Mizzou’s Big 12 basketball preview
Mizzou forward DeMarre Carroll, healthy and at full strength, has been a force for Tiger opponents to reckon with. Photo by Shane Epping.
The college football season wrapped up Thursday night, so what better way to get in the full swing of things than with conference play in college basketball? The Big 12 season begins Saturday for Mizzou as the Tigers travel to Lincoln, Neb., to play the Huskers.
It’s the beginning of a stretch of games that are more than winnable for a Mizzou team that started the season on a hot streak. With non-conference wins against then-No. 20 USC, Cal and Georgia en route to a 13-2 record so far, the Tigers have put together quality wins on a resume for the NCAA tournament. Even the two losses, to No. 16 Xavier (by four) and Illinois, were not damaging.
But back to the current stretch of games. After Nebraska, Mizzou hosts Colorado and Iowa State, travels to Oklahoma State, hosts Texas Tech and then travels to Kansas State. All six are winnable games for Mizzou, but even with a loss in one or two, the Tigers would be in great tournament shape, sitting at either 18-3 or 17-4. They would likely get another three wins in the final 10 games, putting them at the 20-win mark, a near lock for making the NCAA Tournament in March.
Senior DeMarre Carroll has been the leading force for Mizzou so far, averaging 16.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. However, fellow senior Leo Lyons hasn’t been far behind, adding 14.7 and 6.3. Matt Lawrence has regained his three-point touch in recent games, which his 41.7 three-point percentage, the highest of his career since a hot start to the 2006-07 season, exemplifies.
The seven newcomers have all filled in admirably, and the team seems to be settling in to roles. Their cohesion has been a key to the early success and should provide stability as the team continues to improve throughout the season.
Mizzou is continuing to gain attention on the national level as a surprise team from the conference, making it into bracket projections on several sites such as ESPN.com. With the team playing for each other at an exciting uptempo pace, coach Mike Anderson could have his first NCAA Tournament-bound team at Mizzou.
- Jan. 10 at Nebraska 1 p.m.
- Jan. 14 Colorado 8 p.m.
- Jan. 17 Iowa State 12:30 p.m.
- Jan. 21 at Oklahoma State 8 p.m.
- Jan. 24 Texas Tech 12:30 p.m.
- Jan. 28 at Kansas State 8 p.m.
- Jan. 31 No. 23 Baylor 5 p.m.
- Feb. 4 at No. 7 Texas 8:30 p.m.
- Feb. 7 at Iowa State 5 p.m.
- Feb. 9 Kansas 8 p.m.
- Feb. 14 Nebraska 12:30 p.m.
- Feb. 21 at Colorado 12:30 p.m.
- Feb. 25 Kansas State 8 p.m.
- March 1 at Kansas 1 p.m.
- March 4 No. 6 Oklahoma 8 p.m.
- March 7 at Texas A&M 1 p.m.
- Oklahoma: 14-1
- Texas A&M: 14-1
- Missouri: 13-2
- Baylor: 12-2
- Kansas: 11-3
- Kansas State: 11-3
- Oklahoma State: 11-3
- Texas: 11-3
- Nebraska: 10-3
- Iowa State: 11-4
- Texas Tech: 10-5
- Colorado: 8-6
Associated Press Rankings
- No. 6 Oklahoma
- No. 7 Texas
- No. 23 Baylor
- No. 12 Oklahoma
- No. 17 Texas
- No. 29 Oklahoma St.
- No. 51 Texas A&M
- No. 56 Missouri
- No. 58 Baylor
- No. 59 Kansas
- No. 91 Kansas St.
- No. 96 Texas Tech
- No. 120 Iowa St.
- No. 124 Nebraska
- No. 248 Colorado
- Scoring: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma, 22.1
- Rebounding: Griffin, 14.0
- Assists: Curtis Jerrells, Baylor, 6.2
- Blocks: Cole Aldrich, Kansas, 2.8
- Steals: Byron Eaton, Oklahoma State, 2.6