Missouri men's basketball team juggles finals and practice

Friday, December 18, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The Missouri men’s basketball team has spent more time this week studying its books than preparing for its game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

The Tigers (6-3) have had to juggle practice time, conditioning and scrimmages with the demanding final exams schedule of the players. The result has been that they have had only a short practice and scrimmage in preparation for Saturday's game at Mizzou Arena. Missouri coach Mike Anderson said he has tried his best to replicate a game-like atmosphere to keep his team mentally prepared for the game, but it is always difficult to play after a week off.

“It will be interesting to see how our guys react to a game setting,” Anderson said. “As a coach, you try to put them in a game like situation and a keep them little sharp, if nothing else, but I expect there to be some rustiness.”

Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which plays in the Southwest American Conference, is winless but has been competitive. Each of the Golden Lions' eight games have been on the road against mainly bigger schools like Oklahoma State and No. 12 Michigan, which the Golden Lions were tied with at halftime. Last season, Missouri won 95-41 in its only other game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Anderson said the Golden Lions are a great rebounding team, which is a weakness for the Tigers, who have been outrebounded in all but three games this season.

“I think Pine-Bluff is a team that the record is not reflected on what kind of team they are." Anderson said. “I think they will try to slow the tempo down, so can we force our will on them, that remains to be seen.”

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