NO. 6 MISSOURI (14-0, 1-0 Big 12) AT NO. 22 KANSAS STATE (11-2, 0-1 Big 12)
Time/TV: 1:30 p.m./ALT, ESPN3
Location: Fred Barmlage Coliseum
RPI Rankings: Missouri 27; Kansas State 31
Line: Missouri -1
Missouri Players to Watch: G Marcus Denmon, 6-3 Sr. (18.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 45.7% 3s); PG Phil “Flip” Pressey, 5-10 So. (9.4 ppg, 6.1 apg, 2.1 spg); F Ricardo Ratliffe, 6-8 Sr. (14.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 76.7% FG). Pressey has 54 assists to only 11 turnovers in the Tigers’ last seven games. He leads the league in assists (6.1), assist-to-turnover ratio (3.1) and steals (2.1).
Kansas State Players to Watch: G Rodney McGruder, 6-4 Jr. (12.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg); F Jamar Samuels, 6-7 Sr. (11.8 ppg, 7 rpg); x Shane Southwell, x. (4.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.7 apg). Southwell earned his second start of the season in an 82-46 win over Howard and responded with a team-best six assists.
Storylines: Unbeaten Missouri faces its biggest test of the season, going into Manhattan to face 11-2 Kansas State. The Tigers have played only one true road game – a 75-68 win over Old Dominion – during their 14-0 start.
Keys to Victory: Both teams have great balance, but perhaps no one in the country can beat you with so many different players than Missouri. The Tigers have four players who average 12 points per game. The Wildcats only have one – McGruder at 12.7. On the other hand, Kansas State possesses more depth than Missouri. The Wildcats have eight players who play regular minutes and can go 11 deep. The Tigers rarely play more than seven. If fouls are an issue, it plays into the hands of Kansas State. The Wildcats also have a significant size advantage over Missouri.
The Bottom Line: True, Kansas State has more height and depth, but the Tigers are significantly more talented, and their experience will help them in a tough environment.
The Pick: Missouri 88, Kansas State 77