A top-five showdown is on tap in Waco this afternoon, as Big 12 heavyweights Missouri and Baylor collide at the Ferrell Center.
The fifth-ranked Tigers have won 17 of their first 18 games this season, with the lone loss coming a couple of weeks ago at Kansas State (75-59). Since then, Frank Haith's squad has won three games in a row to move to 4-1 in conference play. The current win streak includes last Monday's 70-51 win over Texas A&M.
The third-ranked Bears were cruising along with wins in each of their first 17 games. However, Scott Drew's team hit a huge speed bump in the road, with Monday's humbling 94-72 road loss at Kansas, to fall to 4-1 in-conference.
This marks the first-ever top-five matchup in Big 12 history that doesn't feature Texas or Kansas. Missouri holds a narrow 13-10 series advantage all- time and has won three of the last four meetings.
The Tigers are fueled by an offensive arsenal that has the ability to score with any team in the country. Missouri comes into this contest averaging 83.1 ppg (fourth nationally), doing so on an impressive .507 shooting (second nationally). Backcourt partners Marcus Denmon and Kim English are a potent one-two punch. Denmon currently leads the team with 17.8 ppg and is shooting .418 from behind the arc. English adds 14.6 ppg and is a ridiculous 51.1 percent accurate from long range. The duo have combined for 96 of the team's 147 three-pointers to date. Ricardo Ratliffe (13.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg) gives the team frontcourt balance. Michael Dixon (12.6 ppg) is a valuable asset coming off the bench. Dixon led the way with 18 points in the win over Texas A&M last time out. Ratliffe poured in 17 points, Denmon just missed a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Phil Pressey tacked on 10 points in the win.
The Bears were overwhelmed by a dominant Kansas squad this week, yielding a whopping 92 points to the Jayhawks, who scored more than half of those (48) in the paint. Perry Jones III led four Baylor players in double figures in the loss with 18 points. Quincy Miller added 17, while Quincy Acy and Pierre Jackson tacked on 14 and 11 points, respectively. Jackson also doled out a game-high 11 assists off the bench. The Bears are also an offensive team by nature, averaging 77.7 ppg, shooting .489 from the floor overall, including .409 from three-point range. Jones (14.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and Acy (12.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg) are a strong frontcourt tandem. Jackson hasn't started a single game this season, but is both a potent scorer (12.2 ppg) and deft distributor (5.4 apg). Miller (12.0 ppg) and Brady Heslip (10.1 ppg) provide further scoring depth.