Battle For Braggin' Rights

MUTIGERS.COM Mike Anderson and Mizzou meet Illinois on Wednesday.
MUTIGERS.COM
Mike Anderson and Mizzou meet Illinois on Wednesday.
MUTIGERS.COM

Dec. 20, 2010

Columbia, Mo. -

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#9 / #10 University of Missouri Tigers (10-1, 0-0 Big 12) vs.

#21 / #21 University of Illinois Fighting Illini (10-2, 0-0 Big Ten)

Tip-Off: 8 p.m. CT

Arena: Scottrade Center (22,153)

TV: ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen and Hubert Davis)

Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly - Play by Play / Gary Link - Analyst)

Rankings: Mizzou 13/12; Illinois 12/14 in AP / USA Today Coaches Poll

Series: Illinois leads Mizzou 27-13 all-time; last - Mizzou won 81-68

Coaches:

Missouri: Mike Anderson (Tulsa `82); 187-88 overall (9th); 98-47 at Mizzou (5th)

Illinois: Bruce Weber (UW-Milwaukee `79) 286-128 overall (13th) 183-74 at Illinois (8th)

 

For Openers...

> Missouri and Illinois renew their annual holiday clash on Wednesday at the Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis ... It will be a college basketball first this season, as a pair of 10-win clubs square off for the first time in 2010-11.

> Mizzou and Illinois come into the game as ranked foes for the first time since 2002-03 ... Both clubs were also ranked in 2001-02, a year that saw Mizzou advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

> While Missouri and Illinois meet annually over the holidays the Tigers and Fighting Illini have opened the college football season in St. Louis annually at the Edward Jones Dome ... Missouri has won six consecutive in the series including a 23-13 win this year ... Speaking of overall program health, Missouri is one of just four teams in America to have a football team with 10 wins and a hoops team already with 10 wins ... The Tigers join Ohio State, Oklahoma State and UCF.

> Mizzou is off to its best start to a season under Mike Anderson ... The Tigers are currently 10-1 for the first time since 2002-03 ... His previous best record through 11 games was 9-2 back during the 2006-07 and 2008-09 campaigns.

> Missouri has been one of the country's winningest programs the last two (plus) seasons ... Including its 10-1 mark this year, the team has won 64 games over that stretch, the eighth most wins in all of college basketball since 2008-09.

> 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 win over Central Arkansas, which ties for the second most in school history and the most in the Big 12 this year ... In the game MU had a program first, two players with point-assist double-doubles ... Flip Pressey had career highs of 15 points and 11 dimes and Kim English had 14 points and 10 helpers ... Pressey will miss Wednesday's game with a fractured finger.

> 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 16.8 points per game this year, boasted by an average of 19.3 points per game over his last six contests on 53 percent shooting from the floor and 47 percent shooting from three-point range ... More impressive stats for Denmon during that surge? Try 5.7 boards per game and 15 dimes compared to just four turnovers.

 

Mizzou Quick Hitters

> This one can make or break the holidays ... Mizzou and Illinois meet on Dec. 22 at the Scottrade Center for Braggin' Rights in the Midwest.

> Wednesday's game is Missouri's 114th appearance in St. Louis ... The Tigers are 54-59 all-time in the Gateway City and 9-20 vs. Illinois since beginning the Busch Braggin' Rights series in 1980.

> As always, Braggin' Rights are up for grabs across the board and Mizzou's Justin Safford actually attended Illinois Basketball Camps while growing up ... Safford is a native of Bloomington, Ill.

> Missouri will play in three different locations in the state of Missouri this year ... In addition to its home games in Columbia and Wednesday's game in St. Louis, MU has already traveled to Kansas City to face Georgetown at Sprint Center ... That ended up being the most exciting game in America thus far, with the Hoyas claiming a 111-102 OT decision.

> Mizzou has been very good in non-conference games under Mike Anderson ... The Tigers are 50-14 (.781), including four NCAA Tournament wins, since his arrival before the 2006-07 season.

> Turnovers are trending downward for Mizzou over the last four games ... The Tigers are averaging just 11.5 miscues per game during that stretch and have a +8.3 turnover margin (per game) in those contests ... In fact Mizzou's assist/turnover ratio is at an outstanding 1.8 during that run.

> Missouri is finding its offensive rhythm over the last seven games, shooting 52 percent from the floor, 43 percent from three-point range and 77 percent from the foul line during that time frame ... Balance has been the operative word for MU, with five players averaging better than 11.8 points and seven averaging 6.8 or more.

> Missouri has been the ultimate team through 11 games ... The Tigers have had seven different players lead the team (or tie for the team lead) in scoring, four different players in rebounding, six in assists and seven in steals.

> Missouri has won in a variety of places this year ... The Tigers are 7-0 at home on the young season ... The Tigers also have three road/neutral wins this year ... The Tigers were just 1-3 in their first four games away from home last season and 2-2 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 23-8 in December, which includes wins over Old Dominion, #19 USC, Maryland, Arkansas, Davidson (with Stephen Curry), Purdue, Illinois, Oregon and Oral Roberts ... MU is a combined 50-13 (.794) before Jan. 1 under Anderson.

> Mike Anderson is just two wins shy of 100 during his time at Missouri ... Anderson has 98 wins and 47 losses in Columbia, an excellent winning percentage of .676 ... Anderson won 89 games as well at UAB and has 186 career victories.

> Mizzou Arena has been a terror dome for non-league opponents during the Mike Anderson era... In running their record to 47-0 (under Anderson), the Tigers are averaging a 25.2 ppg. margin of victory vs. non-conference foes at home, including quality wins over Arkansas, California, Davidson, Mississippi State, Murray State, Oral Roberts, Oregon and Purdue.

> Overall Missouri owns a 54-game non-conference home court winning streak, which dates back to the 2005-06 campaign (pre-Mike Anderson era) ... That 54-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.

> Missouri is forcing one turnover for nearly every three opponent possessions this year (227 opponent turnovers compared to 607 opponent FG attempts).

> Last season Missouri led the nation by forcing turnovers on 30 percent of its opponent possessions.

> The Tigers have scored 251 points off of those 227 turnovers, a number that will increase as this new collection of players becomes more familiar with each other ... So far Missouri is averaging 22.8 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 27.4 points over Anderson's five years in Columbia!

> The Tigers are already averaging 26.7 ppg from their bench this season, including a season high 49 points vs. La Salle on Nov. 24.

> 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 114 more shots than its opponents and made 88 more buckets.

> It's early, but Missouri has been good at defending the rim though 11 games, averaging 5.5 swats a contest ... Laurence Bowers (26) and Steve Moore (14) lead the way with a combined 40 total blocks.

> Missouri has typically played some tough schedules over the years and that trend will continue in 2010-11 ... With the preseason polls being released, 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.

> Missouri got some love in the preseason polls this year, checking in at #15 in both Top 25 ledgers ... Mizzou was #32 in the ESPN / USA Today Coaches Poll and #45 in the Associated Press Poll last season at this time.

> FoxSports.com's Jeff Goodman gave the Tigers some preseason hype as well, picking Anderson's club #9 in his preseason poll.

> Goodman also put the Tigers in his Final Four in his early season projections.

> Sports Illustrated thought highly of Missouri's backcourt depth and pegged the MU guards #13 nationally as a position group.

 

Tiger Tidbits

#1 Flip Pressey, 5-10, 168 Pounds

> Nicknamed "Flip", but first name is Phil.

> 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. Central Arkansas on Dec. 18.

> 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 this season with 45.

> 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.

> Pressey showed some moxie in the season-opener against Western Illinois, sinking two free throws with just 1:26 remaining and the Tigers up just 58-57 after forcing a WIU turnover.

> 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 Mr. Basketball in the state of Missouri 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 two games and is averaging 9.5 points, 2.5 boards and 2.5 steals on 6-of-9 shooting.

> Hit 3-of-4 three-pointers in wins over Wyoming and La Salle, including a then career-best 2-of-3 treys vs. La Salle in the first half.

> 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 St. Louis this June after scoring 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting.

 

#3 Matt Pressey, 6-2, 185 Pounds

> The "Elmers Glue" of this year's club and is out of the same mold as a J.T. Tiller and Zaire Taylor with his blue-collar mentality.

> Sat out the Dec. 18 contest vs. Central Arkansas after taking an elbow to the face vs. Oral Roberts on the 16th ... Expected back for Wednesday.

> Has started two games at the guard position, but has been a key reserve over his last six contests.

> Has hit at least one trey in six of his last eight games and is shooting 47 percent (7-of-15) from beyond the arc during that span.

> Is 18-of-35 from the floor over his last six games as well (.514).

> Came off the bench to score nine points and dish three assists vs. Georgetown and his first career double-figure scoring night came at Oregon on Dec. 2 with 10 points and two assists in 22 minutes.

> Was a junior college All-American at Navarro College last year, joining fellow Tiger Ricardo Ratliffe on that first team squad.

> 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 Central Florida College, that was twice named a first team NJCAA All-American.

> Has been named Big 12 Rookie of the Week twice this season.

> Leads the club in rebounding (7.5) and double-doubles (3) ... Was on a run of four consecutive double-figure rebounding games before being held to seven boards vs. Georgetown.

> His 14 boards vs. La Salle are the most since DeMarre Carroll grabbed 14 vs. Kansas State on Feb. 25, 2009.

> Leads the team in field goal percentage (.575) and is second in scoring (12.3).

> 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

> Career game 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.

> Second on the club in assists (39) and tops in steals (22) this season, which includes 34 assists in his last seven games ... Also ranks #1 in the Big 12 in steals at 2.4 per game.

> Owns a 2.6-to-1 assists turnover ratio with 39 dimes and just 15 turnovers.

> Initially scored a career high 17 points, grabbed a career high six boards and dished six assists in the win vs. Wyoming on Nov. 23.

> Ripped a career high five steals vs. North Florida on Nov. 20.

> 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.

> Reached double figures in eight consecutive games.

> Won his first career Big 12 Player of the Week honor on Dec. 6.

> Leads the team in scoring (16.8) and three-point field goal percentage (.484) ... Is second  in the Big 12 Conference with his three-point accuracy.

> Has hit 16 of his last 29 treys over the last six games and is 40-of-77 from the floor overall.

> 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.

> Scored 21 points in the win over La Salle on Nov. 24 thanks to 5-of-9 three-point shooting.

> Has eight career 20-point efforts and Missouri is 7-1 in those games.

> Cancun Challenge MVP after averaging 15.0 points on 8-of-16 three-point shooting in two wins.

> Has 132 career three-pointers in his tenure, just 14 outside the Missouri all-time Top 10.

> Returning Academic All-Big 12.

> Big 12 All-Reserve Team last year as a sophomore.

> Led the club in three-point shooting percentage last season at 40.7 percent with 68 makes.

> 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

> Averaging 18.5 points and 4.5 blocked shots over his last two games.

> Leads the Big 12 in shot-blocking at 2.4 per game.

> Scored a season high 20 points on 8-of-9 FGs in the win over Central Arkansas.

> Outstanding game vs. Oral Roberts with 17 points, 6 boards and a career high five blocks.

> Has reached double figures in scoring seven times.

> Recorded his fourth career double-double vs. North Florida with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes.

> Second in rebounding (5.9) and tops in blocked shots (2.4 bpg).

> Eighth in school history with 87 career blocked shots and needs three more to pass Chris Heller (1990-94) who had 89 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.

> 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 80 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 nine times this season and in seven consecutive games.

> Is shooting 52 percent from three-point range (13-of-25) over his last four games.

> Terrific all-around game vs. Central Arkansas with 14 points, 10 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals.

> 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 28 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 128 career three-pointers and needs 18 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.

> Named honorable mention all-Big 12 this preseason by the league coaches ... The league just announces a first team on the preseason ballot.

> 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 Kansas City and played at nearby Truman High School.

> Career game in the season-opener vs. Western Illinois, scoring a career high nine points, while tying a career high with five boards.

> 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 14 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 Global Sports Academy in Europe.

 

Milestones Approaching For Anderson

Mike 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.

> The fifth-year coach has of course steadily grown Tiger Basketball back towards national prominence and is closing in on 100 wins as the Missouri coach as well ... He is currently 98-47 all-time at Mizzou and needs 13 more wins to reach 200 for his career (including 89 wins at UAB).

 

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 424 of 945 points in the paint this season compared to 352 a season ago ... The 424 "paint points" (through 11 games) is actually the most during Anderson's time at Mizzou, just ahead of the 422 tallies scored by DeMarre Carroll, Leo Lyons and Co. through 11 games in 2008-09.

> Missouri has been outscored in the paint just once this season (Wyoming) and has topped 30 points eight times and is averaging 38.5 points in the paint per game this season.

 

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 72.6 percent of its charity shots for the year and 76.3 percent over its last eight 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 once over the last nine outings.

 

Turnover City

Missouri is the only team in America to force at least 16 turnovers in each game this season ... Mizzou forced 24 turnovers vs. Central Arkansas on Dec. 18 and has pressured foes into an average of 20.6 turnovers per game this year.

> One more addition on the turnover front, the 34 turnovers the Tigers forced vs. North Florida on Nov. 20 was a school record.

 

Crunch Time Hoops From Denmon

- 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 trailing Kansas State 55-52 and just 5:37 remaining, Denmon scores nine of the game's final 22 points to lift MU to a 74-68 upset win ... Denmon hit back-to-back treys, a running bank shot off the glass and a free throw off his own steal.

- 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 Memphis on March 26, 2009, in Glendale, Ariz.

 

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 4.3 apg), steals (2nd 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 six of his last nine contests, highlighted by a career high 17 points in games 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

Missouri has won 54 consecutive non-conference games at home since 2005-06, which ranks very well amongst the rest of the league ... Here are the top win streaks in the conference:

 

Team                              Streak

Texas A&M                    57

Missouri                  54

Kansas                    41

Kansas State                28

Oklahoma State           29

Texas                      26

Oklahoma                23

 

 

Balanced Across The Board

Missouri continues to be one of the nation's most balanced programs in 2010-11 ... The Tigers have had 10 different players score nine or more points in a game this year and nine of those Tigers have reached double figures ... In fact the Tigers have five players averaging double figures in scoring currently ... In addition, six different Tigers have grabbed six or more rebounds in a game, five different players have dished three or more assists and five different Tigers have had three or more steals ... Kim English and Mike Dixon have reached those totals in all four categories so far this season for Mizzou.

> To illustrate how important balance is to Missouri Basketball, the Tigers had eight players top nine or more points in a game all of last season and then had a school record 11 do it in 2008-09.

 

Double R = Double-Digit Rebounding

Ricardo Ratliffe has played 11 collegiate games in NCAA Division I, but the newcomer has already produced three double-doubles,  was named to the Cancun Challenge All-Tournament team and is twice the Big 12's Rookie of the Week.

> Ratliffe led the Cancun tournament with 26 rebounds in two games, including 14 points and a career high 14 boards in the win vs. La Salle ... Ratliffe dominated the glass vs. highly-touted La Salle forward Aaric Murray and helped Mizzou win the battle of the boards 42-to-37.

> The transfer needs eight more double-doubles to move into the Missouri single-season top 10 ... Jevon Crudup is 10th with 11 double-dips during the 1993-94 season.

> Ratliffe has shown an ability to score the rock as well ... The Hampton, Va., native has reached double figures in six of his last seven games and eight times overall in 11 tries this season, including a career high 22 points vs. Georgetown on 9-of-16 FGs on Nov. 30.

 

Denmon, Ratliffe Sweep League Awards

Marcus Denmon and Ricardo Ratliffe swept the Big 12 weekly awards on Dec. 6 as Denmon was named the league's Player of the Week for the first time in his career, while Ratliffe won Rookie of the Week honors for the second consecutive time.

> A product of Hogan Prep High School in Kansas City, Denmon averaged 23.0 points in games vs. #14 Georgetown and at Oregon ... He shot an incredible 78.9 percent from the floor and 72.7 percent from three-point range ... The 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard hit 15-of-19 shots overall and 8-of-11 threes, highlighted by a career high 27 points vs. the Hoyas in his hometown of Kansas City. Denmon hit 10-of-12 shots vs. Georgetown, while grabbing six boards and recording two steals.

> Ratliffe earned his second consecutive Rookie of the Week honor after averaging 16.5 points and 5.0 rebounds vs. Georgetown and Oregon ... He opened the week with a career high 22 points vs. the Hoyas on 9-of-16 shooting ... He also grabbed seven rebounds in the overtime decision.

 

English Named To Naismith List

Junior guard Kim English earned another preseason honor as he was named to the James Naismith preseason watch list on Nov. 16.

> English is one of four Big 12 players named to the list and is one of just 50 players nationally, including incoming freshmen.

> English led the club in scoring (14.0) and three-point makes (68) last year en route to guiding the Tigers to a 23-11 overall mark.

 

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Brother tandems aren't necessarily rare at Mizzou, but very few brother tandems have played at the same time for the Black & Gold ... Many Missouri fans remember the days of Slim & Slam (aka Sammie and Simeon Haley) and then there were Mike and Jerry Kirksey who played together one season (1957-58) and thanks to Gary Link for reminding us about the Minx twins, Beau and Charles, who played for MU in 1944, but now the Tigers have a new tandem of brothers, Matt and Phil Pressey.

> The Pressey brothers will get two seasons of play on the hardwood at Missouri and Matt enters the program after earning first team Junior College All-America honors at Navarro College in Texas, while Phil was one of the elite national recruits at the point guard position.

> To this point the most successful tandem (stats-wise) are the Haley Twins who each stood over 7-feet tall and played during the 1994-96 seasons ... The duo combined to score 819 points, grab 541 rebounds and block 120 shots during their two seasons playing together.

> During 1957-58 the Kirksey brothers of Buffalo, Mo., combined to score 125 points, led by Mike, who averaged 5.4 points per night.

 

About Illinois

Illinois comes into this week's game nationally ranked and boasts an outstanding 10-2 overall mark ... Illinois did drop a 57-54 decision to Illinois-Chicago this weekend at the United Center in Chicago, but had won seven consecutive games before that setback ... Illinois is a senior-laden club and the leader of that group is point guard Demetri McCamey ... McCamey is averaging 15.8 points and 7.2 assists this year and is shooting 51 percent from three-point range ... D.J. Richardson is second with 12.0 points, while Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale average 10.3 tallies.

 

The Busch Braggin' Rights Series

Wednesday's game marks the 30th Anniversary of the Missouri-Illinois Braggin' Rights series in St. Louis ... Initially played Dec. 10, 1980, this regional rivalry has moved into the national spotlight thanks to four overtime contests and a total of 15 games being decided by 10 points or less since the annual tilt was moved to St. Louis following the 1979-80 campaign ... Illinois owns an 20-9 series lead in the Busch Braggin' Rights series and a 27-13 lead overall ... Prior to 1980, Illinois enjoyed a 7-4 series advantage, with five games played in Champaign, five in Columbia and one game (Dec. 16, 1946) played in Kansas City ... The initial Missouri-Illinois contest was played Dec. 21, 1932, in Columbia with the Fighting Illini securing a 36-24 win ... Missouri's 81-68 win last season snapped a nine-game stranglehold on the series by Illinois.

 

Quick Starts For Anderson

Missouri is off to its best start under Mike Anderson ... The Tigers are currently 10-1 on the year, equaling the 10-1 start by MU during the 2002-03 season ... Missouri hasn't been 11-1 since 1991-92.

 

The Good Tigers Giveth...

Missouri will always be one of the country's more unselfish programs under former point guard Mike Anderson and the Tigers have showed a propensity to distribute the rock once again this year ... Mizzou has dished 20 assists  four times already this year and have topped 20 dimes 38 times (37-1) under Anderson.

> Missouri is currently averaging 18.4 assists through 11 games in 2010-11, which is second in the Big 12.

> Missouri dished a season high 33 dimes in its 116-63 win over Central Arkansas on Dec. 18, which is tied for the second most in school history and most ever by a Mike Anderson club.

 

And Taketh Away...

If it's The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball then opponents know waves of defensive pressure will be in store ... Missouri has ranked among the nation's leaders in steals each year under Anderson's watch, including a national best 10.9 steals per game in 2009-10 ... The Tigers also led the country by forcing 19.4 turnovers a game last season.

> Missouri is once again among the national leaders in both turnovers forced and steals this year, forcing 20.6 turnovers per game, including a school record 34 turnovers vs. North Florida ... The Tigers also average 10.4 steals a night, including 14 thefts vs. Georgetown.


 

 

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