AU at Mizzou heads tonight's slate

Could the Patriot League be poised to pull off another upset?

That is what American will look to do tonight when it visits Missouri.

To be certain, this is not an impossibility for American. Quin Snyder's Tigers have been inconsistent all season, suffering through a three-game losing streak early that included a home loss to Davidson. There have also been some near misses against mid-majors like Brown (68-60), Oakland (70-61) and Murray State (59-55).

Another possible factor that could work to AU's advantage is the fact that the game comes on the heels of back-to-back games against ranked opponents and just five days after the Tigers' big win over Gonzaga. It also falls four days before Saturday's Big 12 opener with Iowa State.

It could be easy for Mizzou to overlook American in that scheduling valley. When a team takes a night off, it is usually most evident on the defensive end. A lack of defensive intensity against a team that shoots the ball as well as AU could be fatal. American is shooting better than 48 percent from the field, including a sparkling 42 percent from three-point range. That three-point shooting ability also gives the Eagles a puncher's chance every time out.

When Missouri has struggled, defense has been a big factor. Davidson shot 60 percent from the field, including 10-of-18 from outside the arc when they upset the Tigers in November. Creighton shot nearly 50 percent for the game when they knocked off Missouri, including 57 percent in the first half when they built a built a 17-point lead.

On the other hand, as Mizzou's game notes point out:
One of the main focuses of the Tigers' efforts has been and will be improving on the defensive end. Its no secret how the Tigers have won five of their last seven contests. Mizzou has given up only 60.6 points per contest during that stretch.
Interesting note, courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Missouri forward Linas Kleiza and American guard Linas Lekavicius played together on the Lithuanian under-20 basketball team that took third place in the European Championships this summer. Combined, Missouri and American have four Lithuanian players on their rosters.
Get more on Missouri here.

No free audio, but you can follow the action on Gametracker. It is also being televised on the Mizzou Sports Network for those with a satellite dish and the ingenuity to find the game.

Elsewhere: Columbia at Army , 7 p.m. (Gametracker)

Cornell at Lehigh , 7 p.m.

Lafayette at St. Francis (N.Y.), 7 p.m. (Free audio from SFC network)

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