Iowa State Cyclones-Missouri Tigers Preview

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Date:  February 29th, 2012

Time:  7:00 PM CST

Where:  Mizzou Arena

TV:  Big 12 Network

Spread:  Missouri (-11.5)

Know the Foe:  Missouri is currently on a two-game losing streak.  The last thing the want to do is extend that streak to three on senior night in Columbia.  This has been a great season for the Tigers and will be the last time Matt Pressey, Kim English, and Ricardo Ratliffe, and others play in Mizzou Arena.  Cyclone fans should expect a great effort from the Tigers tonight.

Missouri may have the best backcourt in college basketball and they have a special guard in Marcus Denmon.  Denmon was named a preseason All-American by some and is likely to be named an All-American after the season.  Denmon averages 18.2 points per game and 5.1 rebounds.  Denmon can drive to the lane and finish or can knock down the 3-pointer (41%).  Expect Iowa State’s best defender, Chris Babb, to have the task of guarding Denmon.

Besides Denmon, Mizzou has plenty of other talented guards.  Kim English averages 13.9, Michael Dixon adds 13.8 per, and the two Pressey brothers combine to average 16.1 per game.  Also, Phil Pressey leads the Big 12 in assists at 6.2 per game.

Yes, Mizzou is known for their guards, but they have one of the most underrated big men in the entire country.  6’8 senior Ricardo Ratliffe is extremely efficient shooting the ball.  Ratliffe is first in the Big 12 and second in the nation in field goal percentage at an amazing 71.2%.  Royce White will be guarding Ratliffe and that scares me because Royce isn’t the best defender in the Big 12.

Prediction:  Outsiders probably aren’t going to give Iowa State much of a chance in this game.  The spread is in the double-digits for a reason.  Missouri is one of the best teams in the nation and are at home on senior night.  However, there are some things that give me some confidence heading into tonight’s game.

Missouri can score.  They are second in the Big 12 in points per game.  However, their defensive performances are far from their offensive performances.  If Iowa State can shoot well from behind the arc and make the game a shootout, Iowa State can hang in there.

I mentioned earlier that Missouri may have the best backcourt in the nation.  Yet, they don’t have much depth as only two guys really come off the bench.  If Iowa State is aggressive and draw some fouls, Mizzou may be in trouble.

The first time these two teams played, Missouri escaped Ames with a 7-point win.  In that game, Mizzou dominated the boards as they outrebounded the Cyclones by 11.  The extra rebounds gave the Tigers 10 more field goal attempts.  If the Cyclones are able to clean that up, ISU can pull off the upset.

I think Iowa State will take this game to the very end.  But with it being senior night and all, I think that gives Mizzou the extra boost to win it.

Iowa State – 74

Missouri – 78

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