From the University of Missouri
Missouri Tigers vs. Alcorn State Braves
Tip-Off: 7 p.m.
Arena: Mizzou Arena (15,061)
TV: MSN (Chris Gervino - Play by Play / Scott Highmark - Analyst)
Radio: Tiger Radio Network
Rankings: Missouri - No. 15/No. 17 - Associated Press / USA Today Coaches' Poll
Alcorn State - None
Series: Mizzou leads 1-0; Last meeting: Tigers won 82-51 on Dec. 1, 1981, in Columbia
Missouri: Frank Haith (Elon ‘88); 160-106 overall (9th); 31-5 at Mizzou (2nd season)
Alcorn State: Luther Riley (Mississippi Valley State ‘95) 11-22 at Alcorn (2nd season)
> No rest for Missouri Basketball as the Tigers have a quick turnaround before a Nov. 13 contest vs. Alcorn State at Mizzou Arena ... Missouri is coming off an 83-69 victory over SIUE on Saturday, while Alcorn defeated Oakwood University (Huntsville, Ala.) 85-41 on Sunday ... Alcorn will also play at Stanford on Thursday ... This game is part of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, however the outcome does not impact the field in Nassau, Bahamas ... Alcorn is lead by LeAntwan Luckett, a Top 100 recruit by Rivals.com.
> Mizzou has a host of newcomers this season, but it was a pair of familiar faces, Laurence Bowers and Phil Pressey, leading the charge in the season-opening victory, combining for 39 points, 12 boards and 10 assists in the double-figure triumph ... Bowers scored 20 points in his return from knee surgery (18 in the second half), while Pressey narrowly missed a double-double with 19 points and nine assists.
> Missouri's talented group of newcomers combined for 44 points and 38 rebounds as well ... Freshman Negus Webster-Chan led that key group with 11 points, four assists and three steals in 34 minutes.
> Missouri had a great turnout from the fans and a big kudos to the Mizzou students for selling out their section of Mizzou Arena ... The Tigers called an opening-night attendance of 10,054, which was the largest in Mizzou Arena history (for an opener) and the most since 2002-03 at the Hearnes Center.
> It's those great crowds that have made winning inside Mizzou Arena nearly impossible for visiting teams ... Overall Missouri has won 66 consecutive games vs. non-league opposition since the end of the 2005-06 campaign and Head Coach Frank Haith has yet to lose a non-league game in regular season action while at Mizzou ... In fact Mizzou's run of regular season non-conference wins stands at 23 dating back to 2010-11.
> Missouri's last non-conference loss at home came vs. Sam Houston State in the 2005 Preseason NIT, but since then Missouri has gone nearly seven full seasons without a defeat.
> Overall at Mizzou Arena the Tigers are 67-4 at home since 2008-09, an incredible .944 winning percentage.
> Missouri opened the year ranked among the Top 25 for the third consecutive season ... Missouri was ranked No. 15 to start the 2010-11 campaign and was pegged No. 25 last year ... The Tigers open 2012-13 ranked No. 15 by the Associated Press and No. 17 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll.
> The Tigers were last ranked in the preseason three consecutive years from 2001-04.
> Just three current Tigers (Laurence Bowers, Michael Dixon and Phil Pressey) have ever worn the Mizzou uniform (prior to this season) ... Pressey, Dixon and Bowers have each earned all-Big 12 accolades over their collegiate tenures and Pressey was coined the Preseason SEC Player of the Year by the media on Oct. 22 ... Dixon was also selected as an All-SEC Second Team pick in the preseason.
Mizzou Basketball Cliff Notes...
A quick recap of Mizzou Basketball before today's contest ... More detailed information can be found throughout today's notebook.
> The second season of the Frank Haith era continues on Tuesday as the Tigers battle Alcorn State in what is considered the opening game of the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis.
> Regardless of Tuesday's outcome, Mizzou will advance to face Stanford on Nov. 22 in the opening round in Nassau, Bahamas ... Alcorn State will advance to play three games on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast later this month.
> Missouri continues a stretch of six games over the next two weeks, highlighted by the nation's premiere holiday tournament, the Battle 4 Atlantis ... Following two more home games at Mizzou Arena, the Tigers depart St. Louis on Nov. 20 and then face Stanford on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22) in the Bahamas ... That game will be televised live on AXS (formerly HDNet) at Noon CT.
> Missouri is 1-0 all-time vs. Alcorn State ... The Tigers won the only other meeting, 82-51, on Dec. 1, 1981.
> Missouri has of course won 66 consecutive regular-season, non-conference home games since 2005-06 and since 2006-07 (59-0) the club's margin of victory has been 26.5 points in those non-league home tilts.
> Missouri is 9-0 in home non-league games under Frank Haith and each of those nine wins have been by double figures ... In fact Mizzou is 14-0 in regular season non-league games under Haith and have won 12 of those games by 10 or more points, including wins over Villanova (10), Notre Dame (29) and California (39).
> Missouri is looking for a 2-0 start for the seventh consecutive year, dating back to the 2005-06 season.
> In fact the month of November has been outstanding for the Tigers ... Missouri is 34-5 (.872) in November dating back to the 2006-07 season and is 26-0 at home during that stretch.
> Missouri has won at historic levels over the last four seasons and continues its search for its record-setting fifth consecutive 20-win campaign ... The Tigers have won 23+ games each of the last four seasons.
> MU also won 20+ in four consecutive years from 1988-92 and 1979-83.
> In its season-opening win Missouri dished 20 assists, marking the ninth time the Tigers have dished 20+ dimes under Head Coach Frank Haith's watch.
> The Tigers had 18 points coming from true freshmen in the season opener, with 11 coming from Negus Webster-Chan and seven from Stefan Jankovic ... That is the most by MU freshmen in a season opener since the group of Marcus Denmon (15), Miguel Paul (11), Kim English (4), Laurence Bowers (1) and Steve Moore (0) scored 31 vs. Prairie View A&M in 2008-09.
> Mizzou rebounded from a slow start and shot 59 percent from the floor in the second half to leads by as many as 22 midway through the second period.
> Mizzou enjoyed a +10.0 rebounding margin, with Alex Oriakhi grabbing 15 rebounds and Tony Criswell corralling 10 ... The 15 boards were the most by a Tiger in an opener since Kareem Rush grabbed 15 vs. Savannah State in 2000.
> Haith's 2011-12 offense was known for its efficiency and the early returns are good this season as well ... Missouri averaged 1.16 points per possession in the opener, despite shooting just 39 percent from the floor in the first half.
> Missouri was college basketball's most efficient offensive club a year ago (according to KenPom.com) ... And how about this for an exciting SEC schedule, Kentucky was ranked No. 2 and Florida was No. 3.
> Frank Haith's offense also ranked No. 1 nationally in field goal percentage (.504), assist/turnover ratio (1.6) and among the Top 10 in scoring (6th - 80.4), scoring margin (5th - 14.1), three-point percentage (9th - .398), turnovers (5th - 10.2) and turnover margin (7th - 4.1).
> Haith was of course named the National Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, taking the Tigers to their second 30-win season in school history and fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament.
> Missouri begins its first season of play in the Southeastern Conference ... League play officially begins on Jan. 8, 2013, vs. Alabama ... That game is actually the official opener to the 2013 SEC season.
> Mizzou got an early start to its 2012-13 campaign, but the actual start to the year came in Europe from Aug. 8-18 ... Missouri had just one returning player (Michael Dixon) see action overseas, proving to be a great opportunity for the MU newcomers to get extended playing time.
> The Tigers played games in Amsterdam, Belgium and France and earned four wins during the tour.
> Missouri will be seen on TV like never before thanks to the move to the SEC ... The Tigers will have a school record 18 games appearing on national TV during the regular season.
> Missouri has been ranked in the Top 25 by a number of media outlets, including the Associated Press (No. 15) and the USA Today Coaches' polls (No. 17) ... The Top ranking came courtesy of The Sporting News, which picked Missouri No. 10 in the nation.
> Mizzou also had five players ranked among the top players at their position by CBS Sports ... Phil Pressey headlined that list at No. 2 among point guards, while Mike Dixon checked in at No. 26.
> In the front court Alex Oriakhi was ranked No. 35 and Laurence Bowers checked in at No. 38.
> Newcomer Jabari Brown was ranked among college hoop's top wing players, checking in at No. 48.
> Missouri's entire backcourt was ranked No. 1 in America by NBC Sports.
> It was also ranked No. 1 in the country by ESPN Basketball analyst Miles Simon.
> Fran Fraschilla ranked Phil Pressey as the country's No. 5 most-important player.
> Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated also listed Pressey (No. 5) and Mike Dixon (No. 6) on his preseason Naismith Award watch list.
> Speaking of Dixon and Pressey, the duo has dished 578 assists in three seasons as teammates and need to combine for 212 dimes to become the top assist tandem in school history ... Melvin Booker (1990-94) and Lamont Frazier (1990-94) combined for 780 dimes in four seasons as teammates ... Dixon and Pressey could surpass that total in just three seasons together.
> Missouri's transfer class of Keion Bell, Jabari Brown, Alex Oriakhi and Earnest Ross is being considered as one of the best in basketball history by the Sporting News.
Mizzou Player Quick Looks ...
#1 Phil Pressey, 5-11, 175 Pounds
> Finalist for the 2012 Bob Cousy Award given annually to the nation's top point guard.
> Preseason SEC Player of the Year by the league media.
> Preseason First Team All-American by CBS Sports.
> Ranked the No. 2 overall player in the SEC by Sports Illustrated in its preseason Top 10 list.
> Ranked the No. 5 overall player nationally by Fran Fraschilla of ESPN.
> Broke the Mizzou single-season assists record last year with 223 assists and was second with 74 steals.
> Needs 149 more assists and 60 steals as a junior to claim the career marks at Mizzou in both categories.
> Led the Big 12 Conference in both assists (6.4) and steals (2.1) last season, "quarterbacking" the nation's most efficient offense in 2011-12.
> Missouri averaged 1.187 points per possession last season, tops in college basketball, just ahead of Creighton who was second at 1.151.
> Dished nine assists and scored 19 points, narrowly missing a double-double in the season opener vs. SIUE.
> Has topped double figures in scoring in four consecutive games dating back to last season and is averaging 19.3 points during that stretch ... He is also shooting 60 percent from the floor and has hit 12-of-17 treys (.706).
> Has 14 career games with 8+ dimes.
#3 Tony Criswell, 6-9, 226 Pounds
> Has NCAA Division I experience after beginning his career at UAB ... Started eight games as a redshirt freshman for the Blazers.
> Will bring very good size and athleticism off the bench for the Tigers and has added nearly 20 pounds of muscle during Mizzou's offseason weight program.
> Made a great debut for Missouri vs. SIUE, grabbing 10 rebounds in just 18 minutes ... Also took two charges and scored three points.
> Half of those 10 caroms came on the offensive glass.
> The 10 rebounds tied a career high ... He also grabbed 10 boards while a redshirt freshman at UAB vs. Houston on Feb. 26, 2011.
#5 Keion Bell, 6-4, 200 Pounds
> Named one of college basketball's Top Four Impact Transfers by ESPN The Magazine.
> Has scored 1,373 points in his career, but will be called upon to be Mizzou's primary defensive stopper on the perimeter in 2012-13, a role he relishes.
> High-flying guard that won top play honors on ESPN's Top 10 Plays of the Day after dunking over six people during Mizzou Madness on Oct. 12.
> Was a key practice player for Missouri during its 30-5 season, sitting out due to NCAA transfer guidelines.
> Scored eight points, dished four assists and had a steal in 27 minutes vs. SIUE in his Mizzou opener.
#11 Michael Dixon, 6-1, 190 Pounds
> Second Team All-American by The Sporting News.
> Ranked the No. 4 overall player in the SEC by Sports Illustrated in its preseason Top 10 list.
> Second Team Preseason All-SEC by the league media.
> Was the nation's No. 1 bench scorer last year at 13.5 points per game. That total bettered the 12.6 ppg average of former Syracuse star Dion Waiters. Waiters was later drafted by Cleveland at No. 4 overall.
> On a run of 14 consecutive double-figure scoring games dating back to last season.
> Is Missouri's career leader in FT percentage (.854).
> Has already topped 1,000 career tallies (1,057) and ranks No. 37 all-time in career scoring.
> Needs 56 assists to move into the Mizzou career Top 10.
> Needs 24 steals to move into the Missouri career Top 10.
> Was ranked among college basketball's Top 50 point guards in 2012-13 by CBS.
#14 Negus Webster-Chan, 6-7, 200 Pounds
> One of two Canadians on the Missouri roster and a prep school teammate of Stefan Jankovic.
> Brings great size along the perimeter for Missouri and is able to play each of the three guard positions.
> Played 34 minutes in his debut vs. SIUE and scored 11 points, dished four assists and ripped away three steals.
> Excellent defender that could see extended time at the 2-guard position because of his high basketball IQ and ability to defend.
> Made his first career shot, a three-pointer in the corner, and finished the first half 3-of-4 from three-point range vs. SIUE.
#21 Laurence Bowers, 6-8, 227 Pounds
> Missed last season with a torn ACL (left knee), but is back to full strength in his senior season.
> Named CBS Sports' No. 2 Bounce-back Player entering 2012-13.
> Continues to be one of Missouri's best finishers around the rim and was named one of college basketball's "Top Dunkers by NBC Sports".
> Listed by CBS as one of college basketball's Top 50 post players prior to the start of the season.
> Was a team leader during last season's 30-win campaign and is a major figure in that class, which won a school record 107 games from 2009-12.
> Returned to the court with his fifth career 20-point game, scoring 20 points and grabbing seven boards on 7-of-12 shooting.
> That performance came in his 100th career game as a Tiger.
> Has topped 20 points five times in his career, three coming as a junior in 2010-11 and once as a sophomore, scoring a career high 23 vs. Georgia.
> Needs just 142 points to reach 1,000 for his career.
> Outstanding student that was named Academic All-Big 12 in 2012 and he is already a graduate of Mizzou working towards his Masters degree.
> Is second in career blocked shots per game (1.2) and fourth in total blocks (123), needing 26 more to move to No. 2 all-time.
#32 Jabari Brown, 6-5, 205 Pounds
> Will be available for Missouri after the completion of the fall semester.
> One of the country's top players as a high school senior, earning Jordan Brand All-American honors.
> Very good shooter that averaged 10.0 points in the summer tour of Europe.
#33 Earnest Ross, 6-5, 222 Pounds
> Brings great familiarity with the SEC after beginning his career at Auburn.
> One of Missouri's top performers in the weight room and has added great quickness and flexibility under the watch of Todor Pandov.
> Made a start in his regular-season debut with the Tigers and scored seven points in 20 minutes.
#35 Stefan Jankovic, 6-11, 230 Pounds
> Talented athlete that has his best basketball days ahead of him.
> Good ball-skill for his size and can bother opponents around the rim with his length.
> Played nine minutes and hit a pair of three-pointers in his debut vs. SIUE ... Finished with seven points and was fouled on his first career three-pointer and finished with a four-point play.
> Exploded with 20 points in 25 minutes in the exhibition finale vs. Missouri Southern ... Hit 8-of-13 shots and saw extended playing time on the wing ... Also finished 3-of-4 from three-point range.
#42 Alex Oriakhi, 6-9, 255 Pounds
> Late addition to the Mizzou roster and has one season of eligibility remaining after transferring from UConn.
> Has improved offensively during his time at Mizzou and will benefit from the play of the nation's top pass-first point guard, Phil Pressey.
> Played on the AAU circuit with Pressey early in his high school career.
> Needs 203 more points as a senior to top 1,000 for his collegiate career.
> Listed by CBS as one of college basketball's Top 50 post players prior to the start of the season.
> Won the 2011 National Championship with Connecticut, the same night Frank Haith was hired to coach at Mizzou.
> Narrowly missed a double-double with eight points and 15 boards in 31 minutes vs. SIUE ... Added three blocked shots.
#44 Ryan Rosburg, 6-10, 250 Pounds
> One of the state's top players as a high school senior and gives the Tigers great size behind senior Alex Oriakhi.
> Brother (Andy) played at Mizzou in 2011-12 as a walk-on.
> Saw his first career action in the win over SIUE, playing just over a minute.
> Celebrated his 19th birthday on Monday.
It was a long road for two of Missouri's newcomers ... The tandem of Keion Bell and Earnest Ross saw their first action in well over a year last Saturday when they earned starts in the opener against SIUE on Nov. 10 ... Both players sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules and halted streaks of 600+ days since their last regular-season game action.
Tiger Days Opponent Date
Keion Bell 46 at St. Mary's 2-3-11
Earnest Ross 611 vs. Georgia 3-10-11
Impressive Freshman Debut...
Mizzou freshman Negus Webster-Chan made an impressive rookie debut on Nov. 10 scoring 11 points, while also dishing four assists (zero turnovers) and ripping away a game high three steals.
> The Ontario native had the showing in front of more than 25 of his family members and hometown supporters and enjoyed the most impressive freshman debut since Marcus Denmon scored 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting in his 2008 opener vs. Prairie View A&M.
Mizzou Arena - Home Sweet Home...
Mizzou is a perfect 66-0 in non-conference home games at Mizzou Arena since the end of the 2005-06 campaign ... Not only have the Tigers won 66 consecutive in non-league action, but they have done so in dominating fashion, sporting a 26.5 ppg margin of victory since the start of the 2006-07 campaign.
> The Tigers have played some impressive foes during that run as well, and own quality wins over Arkansas, California, Davidson, Georgia, Old Dominion, Oregon, Purdue, Murray State, Mississippi State, Vandy and others during that 66-game stretch.
Year Record Margin of Victory
2005-06 7-0** 13.4 ppg
2006-07 11-0 18.7 ppg
2007-08 9-0 27.5 ppg
2008-09 10-0 29.5 ppg
2009-10 10-0 32.6 ppg
2010-11 10-0 26.0 ppg
2011-12 8-0 28.4 ppg
2012-13 1-0 14.0 ppg
Total 59-0 26.5 ppg (since 2006-07)
** Final seven non-conference games of 2005-06
Tigers Picked Third In SEC Preseason Poll...
Missouri was picked third in its inaugural SEC Preseason Media Poll on Oct. 22, ranking just behind defending national champion, Kentucky and Florida.
> The Tigers received a first-place vote as well and had two players named to the Preseason All-SEC Team ... Junior Phil Pressey was named the Preseason Player of the Year and senior Michael Dixon was named a Second Team pick.
Preseason Media Poll Pts
Kentucky (17) 328
Florida (5) 310
Missouri (1) 286
Tennessee (1) 269
Ole Miss 186
Texas A&M 122
South Carolina 54
Mississippi State 37
Pressey Named Preseason SEC Player of the Year...
Missouri had a pair of players earn preseason honors from the league media on Oct. 22, when Phil Pressey was named the Preseason Player of the Year and Mike Dixon was named to the Preseason Second Team.
> Pressey is the first Tiger to win Preseason Player of the Year recognition since Arthur Johnson in 2003 by the Big 12 Conference.
> Pressey led the Big 12 in assists (6.4) and steals (2.1) per game last season and could break the school's career marks in both categories as a sophomore.
> Mizzou's last conference postseason Player of the Year was Melvin Booker in 1994.
> Dixon also received a vote for Preseason Player of the Year and was selected to the league's second team ... Dixon is Missouri's leading returning scorer at 13.5 ppg and led all of college basketball in scoring off the bench a season ago.
Missouri certainly beefed up its non-conference schedule this year, including three games in Nassau, Bahamas, in the Battle 4 Atlantis over the Thanksgiving holiday (Nov. 22-24) ... Missouri opens play vs. defending NIT Champion Stanford and then faces either Louisville or Northern Iowa in Round 2.
> The other side of the bracket doesn't get any easier, featuring Duke, Memphis, VCU, and Minnesota.
> Missouri opens a non-conference series with UCLA this year ... The Tigers travel to the revamped Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 28 and the Bruins are scheduled to return the game in Columbia in 2013-14.
Protecting The Rock...
Since the beginning of the 2007-08 season, Mizzou has been one of the best nationally at protecting the basketball ... In fact, since 2007-08, Missouri has enjoyed its five best turnover-free seasons in school history and with both Mike Dixon and Phil Pressey back, that number could rank high once again in 2013.
> Last year Missouri averaged just 12.7 miscues per game, the second lowest turnover average in school history.
Rank TPG Season
1. 11.8 2008-09
2. 12.0 2012-13
3. 12.7 2011-12
5. 12.8 2010-11
6. 13.0 2007-08
7. 13.3 1999-00
8. 13.7 1989-90
Non-Conference, No Problem...
Missouri plays in the country's top annual non-conference game vs. Illinois each year and that game will take place once again on Dec. 22 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis ... Missouri has won three consecutive in the series, Mizzou's longest winning streak vs. the Illini since 1997-99 ... Missouri also won four straight vs. the Orange & Blue from 1991-94 ... Over the last 21 meetings Illinois owns a slight 11-10 series advantage.
> Mizzou and Illinois announced a six-year extension to the Bud Light Braggin' Rights Series on Oct. 18, assuring the game stays at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis through 2017.
Every basketball player has the dream of playing in the NBA and Phil Pressey's father, Paul Pressey, has achieved that dream.
> Paul Pressey, now an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers, is widely considered the original point forward in the NBA and was named first or second team All-Defense in the league three times ... Pressey played for Milwaukee, San Antonio and Golden State in his career which spanned 1983-93.
> Should the younger Pressey reach his NBA dreams they would become the ninth father-son tandem to play in the NBA.
Mizzou a Strong Hoops/Football Double...
In this day and age of college athletics, estimates have the sports of football and men's basketball as generating some 98 percent of all revenues, which means it's very beneficial for a school to be competitive in both sports ... Based on the criteria of active post-season appearances in both sports, Mizzou stacks up very well nationally, as it is one of only six schools that have active streaks of at least 4 NCAA Tournament appearances and bowl games...
> Here's a look at the figures:
Schools With Active Minimum 4 NCAA Tournaments/Bowl Game Appearance Streak
School NCAA Bowls
Michigan State 15 5
Wisconsin 14 10
BYU 6 7
West Virginia 5 10
Mizzou 4 7
Florida State 4 30
NOTE – Fellow SEC member Florida has 21-straight bowl games, and 3 straight NCAA Tournament appearances... Ohio State's bowl ban eliminated the Buckeyes.
Winningest Four & Five-Year Stretches at Mizzou...
Missouri Basketball is looking to continue its impressive winning trend over the last five seasons, which has seen the club win 108 games since the start of the 2008-09 campaign.
> The Tigers have won 20 games in four consecutive years (tying the school record), including a school-record 31 wins during a memorable run to the Elite Eight in 2008-09 and 30 wins in 2011-12, highlighted by its final Big 12 title.
> Additionally, Missouri owns the winningest five year stretch in school history with 123 wins since 2007-08 ... That 2007-08 campaign saw the Tigers win 16 games, so that active five-year number would improve with more than 16 wins in 2012-13.
Five-Year Winning Periods
Place Years Wins
1. 2008-12 123
2. 1986-90 119
3. 1987-91 118
4. 1979-84 116
5. 1989-93 115
NR. 2009-13 108
If You Build it...
Missouri set a Mizzou Arena record for attendance last season, as the Tigers averaged 11,830 fans per game, the highest average attendance since Mizzou Arena was opened in 2004-05 .... The previous mark was set in 2010-11 as MU averaged 11,112 fans during its home slate.
>During Big 12 games only, Missouri averaged a Mizzou Arena record 14,893 fans last season.
>This season Missouri is averaging 10,054 fans per game and that season-opening attendance total of 10,054 is the most for an opener since 2002-03 when the club had 10,283 in the opener vs. American at Hearnes Center.
Year Attendance Record
2004-05 9,543 16-17
2005-06 8,369 12-16
2006-07 8,243 18-12
2007-08 8,060 16-16
2008-09 9,807 31-7
2009-10 10,349 23-11
2010-11 11,112 23-11
2011-12 11,830 30-5
2012-13 10,054 1-0
More Ways Than One, Mizzou SEC's Newest Team...
We all know that Missouri and Texas A&M joined the Southeastern Conference making the two programs the newest in the league, but did you know that Tiger players have just eight total seasons of experience in Missouri uniforms (i.e. letters won at their current school), making Frank Haith's club one of the newest in the SEC?
> Laurence Bowers played three seasons at Mizzou before sitting out last year and Mike Dixon enters his fourth season as well … The only other Tiger ever to suit up for Mizzou is Phil Pressey, who enters his junior season … Overall Missouri's eight seasons of play (at Mizzou) ties it with Kentucky for the freshest in the conference.
Roster breakdown of years of play at SEC programs:
Mississippi State 10
Texas A&M 13
Ole Miss 14
South Carolina 16
Taller Tigers Battle New Challenge...
Missouri fans will immediately notice the improved height and depth on this year's roster, but did you know the 2012-13 Tigers are the tallest at the school since 1995-96? ... That's right, not since the days of Slim and Slam (Simeon and Sammie Haley) have the Tigers had this many players standing at least 6-foot-9 … Overall Missouri has five players standing 6-foot-9 plus this season, the most at the school since the Tigers had six 17 seasons ago.
> Here is a quick rundown of the tallest teams at Mizzou since the 1995-96 campaign:
Season Players 6-foot-9 or Taller
In addition, Missouri has two players taller than 6-foot-10 on the roster… The last time that occurred was 1998-99 with 6-foot-11 post players Monte Hardge and Pat Schumacher.
Pressey Named First Team All-American...
CBS Sports named Missouri Basketball junior Phil Pressey a Preseason First Team All-American ... A finalist for the 2012 Bob Cousy Award, Pressey helped lead Mizzou to a 30-5 record last season and shattered the school mark with 223 assists over 35 games.
> Pressey was one of college basketball's busiest players over the summer participating in the LeBron James, Chris Paul and Deron Williams elite camps.
> As a sophomore he was a First Team All-Big 12 pick by CBS Sports and averaged career highs in scoring (10.3), rebounding (3.3), assists (6.4) and steals (2.1).
Dixon Named TSN All-American...
Senior guard Michael Dixon was named a Second Team Preseason All-American by The Sporting News ... Dixon was the top scoring "Sixth Man" in college hoops last year, averaging 13.5 points, coming off the pine in all-35 contests ... Second among the country's top scorers off the bench was former Syracuse star Dion Waiters ... Waiters averaged 12.6 points per game in 2011-12 and was later drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 4 overall in the first round.
> Dixon enters 2012-13 with a run of 14 consecutive double-figure scoring games and played great all-around basketball, dishing 116 assists with 41 steals as a junior.
> The Kansas City native also enters his senior campaign as Missouri's career free throw percentage leader, at 85.4 percent, just ahead of another KC-area product, Jon Sundvold (1980-83), who shot 84.8 percent from the line.
Pressey, Dixon Aim For Top Assist Duo...
Phil Pressey and Michael Dixon were two of college basketball's top point guards last season and entering their final season playing together the pair could become the most prolific assist duo in school history … Pressey (349) and Dixon (284) have combined for 633 career dimes and over the last three seasons playing together (2010-12) the pair has dished a combined 578 assists as teammates, second all-time in school history … That figure is behind the 780 dimes distributed over four seasons (1990-94) by Melvin Booker (488) and Reggie Smith (292) … Lamont Frazier also played over those same four seasons and dished 227 career dimes during that stretch as well … Pressey and Dixon would need 211 combined assists in 2012-13 to top that all-time mark in just three seasons.
> The top two assist distributors in school history, Anthony Peeler and Booker played two seasons together and combined for 439 dimes in those two campaigns.
Pressey Nearing School Record Totals...
Few players in Missouri history have made a bigger impact at the point guard position than Anthony Peeler, but two of Peeler's all-time records are within the sights of junior point guard Phil Pressey … Peeler, who played from 1988-92, holds the school record for both assists (497) and steals (196) … Pressey could break both of those records in just his third season, needing 158 dimes and 62 thefts in 2012-13.
Transfers Have Been Good To Mizzou...
Missouri fans know the value of quality four-year transfers and have enjoyed a number of great memories courtesy of some key "short-timers" over the last 15 years … Below is a quick list of players that have finished their careers at Missouri over recent years and made big impacts in Black & Gold:
Zaire Taylor, 2008-10 (Delaware)
"Mr. Big Shot" hit game winners vs. Kansas, at Texas, Kansas State and at Iowa State over his two seasons at Mizzou.
DeMarre Carroll, 2007-09 (Vanderbilt)
Mizzou's Junkyard Dog ... First Team All-Big 12, First Round NBA Draft Pick.
Jason Conley, 2003-05 (VMI)
Helped the Tigers to back-to-back postseason appearances.
Albert White, 1997-99 (Michigan)
Led Mizzou in scoring (16.3) and helped the club to the 1999 NCAA tournament.
Senior forward Laurence Bowers made a spectacular return on Nov. 10, scoring 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting to lead Missouri to an 83-69 win over SIUE in the 2012-13 season-opener.
> Bowers missed the entire 2011-12 season with a knee injury, but traveled with the club during his redshirt year due to his leadership on the bench.
> Bowers contributed seven boards in 25 minutes and flashed an improved jumper on the perimeter.
> For his career, Bowers has 123 career blocked shots and needs just 27 more to move into second in school history … Arthur Johnson owns the school mark with 245 career swats.
> Bowers also has 858 career points and is just 142 tallies short of reaching 1,000 for his career … Bowers scored just 98 points as a freshman (2008-09), but has averaged double figures during his sophomore and junior campaigns.
Missouri Among Rare Company For Wins...
Missouri Basketball is one of just 12 teams in college hoops with multiple 30-win seasons over the last four years … The Tigers of course won 30 games a year ago en route to a Big 12 title, but also won a school record 31 games in 2008-09 … That feat puts the Tigers in rare company along with: BYU, Connecticut, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Murray State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Syracuse and Utah State as the only schools to enjoy multiple 30-win seasons since 2008-09.
Transfer Of Opportunity...
Missouri has just three players on its 2012-13 roster with a season of experience in a Mizzou uniform … Coming into the year only Laurence Bowers, Michael Dixon and Phil Pressey had ever donned the Black & Gold and will be relied upon to assist a number of new faces for their first campaign as Tigers … Of Missouri's 15 players, 11 will be eligible for their first season of play at Mizzou and a 12th, Jordan Clarkson, will sit out the year after transferring from Tulsa.
> However it's not like that group of newcomers is inexperienced … Five of those 11 have played at the Division I level … Keion Bell is a 1,300-point scorer from his days at Pepperdine, Tony Criswell played at UAB, Alex Oriakhi won a NCAA crown at Connecticut (2011) and Earnest Ross was Auburn's leading scorer in 2011.
A Point Guard Family...
Michael Dixon Jr. has distributed the rock like his "pops" (Michael Dixon Sr.) ... Now a senior for Mizzou, Dixon is among the school's all-time leaders in assists with 284 and needs just 56 more this season to move into the career Top 10.
> Dixon's numbers mirror the collegiate success his father had at San Jose State (1982-85) when the elder Dixon ranked #1 in school history with 477 assists and #6 with 106 career steals.
> Dixon is on the verge of joining Missouri's Top 10 in steals as well ... He has 130 career steals and needs 24 to move into the MU Top 10.
No team has more transfer firepower entering its program this season than Missouri … And that's great, because it's not likely another team lost more critical players off its club from last season than the Tigers … Missouri welcomes four highly thought of four-year transfer players into the fold this year as Keion Bell, Jabari Brown, Alex Oriakhi and Earnest Ross become eligible after the departure of senior standouts Marcus Denmon, Kim English, Steve Moore, Matt Pressey and Ricardo Ratliffe.
> Overall that group of seniors accounted for 1,979 points (70 percent), 942 rebounds (84 percent) and 4,967 minutes of play (71 percent) and Denmon, English, Pressey and Ratliffe started all 35 games.
> However Missouri was strategic of its recruitment of transfers and welcomes in Bell who scored 1,365 points in three seasons of Pepperdine, Oriakhi who helped lead UConn to a national title in 2011, Ross who was Auburn's leading scorer and rebounder in 2011 and former Jordan Brand All-American Brown … Combined (Brown has only played two career games) that group averaged 44.8 points and 17.6 rebounds per game during their most recent season of college basketball, so the Tigers have some important pieces entering in 2012-13.
Thank You Seniors...
Missouri graduated the winningest senior class in school history last year as the collection of Marcus Denmon, Kim English, Steve Moore and Jarrett Sutton, not to mention Laurence Bowers, who returns in 2012-13, and junior college transfers Matt Pressey and Ricardo Ratliffe combined to help the school win 107 games since 2008-09 … The Tigers twice won 30 games in that four year stretch and helped the program to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, tying a school record.
> Another fact that shouldn't be lost is that six of those seven seniors have already graduated and a seventh is just a handful of hours away and is competing professionally.
Masters Of Mizzou...
Missouri is no stranger to having graduates finish up their final season of eligibility on the basketball court … Last season Jarrett Sutton worked towards his graduate degree while playing his final season on the hardwood and in 2010 Zaire Taylor walked across the stage in December only to have a final semester of eligibility remaining … In 2009 DeMarre Carroll worked towards his graduate degree while helping the Tigers to a school record 31 wins … This season Laurence Bowers will work towards his Masters while also finishing up on the hardwood … Bowers missed last season due to a knee injury, but that didn't stop the now fifth-year senior from taking care of business in the classroom … Bowers finished with a grade-point average above a 3.0 and is working towards his Masters in Public Administration.
Five In A Row?...
Missouri is looking for a school record-tying fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament this season … The Tigers have qualified for every Big Dance since 2009, a streak that began when Laurence Bowers entered as a freshman.
> Mizzou last made five consecutive NCAA Tournaments in 1990 and made its fourth consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament in 1993, 1995 and 2003, before accomplishing the feat of four consecutive once again in 2012.