Phil Pressey and the Tigers look to improve to 17-1 on the year.
Jan. 15, 2012
#9/9 University of Missouri Tigers (16-1)vs. Texas A&M (10-6)
TIP-OFF:4:35 p.m. CT.
Arena: Mizzou Arena (15,061)
Radio: Tiger Network (Mike Kelly, play-by-play; Gary Link, analysis)
TV: ESPN HD (Brent Musberger - Play by Play / Bob Knight - Analyst)
Texas A&M: NA
Series: Mizzou leads, 11-10 (Last meeting: A&M 86, MU 71; March 10, 2011 in Kansas City, Mo)
Mizzou: Frank Haith (Elon '88), 145-102 overall (8th year) and 16-1 at Mizzou (1st year)
Texas A&M: Billy Kennedy (SE Louisiana `86); 221-185 overall (14th) and 10-6 at A&M (1st season)
> The No. 9/9 Mizzou men's basketball team will put its 16-1 record on the line Monday afternoon as it squares off against Texas A&M on ESPN's Big Monday at 4:30 p.m. as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr., marathon on the ESPN family of networks. This will mark the first of two Big Monday tilts for the Tigers this season and first since the Tigers defeated Kansas State, 75-59, in front of a sold-out crowd at Mizzou Arena last year on MLK Day. The game will mark the end of a stretch in which the Tigers played three games in six days.
> Monday's matchup will carry certain significance for Mizzou head coach Frank Haith, as Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy served as an assistant coach on Coach Haith's staff at Miami from 2005-06. Haith also spent three years as an assistant coach at Texas A&M (1992-95) and one year as an associate head coach (1996-97). This game comes just two days after Haith defeated his former mentor Rick Barnes and Texas, 84-73, on Saturday at Mizzou Arena.
> The Tigers' 16-1 start is the program's best start since the 1981-82 season (Mizzou opened that year winning its first 19 games), but another note to be aware of is that the Tigers' 3-1 start in Big 12 play marks the third time that the Tigers have accomplished that feat in the last four years. In fact, the Tiger senior class has won 33 Big 12 games over the last three-plus seasons, highlighted by a 12-4 mark in 2008-09, the same year Mizzou advanced to the Elite Eight.
> After defeating Texas on Saturday, the Tiger senior class is now 61-3 inside Mizzou Arena in their careers. In 208-09 Mizzou was a perfect 18-0 at home and finished 16-2 and 17-1 in the next two years at Mizzou Arena. This season, the Tigers have won their first 10 games at home.
> Mizzou and Texas A&M have met 21 times in history, with the series separated by just one game, as the Tigers own a narrow 11-10 lead in the all-time series. However, Mizzou has not defeated Texas A&M since 2004 on March 11 in the Big 12 Tournament. The Aggies have won the last eight meetings, including the last three in Columbia.
> Sophomore Phil Pressey had a great game against Texas on Saturday as he tallied his second career point-assist double-double with 18 points, 10 assists and no turnovers. It was his fourth game this season with 10 or more assists, marking the first Tiger to do that in a season since Scott Sims in 1976-77. In games in which Pressey has more than 10 assists, he also has committed a miniscule five turnovers, boasting an assist-turnover ratio of 8.6 in those four contests. Mizzou is averaging nearly 90 points per game in those contests as well.
> The Tigers currently rank second nationally in field goal percentage at 51.2 percent, trailing only Creighton (51.4) ... The team also leads the nation in assist-turnover ratio (1.67), is fifth in turnovers per game (10.1), fourth in scoring offense (83.9) and sixth in free throw percentage (.768).
> Senior big man Ricardo Ratliffe leads the nation in field goal percentage with his .774 clip this season ... If he keeps at his current rate all season, the senior would obliterate MU's single-season FG% record of 67.6 by Jeff Warren in 1990-91 ...The single season NCAA record for FG percentage in a single season is 74.6-percent by Steve Johnson of Oregon State (1981). Ratliffe is on pace to shatter that record as well.
Mizzou Quick Hitters...
> Senior Kim English leads the nation in 3-point field goal percentage among players with 2.5 makes per game at 52.3-percent.
> Additionally, senior Marcus Denmon ranks second nationally in free throw percentage at 93.1 percent, while junior Michael Dixon comes in at 15th nationally at 89.9 percent ... The duo make up the best one-two charity stripe punch in the nation, as they are the only pair of teammates ranked in the top-20.
> Mizzou is one of just four teams in the country with at least two players who have made at least 45 3-point field goals, as Denmon has 50 and English has 45. Mizzou is the only team in any of the power six conferences to have accomplished that while the other three at Weber State, St. Francis and Oakland.
> Junior Mike Dixon has been arguably the nation's top sixth man this season as he is averaging 12.2 points per game and 2.8 assists per contest off the bench ... His 12.2 ppg average this season is second among Big 12 players with no starts this year ... In fact, he ranks among the nation's top sixth men as his 12.2 ppg rank among other notable sixth men: Pierre Jackson of Baylor, Ryan Boatwright of Connecticut, Will Sheehy of Indiana, Dion Waiters of Syracuse and BJ Young of Arkansas, all of whom, like Dixon, have no starts this year.
> Although the Tigers have won 13 games by 10 or more points this season, the team has been strong in close games. In MU's three games decided by nine or less points, the Tigers scored on 15 of their 16 total final possessions to pull away with wins in all three games.
> Heading into Monday's contest, the Tigers are one of the nation's and Big 12's best shooting teams as the squad ranks second nationally and first in the Big 12 in field goal percentage (.512) ... The team also ranks sixth nationally (first among power conferences) and first in the Big 12 in free throw percentage (.768) ... Additionally, the team's 40.1 percentage from beyond the arc is second in the Big 12, trailing only Baylor.
> Six different Tigers reached double figures in MU's game at Iowa State last Wednesday, just the second time that has happened this season (California) ... It also marked just the sixth time ever Mizzou had six players in double figures against a Big 12 team.
> The Tiger offense has been incredibly balanced in the last six games, as six different Tigers have lead the team in scoring ... Denmon paced the Tigers against Old Dominion (19) and Kansas State (17), English against Oklahoma (23), Michael Dixon and Phil Pressey against Illinois (18), Matt Pressey against Iowa State (14) and Ricardo Ratliffe (21) against Texas.
> Senior Marcus Denmon ranks second in the Big 12 Conference in scoring at a 17.9 clip per contest ... The guard also leads the conference in free throw percentage (.931) and 3-point field goals made (2.94 per game) and is fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (.435) and sixth in field goal percentage (.485) and steals (1.5). Denmon has missed juts four free throws all season.
> Senior Kim English has been red hot over his last seven games, shooting 52.6 from the floor (30-of-57) while connecting on an amazing 51.9 percent of his 3-pointers (14-of-27) ... English scored 23 points against Oklahoma on Jan. 3, due in large part to 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc, good for his seventh career game with five 3-pointers and third this season.
> Sophomore point guard Phil Pressey became just the third Tiger to post more than one career point-assist double-double on Saturday with his 18-point, 10-assist performance against Texas. The only other Tigers to post more than one point-assist double-double are Scott Sims (four from 1976-77) and Stefhon Hannah (two from 2006-08).
> Mizzou has made a living sharing the rock over the last two games, as the Tigers have dished 20 dimes in each of the last two games. In that span, the Tigers also have just 20 turnovers, good for an assist-turnover margin of 2-1 in those two games. Mizzou has now dished 20 assists in six games this season - the Tigers surpassed 20 assists just six times all of last season and did not do it once in Big 12 play. The Tigers have done it twice in Big 12 play this season. Before the back-to-back 20-assist games over the last two, Mizzou had not posted 20 assists against a Big 12 team since Feb. 6, 2010, against Colorado. That spanned 29 league games.
> Sixth man Michael Dixon combines with sophomore Phil Pressey to give the Tigers arguably the best 1-2 punch at point guard in the nation. The tandem averages a combined 21.9 ppg and 8.9 assists per game with an assist-to-turnover margin of 2.4 with a combined 61 steals.
> Staying on that topic of steals vs. turnovers, Mizzou is second nationally with a steal-turnover margin of 0.90, trailing only No. 1 Syracuse in that department. The Tigers have 154 steals and just 171 turnovers, the latter of which gives Mizzou just 10.6 turnovers per game, ranking fifth nationally. Mizzou is 16th nationally in steals per game at 9.06.
> Mizzou has been amazingly efficient this season, averaging 1.17 points per field goal attempt this season, a Big 12-best by a wide margin ... Ricardo Ratliffe leads the team in that category as he is averaging 1.55 points per field goal attempt, while English averages 1.36 and Denmon 1.21. Mizzou's efficiency can also be tracked in its turnover margin as it averages nearly six fewer turnovers than its opponents this season.
> Overall, Missouri leads the Big 12 in eight different statistical categories: scoring offense (83.9), scoring margin (+20.9), free throw percentage (.768), field goal percentage (.512), assists (16.8), steals (9.1), turnover margin (+5.5) and assist-turnover ratio (1.67).
> Despite running a four-guard lineup, Mizzou still leads its opponents in rebounding margin this season as the Tigers have adopted a team approach to crashing the glass. Ricardo Ratliffe leads the team with 6.8 per contest while Marcus Denmon is second on the team with 5.3 and is coming off of his first career double-double with 18 points and a career-best 11 rebounds.
> The Tigers have shot at least 80 percent from the foul line in nine games this season ... All of last season the team hit that mark just 11 times in 34 games.
> Mizzou's win over Old Dominion on Dec. 30 gave the Tigers an unblemished 13-0 non-conference record ... It marks only the second time in program history that the team had an undefeated non-conference mark, joining the 1972-73 squad.
> Missouri finished the home non-conference schedule with an unblemished record for the sixth straight season ... The Tigers were 8-0 this year, 10-0 in 2010-11, 9-0 in 2009-10, 10-0 in 2008-09, 9-0 in 2007-08 and 11-0 in 2006-07.
> Seniors Marcus Denmon and Kim English continue to move up Missouri's all-time scoring list ... Denmon now has 1,460 in his career, which puts him 12th all-time at Mizzou ... Denmon needs 124 more points to tie Kareem Rush for 11th all-time ... English stands at 1,318 points, good for 21st place ... He needs 10 more points to tie Curtis Berry for 20th.
> This year's seniors mark the winningest class in Missouri Basketball program history...Heading into the year, the class' 77 wins over the last three-plus seasons mark the most in a three-year stretch at Mizzou...The Tiger clubs from 1980-83 and 1988-91 won 75 games over a three-year stretch ... The class now has a record of 93-28.
> The Tigers recorded 23+ wins in each of the last three campaigns for the first time in program history...Mizzou won 31 games in 2008-09 and went 23-11 in 2009-10 and 2010-11.
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