The Missouri Tigers bid adieu to their second Big 12 team in as many games as the Nebraska Cornhuskers make their final trip to Columbia as a member of the conference. Though the two teams will still meet up in Lincoln on March 1, this is the last time Mizzou hoops fans will see Husker red on their campus.
It will also be a bit of payback for the Tigers. Last season the 12th seeded Husker eliminated the 5th seeded Tigers from the Big 12 tournament, after Mizzou won their two regular season games by an average of 16 points. And while Mizzou still secured an NCAA tournament birth, the loss to the 2-14 Corn left a sour taste in their mouths.
They now get time to seek revenge, this time on their home court. It will also be only the second this season that Mizzou will tip a game after a loss. The 14-2 Tigers went down in their conference opener in Boulder on Saturday and hope to bounce back the way did after their first loss to the Georgetown Hoyas in late November. After that Hoya overtime loss, the Tigers won nine straight before their games in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Nebraska has surprised many people by starting the season 13-2. But before fans start buying tickets for the Husker bandwagon, it should be pointed out that they went into conference play 12-3 last year, before finishing 15-18.
For Nebraska to win they need Jorge Brian Diaz and Lance Jeter to play lights out. If Nebraska's 69.3 points per game - ranking them 179th in the country - doesn't tell you how anemic the offense is, Diaz and Jeter are the Huskers' two leading scorers and average 10.5 and 10.1 ppg respectively.
Mizzou wants to bounce back after Colorado's Alec Burks torched them for 36 points on Saturday... and Nebraska might be just the cure.
CU was able to defeat the Tigers because their style of play is the one type that Mizzou is susceptible to falling to. Namely, they have long, athletic guards who can run, and don't rely too much on an inside presence. Nebraska really fits none of those adjectives, so the game should shift towards the Black and Gold.
Mizzou's five leading scorers all average double figures - Marcus Denmon, Laurence Bowers, Ricardo Ratliffe, Mike Dixon and Kim English - and their bench runs ten deep with guys who average at least ten minutes per game. Their athleticism should set the tempo and put the loss last season the Nebraska far out of their memory.
Who do we think will win? See our weekly predictions.
The game tips at 6:00 p.m. CT and can be seen on ESPN3.com.