Game prep: Missouri Tigers vs. Bucknell Bison -

Game prep: Missouri Tigers vs. Bucknell Bison

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By Dan Mueller By Dan Mueller

No. 12 Missouri Tigers vs. Bucknell Bison

Tip-Off: 3 p.m. CT

Arena: Mizzou Arena (15,061)

TV: MSN (Chris Gervino - Play by Play / Jon Sundvold - Analyst)

Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly - Play by Play and Gary Link - Analyst)

Rankings: Missouri - No. 12/No. 12 - Associated Press / USA Today Coaches’ Poll Bucknell - NR/RV

Series: First Meeting


Missouri: Frank Haith (Elon ‘88); 169-108 overall (9th); 40-7 at Mizzou (2nd season)

Bucknell: Dave Paulsen (Williams ‘87) 83-61 at Bucknell (5th season); 345-181 overall (19th)

For Openers...

Missouri will look to bounce back from a 97-94 overtime loss at UCLA last Friday as it faces a veteran Bucknell squad that ranks among the national leaders with 13 wins already this year ... For the Tigers, Saturday marks the final non-conference tune-up before SEC play begins on Jan. 8.

Saturday’s game time was moved up to 3 p.m. ... In addition, the game is sold out and limited tickets only remain for home SEC home games against Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

Bucknell is off to its best start in school history, equaling the 13-2 mark it started out with in 1983-84 ... Missouri is looking for its 11th win in non-league play and will look to remain undefeated at home in non-conference play for the seventh consecutive season.

Mizzou will look to continue its homecourt domination vs. non-league foes ... Overall Missouri has won 72 consecutive home games vs. non-league opposition since the end of the 2005-06 campaign ... In fact Mizzou has won 31-of-33 regular season non-league games (regardless of site) since the 2010-11 campaign ... Missouri’s last non-conference loss at home came vs. Sam Houston State in the 2005 Preseason NIT.

Overall at Mizzou Arena the Tigers are 74-4 since 2008-09, an incredible .949 winning percentage.

Missouri has been very good in the month of January over the last four seasons ... Since the 2008-09 campaign Missouri is 24-9 in January, including three wins over nationally-ranked foes.

Phil Pressey is coming off one of the more spectacular games in Missouri history recording 19 points and 19 assists in the game at UCLA ... The 19 assists shattered the school record and tied the SEC record ... It was also the most dimes in a Division I game since 2008.

Pressey has dished 30 assists over his last two games, 11 vs. Illinois and 19 at UCLA ... He is the school record holder with 10 double-figure assist games in his career ... His 7.3 assists per game leads the SEC and ranks No. 8 in college basketball.

Laurence Bowers has emerged as a frontrunner for SEC Player of the Year, along with Pressey ... Bowers has reached double figures in scoring in seven consecutive games, the longest streak of his career ... His previous best double-figure streak was six consecutive as a junior in 2010-11.

Bowers has been nothing short of awesome over that streak, averaging 18.9 points on 57 percent shooting from the floor (56-of-98) and 53 percent shooting from three-point range (8-of-15) ... He has also averaged 8.0 rebounds in 29.3 minutes a contest.

Missouri continues to dominate on the glass and out-rebounded UCLA by 14 (50-36) during its most recent outing ... The Tigers are No. 1 nationally in rebounding at 47.4 caroms a game and are No. 2 with a +14.2 rebounding margin ... The Tigers already have 11 point-rebound double-doubles this season, bettering the team total (nine) for the entire 2011-12 season.

The Tigers also average 16.8 offensive rebounds per game (No. 1 nationally) and turn that into 15.9 second-chance points per contest.

It’s of course still very early in the 2012-13 season and the meat of the schedule is ahead of the team, but those 47.4 rebounds per game would be the most since the 1959-60 season and second in school history.


Mizzou Basketball Cliff Notes...

Happy New Year Tiger fans and Missouri Basketball returns to Mizzou Arena for a difficult test against Bucknell to open 2013, facing the 13-2 Bison at 3 p.m. on Norm Stewart Court.

Missouri is finishing non-conference play with a tough three-game stretch as Illinois (13-1), UCLA (10-3) and Bucknell (13-2) are a combined 36-6 this season ... The Tigers then begin their first season of play in the Southeastern Conference on Jan. 8 vs. Alabama.

Missouri has been much more explosive on offense over its last three games, averaging 92.7 points while shooting 48 percent from the floor ... Of course that three-game stretch coincides with the addition of Jabari Brown to the roster and Brown is second on the club with 14.7 points per game during those three contests.

In the five games prior to Brown’s addition Missouri averaged just 70.0 points on 46.5 percent shooting.

Missouri has won 12 consecutive games immediately following the new year ... Missouri’s last loss in the first game following New Year’s Day was Jan. 4, 2000, vs. Winthrop.

Head Coach Frank Haith and the Tigers have been very good responding after defeat ... The Tigers are 6-0 all-time after a loss, including impressive wins at Iowa State last season and against VCU this year.

Bucknell is just outside of the Top 25, but Haith is also a very good 7-3 vs. Top 25 opponents as the head coach of Mizzou and is 4-2 vs. the Top 10.

The Tigers will look to continue their impressive defensive trend ... Only three teams have scored more than 70 points on Missouri this year.

At home no team has topped 70 points vs. Missouri and opponents are averaging just 55.3 points on 32.8 percent shooting at Mizzou Arena.


Missouri is currently ranked No. 27 nationally in field goal percentage defense (.372).

Defensively, Missouri has held 10 of 12 opponents (Louisville and UCLA) below 42 percent shooting.

Missouri has been one of the country’s top rebounding teams throughout the year and has out-rebounded all-12 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 nine of 12 games (six consecutive).

The Tigers recently out-rebounded No. 10 Illinois 58-35, including 22 offensive rebounds.

The Tigers are currently rebounding 48 percent of their 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 11 point-rebound double-doubles between four different players (Bowers, Oriakhi, Ross and Bell), bettering the nine team double-doubles 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 83.9 percent of its scoring and 92.2 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 three weeks thanks to the play of Keion Bell, Tony Criswell, Earnest Ross and the addition of Jabari Brown ... Missouri is averaging 21.3 points per game from its bench on the year, including 27.5 points over the last six games.

On the season Missouri has 10 double-figure scoring efforts off the bench (Bell - 3, Criswell - 2, Ross - 2, Brown, Jankovic and Webster-Chan - 1).

Criswell (before his injury) was on an impressive five-game run off the pine averaging 8.0 points on 61 percent shooting (19-of-31) in 19.2 minutes a game.

Despite having so many newcomers, Mizzou has been balanced through 12 games with eight players averaging at least 17.8 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 72 consecutive regular-season, non-conference home games since 2005-06 and since 2006-07 (65-0) the club’s average margin of victory has been 26.9 points in those non-league home tilts.

Missouri is 15-0 in home non-league games under Frank Haith and each of those 15 wins have been by double figures ... In fact Mizzou is 23-2 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.

Haith’s 2011-12 offense was known for its efficiency and the early returns are good this season as well ... Missouri is averaging 1.152 points per possession this year after averaging 1.187 a year ago.

Missouri was college basketball’s most efficient offensive club a year ago (according to ... And how about this for an exciting SEC schedule, Kentucky was ranked No. 2 and Florida was No. 3.

Frank Haith’s offense also ranked No. 1 nationally in field goal percentage (.504), assist/turnover ratio (1.6) and among the Top 10 in scoring (6th - 80.4), scoring margin (5th - 14.1), three-point percentage (9th - .398), turnovers (5th - 10.2) and turnover margin (7th - 4.1).

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.

Missouri begins its first season of play in the Southeastern Conference ... League play officially begins on Jan. 8, 2013, vs. Alabama ... That game is actually the official opener to the 2013 SEC season.

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.

Dave Reiter, Mizzou Athletics

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