NCAA Preview: Missouri vs Clemson

The Tigers shuffle off to Buffalo for their first round NCAA match-up against Clemson

On Friday afternoon at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y. (around 1:35 to 1:45 P.M. CST, CBS), the Missouri Tigers (22-10, 10-6 Big 12) will take on the Clemson Tigers (21-10, 9-7 ACC) in the first round of the East (Syracuse) Regional of the NCAA Tournament.


"We're in," said Missouri sophomore forward Kim English.  "Every team is 0-0.  Every team has the same chance, from Arkansas-Pine Bluff to KU."


Maybe members of the Selection Committee have a keen understanding of the concept of tailgating a tailgater.  Maybe they thought they'd do the rest of the field a favor, and get rid of one of these pressing teams forthwith.  Maybe they wanted to give CBS a highly entertaining first round match-up for TV.  


Many have referred to Clemson and Missouri as mirror images, because they play very similar styles, and have somewhat similar personnel.  Both teams rely on turning the opposition over with their defensive pressure, and each team utilizes the 3-PT shot as more than one-third of their FGAs.  Missouri shoots 37% from behind the arc, and Clemson makes 34% of their 3-PT FGAs.


Missouri Head Coach Mike Anderson talked about playing Clemson in the first round.  "The first game is the most important.  It'll be entertaining.  It won't be a walk it up the floor.  Both teams will leave it all on the floor.  Clemson really attacks the glass.  They have some really athletic and physical players.  So, we've got to match their physical toughness, and our bench has got to really play well."


Clemson is led by 6'7" 240 pound senior forward Trevor Booker, one of the nation's top front court players, and First Team All-ACC, who is averaging 15.3 points/game and 8.3 rebounds/game.   PG Demontez Stitt, a 6'2" 175 pound junior, is second on the team in scoring at 11.1 points/game and leads his team with 3.2 assists/game.  Clemson is one of the country's deepest teams with nine players who average at least 11.4 minutes/game.


Coach Anderson spent time last summer helping coach the U.S.A. games in Colorado Springs, and became familiar with Clemson's Trevor Booker during those tryouts.  He talked about Booker.  "Without a doubt, he's an impactful young man.  He's strong.  He's powerful.  He's explosive.  He's a great person, and at the same time, he's a tremendous competitor.  He can score.  He's their go-to guy.  He plays above the rim.  He's a quiet guy, but his game speaks for itself.  I was very impressd with him."


Clemson usually plays nine guys, but three of them are freshmen, two of whom are frontline players with little production, and a propensity for committing turnovers.  As a team, Clemson has more turnovers than assists, with an A/T ratio of 0.95 A/T, and averaged 15 turnovers/game this season.  Clemson finished 6th in the ACC, and lost to both Texas A&M and Illinois in non-conference action.


Missouri comes into this game a little short-handed, following injuries to forwards Justin Safford (ACL - out), and Laurence Bowers (sprained left wrist).  Bowers will require post-season surgery to repair torn ligaments, and will play the remainder of the season wearing a protective immobilizing device.


Coach Anderson talked about the impact of the wrist injury to Bowers.  "Obviously, it kind of limits him in some ways."For the second straight week, rumors persist that Coach Anderson will turn to freshmen Jon Underwood and Tyler Stone for some help up front.


Regardless of who plays for the Tigers, it is critically important to Missouri's success in the Tournament, that the Tigers get back to playing their "brand of basketball", defending with passion and purpose, gang rebounding, and sharing the basketball.


Coach Anderson talked about his team's approach.  "We've got to continue to work hard, and continue to hang our hats on our defense, and I think our offense will kick into gear."


#10 Seed University of Missouri Tigers (22-10, 10-6 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. 6.0 5.7 1.3 1.6 Murfreesboro, Tenn.
F 21 Laurence Bowers 6-8 205 So. 10.2 5.6 1.1 1.1 Memphis, Tenn.
G 04 J.T. Tiller 6-3 200 Sr. 8.8 3.1 3.2 1.5 Marietta, Ga.
G 11 Zaire Taylor 6-4 189 Sr. 8.2 3.2 2.6 1.8 Staten Island, N.Y.
G 24 Kim English 6-6 200 So. 13.9 3.4 1.2 1.4 Baltimore, Md.


#7 Seed Clemson University Tigers (21-10, 9-7 ACC)
Pos. No. Name HT WT YR P/G R/G A/G S/G Hometown


F 35 Trevor Booker 6-7 240 Sr. 15.3 8.3 2.5 1.4 Whitmire, S.C.
F 15 David Potter 6-6 215 Sr. 7.1 2.6 1.4 1.3 Severn, Md.
C 45 Jerai Grant 6-8 220 Jr. 7.0 4.7 0.6 0.8 Bowie, Md.
G 05 Tanner Smith 6-5 220 So. 8.9 4.1 2.2 1.2 Alpharetta, Ga.
G 02 Demontez Stitt 6-2 175 Jr. 11.1 2.7 3.2 1.5 Matthews, N.C.


Comparative Statistics
           MU   Clemson
Record:  22-10   21-10
FGM:       876    823
FGA:      1958   1815
FG %:     .441   .453
3pt FGM:   246    204
3pt FGA:   663    607
3FG %:    .371   .336
FTM:       484    422
FTA:       665    640
FT %      .728   .659
Points:   2482   2272
Per Game: 77.6   73.3
Reb./Gm   35.4   36.7
Steals    10.9    9.6
Assists:  15.3   14.2
Blocks:    4.7    4.8


Missouri 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 32 27 768 24.0 146 371 .394 62 170 .365 91 123 .740 28 81 109 3.4 51 0 38 65 3 44 445 13.9
12 DENMON, Marcus 32 4 684 21.4 114 261 .437 68 160 .425 51 72 .708 30 69 99 3.1 46 0 44 30 4 29 347 10.8
21 BOWERS, Laurence 32 9 698 21.8 132 236 .559 10 24 .417 51 77 .662 78 101 179 5.6 78 0 36 36 43 35 325 10.2
04 TILLER, J.T. 29 29 686 23.7 89 211 .422 9 38 .237 67 87 .770 34 55 89 3.1 71 1 92 67 2 43 254 8.8
23 SAFFORD, Justi n 28 23 560 20.0 89 212 .420 13 30 .433 50 66 .758 38 77 115 4.1 63 0 34 38 18 23 241 8.6
11 TAYLOR, Zaire 32 28 862 26.9 81 219 .370 38 106 .358 63 82 .768 33 68 101 3.2 75 3 83 38 7 59 263 8.2
10 DIXON, Michael 32 8 533 16.7 85 184 .462 25 71 .352 37 43 .860 5 31 36 1.1 53 1 52 30 0 33 232 7.3
15 RAMSEY, Keith 32 32 849 26.5 77 132 .583 3 8 .375 36 58 .621 73 110 183 5.7 66 1 43 58 37 51 193 6.0
03 PAUL, Miguel 30 0 366 12.2 36 81 .444 15 38 .395 19 28 .679 4 17 21 0.7 31 0 51 22 1 16 106 3.5
33 STONE, Tyler 11 0 43 3.9 11 17 .647 0 0 .000 0 1 .000 3 6 9 0.8 4 0 2 3 1 2 22 2.0
32 MOORE, Steve 32 0 316 9.9 12 36 .333 0 3 .000 12 16 .750 10 38 48 1.5 62 1 12 17 27 12 36 1.1
25 SUTTON, Jarrett 9 0 33 3.7 3 17 .176 3 15 .200 0 0 .000 1 1 2 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 1 9 1.0
35 UNDERWOOD, John 13 0 52 4.0 1 8 .125 0 0 .000 7 12 .583 12 13 25 1.9 17 0 1 5 6 2 9 0.7
TM TEAM 66 50 116 3.6 0 7 0
Total 32 876 1985 .441 246 663 .371 484 665 .728 415 717 1132 35.4 617 7 488 416 149 350 2482 77.6
Opponents 32 728 1780 .409 168 545 .308 482 689 .700 437 779 1216 38.0 603 - 356 629 99 198 2106 65.8


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