LAWRENCE KS - JANUARY 22: Tristan Thompson #13 of the Texas Longhorns dunks against the Kansas Jayhawks during the game on January 22 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The Missouri Tigers and Texas Longhorns face off in the Game of the Night in the Big 12. Ranked 13th and 8th respectively, each team enters the game with identical 17-3 records on the season, though two of Mizzou’s defeats have come in conference play, while the Horns remain undefeated in the Big 12.
On paper this one should swing Texas’ way. First they are playing in front of the home crowd and possibly more important, they have the necessary skill and size to hold off the ferocious Tiger attack.
Mizzou’s weakness is playing teams with size. While their guards can match up with anyone in the nation, their frontline of Laurence Bowers, Ricardo Ratliffe and Justin Safford aren’t the biggest interior postmen in the conference. Texas will be able to outsize the Tigers with 6’7 Jordan Hamilton, 6’6 Gary Johnson and 6’8 Tristan Thompson.
The focal point of this game for fans should be the perimeter players. With Mike Dixon, Phil Pressey, Marcus Denmon and Kim English on the outside for Mizzou pitting up against Hamilton, J’Covan Brown, Dogus Balbay, Jai Lucas and Cory Joseph, what we have here is the best collection of guards in the conference, and possibly the nation.
But again, should Texas pound the ball down low, it might be a long flight back for the Tigers. On the other hand, if Mizzou can keep the tempo revved – which doesn’t necessarily paralyze Texas like it can some other teams – Mizzou has a punchers chance of giving the Longhorns their first conference loss.