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Tigers Vs. Longhorns: Can Ricardo Ratliffe Keep His Hot Shooting Up?

The Tigers will try to defend their top 5 ranking in a tough road environment in Austin on Big Monday.

Despite losing a road game at Oklahoma last Saturday, the pollsters still kept the No. 4 Missouri Tigers in the top five in the latest polls.

Now, they'll have to defend that lofty ranking when they travel to Austin to play a young Texas Longhorns team desperate for a signature win against elite competition.

Texas' 13-8 record is a bit deceiving, as they've lost by 4 at Kansas State, by 3 to No. 8 Kansas and by 5 at No. 6 Baylor in the last two weeks.

When the Longhorns came to Columbia two weeks ago, they lost 84-73. However, Rick Barnes is unlikely to go into a zone, the biggest difference in the first meeting between the two teams, as Texas has the athletes to run with Missouri in man-to-man defense.

The Longhorns, like the Tigers, are very thin up-front, which could mean a big game for 6'8 senior Ricardo Ratliffe, averaging 14.8 points on a preposterous 67.9% shooting from the floor this season.

The Texas offense revolves around 6'1 junior J'Covan Brown, who had 34 points against Missouri on Jan. 14 despite playing on a severely sprained ankle. The Tigers will likely rotate several defenders on the streaky combo guard in an effort to keep him out of a rhythm from the perimeter.

The 8:00 PM game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN as a part of Big Monday.

For the latest news and notes on Missouri basketball, head over to Rock M Nation while Burnt Orange Nation has all the pre-game analysis from Austin covered.