Tigers Meet Illinois For Braggin' Rights

MUTIGERS.COM Justin Safford and Mizzou Face Illinois on Wednesday.
Justin Safford and Mizzou Face Illinois on Wednesday.

Dec. 21, 2009

Columbia, Mo. -

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Mizzou Basketball News and Notes 2009-10

University of Missouri Tigers (7-3) vs.

University of Illinois Fighting Illini (8-3)

2009-10 Regular Season Game 11 - December 23, 2009 - St. Louis, Mo.


Tip-off: 8:30 p.m. CST

Arena: Scottrade Center - St. Louis, Mo. (22,153)

TV: ESPN2 - (Beth Mowins play-by-play; Steve Lavin analyst)

Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly play-by-play; Gary Link analyst)

Rankings: Mizzou: NV/NV, Illinois: NV/NV in Associated Press / USA Today Coaches polls

Series: Illinois leads Mizzou 27-12 all-time; last - Illinois won 75-59 on Dec. 23, 2008


Missouri: Mike Anderson (Tulsa ’82); 161-79 overall (8th season); 72-38 at Mizzou (4th)

Illinois: Bruce Weber (UW-Milwaukee, ‘79); 263-114 overall (12th season); 160-60 at Illinois (7th)


For Openers

> For the 29th season Busch Braggin’ Rights are on the line as Missouri and Illinois square off at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis before a nationally-televised, ESPN2 audience … The Fighting Illini own a 20-8 lead in the Braggin’ Rights series (27-12 overall) and Mizzou is looking for its first win since a 78-72 triumph on Dec. 21, 1999.

> Missouri’s Mike Anderson received the Key to the City of St. Louis on May 22 … Anderson also threw out the first pitch that night at the St. Louis Cardinals - Kansas City Royals series-opener at Busch Stadium … The honor came after Anderson led MU to a school record 31-7 campaign, a Big 12 Championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight.

> While Missouri and Illinois meet annually over the holidays the Tigers and Fighting Illini open the college football season in St. Louis annually at the Edward Jones Dome ... Missouri has won five consecutive in the series including a 37-9 win this year ... Missouri will be facing Navy in the Texas Bowl in Houston, Texas, on Dec. 31 at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN ... Speaking of football and basketball success, did you know that Missouri and Oklahoma were the only teams in America last year to win 30+ basketball games and 10+ football games and that Missouri and North Carolina were the only teams to have first round draft picks in the NBA, NFL and MLB Drafts in 2009?

> Mizzou has one of the nation’s youngest teams this year with 11-of-13 players in their first or second season playing for Mike Anderson ... The Tigers are getting more than half of their 82.3 points per game from the sophomore class alone ...  The second-year Tigers are logging 44.4 points per game ... If you add the freshman class, Mizzou is getting 69 percent of its scoring (55.9 ppg) and 53 percent of its assists (10.3 apg) from underclassmen this season.

> Missouri is playing its fifth game away from Mizzou Arena this year and the Tigers are looking for their second win ... MU traveled to South Padre Island, Texas, and beat a very good Old Dominion club that recently won at #11 Georgetown and fell to a Richmond club in the championship game that recently beat #13 Florida in Florida ... The Tigers also played true road games at Vanderbilt and at Oral Roberts ... In each of Missouri’s three losses this season the Tigers were in one-possession games in the final minute.

> Although Wednesday’s game is being played in St. Louis, MU owns a 25-game winning streak inside Mizzou Arena, which dates back to the home finale of the 2007-08 campaign against Iowa State … The Tigers are tied for #3 nationally with Dayton who has also won 25 consecutive ... Pittsburgh is #2 with 27 straight and Kansas leads the country in consecutive home wins with 47 ... Missouri needs four more home wins to move into a tie for second place for the longest home winning streak (29) in school history.


Mizzou Quick Hitters

> Wednesday’s game is Missouri’s 113th appearance in St. Louis ... The Tigers are 53-59 all-time in the Gateway City and 8-20 vs. Illinois since beginning the Busch Braggin’ Rights series in 1980 … Missouri actually won the last game between the two school played on campus … The Tigers topped Illinois 67-66 in overtime on Dec. 4, 1979, in Champaign.

> Missouri has dropped nine consecutive to Illinois since winning three straight from 1997-99, but however eight of the last 12 games have been decided by six points or less.

> 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 will travel to Kansas City, Mo., for the Big 12 Championship on March 10-13 ... Of course the Tigers are the defending Big 12 Tournament Champions winning last season in Oklahoma City.

> Mizzou has been very good in non-conference games under Mike Anderson ... The Tigers are 41-12 (.774) since his arrival before the 2006-07 season.

> The Tigers own a 43-game non-conference home court winning streak, which dates back to the 2005-06 campaign ... That 43-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 has 133 total thefts on the year and rank #2 nationally with 13.3 steals per game, trailing only Syracuse (13.5 spg) ... Last season through 10 games Missouri had 113 steals ... If you recall, MU broke the Big 12 Conference record with 388 total steals in 2008-09 and this year’s club is in position to break that total again in 2010.

> Did you know, the Tigers actually turn their opponent over 29.6 percent of the time during a game, meaning nearly one out of every three defensive possessions ends in a turnover ... Only Army has a higher percentage this season ... Army turns its opponent over 30.6 percent of the time on defense.

> One thing Tiger fans are enjoying this season is points off turnovers ... Missouri averaged 21.2 points per game off turnovers last season and forced one turnover every four possessions ... So far this season Missouri is forcing 22.0 turnovers per game and is averaging 30.0 points off those opponent miscues.

> Missouri continues to be one of the country’s most efficient teams in 2009-10 ... One year after leading the nation in assists per game (18.4), the Tigers are dishing 17.9 dimes a contest this year ... MU already has nine players with double-figure assist totals and as a team MU is registering dimes on 61 percent of its hoops (179 assists on 298 baskets).

> Missouri has topped 20 assists four times, including 28 dimes in the 106-69 win against Oregon.

> It’s certainly early, but the Tigers sport excellent depth on their roster ... Nine different players have reached double figures in scoring and 10 different Tigers are averaging at least 11.0 minutes per game ... In addition, that depth fuels Missouri’s pressure and has allowed the Tigers to reach double figures in steals in 8-of-10 contests, including a school record 24 thefts vs. Chattanooga on Nov. 24.

> Missouri continues to be outstanding at the free throw line this season ... The Tigers are hitting at a 73.0 percent clip on the year, compared to 67.2 percent shooting last season.

> It’s hard to argue with the production of Missouri’s bench ... The Tigers are getting 36.9 of their 82.3 points per game from the reserves ... Missouri’s bench has actually outscored their starters three times this season and are outscoring their opposition’s bench 36.9-to-14.3.

> Mizzou has had a double-figure scorer off the pine in eight games this season, including a season high three players in the win against Oregon.

> One thing about Mike Anderson’s clubs, they are built for the long haul ... Over his tenure “Coach A’s” teams have averaged 26.5 points per game off the bench... That’s over 110 career games.

> It’s nothing new to have the reserves outscore the starters either ... Including three games this season, the reserves have dropped in more tallies than the “initial five” 15 times (in 110 games) in Anderson’s tenure ... It just goes to show you, when the man says he has eight or nine starters, it means he has eight or nine starters!

> With the Tigers’ improved backcourt depth the team is averaging 13.3 steals per game on the season, including a school-record total (24 steals) vs. Chattanooga on Nov. 24.

> Missouri has typically played some tough schedules over the years and that trend will continue in 2009-10 ... Mizzou has 14 games against teams that have been ranked / receiving votes in the Top 25 this season ... Included in that list are some impressive non-conference games (all away from home) against, Illinois, Old Dominion and Richmond.

> In fact, of the potential 14 games vs. those highly-touted clubs only five will come at Mizzou Arena.


Tiger Tidbits

> J.T. Tiller has earned mention on virtually every preseason All-Defensive Team in 2009-10 … Tiller is of course the reigning Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12 Conference and was named to All-Defensive Teams by Sports Illustrated and ESPN prior to the start of his senior season.

> Tiller made his return from a bone bruise in his left foot vs. Old Dominion and distributed a season high seven assists vs. the Monarchs.

> Tiller has twice notched seven assists in a game, including seven dimes at Vanderbilt.

> The Marietta, Ga., native has 251 career assists and needs just 79 dimes this year to move into the career Top 10.

> He also owns 124 career steals and 27 more thefts would push him into the Top 10 in that category as well, surpassing former teammate Jason Horton (2004-08), who had 150 … In fact his career steals per game average of 1.3 already ranks in Mizzou’s career Top 10.

> Zaire Taylor has been one of America’s top defensive players so far in 2009-10 and leads the Big 12 and ranks #16 nationally with 2.7 steals per game this season.

> Taylor ripped a career high seven steals vs. Fairleigh Dickinson in just 18 minutes of action ... Taylor was in the game for 31 defensive possessions and stopped FDU 26 percent of the time with either a steal or a blocked shot.

> The seven steals are tops in the Big 12 this year, tied the Mizzou Arena record and are the second most in school history ... Had he played all 40 minutes vs. the Knights he was on pace to record 15.6 steals in the game.

> Not only is Taylor excellent at swiping the basketball, he is one of the country’s best at protecting the rock as well ... Last year he ranked among the Top 5 nationally with a 3-to-1 assist/turnover ratio.

> Taylor has wasted little time picking up his assist totals this year and has dished 31 dimes while committing just 11 turnovers in his last nine games.

> Not only do Taylor and Tiller form one of America’s best backcourts, but the pair is incredibly visible in the community and volunteered with the Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon, which supports the University of Missouri Children’s Hospital ...  The duo answered phones on the phonebank and made special visits to patients.

> Laurence Bowers is one of Missouri’s most efficient players this season and is third on the team in scoring (10.2), second in rebounding (5.6) and tops in blocked shots (1.7) in 19.8 minutes a game.

> Bowers has reached double figures five times this season and continues to be one of the team’s most efficient players shooting 62 percent from the floor, while hitting both of his three-point field goal attempts ... The Memphis native is also a perfect 14-of-14 at the foul line.

> Bowers was a rebounding menace in the South Padre Island Invitational and was named to the All-Tournament Team for his production.

> Bowers tied a career high with 16 points in the season-opener and has set career highs in rebounding, steals and blocked shots already this season.

> Don’t be surprised by Bowers’ efficiency ... That’s part of his game ... The Memphis native maximizes his minutes played ... Last season as a freshman he was the team’s most efficient rebounder and shot-blocker in just 6.9 minutes a game.

> Kim English enjoyed back-to-back career high scoring games vs. Texas-Pan American and Chattanooga ... English dropped in 25 points in the win against Texas-Pan American, before torching the Mocs for 26 points.

> English scored 21 of his 26 in the first half against the Mocs ... He’s the first Tiger to drop in 20+ in the first half since Thomas Gardner scored 40 against Kansas in an overtime win in 2006.

> English has reached double figures in eight of his last nine games, including 20-point efforts at Vanderbilt, a career high for the sophomore away from home, and 20 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson in just 16 minutes ... In fact English scored 11 points in the game’s first 3:19.

> English is averaging 17.3 points per game over his last nine outings, which includes those four20-point efforts.

> Marcus Denmon is nearly full strength after off-season knee surgery and has reached double figures five times this year.

> Denmon has been one of Mizzou’s most consistent scorers with those five double-figure efforts and has been the team’s top rebounding guard at 3.9 per game this year.

> In fact Denmon is coming off a career high nine rebounds vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

> Denmon has tied his career high (17 points) three times this season, including back-to-back games vs. Oregon and Oral Roberts.

> Fans will notice a slimmed down version of Steve Moore this year … Since his arrival Moore had dropped 40 pounds and has now began to regain the weight in the form of muscle … Moore credits Associate Director of Strength and Conditioning David Deets with adjusting his eating habits, allowing the “Extreme Makeover”.

> Moore turned that weight loss into production, as he has recorded career highs in virtually every statistical category this season.

> Michael Dixon made the first shot of his collegiate career in the season opener, swishing home a three-pointer at the 9:54 mark of the first half vs. Tennessee-Martin.

> Dixon has made a smooth transition to the Division I level and has reached double figures in scoring four times in his last five outings, including a career high 13 points on Saturday vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

> Dixon has made four starts overall this year, including that win over UAPB and over his last five games Dixon is averaging 9.2 points and 3.0 assists on 49 percent shooting from the floor.


The Busch Braggin’ Rights Series

Wednesday’s game marks the 29th 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 20-8 series lead in the Busch Braggin’ Rights series and a 27-12 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 … Currently, Illinois has won nine consecutive in the series, but six of those nine games have been decided by 11 points or fewer, including two of the last three contests (those two were decided by a combined four points) … Prior to this current stretch, Mizzou enjoyed a run of seven victories in nine opportunities … Mizzou’s last win vs. Illinois came Dec. 21, 1999, a 78-72 decision.


About The Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois enters Wednesday’s game 8-3 overall after a  70-67 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs (Jan. 2 opponent of Mizzou) in Atlanta ... The Fighting Illini had won four consecutive before the neutral-court loss, including quality wins at Clemson and at home vs. Vanderbilt ... Demetri McCamey leads Bruce Weber’s club in scoring (14.2) once again this season ... The guard is shooting 41.7 percent from three-point range and 50.9 percent from the floor ... Illinois has been an outstanding shooting club at 49.1 percent on the season ... Illinois has five players averaging double-figures in scoring, including freshmen D.J. Richardson (10.8) and Brandon Paul (10.4).


The Future Is Bright For Mizzou

Missouri’s freshmen and sophomores are scoring 55.9 points per game for the Tigers this season, which accounts for 69 percent of the team’s 82.3 total points per outing.

> Those 55.9 points ranks second in the Big 12 this season and becomes incredibly promising since MU is welcoming the nation’s #7 overall recruiting class in 2010-11.

> Kansas leads the Big 12 in underclassmen scoring at 59.8 points per game, while the Oklahoma Sooners rank third with 54.8 tallies a night.

With A Tiger Win ...

> Missouri would improve to 8-3 on the  season and move to 73-38 all-time under Mike Anderson.

> Overall, Anderson would improve to 162-39 in his eight seasons as a head coach.

> The Tigers would have an three-game winning streak heading into the brief holiday break.

> Missouri would snap its nine-game skid to Illinois, which dates back to the 1999-2000 season.

> Mizzou would improve to 55-59 all-time in St. Louis and Head Coach Mike Anderson would have his first Braggin’ Rights win.

> Mizzou would improve to 41-11 vs. non-conference foes under Anderson, which would potentially include a win over Illinois, as well as USC, California, Purdue, Maryland, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Davidson, Oregon, Memphis, Marquette and Old Dominion.


Congrats To Mizzou’s Graduate, Zaire Taylor

Congratulations are in order for senior guard Zaire Taylor … The Staten Island, N.Y., native graduated on Saturday afternoon the same day the Tigers took on Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Mizzou Arena … In fact Missouri Basketball pushed up its normal shoot-around time allowing Taylor to walk across the stage to receive his diploma in Sociology.


Rip City

Mike Anderson has his youngest team as a head coach with 11-of-13 players in just their first or second year of competition, but he also may have his fastest club at Mizzou yet to date … The Tigers are averaging an outstanding 13.3 steals per game this season, which ranks #2 nationally behind only Syracuse (13.5) … Those 13.3 “Rips” per game are the most ever at MU through 10 contests and by far the most under Anderson during his time in Columbia.


Year                 Steals          SPG

2006-07           120              12.0

2007-08           106              10.6

2008-09           113              11.3

2009-10           133              13.3            


The Good Tigers Giveth ...

As a basketball team, Missouri is about as unselfish as it comes ... The Tigers are averaging an impressive 17.9 assists per game, which is No. 12 nationally and have a 1.3-to-1 assist/turnover ratio as a team.


... And Taketh Away

Missouri has no issues creating turnovers once again this season as they produce 22.0 turnovers a night and average 13.3 steals (No. 2 nationally) ... Missouri is averaging 30.0 points a game off turnovers and scores 36.4 percent of its points off opposition throwaways.


Trey-Mendous Shooting

With an array of improving young guards Missouri has one of its best perimeter shooting teams in school history (with all due respect to the teams playing before the implementation of the three-point line) … The Tigers are shooting 41.1 percent from three-point land this year, including a remarkable 43.9 percent as a team within the friendly confines of Mizzou Arena.

> Mizzou has made double-figure treys in four games this year, with a season high of 18 coming in the 99-56 win against Chattanooga … The 18 treys were a Mizzou Arena record and the second most in school history, just behind the 20 three-pointers Mizzou hit at Colorado on Feb. 23, 2002.


Denmon Delivering

Marcus Denmon has continued to be one of the club’s most improved players and is one of the Big 12’s hottest shooters hitting 12-of-27 treys over his last four contests.

> Denmon tied his career high with 17 points vs. Oregon and Oral Roberts, and then hit 3-of-6 treys in just 18 minutes in the win against Fairleigh Dickinson.

> Denmon is now second on the team in scoring at 10.5 points per game and ranks ninth in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage (.412) and seventh in three-point makes per game (2.1).

> Over his last four outings the Kansas City native is shooting 18-of-42 from the floor, 12-of-27 from three-point range, tops all Tiger guards over the last four contests.


Balancing Act

Mike Anderson calls Missouri the “Ultimate Team” and MU’s incredible balance perfectly illustrates his point.

> The Tigers have had nine different players tie or share for the team lead in assists this season.

> MU has had seven different players tie or share the team lead in steals.

> Five different players have led the club in rebounding and four different players have led the club in scoring.

> And last but not least the Tigers have enjoyed incredible balance in playing time, which will pay huge dividends with experience down the road, as eight different players average at least 18.1 minutes per game.


Mizzou Arena - Now A Home Court

With Missouri Basketball unleashing the Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball and the Tiger crowds responding, Mizzou Arena is now one of the nation’s toughest homecourt venues ... Missouri ranks #3 nationally with its active 25-game homecourt win streak, tied with Dayton for consecutive home wins.

> Kansas leads the nation with 47 consecutive home wins, while Pittsburgh (27) ranks #2.

> The MU record for homecourt wins is 34, which was set during the 1988-90 seasons ... The 1980-82 teams won 29 consecutive, while the 1974-76 teams won 23 in a row.


All-Time Mizzou Basketball Homecourt Winning Streaks

1.     1988-90           34

2.     1980-82           29

3.     2007-09           25

4.     1974-76           23

5.     1919-21           22

6.     1987-88           21


Here Come The Men In Block

It’s early, but Missouri’s front line of Keith Ramsey, Justin Safford, Laurence Bowers and Steve Moore are blocking shots and a pretty high rate ... MU already boasts 61 blocked shots through 10 games and can begin looking towards the school record books for most blocks in a single season ... Since Mike Anderson’s arrival at MU the high for swats in a year is 140, set in 2008-09 ... The school record is 154 set during the 2001-02 campaign.

> Missouri is currently blocking 6.1 shots a night (fourth in the Big 12) and Bowers’ 1.7 swats per game is fifth in the league ... Ramsey (1.3) ranks 11th overall, while Steve Moore is 14th (1.1).

> Missouri had just 39 blocked shots last season through 10 games, so the 61 swats is well above that pace from last season.


Free Is Good

The season is only 10 games deep, but the Tigers appear much improved at the free throw line as the team is shooting 73.0 percent at the stripe.

> The 73-percent “free throwing” is the best since Mike Anderson’s arrival in Columbia and would actually be the seventh highest percentage in school history.

> Missouri has shot better than 70 percent in 7-of-10 games this year and you would have to go back to 2003-04 (.709) to find the last Tiger team to top 70 percent at the line in a single season.


The Pine Is Fine

Missouri is known for having deep squads and the trend is continuing in 2009-10, as the Tiger reserves are averaging 36.8 points per game this season.

> Missouri enjoyed 45 bench points in the season-opening win before getting 57 points in the 100-44 triumph vs. Texas-Pan American ... Not to be outdone, the second wave dropped in 49 vs. Chattanooga and reached 50 points in the 106-69 win against Oregon.

> Tiger reserves have scored 369 of the team’s 823 points this year and 10 different Tigers have reached double figures, highlighted by the three double figure scorers off the pine vs. Oregon.

> In his 110 games on the Tiger sidelines, the reserves have outscored Missouri’s starters 15 times in Anderson’s tenure, including three times already this season.

> Mizzou set a school record for bench production last season, averaging 27.0 ppg from its reserves ... The Tigers also broke the school record with 62 bench points in home wins against SIU-Edwardsville and Colorado last season.


Mizzou Arena - Home Sweet Home

Mike Anderson is a perfect 36-0 all-time in non-conference home games at Missouri ... Not only have the Tigers won 36 consecutive in non-league action, but they have done so in dominating fashion, sporting a 26.7 ppg margin of victory.

> The Tigers have played some impressive foes during Anderson’s run as well, and own quality wins over Arkansas, California, Davidson, Oregon, Purdue, Murray State, Mississippi State, Oral Roberts and others during that 36-game stretch.

> Missouri has actually been more dominant at home than normal this year, owning a 36.7 ppg margin of victory, including a 56-point win against Texas-Pan American (100-44), which is the largest margin of victory in the history of Mizzou Arena, a 51-point win over Fairleigh Dickinson (87-36), a 43-point triumph against Chattanooga (99-56) and a 37-point win against Oregon (106-69).


Year                 Record            Margin of Victory

2006-07           11-0                18.7 ppg

2007-08           9-0                  27.5 ppg

2008-09           10-0                29.5 ppg                

2009-10           6-0                  36.7 ppg                

Total                36-0                26.7 ppg.


Share The Wealth

Mike Anderson teams have always passed the ball well and since his arrival in Columbia, Mizzou has turned in some of its greatest assist seasons in school history, including leading the country in dimes in 2008-09 ... Missouri has continued that trend this season as the Tigers are averaging 17.9 assists per game, which is #12 nationally.

> The Tigers have topped 20 assists four times this year, including 28 assists in a 100-44 win against Texas-Pan American, 28 dimes against Oregon (106-69), 25 more assists against Chattanooga and 23 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson.

> Missouri has dished 20 or more assists in 30-of-110 games during Anderson’s tenure and the Tigers are an incredible 29-1 in those contests ... Missouri’s lone loss with 20+ assists came in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament a year ago (21 vs. UConn) and the Tigers are 4-1 when dishing 20 dimes vs. ranked teams. 



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