Saturday is a big day for Tigers basketball as the No. 10 Fighting Illini play the No. 12 Tigers in a game that could go to the final buzzer. It gets started at 6:00 EST and you can see it on ESPN2. Illinois is one of the better teams in the country and Missouri has a chance to improve upon its 0-1 record against nationally-ranked teams. Overall, the Tigers have a record of 9-1. The Fighting Illini have a 12-0 record. According to the RPI, the Fighting Illini are the better team, ranked No. 5 and sitting above the Tigers at No. 81. Last season, the Tigers beat the Fighting Illini 78-74. Over the past four years, Missouri has gone 3-1 against Illinois.
- We just win. Missouri has more wins over the last 5 years than Illinois (132 vs 110).
- Be afraid. Missouri blew out more teams than Illinois last season (10 blowouts vs 2).
- The Missouri steals leader (Phil Pressey) has more steals than the Illinois steals leader (Brandon Paul).
- The SEC has had 2 more NCAA Tournament Championships than the Big Ten over the past 10 years.
- Winning is in our blood. Missouri had a better record in close games than Illinois last season (5-2 vs 8-7).
- At least you keep showing up. Missouri has an average margin of victory of 8 over Illinois in 11 wins since 1980.
- The Missouri assist leader (Phil Pressey) has more assists than the Illinois assist leader (Brandon Paul).
- Missouri does a better job contesting shots (35.8% allowed vs 40.6% allowed) than Illinois this season.
- The SEC has 2 teams - LSU (11.5) and Ole Miss (10.8) - that create more steals per game than the Big Ten leader, Minnesota (9.9).
- The SEC has 2 teams - Missouri (46.0) and Ole Miss (43.1) - that secure more rebounds per game than the Big Ten leader, Indiana (42.6).
- Last year the top-ranking players between the two conferences for points, rebounds, three-pointers, and blocks were in the SEC.