Kansas State Wildcats vs. Missouri Tigers Preview and Pick

Kansas State Wildcats (19-8) 9-9 ATS, 8-11 O/U at No. 11 Missouri Tigers (23-4) 12-7 ATS, 11-9 O/U
Wednesday February 25, 2009 Mizzou Arena (15,061) Columbia, MO. 9:00 p.m. EST, TV: ESPNU

By Wilson of Predictem.com

Tonights game at Missouri will be a chance for the Tigers to overcome an earlier loss this season to the visiting Wildcats of Kansas State (88-72). Missouri has since ran off six consecutive wins and climbed in the latest AP Poll to No. 11 and No. 8 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. Kansas State is coming into tonights matchup searching for their 20th win on the season.

Kansas State is averaging 76.6 points per game behind the leadership and scoring of both Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen. Clemente is scoring 14.6 per outing to lead the Wildcats. But it has been a team effort offensively as six players are averaging seven or more points per game. The last team at Kansas State to have six players average more than seven points each contest was the 1955-56 team with an average of eight or more points each game.

The spark for the Wildcats this season has been in the backcourt with the play of guards Clemente, Pullen, and Fred Brown who account for nearly half of the teams scoring (969) and field goals (337). The trio has also knocked down 156 3-point shots. In Kansas States 19 wins, the guards have averaged 37.1 ppg. Missouri will definitely need to address the Wildcats backcourt threat.


Defensively, the Wildcats can shut teams down as they hold teams to just 64.8 ppg on 40.6 percent shooting. K State also forces nearly 18 turnovers per game in which they convert into 20 points off of those TOs. The Wildcats have turned things around after beginning Big 12 play with four straight losses. Now the Wildcats have a chance to close out their 20th win, and albeit versus a ranked team that they have already beaten once this year. The Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last five games versus Missouri, and the total has gone over in all five of those matchups. On the road at Mizzou, the Wildcats are 3-11 SU.

Missouri enters tonights contest looking for their 11th league win on the season. The Tigers have not won 11 games in the Big 12 since 1998-99. The Tigers are extremely tough at home as they are averaging 82.2 points per game, but 87.4 at home while holding an impressive 16-0 home record thus far in 2008-09. They won 17 straight at going back to a double overtime victory over Iowa State last season. How good are the Tigers at home? The Tigers average margin of victory at home is an incredible 26.5 point margin! It is the best ppg win margin in the country.

The Tigers have had great bench play and the reserves are averaging 30 points per game which is very hard to plan for if youre a coach as not only do you have to focus on the other teams starters but you also have to consider the matchups off the bench. Another strong point in Mizzous game is their five player freshman class who are scoring 22 points per game.

Missouri causes plenty of problems defensively as they are scoring 30 percent of their points this year off of turnovers. The Tigers are quite the kleptomaniacs as they steal the ball an average of 10.8 times per game and have already accumulated 291 steals through 27 games. Basically, the Tigers opponents are turning the ball over 1 out of every 4 times down the floor! Defense wins games!

The series between these two schools is tied at 114-114, but the Tigers have a 62-41 edge at home. Missouri coach, Mike Anderson is 146-73 overall and 57-32 at Mizzou. Kansas State coach, Frank Martin is 40-20 overall in his second season.

Wilsons Pick: Missouri 75, K State 72. Luck to ya.