The Big 12 goes to great lengths to schedule their premier matchups on Big Monday, and especially big steps in promoting their best teams during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day double-headers. So it should come as no surprise that the conference picked the top four teams in pre-conference rankings to represent the Big 12 this MLK... and they hit the nail on the head with three of them.
Three of the teams competing in today's double-header are ranked in the top seven of the AP's latest poll.
The other is the 10-6 Texas A&M Aggies... the preseason coaches pick to win the conference.
The Aggies, obviously, are off to a rocky start in Billy Kennedy's first season as head coach. Though nobody ever expected Texas A&M to outscore most teams, not many people thought they'd average a pedestrian 62.4 ppg as a team (291st nationally), and only 55 ppg through four Big 12 conference games.
On the other side of the coin are the Missouri Tigers. Though they also have a new head coach -- and like A&M -- a wealth of experience, the Tigers are playing as well as any Big 12 team this side of Waco.
The 16-1 #5 Tigers are shooting lights out - their 51.2% team field goal percentage ranks second nationally - and they have a four players averaging double figures, and Phil Pressey, averaging 9.7 ppg, leading the conference in assist and steals per game.
Though despite the opposite directions these teams are heading, this afternoon's game should still be a fun one to watch. On the perimeter you will have Dash Harris manning Pressey, while Khris Middleton and Kim English match-up at forward and big bodied David Loubeau and Ricardo Ratliffe will bang down low. Where Mizzou will outmatch the Aggies is with Marcus Denmon, as A&M doesn't have an answer for him. The conference's second leading scorer should be able to shine today and eclipse his 18 point, 11 rebound performance against Texas on Saturday.
Unusual tip time for today's game, as the ball goes up at 4:30 CST and can be viewed on ESPN.