore, Md.


Kansas State Wildcats (23-4, 10-3 Big 12)
Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown


F 24 Curtis Kelly 6-8 239 Jr. 11.5 6.4 1.4 0.9 Bronx, N.Y.
F 23 Dominique Sutton 6-5 218 Jr. 7.7 5.3 2.1 1.5 Durham, N.C.
C 15 Luis Colon 6-10 265 Sr. 3.1 3.9 0.6 0.4 Carolina, P.R.
G 21 Denis Clemente 6-1 180 Sr. 16.0 2.4 4.1 0.9 Bayamon, P.R.
G 0 Jacob Pullen 6-0 200 Jr. 18.8 2.5 3.8 1.7 Maywood, Ill.


Comparative Statistics
            MU  KSU
Record:   21-7 23-4
FGM:       785  726
FGA:      1735 1568
FG %:     .452 .463
3pt FGM:   228  185
3pt FGA:   583  508
3FG %:    .391 .364
FTM:       446  550
FTA:       613  831
FT %      .728 .662
Points:   2244 2187
Per Game: 80.1 81.0
Reb./Gm   35.8 39.1
Steals    11.2  7.2
Assists:  15.9 15.1
Blocks:    4.6  2.0


Missouri Conference 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 13 12 323 24.8 51 145 .352 22 62 .355 41 55 .745 12 39 51 3.9 23 0 15 23 3 14 165 12.7
12 DENMON, Marcus 13 0 299 23.0 49 102 .480 30 65 .462 24 34 .706 9 24 33 2.5 20 0 19 9 0 11 152 11.7
21 BOWERS, Laurence 13 0 286 22.0 52 93 .559 7 16 .438 24 45 .533 34 41 75 5.8 36 0 15 15 14 9 135 10.4
23 SAFFORD, Justi n 13 13 282 21.7 43 108 .398 6 16 .375 37 47 .787 23 35 58 4.5 34 0 15 16 6 11 129 9.9
11 TAYLOR, Zaire 13 13 376 28.9 34 94 .362 17 49 .347 37 44 .841 14 30 44 3.4 34 2 31 13 3 19 122 9.4
04 TILLER, J.T. 13 13 303 23.3 31 89 .348 3 18 .167 30 41 .732 17 28 45 3.5 35 1 43 30 1 17 95 7.3
15 RAMSEY, Keith 13 13 331 25.5 30 50 .600 3 4 .750 13 20 .650 24 39 63 4.8 26 1 15 25 15 16 76 5.8
10 DIXON, Michael 13 1 190 14.6 25 58 .431 8 24 .333 17 19 .895 2 9 11 0.8 24 0 8 11 0 12 75 5.8
03 PAUL, Miguel 12 0 120 10.0 11 26 .423 5 12 .417 3 4 .750 0 4 4 0.3 10 0 8 8 1 5 30 2.5
32 MOORE, Steve 13 0 107 8.2 4 11 .364 0 0 .000 5 6 .833 3 16 19 1.5 18 0 2 6 6 4 13 1.0
25 SUTTON, Jarrett 1 0 2 2.0 0 1 .000 0 0 .000 0 0 .000 1 0 1 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
35 UNDERWOOD, John 2 0 4 2.0 0 1 .000 0 0 .000 0 0 .000 2 2 4 2.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.0
33 STONE, Tyler 2 0 2 1.0 0 0 .000 0 0 .000 0 0 .000 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.0
TM TEAM 28 21 49 3.8 0 2 0
Total 13 330 778 .424 101 266 .380 231 315 .733 169 288 457 35.2 260 4 171 159 51 118 992 76.3
Opponents 13 305 725 .421 82 244 .336 210 301 .698 182 317 499 38.4 266 - 146 232 45 80 902 69.4


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