Braggin' Rights Up for Grabs Thursday

Matt Pressey and the Tigers face Illinois in the annual Busch Braggin' Rights game on Thursday.

Matt Pressey and the Tigers face Illinois in the annual Busch Braggin' Rights game on Thursday.

Dec. 21, 2011

#9/8 University of Missouri Tigers vs. #25/24 University of Illinois Fighting Illini

Mizzou Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

TIP-OFF: 8 p.m. CT.
Arena: Scottrade Center (22,153)
Radio: Tiger Network (Mike Kelly, play-by-play; Gary Link, analysis)
TV: ESPN2 (Dave Pasch, play-by-play; Bob Knight, analysis)
MU: 9/8
Niagara: 25/24
Series: Illinois leads 27-14 (Last meeting: MU 75, Ill. 64; Dec. 23, 2010
MU: Frank Haith (Elon '88), 140-101 overall (8th year) and 11-0 at Mizzou (1st year)
Illinois: Bruce Weber (Wisconsin-Milwaukee '78), 204-87 at Illinois (9th year)

For Openers
> Mizzou looks to improve to 12-0 in 2011-12 as the team travels to St. Louis to face No. 25/24 Illinois for the annual Busch Braggin' Rights Game Thursday at the Scottrade Center ... Illinois leads the all-time series 27-14, although Mizzou has claimed the last two games ...
> A win over the Fighting Illini will mark Mizzou's sixth-ever 11-0 start to the season ... The team last accomplished the feat during the 1981-82 season ... Mizzou is currently one of six unbeaten teams in the nation and is the first Big 12 team to reach the 11-win mark this season.
> Checking in at No. 9/8 in the AP and USA Today Coahes Polls this week, Mizzou is the highest-ranked team that is under the direction of a first-year head coach this season ... Staying on the topic of first-year head coach Frank Haith, his win over William & Mary on Sunday makes him the first Tiger coach to win his first 11 games since Craig Ruby in 1920-21.
> The Tigers have shot at least 60 percent in its last two games, which stands as the only time the program has done that in the 3-point era ... The team shot 60.0% (39-65) against Kennesaw State on Dec. 15 and 60.3% (35-58) against William & Mary on Dec. 18.
> The Tigers are one of the nation's and Big 12's best shooting teams as the squad ranks third nationally and first in the Big 12 in field goal percentage (.526) ... The team also ranks seventh nationally and first in the Big 12 in free throw percentage (.779).
> In the national rankings, Mizzou also leads the country in scoring margin (+27.7) and assist-turnover ratio (1.84), ranks second in points per game (87.9) and turnovers per game (9.4), third in turnover margin (+7.4) and seventh in steals per game (10.3).
> On an individual level, senior Ricardo Ratliffe ranks second nationally in field goal percentage (.769), senior Kim English is second in 3-point field goal percentage (.532), junior Michael Dixon ranks fourth nationally in free throw percentage (.952) and sophomore Phil Pressey is 11th in assist-turnover ratio (3.3).
> Junior Michael Dixon erupted for a career high 30 points on 13-of-19 shooting against William & Mary on Dec. 18 ... The total bested his old high by 11 points ... He is only the fifth Tiger to make 13 FGs in a game since 1993.
> Sophomore Phil Pressey has dished 49 assists and committed just eight turnovers the last six games for an assist/turnover ratio of 6.1 during the stretch ... He currently leads the Big 12 in assists (6.0), assist-turnover ratio (3.3) and steals (2.3) ... Pressey has three 10-assist game this season, the first Tiger to do that in a season was Scott Sims in 1976-77.

Mizzou Quick Hitters
> Next up, Mizzou travels to Norfolk, Va., on Thursday, Dec. 30 to face Old Dominion at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT) ... The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.
> Overall, Missouri leads the Big 12 in eight different statistical categories: scoring offense (87.9), scoring margin (+27.7), free throw percentage (.779), field goal percentage (.526), assists (17.3), steals (10.3), turnover margin (+7.4) and assist-turnover ratio (1.84).
> Mizzou has been amazingly efficient this season, averaging 1.20 points per field goal attempt this season ... Ratliffe leads the team in that category as he is averaging 1.54 points per field goal attempt, while English averages 1.39 and Denmon 1.29.
> Junior Michael Dixon's 30 points off the bench against William & Mary on Sunday were the most by a Tiger bench player since Greg Church had 31 against Kansas State on March 1, 1989 ... It also marked the first time since the 2003-04 season that Missouri has had two players record at least 30 points (Marcus Denmon had 31 against Northwestern State on Dec. 2), when Rickey Paulding and Arthur Johnson did it.
> Mizzou shot an incredible 67.9 percent in the second half against William & Mary on Dec. 18, the team's best shooting half of the season ... The previous best was 65.2 percent in the second half against Cal.
> Sophomore Phil Pressey has recorded at least five assists in the last six games (11 vs. Binghamton, 6 vs. Northwestern State, 12 vs. Villanova, 5 vs. Navy, 10 vs. Kennesaw State and 5 vs. William & Mary) ... That has been done just three other times by two different Tigers (Anthony Peeler and Larry Drew) ... Pressey's streak is the first for Mizzou since 1989-90, when Peeler did it twice.
> Entering Thursday's game against Illinois, the Tigers have defeated their first 11 opponents by an average margin of 27.7 points (967-662) ... That mark is a new school record for largest scoring margin over the first 11 games of the season.
> 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.
> Senior Marcus Demon poured in a career high 31 points against Northwestern State on Dec. 2 thanks to a career-high seven treys ... The 31 points were the most for a Tiger since DeMarre Carroll had 31 against Iowa State on Feb. 7, 2009 ... He followed that with a 28-point outing against Villanova, making him the first Tiger since Thomas Gardner (2005-06) to score at least 28 points in back-to-back games.
> Seniors Marcus Denmon and Kim English have combined to make 66 of the Tigers' 94 3-point field goals so far this season ... The duo are tied for first in the Big 12 in 3-point field goals made at 3.0 ... They are only the fourth and fifth players to ever have at least 30 3's in the first nine games.
> Michael Dixon is currently the all-time leader at MU in free throw percentage at 85.9 percent after making 40-of-42 so far this season ... He entered the season ranked fourth ... He is 176-of-205 in his career.
> Mizzou saw five players score at least 13 points against Kennesaw State on Dec. 15, marking the 16th time in program history that that has happened ... The last time it happened was Feb. 5, 2011.
> The Tigers lead the Big 12 with 10.3 steals per contest ... This continues a recent trend as over the past three seasons, Missouri has either led the nation or finished second in steals per game ... The team led the nation in 2009-10 with 10.94 and finished second in 2008-09 (10.56) and 2010-11 (10.94) ... The team is seventh nationally this year.
> With two blocks against Kennesaw State, Steve Moore moved into ninth place all-time at Mizzou with 78 ... He is eighth in the Big 12 at 1.3 per game.
> Seniors Marcus Denmon and Kim English continue to move up Missouri's all-time scoring list ... Denmon now has 1,372 in his career, which puts him 17th all-time at Mizzou ... Denmon needs 15 more points to tie Willie Smith for 16th ... English stands at 1,239 points, good for 25th place ... He needs 39 more points to tie Lee Coward for 25th.
> Senior Laurence Bowers will be forced to redshirt the 2011-12 season after suffering a season-ending knee injury (ACL) in October ... Bowers averaged 11.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a year ago.
> 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 88-27.
> 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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