Missouri – Texas preview

8 p.m. – ESPNU

As the last team with an undefeated conference mark, No. 7 Texas now adjusts to being chased down by everyone else. It starts today with a home game against No. 11 Missouri. Both teams are 17-3 overall.

The Latest on Texas

Point guard Dogus Balbay will be largely responsible for limiting the effectiveness of Missouri's pressure defense. Source: Interbasket.net

You know the story. Demolished Texas A&M. Knocked off Kansas. Took care of Oklahoma State. Nobody’s playing better than Texas, a team led by young players like J’Covan Brown, Jordan Hamilton and Tristan Thompson.

The Longhorns have not relied on any individual player, even though Hamilton’s statistics stand out the most. They have good traditional interior production from Gary Johnson, and with so many athletes to move around on the perimeter, they are a handful in the halfcourt and also in transition.

Significantly, the Horns have allowed no more than 63 points in any of their five conference games.

The Latest on Missouri

Up to this point, Mizzou has ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring offense at around 85 points per game. This is due in part to playing several opponents (both in and out of conference) who were turnover-prone and played poor defense. Missouri has scored at least 75 points in every conference game so far, two of which were losses.

However, coach Mike Anderson has tried to get Missouri to improve its defense and win games that way. For that to be the case today, Missouri will have to rebound. Ricardo Ratliffe does a nice job of it inside, and is the best low post presence the Tigers have had in several years. But Texas gets strong rebounding efforts from several players, and Missouri will be challenged to keep up.

Missouri’s three conference wins have come at home. The two losses, one of which was in overtime, were on the road.

Bottom Line

These might be two of the league’s top three (certainly four) teams. Missouri has depth equal to Kansas without as much elite talent. Texas A&M let the Horns push them around at the beginning of their game a couple weeks ago, and Missouri must not do the same. Expect a good game from a Missouri team that’s playing pretty well, but Texas is probably too good if they play as they have recently.

Texas 79, Missouri 68

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