On this national signing day, BON offers only a short preview of tonight's game at Missouri. #8 Texas (17-3, 5-1) plays in Columbia against the underachieving Tigers (10-8, 3-4) on ESPN2 8 PM CST. Missouri opened the season with a shocking home court loss to Sam Houston State. Things haven't improved much since then with two additional out of conference losses to Arkansas and Davidson.
The Tigers' signature win so far is a road victory over the Sooners earlier this month. However, they have suffered since then in the Big 12. Quinn Snyder's club has lost four of their last five conference games including two at home. A win over the Horns would be shocking for this up and down club.
Missouri is led by the Big 12 leading scorer, Thomas Gardner (21 points per game). They also get double digit scoring from solid senior guard, Jimmy McKinney (12 ppg) and from sophomore forward Marshall Brown (10 ppg, 5 rpg). Senior center Kelvin Young anchors the paint for the Tigers. Young is 6'6" 270 lbs and is averaging a respectable eight points and eight rebounds per game. It will be interesting to see if Young defends Lamarcus Aldridge with his bigger frame and forces LA to rely on the fade away jump shot.
Texas is angry and I expect a solid game from the Horns. Really only Aldridge played well against the Sooners. PJ Tucker played well in spots. Daniel Gibson came on late. But Brad Buckman and Kenton Paulino both had off nights. The whole team played only ok on defense as well. For the first time in nine games, an opponent shot over 40% against the Horns.
Look for the Horns to get back to playing their excellent defense tonight which they can quickly turn into easy offense. The Horns are now only one game up in the Big 12 race. Texas must win another road game to remain out of a four way tie for the conference lead. Missouri is unpredictable, and Columbia is at times a tough place to play but I see Texas winning with Aldridge and Tucker both having big games. Texas has won seven straight against Missouri and the last three contests in Columbia.
Texas holds onto the conference lead, 75-64.