University of Missouri

Illinois-Missouri basketball preview

Updated: 2013-12-21T05:29:40Z

• WHEN/WHERE: 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis

• TV/RADI O: ESPN2; KMBZ (980 AM, 98.1 FM)

• ABOUT MISSOURI (10-0) : Missouri coach Frank Haith said the annual Braggin’ Rights game signifies Christmas time. Of course, he hopes the game won’t turn out to be a lump of coal for his Tigers. … Missouri has won four straight against Illinois, the Tigers’ longest winning streak in series history. … On Sunday, Missouri struggled to shake Western Michigan, committing 14 turnovers and allowing 14 offensive rebounds. Another sloppy performance probably will result in the season’s first loss against a physical Illinois squad. … Junior Jabari Brown scored 18 in last season’s Braggin’ Rights game.

• ABOUT ILLINOIS (9-2): Illinois doesn’t shoot the ball especially well, averaging 44.8 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from three-point range. Both marks are middle of the pack among the 345 NCAA Division I teams. Making shots will be crucial against a Missouri defense that ranks 25th in the nation defensively, allowing opponents to shoot a meager 38.1 percent. … Senior Joseph Bertrand, whom Haith called a thorn in Missouri’s side along with junior Tracy Abrams, scored 13 and forward Nnanna Egwu added 12 points in last year’s game. … At least Missouri should have a good scouting report on Illinois’ leading scorer, Rayvonte Rice, who played two seasons for Tigers assistant coach Mark Phelps at Drake.

• BOTTOM LINE: Missouri is 14-4 in neutral-court games under Frank Haith, including a 4-1 record against ranked opponents. … The Tigers boast one of six guard pairings in the nation that average at least 19 points apiece, juniors Jordan Clarkson (19.4) and Jabari Brown (19.0). Clarkson topped 1,000 career points Dec. 7 against UCLA and senior Earnest Ross, who rounds out the starting backcourt, needs only 10 points to join him in the 1,000-point club.

PNo.MissouriHt.Yr.PPG
F3Johnathan Williams III6-9Fr.6.5
F44Ryan Rosburg6-10So.5.6
G5Jordan Clarkson6-5Jr.19.4
G32Jabari Brown6-5Jr.19.0
G33Earnest Ross6-5Sr.14.2

PNo.IllinoisHt.Yr.PPG
F32Nnanna Egwu6-11Jr.8.3
F33Jon Ekey6-7Sr.9.2
G2Joseph Bertrand6-6Sr.10.7
G13Tracy Abrams6-2Jr.11.5
G24Rayvonte Rice6-4Jr.17.7

| Tod Palmer, tpalmer@kcstar.com

Deal Saver Subscribe today!

Comments

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Kansas City Star uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here