Frank Haith's first season in Columbia has been highly successful, as Missouri is an impressive 22-2 on the year. The Tigers' two losses have come in- conference at Kansas State and at Oklahoma State, but the team is tied for first place in the league standings with Kansas, thanks to wins in each of the last four games, including Monday's 71-68 win at Oklahoma.
Scott Drew's Bears had a huge showdown with the aforementioned Jayhawks earlier this week in Waco, but Baylor came up incredibly short, in a 68-54 loss. The setback ended a four-game win streak for Baylor and dropped it one game behind Kansas and Missouri in the conference standings at 8-3.
This is just the 25th all-time meeting between these two programs. The Tigers hold a 14-10 advantage and are seeking the regular-season sweep after posting a thrilling 89-88 win in Waco on January 21st.
The Bears trailed by just three points at the half against Kansas this week, but the Jayhawks pulled away in the second half and led by 20 points late, before settling for a 14-point win. A usually potent offensive squad, Baylor converted just 37 percent from the floor against Kansas. Pierre Jackson led the team in defeat with 16 points. Quincy Acy recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Cory Jefferson came off the bench to tally 11 points in 23 minutes of work. However, leading scorer Perry Jones III struggled, hitting just 1-of-8 from the floor and finishing with five points.
Jones has been much more reliable on the season, shooting .536 from the floor and pacing the Bears in both scoring (14.3 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg). Jackson is a complete weapon in the backcourt, averaging 12.9 ppg, while averaging 5.8 apg. Acy (12.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg), Quincy Miller (12.0 ppg) and Brady Heslip (9.2 ppg) complete the potent starting five. One of the top offensive teams in the Big 12, Baylor is averaging 75.8 ppg on a healthy .481 shooting.
Not many teams can compete is a shootout with Baylor, but Missouri is certainly one of them. The Tigers are among the nation's top teams in terms of offensive production, averaging 80.5 ppg on 50.1 percent shooting. Unlike the Bears however, Missouri is fueled by its perimeter game. The team is comfortable giving up size as it throws four guards out there as starters. Marcus Denmon leads four Tigers in double figures with 18.0 ppg. Kim English (14.0 ppg) adds to the scoring deluge from behind the arc, as he and Denmon have combined for 120 three-pointers thus far. Ricardo Ratliffe (14.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg) is the top performer in the frontcourt, while Michael Dixon (12.3 ppg) represents the conference's top sixth man. Point guard Phil Pressey is charged with running the offense, and nets 9.3 ppg, while doling out just under six apg.
Missouri shot 56.3 percent from the floor, but needed every bit of it in a hard-fought win over Oklahoma. Denmon led the charge, hitting 9-of-16 from the floor, including 4-of-9 from three-point range to lead all scorers with 25 points. Ratliffe recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Dixon came off the bench to tack on 13 points.