January 9, 2010

Five keys against Kansas State

Missouri looks to move to 13-and-3 and get Big 12 play started on the right foot when Kansas State comes to town this afternoon. PowerMizzou.com takes a look at five factors to watch in a big opening weekend matchup.

Get the crowd going early

Missouri has won 29 in a row at home and has beaten K-State 23 out of 25 times in Columbia. Mizzou hasn't just fattened up on cupcakes at home. During the streak they have beaten Cal, Arkansas, Georgia and Oregon and swept all eight Big 12 games last year. A sellout crowd will be at full throat for this one. When the Tigers get on a run and the crowd gets loud, officials tend to swallow their whistles. That can only help the Tigers.

Survive on the glass

Kansas State brings a ton of size to the matchup and will attack the glass. The Cats have four players averaging at least five rebounds per game and average more than 13 offensive boards per contest. Missouri hasn't been all that good on the defensive glass. If K-State is getting two and three shots on every possession, Missouri has almost no chance. The Tigers won't win the rebounding battle, but they can't get blown out either.

Breakdown and Prediction

Missouri has handled Kansas State in Columbia with regularity. But this K-State team is better than most that have come to town. The Cats have a blend of good guard play and size that is a tough matchup for Mizzou. Still, playing in Columbia seems to be worth 20 points to this team. The Tigers won't coast, but will shoot the ball well and get it done on defense in this game. Look for a contest that is close throughout with Missouri's depth at guard being the difference. The Tigers get an 87-83 win to start league play.

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