Missouri Basketball Winning With Big Performances And Consistency

COLUMBIA, MO - FEBRUARY 11: Michael Dixon #11 of the Missouri Tigers celebrates with Marcus Denmon #12 and Steve Moore #32 after scoring during the game against the Baylor Bears on February 11, 2012 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

While each game brings out a new star for the Tigers, Missouri has played at a high level consistently this season, which is the main reason for its 25-2 record.

You never know what you are going to get when you watch a Missouri basketball game.

People expect the team's leading scorer Marcus Denmon to have games like the one where he went off for 29 points including 9 points in the final two minutes to beat Missouri's long-time rival.

You can't just focus on Denmon, though.

If you do, sixth man Michael Dixon goes out and scores 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting and is the clutch player down the stretch in a tough road game like he was against Texas a few weeks ago.

Want to switch your defense to make sure Dixon can't beat you to the basket?

If you do, Kim English can score 21 points on 10 field goal attempts, grab 6 rebounds and record 4 steals like he did against Texas A&M this weekend.

It's not just those guys either. Ricardo Ratliffe, who is on pace to shatter the season Missouri field goal percentage, and Phil Pressey, one of the top point guards in the nation as a sophomore are some of the most difficult matchups on this Missouri team.

As you can see, this team carries a large amount of unpredictability with it from game to game. So how can a team like this with no consistent star player end up becoming one of the most consistent teams in the nation?

The answer is simple. There is a line between having no consistent scorer because your team has no one that is reliable and having no consistent scorer because your team has a lot of talented players that can completely take over the game.

Missouri is on the positive side of that line. If Ricardo Ratliffe isn't getting a lot of attention down low (like he has in recent weeks) or gets in early foul trouble, no one sweats it out on the Missouri sideline because that just gives Steve Moore a chance to make an impact on defense and also gives one of the guards a chance to pick up the scoring load.

If Marcus Denmon is getting keyed on by the opposition like he was toward the beginning of conference play, that frees up Phil Pressey, Mike Dixon or Kim English to get open looks from the outside.

The examples are endless. Because of this true 7-pronged attack that the Tigers employ, their scoring rarely slows.

Missouri is seventh in the nation in points per game (79.9), second in field goal percentage (50.3%) and ranked first in offensive efficiency by Ken Pomeroy.

During this weekend's game against Texas A&M, ESPN color commentator Fran Fraschilla called Missouri's chemistry "once in a lifetime." That statement has been proved with the way that Frank Haith uses his numerous weapons correctly based on what the opposing defense gives him.

Everything is working perfectly for the Tigers and they seem to be closer to sealing up a 1-seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1990, even if they lose to Kansas on the road this weekend.

How far this chemistry and assortment of weapons will take Missouri is unknown, but one thing is certain:

Columbia hasn't seen a team like this in a long time.

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