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How does this season's MU basketball team measure up?

Monday, February 16, 2009 | 8:40 p.m. CST; updated 10:31 p.m. CST, Monday, February 16, 2009
LEFT: Melvin Booker shoots over the head of Erik Strickland with 16 seconds remaining on the clock during a 1994 game with Nebraska. Booker's shot would have put the Tigers up by 1, but he was called for charging. Moments later, Booker made the game-winning shot. RIGHT: Missouri forward Matt Lawrence celebrates after the buzzer at the end of the Feb. 9 game against Kansas. The Tigers won 62-60 on a shot made by Zaire Taylor with 1.3 seconds on the clock.

COLUMBIA — Missouri coach Mike Anderson's team is delivering on its preseason claims of being a surprise team.

After starting the season without a single vote in either major poll, the 22-4 Tigers are third in the Big 12 Conference and were ranked No. 11 in Monday's AP poll. The ESPN/USA Today poll ranked the Tigers No. 10.

It's the first time Missouri has been ranked in the top 10 in either poll, after December, since 1994.

Some facts:

  • Missouri's 9-2 start is its best in Big 12 play, which started in 1996. It's the best start for the Tigers in league play since they went 14-0 and won the regular season Big Eight title in 1994.
  • Missouri's first loss during the 1993-94 season was a 102-68 thrashing at Arkansas, the eventual national champions. Anderson was on the Razorbacks' bench as an assistant coach under Nolan Richardson.
  • The No. 10 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today poll is Missouri's highest since December 2002.
  • Before this season started, Missouri was picked to finish seventh by the Big 12 coaches. So far, the Tigers are 4-0 against teams ranked ahead of them in that poll.
  • Although senior forwards DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons lead Missouri in scoring, six of the team's seven newcomers are averaging more than seven minutes per game. Junior transfer Zaire Taylor has started every game and is second on the team with 25.2 minutes per game.
  • According to ESPN, Missouri is a "lock" for its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2003. The Tigers haven't made a postseason tournament since an NIT berth in 2005.
  • ESPN's "Bracketology" and other Web sites have Missouri projected as a No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament. That would be the highest seed for the Tigers since the 1993-94 team received a No. 1 seed.
  • Anderson's .636 winning percentage (56-32) would make him the coach with the most wins for the program during his first three years as a Missouri coach. Quin Snyder is second with a .620 winning percentage in his first three years.
  • Anderson will be on ESPN's "First Take" at 8:40 a.m. Tuesday on ESPN2. He will join ESPN's Dana Jacobsen and Jay Crawford at the KOMU studios in Columbia.
  • After averaging 6,650 fans in 10 nonconference games, the Tigers have averaged over 13,350 fans in six Big 12 home games, including sellout crowds of 15,061 in their past three games. A limited number of tickets remain for next Wednesday's game against Kansas State, and the March 4 game against No. 2 Oklahoma is already sold out.
  • In Big 12 play, DeMarre Carroll is third in the conference with 18 points per game and seventh with 7.3 rebounds per game. He has a chance to become the Missouri program's third first-team All-Big 12 selection, and the first since Kareem Rush in the 2001-2002 season.

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Comments

Matt Y February 16, 2009 | 11:40 p.m.

Mizzou was in the top 10 in 2003-2004 - AP and USA Today/ESPN. Am I missing something in this story?

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/rankings?s...

(Report Comment)
Matt Y February 16, 2009 | 11:40 p.m.

Ah - 'after December'. Found it right after I posted.

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