TEXAS (12-4, 2-1 Big 12) AT NO. 9 MISSOURI (15-1, 2-1 Big 12)
Time/TV: 1 p.m./ESPN2
RPI Ratings: Texas 64 (No. 6 Big 12); Missouri 18 (No. 2 Big 12).
Line: Missouri -9
Texas Players to Watch: G Myck Kabongo, 6-1 Fr. (9.6 ppg, 5.3 apg, 3.6 rpg); G J’Covan Brown, 6-1 Jr. (18.1 ppg, 4 apg, 3.4 rpg); G Sheldon McClellan, 6-4 Fr. (11.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 45.5% FG). Kabongo looks to rebound from his worst performance of the year against A&M. The freshman went 3-for-8 from the foul line and missed his only field goal attempt.
Missouri Players to Watch: G Marcus Denmon, 6-3 Sr. (17.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 43.4% 3s); G Kim English, 6-6 Sr. (15.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 53% 3s); F Ricardo Ratliffe, 6-8 Sr. (13.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 76.8% FG). English leads the nation in 3-point percentage at 53 percent. He is averaging 2.5 3-point field goals every game.
Storylines: The Longhorns and Tigers are tied at 2-1 in the Big 12, a half-game behind league leaders Baylor and Kansas. Missouri rebounded from its first loss of the year last Saturday to Kansas State with a road win at Iowa State, which entered the contest unbeaten in the league, Wednesday. Texas has won two straight – home wins over Oklahoma State and Texas A&M – after opening Big 12 play with a loss at Iowa State. The Tigers’ 15-1 start to open the season is tied for third-best in school history.
What You Need to Know: Both teams are guard oriented, but the paint game will be key. Ratliffe and senior forward Steve Moore should give thee Tigers a slight advantage over the Texas duo of Clint Chapman and Alexis Wangmene. Plus, the Tiger guard rebound very well. Brown has shown the ability to take over games and he’ll have to against the nation’s deepest backcourt. Missouri leads the nation at 51.1 percent from the field and Texas allows opponents to shoot 37.8 field goals. Missouri also leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.64-to-1), is fourth in turnovers per game (10.1), is fifth in scoring per contest (83.9) and is seventh in free throw percentage at 76.8.
The Bottom Line: Considering where it started, Texas has had a nice season. But the Longhorns are still a long way from competing with the Big 12’s best teams on the road.
The Pick: Missouri 79, Texas 62.