No. 17 Missouri Tigers vs. Auburn Tigers
Date: Feb. 2, 2013
Tip-Off: 12:47 p.m. CT
Arena: Mizzou Arena (15,061)
TV: SEC Network (Dave Baker - Play by Play / Jon Sundvold- Analyst)
Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly - Play by Play and Gary Link - Analyst)
Missouri - No. 17/No. 18 - Associated Press / USA Today Coaches’ Poll
Auburn - NR/NR
Series: First Meeting
Missouri: Frank Haith (Elon ‘88); 174-111 overall (9th); 45-10 at Mizzou (2nd season)
Auburn: Tony Barbee (UMass ‘93) 34-48 at Auburn (3rd season); 116-100 overall (7th season)
Missouri Basketball will look to remain unbeaten at home this season as the Tigers face Auburn at 12:47 p.m. on the SEC Network ... Missouri is one of two SEC teams to remain unbeaten at home this year, joining the Florida Gators.
The Tigers will look to continue their strong play at Mizzou Arena with Haith at the helm (27-1, .964) and since the 2008-09 season the program is a dominant 78-4 (.951) and has never dropped more than two home games in a single season.
Saturday’s game will be unique for junior Earnest Ross ... The key reserve began his career at Auburn before transferring to Missouri prior to the 2011-12 campaign ... Ross played 63 games in an Auburn uniform, scoring 498 points, an average of 7.9 ppg for his career.
Senior forward Alex Oriakhi is nearing the 1,000-point mark for his career, needing just four points to reach that milestone ... Oriakhi played three seasons at Connecticut and scored 789 points in 109 games for the Huskies ... The Lowell, Mass., native is enjoying a career year at Missouri, averaging a career high 10.4 points per game on a career best 58 percent shooting.
Senior forward Laurence Bowers is making his homecourt return on Saturday ... Bowers had missed the last five games with a sprained MCL in his right knee, but returned at LSU on Wednesday and scored 10 points in 32 minutes ... Bowers has topped double figures in scoring in 14-of-15 games this season and is averaging 17.3 points on 61 percent shooting in his nine home contests.
Mizzou has just one player, Phil Pressey, who has played a complete season for Head Coach Frank Haith ... If you break down the numbers, Missouri is getting 83.3 percent of its scoring and 92.3 percent of its rebounding from Tigers that did not play one season ago. Missouri is one of college basketball’s winningest teams since 2008-09 ... The Tigers have 122 wins over the last five years, which is ninth among high major programs nationally.
Mizzou continues to be one of the country’s better rebounding clubs, ranking No. 2 nationally with 42.5 boards per game ... Missouri has done a great job on the backboards in its last two games, boasting a rebounding margin of 17.5 in games vs. Vanderbilt and LSU ... The Tigers are 16-4 on the glass this year have not been out-rebounded this season when Laurence Bowers, Alex Oriakhi and Tony Criswell are in the lineup.
Jabari Brown has emerged as Mizzou’s most consistent scorer in league play and has reached double figures in 10-of-11 contests since becoming eligible ... Brown is averaging 17.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in SEC competition thanks to his 41.8 percent shooting from three-point range ... Brown has already made 24 treys through seven conference games and is tied for the league lead in SEC play with 3.4 makes per game.
Phil Pressey is quickly approaching the career assist record at Mizzou ... Pressey is averaging 8.3 assists per game over his last 10 outings and needs just 17 more assists to pass Anthony Peeler (497 - 1988-92) for No. 1 all-time ... Pressey leads the Southeastern Conference with 7.1 dimes per game and could lead his second league in assists for the second consecutive year ... Pressey led the Big 12 in assists in 2011-12 with 6.4 dimes per game.
Mizzou Basketball Cliff Notes...
Missouri Basketball returns home looking to remain unbeaten inside Mizzou Arena as the Tigers face Auburn University at 12:30 p.m. (tip at 12:47 p.m.) on the SEC Network.
Missouri will look to bounce back from a 73-70 loss at LSU this week, which saw the Tigers rally back from a 16-point deficit to close within two points in the final minutes.
The Tigers regained the services of senior forward Laurence Bowers who made a start and scored 10 points and grabbed six boards in 32 minutes ... Bowers had missed the previous five games with a sprained right MCL and reached double figures in scoring for the 14th time in 15 games this season.
Mizzou has still played just two games this season with a full roster ... The Tigers won those two games vs. South Carolina State and No. 10 Illinois before injuries to Tony Criswell (vs. Illinois), Bowers (vs. Alabama) and Bell (at Florida and missed game at LSU) ... Criswell missed three games overall and Bell has missed two.
With injuries and a near complete roster turnover, Missouri has used eight different starting lineups this year ... Haith used the same starting lineup throughout the 2011-12 campaign.
Phil Pressey led three Tigers in double figures at LSU with 25 points ... Jabari Brown added 19 points on 4-of-10 three-point shooting and Mizzou out-rebounded LSU 39-26, but was unable to get the win due to just 38 percent shooting from the floor.
The Tigers do lead the SEC in free throw shooting, hitting 77 percent of their charity tosses in league play ... Overall this season the Tigers have made 299 free throws and their opponents have attempted just 302.
A big reason for those free throw numbers is senior forward Alex Oriakhi, who is shooting a career best 74 percent at the line on the year and is hitting 83 percent of his tries in league play.
Oriakhi is the first Tiger to average 8.0+ rebounds and shoot 70+ percent from the foul line since Doug Smith in 1990-91.
Over the last four seasons Missouri is shooting 74.3 percent from the foul line as a team and the Tigers have not been below 72.4 percent as a team since 2008-09.
Mizzou has been very good in the second half of games all season ... The Tigers are averaging 40.8 points and are shooting 49 percent from the floor, 37 percent from three-point range and 79 percent from the foul line in the second half this year.
The club boasts a +7.0 scoring margin (40.8-to-33.8) in this second half of those games as well.
Head Coach Frank Haith is a very good 7-4 vs. Top 25 opponents as the head coach of Mizzou and is 4-3 vs. the Top 10.
Mizzou’s defense has been outstanding at home this season, as no team has topped 70 points vs. Missouri and opponents are averaging just 58.8 points on 36.5 percent shooting at Mizzou Arena.
Missouri has been one of the country’s top rebounding teams throughout the year and has out-rebounded 16-of-20 foes in 2012-13 ... Missouri enjoyed its largest rebounding margin of the year on Dec. 8 (+25) and has recorded a double-digit rebounding advantage in 11 of 20 games.
The Tigers also average 14.7 offensive rebounds per game (No. 12 nationally) and turn that into 14.3 second-chance points per contest.
Mizzou is currently rebounding 43 percent of its missed shot attempts this year.
Missouri has had six different players record double-figures in rebounds in a game this season, which is the most since six Tigers accomplished the feat during the 1995-96 campaign ... The school record for the number of players recording at least 10 rebounds in one game is seven, set during the 1959-60 season.
In addition, Missouri already has a total of 15 point-rebound double-doubles between four different players (Bowers, Oriakhi, Ross and Bell), bettering the nine team double-doubles for Mizzou in 2011-12.
Although the Tigers have a number of familiar faces due to transfer years with the program, just one player, Phil Pressey, has played for Head Coach Frank Haith ... Missouri is getting 83.3 percent of its scoring and 92.3 percent of its rebounding from players that did not see action at Mizzou a season ago.
Missouri has started to build its bench over the last month thanks to the play of Keion Bell, Tony Criswell, Earnest Ross and the addition of Jabari Brown ... Missouri is averaging 19.1 points per game from its bench on the year, including 21.6 points over the last 14 games. On the season Missouri has 14 double-figure scoring efforts off the bench (Ross - 5, Bell - 4, Criswell - 2, Brown, Jankovic and Webster-Chan - 1).
Despite having so many newcomers, Mizzou has been balanced through 20 games with eight players averaging at least 20.3 minutes a contest ... Nine different Tigers have also reached double figures in scoring in a game this season and seven different Tigers have recorded at least 7+ boards in a game.
Missouri has won 73 consecutive regular-season, non-conference home games since 2005-06 and since 2006-07 (66-0) the club’s average margin of victory has been 26.7 points in those non-league home tilts.
Missouri is 16-0 in home non-league games under Frank Haith and 15 of those 16 wins have been by double figures ... In fact Mizzou is 24-2 in regular season non-league games under Haith and have won 18 of those games by 10 or more points, including wins over Villanova (10), Notre Dame (29) and California (39) on neutral courts.
Missouri has won at historic levels over the last five seasons and continues its search for a record-setting fifth consecutive 20-win campaign ... The Tigers have won 23+ games each of the last four seasons.
MU also won 20+ in four consecutive years from 1988-92 and 1979-83.
Missouri was college basketball’s most efficient offensive club a year ago (according to KenPom.com) ... And how about this for an exciting SEC schedule, Kentucky was ranked No. 2 and Florida was No. 3.
Haith was of course named the National Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, taking the Tigers to their second 30-win season in school history and fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament.
Mizzou got an early start to its 2012-13 campaign, playing five games in Europe from Aug. 8-18 ... However none of Missouri’s current players saw action overseas, proving to be a great opportunity for the MU newcomers to get extended playing time.
The Tigers played games in Amsterdam, Belgium and France.
Missouri will be seen on TV like never before thanks to the move to the SEC ... The Tigers will have a school record 18 games appearing on national TV during the regular season.
Mizzou also had four players ranked among the top players at their position by CBS Sports ... Phil Pressey headlined that list at No. 2 among point guards.
In the front court Alex Oriakhi was ranked No. 35 and Laurence Bowers checked in at No. 38.
Newcomer Jabari Brown was ranked among college hoop’s top wing players, checking in at No. 48.
Fran Fraschilla ranked Phil Pressey as the country’s No. 5 most-important player.
Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated also listed Pressey (No. 5) on his preseason Naismith Award watch list.
Missouri’s transfer class of Keion Bell, Jabari Brown, Alex Oriakhi and Earnest Ross is being considered as one of the best in basketball history by the Sporting News.