Frank Haith's first season with the Tigers has to be considered a huge success thus far. Missouri has won 15 of its first 16 games on the season with the lone loss coming on the road at nationally-ranked Kansas State a week ago (75-59). The Tigers were able to find their way right back to the win column next time out though, moving to 2-1 in conference play with a 76-69 road win at Iowa State.
Rick Barnes' Longhorns have had the majority of their success in Austin, as 11 of the team's 12 wins on the season have come on their home court. The road has been a different story however, with losses in four of five games outside of Austin. Texas is coming off a successful two-game homestand, moving to 2-1 in the Big 12 with wins over both Oklahoma State (58-49) and Texas A&M (61-51).
Texas holds a 12-10 series advantage, with 10 of those victories coming in the Barnes' era.
Texas is a team that has the ability to adapt to whatever style of play is required. The Longhorns can certainly score with anyone, averaging a steady 75.7 ppg, but they also have the ability to slow things down and play shutdown defense. Foes are averaging just 62.9 ppg this year and are doing so on a mere .378 shooting. Veteran guard J'Covan Brown is the team's primary weapon at the offensive end, averaging a robust 18.1 ppg. Sheldon McClellan is a distant second but still ion double figures at 11.8 ppg. Myck Kabongo provides some depth at 9.6 ppg. The Longhorns shot a modest .439 from the floor, but held the Aggies to a .396 showing in this week's 10-point win in Austin. Julien Lewis came off the bench to lead the 'Horns with 16 points. Brown added 14 on the strength of a perfect 10-of-10 showing from the free-throw line. Clint Chapman rounded out the top contributors with 11 points.
Missouri is an up-tempo team that likes to move the ball up and down the floor. There are few teams in the nation getting it done offensively like the Tigers are, as the team is averaging 83.9 ppg, shooting an impressive 51.1 percent from the floor. A potent backcourt duo leads the way in Marcus Denmon and Kim English. Denmon leads the team in scoring at 17.9 ppg. English isn't far behind at 15.1. The two can certainly extend defenses with their shooting range, combining for 90 of the team's 132 three-pointers to date. Ricardo Ratliffe provides frontcourt balance at 13.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Michael Dixon is a welcome addition off the bench, igniting this team with nearly 13 points per game (12.8). The Tigers once again put on an offensive clinic, this time at the expense of the Cyclones, as six players finished in double figures. Missouri trailed by two points at the half, but shot 59.3 percent over the final 20 minutes to earn the win. Matt Pressey led the way with 14 points. Phil Pressey, Ratliffe and Dixon all checked in with 12 points, while English and Steve Moore tacked on 10 apiece. Denmon had a quiet night, finishing with six points and seven assists.