The seventh-ranked Missouri Tigers return home to Columbia tonight to try to recover from their first losing streak of the season, as they host the Iowa State Cyclones in a Big 12 Conference tilt at Mizzou Arena.
This will be the second matchup between the programs this season, as Missouri defeated the Cyclones, 76-69, on January, 11th at the Hilton Coliseum. The Tigers hold a 148-84 lead in the all-time series and have won their last eight games against Iowa State. This could be the last meeting between the programs for an extended period of time as Missouri is in its final season as a member of the Big 12.
Fred Hoiberg has made huge strides in his second season with his alma mater. Under Hoiberg's guidance this year, the Cyclones have earned a 21-8 overall record and are projected to make their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2005. Iowa State picked up a crucial 65-61 victory over Kansas State to improve its league record to 11-5 and take control of fourth place in the Big 12. The Cyclones have found their success from the outside this season, as they lead the league with 238 makes from beyond the arc.
One big reason for ISU's stellar outside attack is its starting guard Scott Christopherson. The 6-3 senior is a pure shooter and has been incredible as of late, knocking down 14-of-19 from three-point range to average 23.7 points in his last three games. Chris Allen is also a steady threat from deep, as he has knocked down a three ball in 18-straight games. Royce White is not a scary threat from deep, but the sophomore forward makes up for it by doing literally everything else. White is carrying team-leading averages of 12.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game.
Missouri was in great position to be a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament as it was 25-2 with four games left in the regular season. Unfortunately, the Tigers suffered losses to Kansas State and Kansas in their last two outings which ended their chances of a Big 12 regular season championship. Head coach Frank Haith's squad showed it has the tools and talent to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament in its 87-86 overtime loss to Kansas on Saturday. Missouri held a 19-point lead in the second half before it allowed Kansas to force the extra period. Missouri has by far, the top scoring offense in the Big 12 with an average of 79.7 ppg.
The Tigers were led by senior Marcus Denmon's superb performance in their loss to Kansas, as he scored a team-best 28 points in the losing effort. Missouri's star guard is second in the conference in scoring this season with 18.2 points per game. Kim English is another dangerous guard for the Tigers as he has knocked down 49.8 percent of his field goals and 45.1 percent of his three- point attempts to produce 13.9 ppg. Ricardo Ratliffe's 13.8 points and team- high 7.4 boards per contest give Mizzou help inside, while Phil Pressey hands out a league-high 6.2 assists per game.