College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 9, 2013
Even though they're only 6-4 in SEC play, the Missouri Tigers - along with Florida - are among the elite teams in the conference, evidenced in their 98-79 rout of Mississippi Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers have one of the country's best point guards in Phil Pressey, who scored 22 points in the win, tying him with Alex Oriakhi for high scoring honors.
While Pressey generally controls the perimeter and pace, Oriakhi, the 6'9" senior transfer from UConn, has given the Tigers a new look with a ferocious presence inside and on the boards. Oriakhi's 22 points was a career high on 7-for-10 shooting, helped along by his 18 rebounds, 10 of which came on the offensive end.
Missouri's glass cleaning resulted in the game's most lopsided statistic, as they out-rebounded the Rebels, 50-32.
The 21st-ranked Tigers improved to 17-6 overall, avenging an earlier, 64-49, loss at Ole Miss, but they are still only in fifth place in the conference standings, led by #2 Florida, at 9-1, after putting it on Mississippi State, 83-58.
The 19-3 Gators rebounded from Tuesday's 80-69 loss at Arkansas and have won 11 of their last 12. They are likely to remain in the top five - and may even be #1 - come Monday's new poll, as #1 Indiana and #3 Michigan both suffered defeats this week, the Hoosiers losing on a buzzer-beater to Illinois on Thursday, 74-72, and Michigan going down to Wisconsin in overtime Saturday, 65-62.
The #1 ranking may fall, by default, to Duke, which plays at Boston College on Sunday, in a game they are widely expected to win.
#5 Kansas also will be further down in the rankings after losing at Oklahoma, 72-66, their third straight loss. Likely to take the Jawhawks' place is Miami, the Hurricanes winning their 11th straight on Saturday with an 87-61 pounding of North Carolina. The #8 Hurricanes are all alone atop the ACC standings, at 10-0.
Further down the rankings, #23 Pitt overwhelmed #17 Cincinnati in the second half for a 62-52 win; #11 Louisville's Chane Behanan scored 30 points and had 15 rebounds - both game highs - but came up short in five overtimes to #25 Notre Dame, 104-101.
#15 New Mexico lost at UNLV, 64-55, and #16 Creighton continued to slide, losing their second straight in a 75-72 home loss to Illinois State, setting up a three-way tie for first place in the Missouri Valley Conference with Wichita State and Indiana State, each team at 9-4.