The Missouri Tigers have had difficulty competing with slow-tempo styled offences under head coach Mike Anderson. Last season it was evident in a first round loss in the Big 12 tournament against Nebraska Cornhuskers and this year it was a close victory against Western Illinois Leathernecks.
Well guess what Tiger fans? The #16 Georgetown Hoyas run the Princeton-style offence that gives #9 Mizzou fits.
Led by Big East Preseason Player of the Year, Austin Freeman, the Hoyas should provide the first real challenge for the Tigers tonight at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The 6'3" senior guard was tabbed as the best player in a stacked conference because his all around game really has no holes. He can score from the outside, evident by his 57% mark from beyond the arc, and also has the skills to blow by defenders and get to the rim. In the Hoyas' last game, Freeman went for 32 points on 11-15 form the field, including 7-9 from three point range, in a 15 point win against the North Carolina Ashville Bulldogs. Freeman is joined in the backcourt by point guard Chris Wright and his 7 assists per game.
Since the strength of the Tigers is their backcourt, it should be fun to see Freeman, Wright and Jason Clark match-up against the Tigers' Marcus Denmon, Michael Dixon, Kim English and the Pressey brothers.
If you even out the two backcourts, the game will be won in the trenches, a place where the Tigers really haven't shone brightly thus far this season. For the Tigers to win Ricardo Ratliffe needs to relish in his expanded role and Laurence Bowers needs to continue to be a defensive presence. Those two will bump Julian Vaughn and Hollis Thompson - whose names should remind Big 12 fans of two of the conference's all time great guards, Jacque Vaughn and Hollis Price -- throughout the game.
Kenpom.com predicts the Hoyas will win a one-point affair, and right or wrong about the outcome, I agree it will be a close game and one worth tuning into ESPNU at 8 p.m. CT to view.