06 February 2011

Mizzou bball @Kansas Preview

TIGERS LOOK TO STARS FOR BIG GAME 
Lawrence, KS- Monday marks the newest installment of the Border War- basketball style.  The 14th ranked Missouri Tigers travel to Lawrence, Kansas for battle against the 2nd ranked Kansas Jayhawks, who are better known around Mizzou Nation as "Beakers".  The Tigers are carrying an 18-5, 4-4 record into tomorrow night's game, as the Beakers are only a one-loss team on the year at 22-1.  Their one loss came to the hands of the Texas Longhorns, now third nationally.  The Tigers are hoping for a huge game from known and trusted stars Marcus Denmon, Kim English and Ricardo Ratliffe.  Breakout games from Michael Dixon, Jr, Matt and Phil Pressey, Laurence Bowers, as well as a huge game from the supporting cast of bench players would also be of great help as the Beakers boast the nation's best field goal percentage at 51.9%.  The Tigers' 46.6% comes in at 49th nationally.  The Tigers are one better than Kansas in one aspect: points per game.  The Tigers are currently averaging 83.1 points per game (7th) compared to the Beakers' 82.7 (8th).  Both teams are top-10 in assists per game, both averaging about 20 with MU averaging 17.2, which is good enough for 9th, while Kansas comes in with 18.3 for 3rd nationally.

The Tigers have just three wins in their last six games, going back to the heartbreaking two-point loss to Texas A&M in overtime.  The Beakers are riding a now four game win streak after suffering defeat to the Longhorns in Allen Fieldhouse.

The history behind this rivalry stems from an actual event during the Civil War in which Kansas senator James H. Lane invaded Missouri and destroyed the towns of Osceola, Butler, Clinton and Harrisonville, MO.  Ohio-born Missourian and Confederate sympathizer William C. Quantrill led an attack against Lawrence following the collapse of a Kansas City jail, after which Lawrence was left in ashes.  The attack became known as The Lawrence Massacre.  Quantrill's Raiders initiated their attack on August 21, 1863.

The rivalry is more known on the gridiron, more so for the first ever Homecoming (1911) and also after the 1960 controversy of Beaker Bert Coan.  The Jayhawks won that game, which spilled over to the 1961 meeting on the hardwood that became known as the "Basketbrawl".  The MU-kU Border War is the most fierce rivalry in all of college sports, due to the common border the two states share, and the hatred that runs deep in each others blood.  Many student-athletes have defected from their roots, as many Mizzou players come from Shawnee Mission, KS, and the Jayhawks get a handful of players from the Kansas City area.

The Tigers lead the rivalry on the football field, 56-54-9, but Kansas holds a commanding lead in the basketball rivalry at 169-94.

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