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Archive for Saturday, January 19, 2008

Home court kind to Tigers

January 19, 2008

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Unbeaten KU up against Tigers tomorrow

One week into the Big 12 conference men's basketball season, and only three unbeatens remain in league play. KU's opponent tomorrow, the Missouri Tigers, had a change, but MU blew it on Wednesday night against Ohio State. Enlarge video

— The latest edition of the Border War features two undefeated teams tonight.

Well, sort of.

There's No. 3-ranked Kansas with its sparking overall record of 17-0 and unranked Missouri, a perfect 10-0 - at Mizzou Arena.

That 10-0 mark includes last Saturday's 97-84 win over then-No. 12 Texas.

"They've lost some tough games where everybody wasn't playing well at the same time," KU coach Bill Self said of the Tigers, 0-4 on the road and 1-2 on neutral courts for an overall mark of 11-6.

"Against Texas we saw what happens when everybody plays well at the same time," Self added.

The Tigers, who were led by sophomore guard Keon Lawrence's 18 points, had six players score in double figures against the Longhorns in stretching their overall home win streak to 13 games.

All 10 MU home victories have been by double figures. The Tigers' average home margin of victory has been 26.1 ppg - 13 points versus UT.

"That Texas game surprised me. Texas is pretty good on the road. Missouri played well," KU senior guard Russell Robinson said.

"I knew it was a toss-up game," KU soph Darrell Arthur said. "Missouri played a little zone. Texas didn't know what to do."

The Tigers' other marquee home victory was 73-63 over Purdue. MU lost to Michigan State (86-83) and beat Maryland (84-70) at the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo., and lost to Illinois (59-58) in St. Louis.

MU has fallen on the road to Arkansas (94-91), California (86-72), Mississippi State (87-75) and Iowa State (72-67 on Wednesday).

Forwards DeMarre Carroll (14.9 ppg) and Leo Lyons (11.6) and guard Stefhon Hannah (14.1) lead the Tigers, who like to run and press when possible. That's the preferred style of second-year coach Mike Anderson, whose team fell to KU twice last season - 80-77 in Lawrence and 92-74 in Columbia.

"I think they will get after us in a way that will generate energy from the crowd. I think they'll trap us, press us, get after us," Self said. "We've got to be ready to handle that. Sometimes on the road they don't do that as much. No team does."

Missouri is 4-2 against Top 25 opponents since Mizzou Arena opened in 2004-05, including a four-point victory over No. 7 KU in 2005. Other Top 25 victims: No. 12 Gonzaga (63-61, Dec. 30, 2004), No. 16 Oklahoma (70-66, Feb. 12, 2005) to go with the victory over Texas.

The last time Mizzou faced a team ranked No. 3 or better was Feb. 26, 2003, when the Tigers upended No. 3 Oklahoma, 67-52, in Hearnes Center.

The crowd could be a factor tonight. MU, which has averaged just 6,227 fans in 10 home dates, is expecting a sellout crowd of 15,061.

"If you can't get hyped for the Kansas game, then what game can you get ready for?" Carroll, a 6-foot-8 transfer from Vanderbilt, told the Associated Press. "It's a window of opportunity for us to really let people know that we are a good team and we are making strides to get better."

Forward Matt Lawrence noted: "I guess it's just that rivalry mentality. Everyone says you want to get up for every game, but there's always that extra little something when you're playing your rival. It would be good to pack Mizzou Arena, and we'll give them a show."

Coach Anderson, who has a 25-4 record in home games at MU, said he expects a high scoring, fast paced game.

"I think our defense should be unpredictable, that's something we've done in the past," Anderson told the AP. "Evidently, we didn't do it in the Iowa State game.

"We've got to be a scrambling team, hopefully cause some controlled chaos, get back to getting dirty."

KU's Self, who is 10-2 versus Missouri (7-2 while at KU), realizes it will be tough to bag a victory in wild Mizzou Arena tonight.

"It's always a great atmosphere when we go over there," Self said. "I really enjoy going to Columbia. We are not going to vacation there this summer, (but) I really enjoy the atmosphere there. It's been great every time. I expect a juiced-up atmosphere Saturday.

"I don't think they like us much there. The place will be rocking."

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Rush ready: KU junior Brandon Rush, the brother of former MU standout Kareem, is 3-1 versus MU, 1-1 at Mizzou Arena.

"It's my third time around. I'm not really into the rivalry thing anymore," Rush said. "They beat Texas. They're good."

Of KU risking its undefeated record today, Rush said: "We don't pay attention to that. We put blinders on and pay attention to the game."

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Not an MU hater: Self was asked this week if he wants rival Missouri to field a good team yearly.

"I don't mind our rivals being good. Fans get hung up on that. I don't get hung up on that," he said. "We need our league to be good. For our league to be good, that means our league needs to win big games out of conference. I pull for all our teams in the league out of conference.

"I want all our teams in the league to be good. Selfishly that helps us."

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Antlers to roar: KU senior forward Darnell Jackson is ready for MU's student cheering section, "The Antlers" to try to distract the KU players during warmups.

"The big thing I love is when fans get into it, yelling names, talking about everybody on the team. That brings fun into it," Jackson said.

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This, that: KU leads the all-time series, 164-93. KU has won three straight, seven of the last nine and 12 of the past 15.

Last season's KU sweep was the fourth KU regular-season sweep of MU since 2000. Kansas is 62-52 against MU in games played in Columbia. Since the inception of the Big 12, KU holds a 17-8 series advantage.

Comments

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 6 years, 11 months ago

What jerk scheduled this so it wouldn't be on a normal channel? Is this another of the money grubbing weasel Perkins schemes to make another dime?

Last time I went to a home game it took 45 minutes to get from 23rd to the parking lot because there weren't any cops directing traffic. The only one I saw was holding up a light post by the fieldhouse. Another $50 saved by Perkins and more calloused disregard for the fan base.

Up yours Perkins. Maybe I'll find a team to root for that gives a damn about their fans.

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