Tigers Set for Top-Five Showdown at Baylor

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Kim English and the Tigers will play in Mizzou's fifth top-five matchup in program history and first since 1990.</i>
Kim English and the Tigers will play in Mizzou's fifth top-five matchup in program history and first since 1990.

Jan. 19, 2012

#5/5 Mizzou (17-1, 4-1 Big 12) at #3/3 Baylor (17-1, 401 Big 12)

Game Notes - at Baylor Get Acrobat Reader

TIP-OFF:1 p.m. CT.
Arena: Ferrell Center (10,347)
Radio: Tiger Network (Mike Kelly, play-by-play; Gary Link, analysis)
TV: ESPN HD (Mark Jones - Play by Play / Fran Fraschilla - Analyst))
MU: 5/5
Baylor: 3/3
Series: Mizzou leads, 13-10 (Last mee�� ng: Mizzou 77, Baylor 59 in Columbia, Mo. - Feb. 23, 2011)
Mizzou: Frank Haith (Elon '88), 146-102 overall (8th year) and 17-1 at Mizzou (1st year)
Baylor: Scott Drew (Butler `93); 164-128 overall (9th) and 144-117 at Baylor (8th season)

For Openers...

    > The No. 5 Mizzou men's basketball team is set for its fifth top-five matchup in program history as it travels to No. 3 Baylor on Saturday for a 1 p.m. tilt on ESPN. Both teams come into the game at 17-1 overall and 4-1 in Big 12 play. As mentioned, this will mark the fifth time that Mizzou will play in a game featuring two top-five teams. In those games, the Tigers are 2-2 overall in top five matchups, including a 1-1 mark in road matchups.

    > Staying on the topic of to-five matchups, this will mark the first-ever top-five matchup in Big 12 history not featuring Texas or Kansas. It is also the league's first top-five matchup since March 3, 2010, when Kansas defeated Kansas State, 82-65.

    > Speaking of national rankings, the Tigers are fifth in both the ESPN/USA Today and AP polls, marking their highest rank since the 2003-04 season, when they reached as high as third. The No. 5 national rank also marks the first time that Mizzou has been ranked this high at this point in the season since 1990, when the Tigers were ranked first nationally. That year, Mizzou won the Big Eight regular season title.

    > The Tigers' 17-1 start is the program's best start since the 1981-82 season (the 17-1 mark is tied with the 1989-90 team), but another note to be aware of is that the Tigers' 4-1 start in Big 12 play is the Tigers' best start in league play since the 2008-09 season when the Tigers also opened at 4-1. That year Mizzou won the Big 12 Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.

    > Mizzou and Baylor have met 23 times in history with Mizzou holding a slight edge at 13-10, including three of the last four meetings. Their only loss to the Bears since 2009 came in 2010, a 64-62 loss at the Ferrell Center. Baylor leads the series in Waco, 6-3.

    > Senior guard Marcus Denmon was named one of 25 finalists for the John R. Wooden National Player of the Year Award as the foundation announced its midseason list of 25 on Tuesday (Jan. 17). Denmon leads the Tigers with 17.8 ppg and is second on the team in rebounding at 5.5.

    > Those numbers place Denmon as one of the best rebounding guards in the nation. In fact, the 6-3 guard has been great on the glass over his last two games as he has pulled in 20 boards, averaging 10 per game. He posted his first career double-double against Texas last Saturday and is the shortest player in the Big 12 that is currently ranked among the league's top 20 rebounders.

    > Mizzou notched season-highs in free throws made (27), free throws attempted (31) and free throw percentage on Monday against Texas A&M. That improved the Tigers' season clip from the charity stripe to .776, ahead of the single-season school-record pace of .758 by the 1996-97 Tigers.

    > The Tigers currently rank second nationally in field goal percentage at 50.7 percent, trailing only Creighton (51.6) ... The team also leads the nation in assist-turnover ratio (1.64), is fourth in turnovers per game (10.1) and scoring offense (83.9), and fifth in free throw percentage (.776).

    > Senior big man Ricardo Ratliffe leads the nation in field goal percentage with his .771 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...

    > Sophomore Phil Pressey had a great game against Texas last 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.

    > Staying on the topic of `Flip' Pressey, the Tiger sophomore leads the Big 12 in assists, averaging 5.94 per contest. If he were to finish the season ranked first in the league, he would become the first Tiger to ever lead the Big 12 in assists in a season. Already in his career, Pressey has 224 assists in 48 games, which is the second-most for any Tiger in his first two seasons and he has at least 14 games remaining this season. Anthony Peeler holds the Mizzou record for assists through the first two seasons at 281, meaning Pressey would need to average 4.1 apg the rest of the way to break Peeler's mark. Pressey is also on pace to break Peeler's Mizzou single season assists record (179).

    > 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).

    > Senior Kim English leads the nation in 3-point field goal percentage among players with 2.5 makes per game at 51.1-percent.

    > Additionally, senior Marcus Denmon ranks fourth nationally in free throw percentage at 92.4 percent, while junior Michael Dixon comes in at 11th nationally at 90.1 percent ... The duo make up the best one-two charity stripe punch in the nation, as they are the only pair of teammates shooting better than 90-percent.

    > Junior Mike Dixon has been arguably the nation's top sixth man this season as he is averaging 12.6 points per game and 2.8 assists per contest off the bench ... His 12.6 ppg average this season is first among Big 12 players with no starts this year ... In fact, he ranks among the nation's top sixth men as his 12.6 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. Young is the only player on that list to average more points than Dixon.

    > Mizzou's starting backcourt (Marcus Denmon, Phil Pressey, Matt Pressey) is averaging a combined 12.9 rebounds per game this season. That backcourt does not include senior guard Kim English, who technically plays the No. 4 spot on the floor in the four-guard lineup. He averages 4.6 boards per game.

    > Although the Tigers have won 14 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 Saturday'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 (.507) ... The team also ranks fifth nationally (first among power conferences) and first in the Big 12 in free throw percentage (.776) ... Additionally, the team's 39.6 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 on Jan. 11, 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 seven games, as six different Tigers have led 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), Ricardo Ratliffe (21) against Texas and Dixon again against Texas A&M Monday.

    > Senior Marcus Denmon ranks second in the Big 12 Conference in scoring at a 17.8 clip per contest ... The guard also leads the conference in free throw percentage (.924) and 3-point field goals made (2.83 per game), is fifth in shooting (.479) and is sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (.418) and steals (1.5).

    > Mizzou dished 20 assists in back-to-back wins at Iowa State and at home against Texas. 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 those two games, 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 22.3 ppg and 8.7 assists per game with an assist-to-turnover margin of 2.4 with a combined 65 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 163 steals and just 182 turnovers, the latter of which gives Mizzou just 10.1 turnovers per game, ranking fourth nationally. Mizzou is 16th nationally in steals per game at 9.06.

    > Mizzou has been amazingly efficient this season, averaging 1.16 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 1.54 points per field goal attempt, while English averages 1.31 and Denmon 1.20. 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 seven different statistical categories: scoring offense (83.1), scoring margin (+20.8), free throw percentage (.776), field goal percentage (.507), assists (16.56), turnover margin (+5.4) and assist-turnover ratio (1.64).

    > Kim English and Marcus Denmon have scored 20 points each in the same Big 12 game three times in their careers. No other Tiger duo has accomplished that feat in the last six seasons.

    > 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 6.7 per contest while Marcus Denmon is second on the team with 5.5 as he has 20 rebounds over his last two games, including a double-double against Texas.

    > The Tigers have shot at least 80 percent from the foul line in 10 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 1,476 in his career, which puts him 12th all-time at Mizzou ... Denmon needs 108 more points to tie Kareem Rush for 11th all-time ... English stands at 1,326 points, good for 21st place ... He needs two 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 94-28.

    > Mizzou's senior class is also a remarkable 62-3 at Mizzou Arena in their three plus years as Tigers.

    > 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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