Illinois Men’s Basketball: Missouri Game Preview

The No. 10 Illinois Fighting Illini will play the No. 12 Missouri Tigers in the 32nd Annual Bud Light Braggin’ Rights Game.

Mizzou is coming into this game with only loss one game this entire season.

Missouri is a member of the SEC after switching from the Big 12 conference this offseason. Last season, they finished second in the Big 12 with a 14-4 conference record. Overall, they were 30-5 and made the 2012 NCAA Tournament as a #2 seed. They were bounced, however, by the Norfolk State Spartans in their first game.

Nov 22, 2012; Paradise Island, BAHAMAS; Missouri Tigers forward Alex Oriakhi (42) takes a free throw against the Stanford Cardinal l during the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis in the Imperial Arena at the Atlantis Resort. Missouri won 78-70. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri has four players averaging double-digit points. These players are senior forward Laurence Bowers, junior guard Phil Pressey, sophomore guard Jabari Brown, and senior forward Alex Oriakhi.

Bowers leads the team and is averaging 16.3 points per game. Pressey, Brown, and Oriakhi are all averaging 12.3, 12.0, and 10.6 points per game respectively.

The newest addition to the Tigers this year was the transfer of Alex Oriakhi. Last season, he played for the Connecticut Huskies, but transferred to Missouri for this year.

He is fourth on the team in points per game, but he leads Mizzou in rebounds per game. Oriakhi is averaging 8.6 rebounds per game.

One thing Missouri seems to be doing well this season is rebounding the basketball. Right now, the Tigers are second in the entire nation in rebounds per game. They averaging 46.1 rebounds per game. They are 0.01 behind Cincinnati for most in the nation.

This will be the 43rd meeting and the 32nd Braggin’ Rights meeting between the Fighting Illini the Tigers. These two met exactly a year ago in St. Louis from their Braggin’ Rights game. The Missouri Tigers defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini, 78-74.

Illinois has a 22-game non-conference home winning streak and they’ve won 34 consecutive regular season home games over non-conference opponents.

The Missouri Tigers will be Illinois toughest opponent since they played the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Fighting Illini are going to try and continue their undefeated path so far this season. They have been led by senior guard Brandon Paul. Paul is averaging 18.8 points per game this season (2nd in the Big Ten). He leads the Illini in points, rebounds, assists and steals.

According to fightingillini.com, Paul “is just one of three players in the nation to lead his team in all four of those major categories, joined by San Diego State’s Jamaal Franklin and Rice’s Tamir Jackson.”

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.

Topics: Alex Oriakhi, Basketball, Illinois Fighting Illini, Laurence Bowers, Missouri Tigers

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