January 23, 2008

Breakdown: Tigers travel to Texas Tech

The Missouri Tigers hit the road looking for their first true road win of the season on Wednesday. The destination is Lubbock, TX and Bob Knight's Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Raiders are 10-and-7 and 1-and-2 in Big 12 play. Mizzou is 11-and-7 and 1-and-2. The winner gets a leg up in the conference race and a big win. The loser is staring at a long road back. PowerMizzou.com breaks down the matchup.

Missouri Keys to the Game

Plain and simple, the Tigers have to play on the road the way they do at home. Mizzou has not won a true road game yet this season. Second, and it seems simple, the Tigers need to make shots. When the jumpers are falling, Missouri can be very, very good. When they're not, the Tigers have trouble finding alternative ways to score. And last, Mizzou has to keep Tech off the offensive glass. The Tigers should have a rebounding edge, or at least be able to hang even, in this game. But they have given up all kinds of second chance points this season and it has hurt them in major ways.

Tech Keys to the Game

First, Zeno has to be the player he can be. He has given the Tigers fits in the past and can do so again. Earlier in the year, the Tech coaches seemed down on his play, but he can be an all-Big 12 type of player. Second, Burgess has to handle the pressure. Mizzou hasn't pressed a lot of late, but it seems likely they will lean on it more in this one. Burgess, Zeno and Voskuil have about a 1:1 assist to turnover ratio. That could spell bad news against Mizzou. Finally, Tech needs to force Missouri to beat them from the outside. If Lawrence isn't shooting it well, the Tigers have a tough time doing that.

The Wild Card

The X-factor here has to be Lyons. He was nowhere to be found against Iowa State, but played well coming off the bench against the Jayhawks before fouling out. Tech really does not have a player that can match up with both him and Carroll when they are on the floor together. If the Tigers get good Leo, they should come away with a win. If it's the Leo that showed up in Ames, uh-oh.

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