Missouri Basketball returns to NCAA Tournament play for the third consecutive season as the #11-seeded Tigers battle the Cincinnati Bearcats for the first time in series history … Missouri and Cincy meet at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., marking Missouri's first trip to our nation's capital since a 63-51 loss at Georgetown on Feb. 20, 1982.
Mizzou is making its 24th trip to the NCAA Tournament overall … The Tigers are 22-23 all-time in the Big Dance and have won five consecutive opening-round games dating back to an 84-70 loss to 8th-seeded North Carolina in 2000 … That Carolina team ended up making the Final Four.
Missouri is headed to the West Region for the eighth time in school history … The Tigers last went West in 2009 and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight … Actually each of Mizzou's last two trips into the West Region finished with Elite Eight runs, including a surge as the #12 seed before falling to #2 Oklahoma in San Jose, Calif.
Here is what you need to know about Mizzou … Missouri's brand of basketball is called The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball and Head Coach Mike Andersonhas used it to make six career trips to the NCAA Tournament in nine seasons as a head coach … Missouri ranks #2 nationally in steals (9.8) and is one of the country's most unselfish teams with eight players boasting 29 or more assists … In addition, Missouri set the school record for fewest turnovers per game last year and this season's 12.8 turnovers per game is the third fewest in school history … So while the brand of play is fast, it's fundamentally sound.
In addition, Missouri is one of just four teams nationally to have five players averaging double figures in scoring (along with Iowa State, Long Beach State and Detroit).
Missouri enters NCAA play as an 11-seed for the second time … The Tigers fell to UAB, 66-64, in 1986 … Missouri was a #10 seed last season and defeated #7 Clemson, 86-78, in Buffalo last year … Missouri is also facing its fourth Big EAST team in NCAA play the last few seasons … Mizzou defeated #6 Marquette in 2009 and fell to #1 UConn in the Elite Eight and dropped a 68-59 decision to #2 West Virginia last year in Buffalo.
Thursday's game marks a homecoming trip of sorts for a pair of Tigers … Junior Kim Englishis from nearby Baltimore, Md., while Ricardo Ratliffe is from Hampton, Va. … Missouri will return to the area next year to face Old Dominion.
Mizzou Quick Hitters
For the third consecutive year Missouri is headed to the Big Dance … The Tigers are the #11 seed in the West Region and will face #6 Cincinnati in Washington, D.C. on Thursday evening.
Missouri is making its first-ever appearance on TNT … Mizzou alum Matt Winer will host the TNT studio show live from Atlanta.
It's a rare trip into the nation's capital for Missouri … In addition to that aforementioned game vs. Georgetown in 1982 the Tigers also faced George Washington in D.C. way back on Dec. 15, 1932, and won 33-30.
While Missouri is facing Cincinnati for the first time, Mike Andersonhas some familiarity with the Bearcats and Mick Cronin … Anderson was 1-2 vs. Cincinnati while he was the head coach at UAB and his Blazers knocked off Cronin's Murray State Racers 100-80 in Birmingham during the 2004-05 campaign.
Mizzou is 0-1 all-time as a #11 seed … The Tigers fell to UAB in 1986, but have been excellent as the lower-seeded team under Mike Anderson's watch … Missouri defeated #7 Clemson last year as a 10-seed and toppled #2 Memphis in 2009 as a #3 seed.
Missouri is back in the West Region for the second time in three years … Missouri is 10-8 all-time in the West, including a 6-2 mark during their last two runs through that portion of the bracket.
Following its 12-steal effort against Texas A&M on March 10, Missouri is #2 nationally in steals … The Tigers average 9.8 thefts per game this year and that figure is up to 10.8 over their last six outings.
Missouri is 4-2 in neutral court games this year … The Tigers won the Cancun Challenge with wins over Wyoming and La Salle and topped Illinois (75-64) in St. Louis … Missouri defeated Texas Tech (88-84) in Big 12 Tournament play, but fell to Texas A&M (86-71) and Georgetown (111-102) at the Sprint Center.
Missouri recently recorded its 1,500th win in program history with its 88-84 triumph vs. Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament … The Tigers had 1,477 wins entering the 2010-11 campaign and are 23-10 so far this year … Missouri is 1,500-1,038 all-time.
Head Coach Mike Andersonwon his 200th career game vs. Texas Tech as well … Anderson won his 100th game at Missouri earlier this season … Anderson won 89 games in four years at UAB.
Winning down the stretch was significant for a number of reasons, but the Tigers have 23+ wins each of the past three campaigns for the first time in program history … Mizzou won 31 games in 2008-09 and went 23-11 last season … Missouri has had three consecutive 22+ campaigns before, most recently in 1982-83.
Head Coach Mike Andersoncontinues to build the Tiger Basketball program … Anderson recently recorded his seventh 20-win campaign in nine seasons as a head coach … Anderson enjoyed four consecutive 20-win campaigns at UAB before reviving the Missouri program.
The Tigers rank #9 nationally at 81.4 points per game … In neutral court games that figures is a solid 81.8 points per game, including games against NCAA teams Texas A&M, Georgetown and Illinois.
Missouri is of course led by All-Big 12 performer Marcus Denmon … Denmon has been one of the Big 12's better scorers over the past month, topping 19+ points seven times in eight games, including 20 points, five dimes and five steals vs. Texas Tech and 22 more vs. Texas A&M during postseason play … That was the first 20-point, five assist and five steal game in Missouri postseason history … Over his last eight games Denmon is averaging 20.0 points on 54 percent shooting from the floor and 46 percent shooting from three-point range.
Flip Pressey leads all Big 12 freshmen in assists and steals this year and his 11 games with 5+ assists at Missouri ranks #1 all-time in school history for a freshman … Pressey is tied with Travis Ford (11) on Missouri's list of five-assist games for rookies … However if you dial it up a notch, Pressey is already Missouri's freshman leader in games with 7+ assists (tied with Jimmy McKinney) with four and the leader with three 8+ assist games.
Pressey had 62 assists in Big 12 play this year, which is the most ever by a Tiger freshman … The top overall mark in Big 12 play by a Tiger is 72 by Jason Horton in 2006.
He is already the Mizzou freshman record holder with 112 assists and is closing in on the freshman steals record as well … He has 56 thefts in 29 games and needs seven more rips to break the record.
Mizzou Basketball has 77 victories over its last three seasons, the winningest three-year stretch in school history … Tiger clubs from 1980-83 and 1988-91 won 75 games over a three-year stretch.
Missouri has blocked 168 shots this season, a new school record … The previous record for blocks was 160, which was set last season … MU has never led the Big 12 in blocked shots, but paced the league throughout the regular season and averages at 5.1 per game this year.
Balanced scoring has been key for the Tigers this year … In fact Missouri has had seven players reach double figures in a game twice this year, including a home contest vs. North Alabama.
With that great balance Missouri has used 10 different starting lineups this season … Of course it doesn't really matter who starts, it's about who finishes!
Mizzou is #12 nationally in assists at 16.5 per game, so not only can the Tigers score in bunches, but they 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 54-14 (.794), including four NCAA Tournament wins, since his arrival before the 2006-07 season.
Missouri has been the ultimate team through 33 games … The Tigers have had eight different players lead the team (or tie for the team lead) in scoring, seven different players in rebounding, seven in assists and eight in steals.
Missouri is forcing a turnover on nearly 25 percent of its opponent possessions this year (603 opponent turnovers compared to 1,889 opponent FG attempts).
The Tigers have scored 685 points off of those 603 turnovers … So far Missouri is averaging 20.8 ppg off of turnovers, including 41 points off turnovers vs. Central Arkansas.
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 27.1 points over Anderson's five years in Columbia!
The Tigers are averaging 25.2 ppg from their bench this season, including a season high 49 points vs. La Salle on Nov. 24 and 42 vs. Oklahoma.
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 193 more shots than its opponents and made 137 more buckets.
Missouri has been good at defending the rim though 33 games, averaging 5.1 swats a contest … Laurence Bowers (62) and Ricardo Ratliffe (44) lead the way with a combined 106 total blocks.
Mizzou blocked 10 shots at Colorado on Jan. 8, the most since the 1998-99 season for a Tiger team … Laurence Bowers led the way with a school record tying eight total swats.
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.
#1 Flip Pressey, 5-10, 168 Pounds
Nicknamed "Flip", but first name is Phil.
Mizzou freshman record holder for assists (112) and second among freshman with 56 steals.
His 1.9 steals per game rank second in the Big 12 overall this season.
His 3.9 assists per game on the season are the most for a Tiger freshman in school history.
Big 12's top freshman for assists (3.9), steals (1.9) and assist/turnover ratio (1.8).
Scored a career high 17 points to go with six assists and just one turnover at Kansas.
Solid all-around game vs. Texas A&M in the Big 12 quarterfinals with nine points, five dimes and a career high six steals.
Ripped away five steals in the win over Colorado and hounded senior guard Cory Higgins into eight turnovers … Had 13 points, three dimes, five steals and just one turnover in the start.
Missed four games with a fractured right finger, which was suffered Dec. 19 during practice.
Scored a career high 16 points at Texas A&M and hit a career-best 4-of-4 treys in the contest.
Scored 12 points, dished five dimes and had three steals at Texas, all team highs.
Dropped in 13 points, three dimes and four steals vs. #24 Kansas State.
Enters the Missouri program as the highest-ranked recruit of the Mike Andersonera, rated as high as #16 nationally by 2K Sports.
Is the first Missouri freshman to record 7+ assists in three consecutive games and is the first Tiger to accomplish the feat since Anthony Peeler back in 1989-90.
His older brother Matt Presseyis a junior on this year's club and his father, Paul Pressey, is currently an assistant coach for Byron Scott and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Highly-coveted big man out of Central Florida College, that was twice named a first team NJCAA All-American.
Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and an honorable mention all-league performer as selected by the Big 12 coaches.
Ranked among the Top 25 nationally in field goal percentage (.575) and is shooting 60.0 percent from the floor in Big 12 games, which was #3 in the league.
Had back-to-back double-doubles in Big 12 play vs. Iowa State and Baylor, including 11 points and 13 rebounds vs. the Bears… Grabbed 12 of those 13 boards in the first half to set the tone physically.
First Tiger since DeMarre Carroll in 2008-09 to have back-to-back double-doubles in Big 12 play … Carroll did it vs. Kansas and Texas A&M.
Has been named Big 12 Rookie of the Week twice this season.
Just missed a double-double vs. Colorado with 14 points (6-7 FGs) and nine boards.
Was a warrior at Texas A&M scoring 19 points on 9-of-11 FGs to go with a game high nine rebounds before fouling out.
Leads the club in rebounding (6.1) and double-doubles (5), including 10 points and 10 boards at Iowa State.
His 14 boards vs. La Salle are the most since DeMarre Carrollgrabbed 14 vs. Kansas State on Feb. 25, 2009.
Fifth in the league in blocked shots at 1.3 swats per game and blocked four vs. Nebraska on Jan. 12.
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 Central Florida school record with 1,653 points over two seasons.
Had his junior college jersey (#20) retired at the school's season-opener this year.
#11 Michael Dixon, 6-1, 180 Pounds
Quietly putting together a great sophomore season, ranking #4 in the league in steals per game (1.8) and is fourth in assist/turnover ratio (2.0) … Ranks #9 in dimes (3.6) and #6 in free throw percentage (.818).
Had 55 dimes all of last season, but has 112 in 31 games played in 2010-11.
Scored 17 points vs. Texas Tech in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament, while adding four assists and a steal.
Led Mizzou in scoring vs. Iowa State with 15 points and a career high eight boards in just 18 minutes.
Dropped in 16 points to lead all Tigers vs. Oklahoma.
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 San Jose State as the school's all-time assist leader.
Ripped a career high five steals vs. North Florida on Nov. 20.
Top returning assist man from last season with 55 dimes and just 32 turnovers.
First Team All-Big 12 selection and the first Missouri guard on the list since Kareem Rush in 2002.
First Team all-District by the United States Basketball Writers Association.
Tough, gritty guard that was a football standout in high school as a wide out and defensive back.
One of just four Tiger guards to shoot better than 50 percent over the last 20 years.
One of the Big 12's most underrated defensive players and held Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn to a then season-low 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting … Ranks #5 in the league with 1.8 steals per game.
Has scored 19+ points in seven of his last eight games, including back-to-back 20-point efforts in postseason play.
Averaging 21.0 points and 3.5 steals per game in postseason action this year, including 20 points, five assists and five steals vs. Texas Tech.
Played 14 minutes vs. Oklahoma after suffering an inadvertent elbow from a teammate, which forced him to get stitches … Did score nine points in his 14 minutes.
Bounced back from that injury to score 20 points (18 in the first half) and top the 1,000 career point mark in college vs. Texas Tech … Hit 9-of-13 shots in the efficient effort.
Poured in 25 tallies at Iowa State on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor.
Has 16 career 20-point efforts and Missouri is 13-3 in those games.
Enjoyed his highest scoring Big 12 game with 27 points, 8-14 FGs and 5-7 treys vs. Nebraska … Tied a career high in scoring.
Named by ESPN as one of the country's Most Improved Players for 2010-11.
Named a Mid-Season 2nd Team All-American by Rivals.com.
Mid-Season Co-Big 12 Player of the Year from ESPN.com.
Mid-Season Wooden Award member.
Mid-Season Naismith Award member.
Twice named Big 12 Player of the Week.
Reached double figures in 26 of his last 28 games.
Has 182 career three-pointers in his tenure, which is eighth all-time (nine shy of #5).
Leads the team in scoring (17.1) and three-point field goal percentage (.455) … Is #2 in the Big 12 Conference with his three-point accuracy.
Initially scored a career high 27 points on Nov. 30 vs. Georgetown on an efficient 10-of-12 shooting from the floor … Hit 5-of-7 treys and 5-of-5 shots inside the arc … Added six boards and two steals as well.
Scored 19 second-half / overtime points in the win vs. Vanderbilt, including the game-winner with five seconds remaining.
Cancun Challenge MVP after averaging 15.0 points on 8-of-16 treys in two wins.
Classroom Champion in the 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.
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.
Great postseason game vs. Texas Tech, scoring 10 points and grabbing four boards in the win over the Red Raiders.
Grabbed six rebounds and scored 11 points in 22 minutes vs. Oklahoma and then was aggressive in the post with 8 points, two dimes and a steal vs. Texas Tech … Added nine points in 19 minutes vs. Baylor.
Tied a career high with 11 rebounds at Texas on Jan. 29.
Incredible run of nine consecutive Missouri points vs. Illinois on Dec. 22 … Finished the game with 11 points, three boards and two assists in 16 minutes.
Narrowly missed a double-double vs. North Alabama with 16 points, eight boards and three assists.
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. La Salle, including nine of the team's first 10 points … Finished with six rebounds as well.
Is the club's lone senior and enters his fourth year with the program, which includes 91 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.
From nearby Baltimore, which is less than 40 miles from Washington, D.C.
Topped the 1,000-point mark in Missouri's 76-70 win at Iowa State on a pair of free throws at the 13:15 mark of the first half.
Has reached double figures 20 times this season, including back-to-back postseason games vs. Texas Tech and Texas A&M.
Averaging 13.5 points and 3.0 assists in postseason play thus far.
Came off the bench vs. Colorado and dropped in a season high 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting in 24 minutes … Had six boards as well.
Scored 16 points on 4-of-6 treys vs. Baylor … Also added two assists.
Scoring numbers are slightly down overall, but has become more well-rounded in his junior season, a focus of his off-season workouts … His assist totals are up in 2010-11 … Has 67 dimes in 2010-11 after having just 39 assists all of last season.
Scored 20 first-half points vs. North Alabama on 6-of-7 three-point shooting … Took just three shots in the second half with the game in hand.
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.
Has 161 career three-pointers, 10th all-time in school history.
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.
A native of Kansas City and played at nearby Truman High School.
Statistics don't tell the impact of Big Steve … Is the team's resident "trash man", grabbing offensive boards, dishing assists and playing solid post defense with very little fanfare.
Played 14 minutes vs. Oklahoma and had six points, three boards and an assist in the win.
Played 13 minutes at Okie State and tied for the team lead with five boards … Also had two blocks and two steals and hit his lone field goal attempt.
Solid game at Texas A&M, hitting 4-of-4 FTs to go with two rebounds in 13 minutes.
Scored four points, grabbed four boards, blocked a shot and dished an assist vs. Iowa State.
Career game in the season-opener vs. Western Illinois, scoring a career high nine points, while tying a career high with five boards.
Grabbed a career high seven rebounds vs. North Alabama to go with four points.
Third on the squad with 31 blocked shots this season.
Spent a portion of the summer playing with Global Sports Academy in Europe.
Cincinnati (25-8, 11-7) makes its first NCAA Tournament trip since 2005 and enter the Big Dance as a #6 seed … The Bearcats had an outstanding season and opened the year 15-0, which included quality non-conference wins vs. Xavier, Dayton, Oklahoma and Miami (Fla.) … Cincinnati is a great defensive team and allows just 59.2 points per game … They also have a +4.6 rebounding margin and finished the year strong, winning six of their final eight games, including two wins over Georgetown … Yancy Gates is the team's top scorer (11.8) and rebounder (6.8), while Dion Dixon (11.6 ppg) has a team-leading 48 treys … Cashmere Wright has 125 assists and 44 steals for a club that has nine players in its regular rotation.
Mizzou's Mike Andersonenters his sixth NCAA Tournament appearance as a head coach and third with the Tigers … Prior to his three consecutive runs at Mizzou, Anderson guided Alabama-Birmingham to the Big Dance from 2004-06 and boasts a 7-5 all-time mark in the tourney.
Anderson also made 15 other NCAA Tournament appearances as a longtime assistant coach for the legendary Nolan Richardson - 13 at Arkansas and two at Tulsa … Anderson's record in those games under Richardson was a sterling 26-14, giving him a combined 33-19 all-time record as a head or assistant coach in the NCAA Tournament.
Final Four Predictors?
We'll have to wait and see just how popular of a pick that Mizzou is for the Final Four among national prognosticators … If they don't pick the Tigers, shrewd observers of history might want to take note of who the Tigers are playing, however.
That's because eight of the last nine teams who have beaten MU in the NCAA Tournament have gone on to reach the Final Four … Those include Arizona in 1994, UCLA in 1995, North Carolina in 2000, Duke in 2001, Oklahoma in 2002, Marquette in 2003, UConn in 2009 and West Virginia last season … UCLA and Duke both went on to win the national title after downing the Tigers.
The only time during that stretch where Mizzou's conqueror did not advance to the Final Four was in 1999, when New Mexico downed the Tigers in what ultimately was Coach Norm Stewart's final game of his legendary career … The Lobos lost to #1-seeded and eventual national champ UConn in their next game, so through a Kevin Bacon-six-degrees-of-separation deal, you could say that MU was still involved in the mix!
Tigers vs. the Field
Missouri was 4-7 vs. the NCAA field this season, with two losses coming to #1 seed Kansas … Here is a quick rundown of MU's results vs. the field of 65.
Tigers Earn All-Big 12 Postseason Honors
Marcus Denmon, Laurence Bowersand Ricardo Ratliffepicked up some postseason hardware from the Big 12 office as Denmon was named a first team All-Big 12 pick, while Ratliffe and Bowers were named honorable mention selections … Bowers was also named to the All-Defensive Team, while Ratliffe, a junior transfer, was named the league's Newcomer of the Year.
Tigers Claim Win #1,500
Missouri Basketball won its 1,500th game in program history in the Big 12 Tournament, as the Tigers took out Texas Tech, 88-84, in the opening round … Mizzou is the fifth Big 12 program to reach this milestone, joining Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Shooting It Straight
Marcus Denmonis the Big 12's top shooting guard this year with a 50.6 percent success rate from the floor and quite frankly, it isn't even close … Colorado's Alec Burks is second among Big 12 guards at 45.6 percent, well behind Denmon's pace … However Denmon is in rare company at Missouri over the last 20 years as his percentage ranks second among Missouri guards since the 1990-91 campaign … Rickey Paulding is tops at 51.0 percent, while Kareem Rush(1999-00) ranks third (.505) and Melvin Booker (1993-94) stands fourth (.504).
Teaching `Em Young…
It's always better to give than receive and Missouri has two of the country's best young distributors of the basketball in sophomore Mike Dixon and freshman Flip Pressey … Both underclassmen have topped 100 assists this season (Pressey at 112 / Dixon at 112) and they are just the second underclassmen tandem to top 100 assists in the same year, joining Anthony Peeler and current Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford … Peeler had 179 dimes that sophomore season, while Ford chipped in 105 as a freshman … Pressey recently topped the Mizzou freshman record for assists with his five-dime performance vs. Texas A&M.
If You Build It …
Missouri set a Mizzou Arena record for attendance this season, as the Tigers averaged 11,112 fans per game this year, the highest average attendance since Mizzou Arena was opened in 2004-05 … The previous mark was set last season as MU averaged 10,349 fans during its 18-game home slate.
> During Big 12 games only Missouri averaged a Mizzou Arena record 13,735 fans this season.