Justin Safford and the Tigers host North Alabama on Wednesday.
Jan. 3, 2011
Columbia, Mo. -
#8 / #9
Tip-Off: 7 p.m. CT
Arena: Mizzou Arena (15,061)
TV: MSN (
Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly - Play by Play / Gary Link - Analyst)
Rankings: Mizzou 9/8; North Alabama NR/NR in AP /
Series: First Meeting
> Missouri Basketball closes another non-conference campaign on Wednesday as it hosts North Alabama at Mizzou Arena ...
> Mizzou is off to its best start to a season in 21 years ... Missouri is currently 13-1 and that's the best start since the Tigers opened the 1989-90 campaign 21-1 ... A 14-1 non-conference record would equal the best in school history, tying that 1989-90 squad.
> Mizzou extended its non-conference home court winning streak to 56 games with its 81-58 win over Old Dominion ... That run dates back to the 2005-06 campaign ... The previous school record was 29 consecutive non-conference home wins from 1979-83 ... That streak ended with an overtime loss to Marquette ... Missouri's last non-conference loss at home came against Sam Houston State in the 2005-06 season opener.
> The Tigers currently boast an eight-game winning streak, their longest of the season ... Mizzou has seven winning streaks of five or more games under Mike Anderson, including a pair of nine-game streaks, one coming last season and the first occurring in 2006-07.
> Mizzou is trending upwards in most power rankings and that's due to the team's improved defense and scoring margin ... The Tigers have held their opponents to 36-percent shooting from the floor, 23.6-percent shooting from three-point range and a 68-to-115 assist/turnover ratio over the last six games ... It's no surprise that Mizzou has won each game by double-figures and boasts a +26.2 scoring margin during that stretch, which includes wins over likely NCAA Tournament teams Illinois and Old Dominion.
> Missouri has always been one of the country's better passing teams under Mike Anderson and that trend is continuing once again in 2010-11 ... Mizzou dished a season high 33 assists in the Dec. 18 win over Central Arkansas, which ties for the second most in school history and the most in the Big 12 this year ... Missouri is averaging 20.7 dimes over its last six outings and ranks #5 nationally at 18.4 assists per game.
> Marcus Denmon continues to surge in his junior campaign ... The Kansas City native has been one of the country's best players in 2010-11 and is averaging a team-best 17.6 points per game this year, boosted by an average of 19.7 points per game over his last nine contests on 54 percent shooting from the floor and 51 percent shooting from three-point range ... More impressive stats for Denmon during that surge? Try 4.8 boards per game and 21 dimes compared to just six turnovers.
Mizzou Quick Hitters
> Missouri Basketball will look to close out non-conference play on a positive note when it hosts
> Mizzou is back inside the Top 10, checking in at #8 in the Coaches Poll and #9 in the AP ... That equals Mizzou's highest ranking this year.
> The Tigers are looking to extend their season high eight-game winning streak and a ninth straight win would tie the longest under Mike Anderson's watch ... Missouri hasn't won 10 consecutive games since a 15-game winning streak back during the 1993-94 campaign.
> Nine game winning streaks are nothing new for Mike Anderson ... The Tigers won nine straight last season and put together a 9-0 start to the 2006-07 campaign.
> In fact attendance has been up all season at Mizzou Arena, to the tune of 1,000 fans per game ... Last season through eight home games Missouri averaged 8,001 fans ... In 2010-11 MU is averaging 9,086 fans per game, including a sellout vs. Old Dominion.
> Mizzou has been dominant at home over its last five games ... The Tigers have enjoyed 20-point second-half leads in each of those contests, including a school record 40 point lead (57-17) at the half vs. Northern Illinois.
> Mizzou is also #7 nationally in assists at 18.4 per game, so not only can the Tigers score in bunches, but they can do it with great efficiency, recording dimes on 60 percent of their hoops.
> Mizzou has been very good in non-conference games under Anderson ... The Tigers are 53-14 (.791), including four NCAA Tournament wins, since his arrival before the 2006-07 season.
> Turnovers are trending downward for Mizzou over the last seven games ... The Tigers are averaging just 11.4 miscues per game during that stretch and have a +7.4 turnover margin (per game) in those contests ... In fact Mizzou's assist/turnover ratio is at an outstanding 1.7 during that run.
> Missouri is finding its offensive rhythm over the last eight games, shooting 51 percent from the floor, 40 percent from three-point range and 73 percent from the foul line ... Balance has been the operative word for MU, with five players averaging better than 10.5 points and seven averaging 7.9 or more.
> Missouri has been the ultimate team through 14 games ... The Tigers have had seven different players lead the team (or tie for the team lead) in scoring, six different players in rebounding, six in assists and seven in steals.
> Missouri has won in a variety of places this year ... The Tigers are 9-0 at home on the young season ... The Tigers also have four road/neutral wins this year ... The Tigers were just 2-3 in their first five games away from home last season and 3-2 in 2008-09.
> Mizzou has always been very good in November and December under Mike Anderson since the 2006-07 campaign ... MU is 27-5 in November and 26-8 in December, which includes wins over Old Dominion (twice), Vanderbilt, #19 USC, Maryland, Arkansas, Davidson (with Stephen Curry), Purdue, Illinois, Oregon and Oral Roberts ... MU is a combined 53-13 (.803) before Jan. 1 under Anderson.
> Mizzou Arena has been a terror dome for non-league opponents during the Mike Anderson era... In running their record to 49-0 (under
> Overall Missouri owns a 56-game non-conference home court winning streak, which dates back to the 2005-06 campaign (pre-Mike Anderson era) ... That 56-game run is a school record, topping the 29 consecutive non-conference home wins from 1979-83 ... That streak ended with an overtime loss to Marquette ... Missouri's last non-conference loss at home came against Sam Houston State in the 2005-06 season opener.
> Last season
> The Tigers have scored 320 points off of those 280 turnovers, a number that will increase as this new collection of players becomes more familiar with each other ... So far
> Bench production from the Tiger reserves is nothing new under Mike Anderson ... The Tigers ranked #2 nationally in bench scoring a season ago at 31.6 points per game and have averaged 27.2 points over Anderson's five years in Columbia!
> The Tigers are already averaging 25.6 ppg from their bench this season, including a season high 49 points vs.
> Another critical stat for Missouri is field goal opportunities ... Missouri thrives on its defensive pressure creating extra scoring chances and so far this season Missouri has taken 112 more shots than its opponents and made 109 more buckets.
> It's early, but
> Missouri has typically played some tough schedules over the years and that trend will continue in 2010-11 ... Mizzou will have 13 games against teams ranked / receiving votes in the Top 25 ... Included in that list are some impressive non-conference games vs. Old Dominion and Vanderbilt at home, neutral site games vs. #19 Illinois, #14 Georgetown, Wyoming and La Salle and a road game at Oregon.
> Goodman also put the Tigers in his Final Four in his early season projections.
> Sports Illustrated thought highly of
#1 Flip Pressey, 5-10, 168 Pounds
> Out for a couple weeks with a fractured right finger, which was suffered Dec. 19 during practice.
> Flip Pressey enters the Missouri program as the highest-ranked recruit of the Mike Anderson era, rated as high as #16 nationally by 2K Sports.
> The quick, explosive guard is a true point for the Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball and brings a team-oriented approach to the lineup.
> Ranked among Big 12 leaders in both assists per game (4.1) and assist/turnover ratio (1.9).
> Has dished 27 assists over his last three games (9.0 apg), including a Mizzou Freshman Record 11 dimes vs.
> Recorded his first career double-double in that game as well with a career high 15 points.
> Those 11 dimes are the most by a Big 12 player this season.
> Is the Big 12's #1 freshman in assists at 4.1 per game.
> Is the first
> Pressey showed some moxie in the season-opener against
> His older brother Matt Pressey is a junior on this year's club and his father, Paul Pressey, is currently an assistant coach for Byron Scott and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
#2 Ricky Kreklow, 6-6, 195 Pounds
> Ricky Kreklow became the third consecutive Missouri Player of the Year to ink with the Tigers.
> Scored a career high 11 points on 4-4 FGs and 3-3 treys vs. Central Arkansas on Dec. 18 ... Added a career high four boards and three steals as well.
> Has seen his playing time increase over the last four games, including a career high 20 minutes vs.
> Hit 3-of-4 three-pointers in wins over
> The talented newcomer is the son of current Missouri Volleyball head coach Wayne Kreklow and is a local product that grew up watching the Tigers.
> He was named the MVP of the Demetrius Johnson All-Star game in
#3 Matt Pressey, 6-2, 185 Pounds
> Big 12 Rookie of the Week for Jan. 3 after averaging 16.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in a pair of Tiger wins.
> Scored a career high 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting vs.
> Chipped in 15 points and five boards in the win over Old Dominion.
> Has started five games this season, including three consecutive starts dating back to the Dec. 22 Braggin' Rights affair vs. Illinois.
> Is 31-of-58 from the floor over his last nine games as well (.534).
> Came off the bench to score nine points and dish three assists vs.
> Was a junior college All-American at
> His younger brother Phil Pressey is a freshman on this year's club and his father, Paul Pressey, is currently an assistant coach for Byron Scott and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
#10 Ricardo Ratliffe, 6-8, 240 Pounds
> Highly-coveted big man out of
> Has been named Big 12 Rookie of the Week twice this season.
> Leads the club in rebounding (7.1) and double-doubles (3) ... Was on a run of four consecutive double-figure rebounding games before being held to seven boards vs.
> His 14 boards vs. La Salle are the most since DeMarre Carroll grabbed 14 vs.
> Second in the Big 12 and tops on the team in field goal percentage (.580) ... Second on the squad in scoring (12.2).
> Named to the Cancun Challenge All-Tournament team after averaging 11.0 points and 13.0 rebounds.
> One of only 13 players in NJCAA history to be named back-to-back first team All-American, which includes former UNLV standout Larry Johnson.
> Named the Big 12's Preseason Newcomer of the Year by the league coaches.
> Broke the
> Had his junior college jersey (#20) retired at the school's season-opener this year.
> Quietly vying for Top Big 12 point guard honors, leading the league in steals per game (2.4) and assist/turnover ratio (2.6), while ranking #4 in dimes (4.8) and #6 in free throw percentage (.827).
> Had 55 dimes all of last season, but has 57 in just 12 games played in 2010-11 and is averaging 5.1 assists in his last 10 contest.
> Scored a career high 18 points in the win over Old Dominion thanks to 5-of-7 shooting, 3-of-3 treys and 5-of-5 free throws.
> Great all-around effort in his return home to Kansas City vs. Georgetown, scoring a career-high tying 17 points to go with four assists and four steals.
> Father (Mike Sr.) left
> Ripped a career high five steals vs.
> Returning sophomore that made eight starts as a rookie last year.
> Top returning assist man from last season with 55 dimes and just 32 turnovers.
#12 Marcus Denmon, 6-3, 185 Pounds
> Tough, gritty guard that was a football standout in high school as a wide out and defensive back.
> Mid-Season Big 12 Player of the Year and All-American Candidate.
> Highest scoring Tiger guard through 14 games since Thomas Gardner (19.9) in 2005-06, but has taken 50 fewer shots than
> Twice named Big 12 Player of the Week.
> Reached double figures in 11 consecutive games.
> Has 143 career three-pointers in his tenure, just three outside the
> Leads the team in scoring (17.6) and three-point field goal percentage (.518) ... Is second in the Big 12 Conference with his three-point accuracy (.506).
> Has hit 27 of his last 48 treys over the last nine games and is 61-of-114 from the floor overall.
> Scored a career high 27 points on Nov. 30 vs.
> Scored 19 second-half / overtime points in the win vs. Vanderbilt, including the game-winner with five seconds remaining.
> Poured in 24 points in just 24 minutes vs.
> Has 10 career 20-point efforts and
> Cancun Challenge MVP after averaging 15.0 points on 8-of-16 treys in two wins.
> Returning Academic All-Big 12.
> Big 12 All-Reserve Team last year as a sophomore.
> Is back to full strength after suffering a knee injury as a freshman ... He fought through soreness in that knee for much of his sophomore campaign.
#21 Laurence Bowers, 6-8, 210 Pounds
> Was averaging 16.5 points and 3.5 blocked shots over his last four games, but early-foul trouble limited him to just four points vs. Old Dominion.
> Is shooting 64.3 percent from the floor (27-of-42) and 80 percent from the foul line (16-of-20) over his last five games.
> Leads the Big 12 in shot-blocking at 2.1 per game.
> Would rank #5 in the Big 12 with 53.4 percent field goal shooting with enough attempts.
> Scored a season high 20 points on 8-of-9 FGs in the win over
> Outstanding game vs. Oral Roberts with 17 points, 6 boards and a career high five blocks.
> Has reached double figures in scoring nine times.
> Recorded his fourth career double-double vs.
> Seventh in school history with 92 career blocked shots and needs four more to pass Gary Leonard (1986-89) who had 95 in his career.
> Named to the Big 12's All-Reserve Team, but finished his sophomore year with six consecutive starts.
> Tore ligaments in his left wrist down the home stretch of the 2009-10 campaign, but is fully healthy ... He will wrap his wrist however as a precaution.
> Named Academic All-Big 12 last year, as well as All-Reserve.
> Was one of the Big 12's most improved players going from 3.2 ppg as a freshman to 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds as a sophomore.
#23 Justin Safford, 6-9, 230 Pounds
> Is healthy after undergoing off-season ACL surgery ... Injured his knee on Feb. 24 vs. Colorado, but worked incredibly hard throughout his rehabilitation and is back to near full strength.
> Incredible run of nine consecutive
> Enjoyed an efficient day vs. Presbyterian, scoring a season-high 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting in 19 minutes ... Added six boards and a trey.
> Scored 11 points in the win vs.
> Is the club's lone senior and enters his fourth year with the program, which includes 83 wins during that stretch.
> Averaged 8.6 points and 4.1 rebounds as a junior, but averaged 9.9 points in Big 12 play before his injury.
> Made a return to live action in the Black & Gold Game where he recorded a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double on 7-of-11 shooting.
#24 Kim English, 6-6, 200 Pounds
> Has reached double figures 10 times this season and in eight of his last 10 games.
> Terrific all-around game vs.
> Scoring numbers are slightly down, but has become more well-rounded in his junior season, a focus of his off-season workouts ... His assist totals and shooting percentages are up in 2010-11 ... Has 35 dimes in 2010-11 after having just 39 assists all of last season.
> Was very unselfish in the Georgetown contest ... Scored 11 points on 5-of-12 FGs, but dished four assists and had three steals ... Three of his four assists came to backcourt running mate Marcus Denmon.
> Came off the bench vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff to score a season high 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
> Hit 3-of-5 treys (12 points) and grabbed six boards vs. Vanderbilt.
> Has 131 career three-pointers and needs 15 more treys to join the Mizzou career Top 10.
> Honorable mention preseason All-American by Sports Illustrated.
> Returning all-Big 12 Third Team from last year after pacing the club in scoring and tying for the team lead with 68 three-point makes.
> Named to the Preseason Top 50 for the John Wooden Player of the Year Award.
> Named to the Preseason Top 50 for the James Naismith Player of the Year Award.
> Named one of college basketball's top shooters by FoxSports.com's Jeff Goodman.
> Named one of college basketball's Top 15 wing players by CBS's Gary Parrish.
> Is of course known for his tireless work ethic and wears #24 because he is thinking about the game of basketball 24 hours a day.
> Often sleeps in the locker room during the season, which allows him to workout during off-hours.
#32 Steve Moore, 6-9, 270 Pounds
> A native of
> Career game in the season-opener vs.
> Scored seven points and blocked three shots vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
> Has made 2-of-5 treys this season and was a good three-point shooter in high school.
> Second on the squad with 16 blocked shots this season... And finished his sophomore season with 17 blocks in his final eight games.
> Spent a portion of the summer playing with
Five In Double Figures = Great Seasons
Missouri has five players averaging double-figures in scoring this season, a rarity in school history ... In fact just three teams at Mizzou have had five players finish the year averaging double-figures: 1964-65, 1988-89 and 1989-90 ... Not surprisingly the 1988-90 teams recorded a combined 55 wins over those two seasons and this year's Tiger team is a staunch 13-1 heading into its non-conference finale.
Junior guards Marcus Denmon and Kim English are each rapidly approaching 1,000 career points as Missouri Tigers ... English has 867 career tallies in 86 career games, while Denmon boasts 828 points in 86 contests as well ... The last pair of Tiger juniors to top 1,000 career points in the same season were Arthur Johnson and Rickey Paulding in 2002-03 ... English and Denmon will become the 41st and 42nd players in school history to top 1,000 points.
Big 12's Mr. Efficiency - Marcus Denmon
Marcus Denmon has been the most efficient guard in the Big 12 so far this season ... Ranked #4 in the league overall in scoring behind Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn (21.2 ppg), Texas' Jordan Hamilton (19.8 ppg) and Colorado's Alec Burks (19.0 ppg), Denmon has separated himself with his 51.8 percent field goal shooting, 2.2-to-1 assist/turnover ratio and just 11.7 FG attempts per game.
> Denmon is averaging 1.3 points per field goal attempt this year, which leads both Hamilton and Burks, who average an excellent 1.1 points per shot ... Among the top four scoring guards Denmon's FG attempts per game is also well below that of Burks (12.3 FGA) and Hamilton (15.5) this season, while his 51.8 percent shooting from the floor is tops among the group as well ... Oh and for good measure his 28 total steals is #3 in the Big 12.
Top Non-Conference Seasons at Mizzou
Missouri concludes non-conference play on Wednesday vs. North Alabama and the Tigers stand at an excellent 13-1 in pre-Big 12 play ... That 13-1 mark is the best since 1989-90 when Mizzou went 14-1 in non-Big Eight play ... In fact a win by Missouri on Wednesday would equal the best preseason record in school history with that 1989-90 squad and tie the 1988-89 team as well with 14 non-league wins ... Missouri went 14-3 in preseason action in 1988-89.
Mike Anderson won his 100th game at Mizzou on Dec. 27, making him the fastest Tiger to reach that feat ... The 147 games it took Anderson to reach 100 topped the previous mark held by Quin Snyder, who won game #100 in 158 tries on Feb. 28, 2004 at Kansas State ... Norm Stewart won game #100 on Dec. 8, 1973, vs. UTEP in his 160th contest.
> Anderson, who is now 101-47 all-time at Mizzou, needs just 10 more wins to top 200 for his career, which includes the 89 wins he racked up at UAB.
> Last but not least, Anderson became just the second coach in Missouri Basketball history to be 50 games over .500 for his career following an 81-62 win vs. Oral Roberts on Dec. 16 ... Anderson joins Norm Stewart (631-333 in 32 seasons) as the only other Tiger coach on that exclusive list.
Paint It Black & Gold
The addition of Ricardo Ratliffe and growth of Missouri's returners in the post have led to much more balance in Mizzou's offense ... The Tigers have scored 536 of 1,198 points in the paint this season compared to 472 a season ago ... The 536 "paint points" (through 14 games) is the second highest total during Anderson's time at Mizzou, just behind the 540 tallies scored by DeMarre Carroll, Leo Lyons and Co. through 14 games in 2008-09.
The Freedom To Score
Coach Anderson loves an offense that shares the basketball, however the coach doesn't mind his Tigers getting greedy at the foul line and Mizzou has done just that this season, hitting 71.1 percent of its charity shots for the year and 73.6 percent over its last 11 games ... In fact after two sub-par nights at the line to open the year Mizzou has dipped below 70 percent as a team just three times over the last 12 outings.
Crunch Time Hoops From Denmon
- Missouri trailed #21 Illinois 57-56 with just over two minutes remaining, but Denmon hit a 17-footer with Jereme Richmond's hand in his face to give the Tigers a lead they wouldn't give up ... Denmon scored six points in the final 2:23, including a steal / assist on an Illinois in-bounds pass to seal the late-game surge.
- With the game tied and Vanderbilt running out the clock for a final shot in overtime, Denmon steals a pass from Brad Tinsley, scores the winning bucket (while being fouled) and completes the three-point play for an 85-82 win.
- On Jan. 9, 2010, with
- Missouri and Texas Tech were tied 82-82 with 3:06 remaining in overtime in Lubbock when Denmon came off a screen and buried a 24-footer in front of the Missouri bench to give the Tigers a lead they wouldn't relinquish, resulting in a 94-89 OT win.
- Of course for good measure we need to pay homage to the 60-footer in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament vs. #2
A Point Guard Family
Michael Dixon Jr. is distributing the rock like his "pops" (Michael Dixon Sr.) ... A sophomore starter for Mizzou, Dixon is among the Big 12 leaders in a number of categories this season, including assists (4th at 4.8 apg), steals (1st at 2.4) and assist/turnover ratio (1st at 2.6) ... Those numbers mirror the collegiate success his father had at San Jose State (1982-85) when the elder Dixon ranked #1 in school history with 477 assists and #6 with 106 career steals.
> However the younger Dixon has unleashed a consistent offensive game as well this year and has hit for double figures in scoring in eight of his last 12 contests, highlighted by a career high 18 points vs. Old Dominion on Dec. 30 as well as 17 tallies vs. Wyoming and Georgetown ... Dixon also helped lead Mizzou to a win over Vanderbilt with 15 points, four assists and three steals.
Flip The Switch
Flip Pressey is finding his comfort zone, despite suffering a hand injury during practice ... The explosive pass-first guard fueled Missouri's offense during his last three games, dishing out 27 assists while committing just seven turnovers in wins vs. Presbyterian, Oral Roberts and Central Arkansas ... The Dallas native dished a career high 11 assists in the 116-63 win over UCA, equaling the Missouri freshman record ... The 11 dimes are also the most by a Big 12 player this season.
> Pressey ranked #1 in the Big 12 among freshmen with 4.1 assists per game and his 1.9-to-1 assist/turnover ratio ranks #5 in the league overall at the time of his injury.
Non-Conference Home Streak #2 In Big 12
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