Columbia, MO – The Texas A&M Aggies will attempt to be the second team this year to take down the Missouri Tigers as the Big 12 Conference rivals meet in an early evening showdown at Mizzou Arena.
This will be just the 22nd meeting between the league rivals. The Tigers hold a narrow 11-10 advantage in the all-time series, but the Aggies will be looking to make it nine straight in the series. Texas A&M is 3-0 all-time in Mizzou Arena.
Texas A&M comes into the matchup with a 10-6 overall record after defeating the Texas Tech Red Raiders, 67-54, on Saturday. The victory was the first of the year in league play for the Aggies, as they carry a 1-3 mark in Big 12 action. Head coach Billy Kennedy has a strong defensive philosophy and his team has the worst scoring offense in the conference (62.4 ppg), but the best scoring defense (57.5 ppg). The victory over the Red Raiders was refreshing as the Aggies had lost five straight against Division I opponents before Saturday. A&M is one of just 12 schools in the nation to have made the NCAA Tournament in each of the past six seasons.
Khris Middleton and Elston Turner are the leaders on the A&M roster. Middleton has averaged 14.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists in his last eight games since returning to the lineup. The junior scored 12 points and blocked three shots in the team's win over Texas Tech. Turner is tied for the Aggies' scoring lead with an average of 13.2 ppg and he has been a threat from downtown, shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc. The junior guard has scored in double figures in 13 of his 16 appearances this season.
Missouri's 16-1 start is the program's best since the 1981-1982 season. The Tigers' 3-1 start in the Big 12 marks the third time they began league play with that record in the last four seasons. The current seniors for Missouri are now 61-3 inside Mizzou Arena in their careers after the 84-73 victory over Texas on Friday. Head coach Frank Haith's squad ranks fourth in the nation in scoring offense (83.9 ppg) on 51.2 percent shooting from the floor, which ranks second. Missouri is also very good at the defensive end as it is holding opponents to just 62.9 ppg, the fourth best average in the Big 12.
Missouri's offense is so lethal because of its vast array of weapons. Marcus Denmon leads the pack as he is second in the Big 12 in scoring with an average of 17.9 ppg. Kim English's 15.0 ppg is close behind in sixth place and Ricardo Ratliffe is also ranked in the conference's top-10 in scoring with 13.7 ppg. Phil Pressey has been a huge factor in his team's success, while carrying a 9.7 ppg scoring average, the sophomore point guard has been making his teammates' lives easier by leading the league in assists with 6.1 apg. Pressey had an exceptional game his last time out as he scored 18 points and dished out 10 assists to push the Tigers past Texas.