Big Rivalry

Short-handed Missouri is playing on the road, but Kansas still won't take its biggest rival for granted.

The second-ranked Jayhawks look to avoid becoming the second ranked team from the state to fall to the Tigers when they meet Monday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Kansas -18 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 53% of bets for this game have been placed on Missouri +18 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

While Kansas (21-1, 6-1 Big 12) was busy getting by Colorado 72-59 on the road Saturday, Missouri (13-9, 3-4) completed a 77-74 home upset of No. 22 Kansas State, despite playing without three of the five players suspended in the wake of a nightclub altercation on Jan. 27.

"I told our guys I'm happy that Missouri won,'' said Kansas coach Bill Self, whose team suffered its only loss at Kansas State, 84-75 on Wednesday. "But we don't want to feel too good about those guys since they're probably our most-hated rivals.

"We have to be ready to go against them on Monday. You can find out a lot about a team when they're going through adversity and Missouri is proving that they are a good team."

Pulling off another upset of a Kansas school could be tougher for the Tigers this time.

The Jayhawks have won four in a row over Missouri - including a 76-70 road win on Jan. 19 - and eight consecutive at Allen Fieldhouse, where Kansas looks to win its 20th straight contest.

On Saturday, Darnell Jackson had 18 points and Brandon Rush 15 for Kansas, which shot 53.3 percent, but was tied at halftime and led by three with less than nine minutes remaining before pulling away.

"We can't be worrying about mistakes that we made in the last game and just try to fix things while we're playing now and just keep looking ahead," Jackson said.

Jackson and Rush each had 13 points and nine rebounds in the last meeting with Missouri. Rush, who's averaging 15.1 points and 7.1 rebounds in conference play, averaged 15.4 and 6.6 boards in five career games versus Missouri, where his brother Kareem, now with the Indiana Pacers, played earlier this decade.

Kansas shot just 40.0 percent - its lowest in Big 12 play - against Missouri last month, but held a fully-loaded Tigers lineup to 38.0 percent shooting and outrebounded them 52-43.

With staring guards Jason Horton and Stefhon Hannah, along with reserve Darryl Butterfield suspended Saturday, Missouri shot 48.4 percent, forced 16 turnovers and overcame a 14-point second-half deficit to beat Kansas State for its second win in six games.

"Sometimes adversity can in some kind of a way have a positive effect on a team,'' Missouri coach Mike Anderson said. "Our kids, they're fighting hard, they're fighting together.''

While Hannah, the team leader with 14.7 points and 5.3 assists per game, could miss the rest of the season after suffering a broken jaw in the altercation, it's uncertain if Horton or Butterfield will have their suspensions lifted for Monday's game. Horton was arrested for third-degree misdemeanor assault on Friday for his role in the incident.

Sophomore guard J.T. Tiller had a career-high 20 points and sank two key free throws with six seconds left against the Wildcats. Leo Lyons, who along with reserve Marshall Brown were reinstated from their suspensions, had 13 points and five assists. Lyons had 10 points in the most recent loss to Kansas.

Missouri, which is 1-5 on the road, hasn't won consecutive games against ranked opponents since defeating then-No. 23 Oklahoma State and then-No. 4 Kansas during the 2003 Big 12 tournament.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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