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Preview: Texas Tech v. Missouri

The Texas Tech Red Raiders travel to Columbia, Missouri on Saturday to face the dreaded and feared Missouri Tigers. The game will be televised on ESPN Plus and is set to tip-off at 3:00 CST.

The Numbers:

Team K.P. Rank Off.Eff. Def.Eff. Points/Game Points Allowed Rebounds
Texas Tech Red Raiders 39 23 67 73.7 66.5 31.9
Missouri Tigers 57 74 40 78.8 69.3 35.9

Players to Watch:

Player Rebounds Assists Points
Stefhon Hannah 3.0 4.8 15.3
Matt Lawrence 3.6 0.9 12.3
Marshall Brown 3.8 1.5 10.9

Keys to the Game:

  1. Get Back to the Basics: Nothing would make me happier than to see Jackson and Zeno have big games. I know that Zeno's been more consistent recently, but getting Jackson back on track would be an incredible boost to this team during this portion of the conference. Tech is not a deep team so getting a scorer like Jackson back on track is critical. In Jackson's last 3 games, he had 16, 15 and 13 points each of those games. That streak needs to stop here.
  2. Step on the Throttle Early: Life will not be easy for the Red Raiders in Columbia. It's an incredibly difficult place to play, Tech has enjoyed the luxury of winning at home the last two games and the Raiders face their first road test since Baylor. The Tigers intend to play an up tempo style with full-court pressure defense (the Tigers average 11.5 steals per game, which leads the league) and it would be nice to see Missouri play catch-up from the get-go. Tech has done an admirable job recently of coming back from early deficits (Kansas) or opening up early leads (A&M). All of which leads me to believe that Tech is ready to take the next step and win a game they are supposed to win.
  3. Limit the Guards: Mizzou is averaging almost 80 points a game and much of the reason why they are scoring so well is the play of Lawrence and Hannah. Both are talented players, but both are first year players in the Big 12. If Tech can suppress the perimeter players for the Tigers then Tech has an excellent shot of putting this game away early.
Probable Starting Lineups:
Missouri Tigers and Texas Tech Red Raiders
Matt Lawrence, G, 6-2, Fr. / Martin Zeno, F, 6-5, Jr.
Marshall Brown, F, 6-6, Jr. / Michael Prince, F, 6-7, So.
Kalen Grimes, C, 6-9, Jr. / John Plefka, F, 6-9, Sr.
Stefhon Hannah, G, 6-1, Jr. / Charlie Burgess, G, 6-1, Jr.
Jason Horton, G, 6-2, Jr. / Jay Jackson, G, 6-1, Sr.

For those of you who believe that this is an easy win for Tech, think again. The Red Raiders cannot take any game for granted and I think this crew learned that against Baylor. Each opponent deserves and demands the same intensity that Tech showed against Kansas and A&M. Personally, I would be more than a little let down if Tech doesn't steal a win here, especially after the very solid week the Red Raiders have had. If anything, it would solidify that this is a Red Raider basketball team that is not on some sort of fluke run, but that Tech is a contender.

* The Legend: K.P. Rank = the Ken Pomery Rank; Offensive Efficiency = the national rank in terms of points scored per 100 possessions; Defensive Efficiency = the national rank in terms of points allowed per 100 possession.