Missouri-Baylor Preview

Missouri-Baylor Preview

Published Jan. 20, 2012 7:18 p.m. ET

Baylor couldn't handle a raucous crowd during its first loss of the season. In their next game, the Bears will try to use it to their advantage.

Third-ranked Baylor will try to harness the energy from a rare sellout when it faces No. 5 Missouri on Saturday, the first matchup between top-10 teams in Ferrell Center history.

Baylor (17-1, 4-1 Big 12) couldn't deal with vaunted Allen Fieldhouse during a 92-74 loss Monday to No. 7 Kansas that ended the best start and longest overall win streak in program history.

"Loudest place we've ever played. Their fans got into the game," said Perry Jones III, who had a team-best 18 points. "We still tried to stay together and not let the noise affect us."


Baylor will next play in front of only the eighth capacity crowd in coach Scott Drew's nine seasons. It's also the first time the school has sold out a game in advance, and the Bears' first-ever matchup with another top-five team likely helped.

Baylor has dropped three of four to Missouri (17-1, 4-1) but has won three straight in Waco in the series dating to a 70-66 loss Feb. 21, 2004.

Missouri responded to its only loss of the season, 75-59 at then-No. 23 Kansas State on Jan. 7, with three consecutive wins. The Tigers beat visiting Texas A&M 70-51 on Monday but nearly let the Aggies back in with a slow start to the second half.

Michael Dixon had a team-best 18 points off the bench, and the nation's leading shooter, Ricardo Ratliffe at 77.1 percent, added 17 while making 5 of 7 attempts. Leading scorer Marcus Denmon, averaging 17.8 points, finished with 16 and grabbed nine rebounds.

Missouri is 62-3 at home over the past four seasons but has lost in eight of its last 11 away games. The Tigers have also dropped eight straight on the road to Top 25 opponents and 21 in a row to top-10 teams since an 81-74 win over No. 4 Kansas on Feb. 20, 1994.

"Obviously, everyone knows the magnitude of the game, but no one game is going to dictate our season," coach Frank Haith said. "It's a tremendous opportunity, and I think our guys are excited for that opportunity."

Missouri faced a 24th-ranked Baylor team during its previous trip to Waco on Feb. 13, 2010, and fell 64-62 on a basket with 1.6 seconds left. The then-No. 20 Tigers got a team-best 20 points and nine rebounds from Laurence Bowers during last season's 77-59 home win over the Bears, but they won't have the 6-foot-8 senior forward for this game.

Bowers has missed this season because of a knee injury, but Missouri has outrebounded 11 of its opponents despite the 6-8 Ratliffe being the only regular starter listed at taller than 6-6. The Tigers, though, could have a problem with a Baylor frontcourt that lists three starters at 6-7 or taller with the 6-11 Jones, averaging a team-best 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds, as the tallest.

"(Jones) can play at the next level," Haith said. "He's a very talented guy. He's one of those guys we have to pay a lot of attention to."

Missouri is 13-10 against Baylor heading into its fifth game in school history that's featured two top-five teams. The Tigers have split the previous four.

This is the first top-five matchup in Big 12 history that hasn't included Kansas or Texas.