(KMOV.com) -- After scraping out the 67-66 victory in Austin, Coach Frank Haith and fourth ranked Missouri heads home to Mizzou Arena for a clash with eighth ranked Kansas on Saturday night.
Haith, the former Assistant in Texas under coach Rick Barnes’ 2003 Final Four run, is just three wins shy of his career high when he went 23-11 with Miami and lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Missouri currently ranks fourth in the AP and Coaches polls and could easily leap Ohio State for third in the country with a win on Saturday.
Saturday night’s matchup could be the first of three in determining the top seed in the Midwest region (located in St. Louis) during the NCAA Tournament.
The Tigers leave behind a tough three game stretch against the bottom three teams in the Big 12, during which they shot 37-percent and 28-percent from beyond the arc and out-rebounded by 21. In Missouri’s 75-69 loss at Kansas State the Tigers shot 33-percent and 29-percent from three point range and -16 in rebound margin.
Rebounds have been a common theme for the black and gold this season and will likely be a talk of conversation throughout the Tigers-Jayhawks matchup Saturday night.
The loss of Laurence Bowers left Missouri with very little depth and height under the basket. Ricardo Ratliffe, 6’8, will have to matchup with Kansas’ Thomas Robinson, 6’10, who ranks second in the nation with 11.8 rebounds.
Steve Moore, who generally plays less than 16 minutes a game, will most likely be asked to play a larger role against Kansas as Haith attempts to put a man on seven-foot center Jeff Withey.
In Missouri’s biggest win to this point, Missouri shot 54-percent and 33-percent from three point range with a +3 rebound margin against Baylor. The Tigers will likely need similar success shooting from the outside in order to beat Kansas and improve to 21-2 on the season.