Michael Dixon will be pumped up to play in his hometown.
The Missouri Tiger are hoping for a little bit more than just revenge tonight, when they face the Oklahoma St. Cowboys in the second round of the 2012 Big 12 Tournament.
The Tigers are also looking to both close out their Big 12 legacy with their second Big 12 Tournament championship in four years, and also to inch closer to a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament and a potential seeding in the pro-Mizzou St. Louis region.
The fifth ranked Tigers are 27-4 on the season, and have only suffered one loss to a team from outside of the state of Kansas. That was a January 25 loss to tonight's opponent. In that 79-72 Pokes victory, freshman Le'Bryan Nash was unstoppable, scoring a career high 27 points on 12-18 shooting (with a career high three 3-pointers).
Things should be different tonight, though. Nash is sidelined for the rest of the season with a fractured hand, and the game is in Kansas City, where Mizzou has obliterated the two opponents its played there, beating Notre Dame by 29 before thumping Cal the following night by 39 on their way to winning the CBE Classic last November.
If there is one thing to watch tonight, it will be Frank Haith's substitution pattern. Since Mizzou has one of the shallowest benches of all ranked teams -going only seven deep - it will be interesting to see if Haith goes deeper or changes up his substitution patterns, with the thought that Mizzou could be playing three games in three days.
But luckily for Mizzou, they don't rely on a single player to guide them. Despite the short bench, Mizzou has four guys averaging double digit scoring - Marcus Denmon, Kim English, Ricardo Ratliffe and Mike Dixon - with Phil Pressey scoring 9.6 ppg while leading the conference with 6.2 assists per game.
Mizzou should win tonight, easily, but it will still be a good watch, just to see how Haith handles the substitutions.