How much clawing will it take to make Niagra Fall?


Mizzou basketball will open the College Basketball Experience tournament by playing the Niagara Purple Eagles, the first time the two schools have ever met.

Last year the Purple Eagles had a less than impressive season, finishing at 9-23. They have a young roster with only one senior, Paul Kowalski, who only averages about 1 minute a game. Their top scorers Marvin Jordan and Juan’ya Green are both averaging above 20 points a game.

On paper, it looks as if Mizzou should be able to handle this game at ease. Senior guard Kim English is shooting 60% behind the line and is averaging about 19 points a game. English has an excellent supporting cast in Marcus Denmon, Phil Pressey, Ricardo Ratliff, and Michael Dixon, who are each contributing more than 10 points.

The biggest deficit should be in rebounds. In their last game the Purple Eagles only managed to get 11 rebounds, while the Tigers snatched down 24 against Mercer. The Tigers do, however, need to handle the ball carefully because Jordan and Green are both averaging about 5 steals a game. If the Tigers take care of the ball and control the pace of the game, they should have no problem advancing towards the winners’ bracket of the tournament.