Big 12 Basketball: No. 8 Kansas vs. No. 4 Missouri Game Preview and Prediction

Andrew SilversheinContributor IIIFebruary 3, 2012

COLUMBIA, MO - JANUARY 03:  Marcus Denmon #12  of the Missouri Tigers in action during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners on January 3, 2012 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Big 12 Conference has surprisingly been one of the most competitive basketball conferences in the country this season. They have three of the top 10 AP ranked teams: No. 4 Missouri, No. 6 Baylor and No. 8 Kansas.

Out of these three teams, Kansas has the best one-two punch (definitely a top tandem in the nation) in Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor. Robinson will get serious consideration for National Player of the Year, averaging 17.6 points and 12 rebounds (three offensive) per game. Taylor has been a scoring machine, dropping 16.7 points per contest and shooting 44.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Missouri certainly has the best guard play. Marcus Denmon could be one of the best unknown players in the country. He is averaging 17.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Phil (nicknamed Flip) Pressey is a talented all-around point guard, registering 10 points, six assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game. The Tigers also have Michael Dixon and Kim English (who is technically listed as a 6'6" guard).

Baylor has the best starting lineup in the conference. Led by Perry Jones III and Quincy Miller, the Bears also have a solid point guard in Pierre Jackson, Quincy Acy at center, and a great role player in Brady Heslip.  

A few weeks ago, Kansas handed Baylor its first loss of the season, by a score of 92-74. Five days later, Missouri defeated Baylor in a thriller, 89-88.

Saturday night will be the first of two regular season match-ups between Kansas and Missouri. A sold out crowd in Mizzou Arena in Columbia will be loud tomorrow night, for what is sure to be an exciting conference game between these two rivals.

I expect this to be an entertaining contest, but Missouri's guards, combined with their home court will ultimately prove to be too much for the Jayhawks.

Prediction: Missouri 78, Kansas 70.