Southern Illinois (0-0) at Missouri (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 12, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mizzou Arena (15,061) -- Columbia, Missouri. Television: FSN-MW, ESPN3.com. Home Record: SIU 0-0, Missouri 1-0. Away Record: SIU 0-0, Missouri 0-0. Neutral Record: SIU 0-0, Missouri 0-0. Conference Record: SIU 0-0, Missouri 0-0. Series Record: Missouri leads, 6-1.
GAME NOTES: As one of the few teams that didn't partake in a busy opening weekend, the Southern Illinois Salukis finally tip off their season on Tuesday night in a road matchup with the Missouri Tigers.
After going just 14-17 overall in 2012-13 (including 5-12 in the Missouri Valley Conference), SIU has now finished at .500 or below in five straight seasons after qualifying for six NCAA Tournaments earlier in the millennium. The Salukis hope that the end of last season -- where they won six of their final eight regular-season games -- is a sign of things to come.
Missouri started its season off on the right foot last Friday by easily dismissing Southeastern Louisiana on its home floor, 89-53, and even though the Tigers lost a slew of talented players in the offseason, they are still one of the best teams in the SEC and figure to be in the mix for their sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
The Tigers have defeated the Salukis in six of the seven previous encounters, most recently beating SIU in the 2003 NCAA Tournament, 72-71.
SIU was one of the lowest-scoring teams in the MVC last season, putting up 63.4 points per game, but at least it has the good fortune of returning its top scorer in Desmar Jackson. As a junior, Jackson netted 15.1 points per game on just shy of 44 percent field goal shooting, and he also displayed strong perimeter defense with nearly two steals per contest. Anthony Beane made a lasting impression as a freshman in 2012-13, putting up 9.1 points per game. The Salukis welcome three new starters to the fold this season. Davante Drinkard spent his first three years as a reserve and will bring much-needed size to the frontcourt. Freshmen K.C. Goodwin and Sean O'Brien are expected to see big minutes immediately after both started SIU's exhibition matchup versus William Jewell.
The loss of four double-digit scorers from a season ago (Laurence Bowers, Phil Pressey, Alex Oriakhi, Keion Bell) didn't seem to hinder Missouri much in its opening win, as it shot better than 54 percent from the field, including a red-hot 12-of-23 from beyond the arc. Leading the way was Jabari Brown, the team's top returning scorer from 2012-13 (13.7 ppg), who tallied 19 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Wes Clark came off the bench to connect on all three of his 3-point attempts for 13 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists on his way to being named the SEC's Freshman of the Week. Earnest Ross logged 12 points, six boards and three blocks, while Jordan Clarkson, a former Tulsa product, poured in 14 points in his debut in Columbia.
Simply put, Missouri is the more talented team here, and while it might not be the blowout it experienced in the opener, the home team should have no problem getting past SIU.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Missouri 80, Southern Illinois 65
11/12 10:34:47 ET