I said in last week's Oklahoma State preview that a loss in Stillwater could easily turn into a three game slide for the Sooners. Now after back-to-back losses to the Cowboys and to Texas, Oklahoma needs to win today in Columbia to keep that slide from becoming a reality. OU is tied with the Tigers in the conference standings for 5th place but the Tigers have put together a much better resume.
|Oklahoma Off vs Missouri Def|
67.7 Points For
71.1 Points Against
|Missouri Off vs Oklahoma Def|
82.8 Points For
67.4 Points Against
The Tigers are ranked 19th by the AP but have lost three of their last four. That doesn't mean anything will come easy for Oklahoma though. The Tigers are 14-0 at home this season with an average margin of victory of 23.8 points per game. This is definitely a year where you wish you could catch the Tigers on your home court instead of playing them on the road.
Defensive pressure helps the Tigers get 8.8 steals per game. They rank fourth in the conference in shooting percentage (44%) and seventh in three-point shooting (35%). Guard Marcus Denmon leads Missouri in scoring with an average of 16.5 points per game and is the best long ball shooter on the team with a 45% average from three-point range.
The Tigers are strong under the basket as well with forwards Ricardo Ratliffe and Laurence Bowers leading the way. Ratliffe leads the team in rebounds with an average of 6.6 per game. He's dangerous when he gets the ball in his hands as well. His 66% shooting from the floor against Big 12 competition is the best in the conference. Bowers is the team's best shot blocker with an average of 2 per game. He also produces 11 points and 5 rebounds per game.
This is going to be a physical game for Oklahoma that could take its toll on the team's depth, especially if fouls come into play. The Sooners are going to have to protect the basketball and defend the perimeter as well as underneath the basket. I realize those things sound very basic but against a team that can run and gun like the Tigers its not taking care of the basics that can turn a close game into an absolute blowout.