No. 11 Kentucky at Missouri
WHEN/WHERE: 8 p.m. Tuesday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia
TV/RADIO: SEC Network; KMBZ (98.1 FM)
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P No. Missouri Ht. Yr. PPG
F 24 Kevin Puryear 6-7 So. 11.5
F 25 Russell Woods 6-8 Sr. 7.4
G 1 Terrence Phillips 5-11 So. 9.9
G 11 K.J. Walton 6-3 So. 7.6
G 33 Cullen VanLeer 6-4 So. 5.4
P No. Kentucky Ht. Yr. PPG
F 3 Bam Adebayo 6-10 Fr. 12.7
F 32 Wenyen Gabriel 6-9 Fr. 5.9
G 0 De’Aaron Fox 6-3 Fr. 15.6
G 5 Malik Monk 6-3 Fr. 21.4
G 13 Isaiah Briscoe 6-3 So. 13.6
ABOUT MISSOURI (7-19, 2-12 SEC): On paper, it’s a massive mismatch for the Tigers, who’ve lost three games against Kentucky by an average of 33 points under third-year coach Kim Anderson. Of course, the two biggest blowouts — a 49-point loss in 2015 and a 34-point loss last season — came at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. Mizzou, which will try to snap a 17-game losing streak against ranked teams, only lost by 16 after trailing by nine at halftime in the last meeting in Columbia during the 2014-15 season. The Tigers are winless in nine all-time games against the Wildcats, but only two of those meetings were on MU’s turf. Mizzou shot 40 percent Saturday in a 90-70 loss at Tennessee, marking the eighth time this season and fourth time in the last five games Anderson’s squad shot at least 40 percent in conference play. The Tigers also committed at least 20 fouls for the 14th time this season and the Volunteers’ 28-of-37 performance at the free-throw line was too much to overcome.
ABOUT KENTUCKY (22-5, 12-2 SEC): The Wildcats are tied atop the SEC standings with Florida, which is also 12-2 in conference and owns a head-to-head win. Kentucky can’t afford a slip up now in the quest for the 50th regular-season conference championship in program history. That includes 47 SEC titles, not including the since-vacated 1988 conference crown. Freshman guard and presumptive 2017 NBA lottery pick Malik Monk leads the SEC in scoring, three-pointers made (83) and three-point shooting (41.9 percent). He actually has scored more and shot better from long range in conference play, but it’s arguably another freshman guard who makes John Calipari’s club hum. Lightning-fast De’Aaron Fox ranks eighth in the SEC in scoring and leads the conference at 5.4 assists per game. He’s shooting 50.4 percent against SEC competition, which ranks third in conference behind Texas A&M’s Tyler Davis and Robert Williams. His ability to push the ball in transition fuels a Kentucky offense that ranks fourth in NCAA Division I with an 88.8-point scoring average. The Wildcats have won four consecutive games since dropping three of four during a late January/early February swoon.