OU-Missouri Hoops Preview

SI breaks down OU's Big 12 opener against the Missouri Tigers in Columbia.

Overview:

The Sooners emerge out of the non-conference slate at a surprising 10-2 mark, but the Missouri Tigers have been even more impressive than that, sprinting out to a perfect 13-0 start. Mizzou boasts the nation's No. 6/7 rankings in the Coaches and AP Polls, respectively, while OU briefly received votes prior to their recent loss against Cincinnati. OU leads the overall series 112-95, but Mizzou won last year's contest 84-61.

Sooner Notes:

--The Sooners were picked to finish tied for last in the Big 12 but head into the conference season in fourth with their 10-2 record.

--OU ranks fourth nationally with 42.2 rebounds per game and is also in the top 10 with a +10.4 average rebounding margin.

--The Sooners have shot better than 50 percent from 3-point range in four of their last seven contests.

--They have scored 75 points already eight times in 12 contests after doing it just seven times in 32 games all of last season.

--The Sooners have averaged 16.6 points per game off 14.8 turnovers.

Looking at the Tigers:

--Missouri is one of just four undefeated teams in the country and off to its best start since the 1981-82 season when it was 19-0.

--Guards Marcus Denmon and Kim English spearhead the Tiger scoring attack with 18.7 and 15.4 points per game, respectively.

--Forward Ricardo Ratliffe leads the nation with his 76.1 percent field goal shooting.

--Guard Michael Dixon, averaging 18.0 points per game over the last four, comes off the bench providing 12.5 points per contest this year.

--Head coach Frank Haith has a perfect start in his first season as Mizzou head coach after going 129-101 at Miami in seven previous years.

Projected Starters:

OU:

F Andrew Fitzgerald (6-8, 247, Jr., 12.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg)

F Romero Osby (6-8, 232, Jr., 10.8 ppg, 8.8 rbg)

G Sam Grooms (6-1, 203, Jr., 7.3 ppg, 5.4 apg)

G Steven Pledger (6-2, 205, Jr., 18.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg)

G Cameron Clark (6-6, 198, So., 8.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg)

Missouri:

F Ricardo Ratliffe (6-8, 240, Sr., 14.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg)

G Matt Pressey (6-2, 195, Sr., 8.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg)

G Phil Pressey (5-10, 175, So., 9.8 ppg, 6.0 apg)

G Marcus Denmon (6-3, 185, Sr., 18.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg)

G Kim English (6-6, 200, Sr., 15.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg)

Sooners Illustrated's Take:

The Sooners should be able to hang with the Tigers for awhile, but talent wise they're just not quite there yet to beat them. Plus, it's on the road and Mizzou Arena is an extremely tough place to get a victory. OU will surprise a lot of people, though, with how competitively it plays. Don't expect it to be a major blowout, but the Tigers will pull away late.

Follow me at twitter.com/joeyhelmer10 or facebook.com/joeyhelmer.


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories