Appalachian State at No. 16 Missouri
• WHEN/WHERE: 2 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia
• TV/RADIO: Metro Sports; KMBZ (980 AM, 98.1 FM)
• ABOUT MISSOURI (5-1): After weeks of speculation regarding his indefinite suspension, the Tigers will begin the post-Michael Dixon era against the Mountaineers after the senior guard said Thursday night he would leave the team. Missouri missed Dixons ballhandling in an 84-61 loss to Louisville in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament last week, but managed to go 2-1 and finish third thanks largely to the overall brilliance of point guard Phil Pressey, who averaged almost 15 points and eight assists. Another interesting stat: Missouri has outrebounded its opponents in all six games this season, a nod to the Tigers increased physicality and toughness.
• ABOUT APPALACHIAN STATE (1-5): The Mountaineers, coached by former North Carolina guard Jason Capel, have lost five straight. They are coming off a narrow 73-72 loss to Duquesne in which they nearly rallied from a 19-point first-half deficit. Six-foot-six swingman Jay Canty, a transfer from Xavier, leads the team in scoring with 16.3 points per game, while senior forward Nathan Healy (14.3 points per game) is a former walk-on who plays with great energy. Senior swingman Jamaal Trice (8.5 points per game) started his career at Connecticut with current MU center Alex Oriakhi.
• BOTTOM LINE: Record aside, Appalachian State which went 13-18 last season and never won more than two games in a row has fared better in its last two games, and that includes a 87-76 loss to Virginia Tech on Nov. 23 in which the visiting Mountaineers were trailing by three at halftime. Even still, they havent beaten a Division I team this season and that doesnt figure to change against a Missouri team that is 70-4 at home since 2008-09. Another stat in Missouris favor: Appalachian State is 2-22 all-time against current members of the Southeastern Conference.
| Terez Paylor, email@example.com