On a day when Tiger fans are out celebrating the holiday with their significant other, the Tigers are preparing for a date with the Big 12 South. Missouri will host Texas Tech on Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena.
When it comes to the scoreboard, the two are a perfect match. The Tigers are among the best in the Big 12 in scoring offense, while the Red Raiders are dead last in scoring defense. That could be a recipe for disaster for the visitors, especially when you factor in Missouri’s play at home this season.
The Tigers are 15-0 at home this year and average a 23.7-point margin of victory in Columbia. Missouri has won 50 of their last 52 home games since the end of the 2007-08 campaign. On Tuesday they will look to remain the Big 12’s lone undefeated home team this season.
Coach Mike Anderson knows how to protect his house, and showed just how much confidence he has inside the arena during a recent post-game interview.
“This is the showcase of the Midwest,” Anderson said. “We want to make sure people know that Mizzou Arena is one of the greatest venues in the country and it’s tough to come in here. They don’t have a chance if we play the game the right way.”
Texas Tech is 11-14 overall and just 3-7 in Big 12 play thus far. But the Red Raiders do have one conference road win this year, which has escaped the Tigers who sit at 19-6 and 5-5 in the Big 12.
Tuesday will be Missouri’s second straight at home as they come off a blowout win over Oklahoma on Saturday. The Red Raiders come in on a three-game slide that includes losses to Kansas and in-state rivals Texas and Texas A&M.
With just three days since the last time the Tigers laced up, senior forward Justin Safford knows what it will take for them to overcome the quick turnaround.
“It’s with defense and energy,” Safford said. “That’s everyone collectively as a team. If we play well on defense and not let them do what they want to do, I think we’ll like the outcome.”
The Tigers have been all about the collective efforts this season. They’ve had eight different players lead or tie for the team high in scoring at least once. The Tiger bench averages 26.4 points per game, and Missouri is one of six teams in the nation with five players averaging in double figures.
In Saturday’s win over Oklahoma, the Tigers had 11 players see the floor and 10 who played significant minutes. Those five backups produced just as much as the five starters, as Anderson’s bench provided 42 of Missouri’s 84 points in the win.
Texas Tech will be far behind in the depth department, with just three Red Raiders averaging over ten points per game. Rebounding might also be a one-sided battle, as the visitors average far fewer per game than even the rebound-challenged Tigers.
Missouri has won three consecutive meetings over Texas Tech, including a thrilling 94-89 overtime win in Lubbock last season. Tipoff at Mizzou Arena is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday.