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Preview: Missouri vs. Colorado State

Preview: Missouri vs. Colorado State

Two of the nation's top rebounding teams square off on Thursday when eighth-seeded Colorado State takes on ninth-seeded Missouri in the Midwest Region in Lexington, Ky. Overall No. 1 seed Louisville - and a rabid partisan crowd - likely awaits the winner. The Rams and Tigers are both strong in the post, as Missouri ranks second in the nation in rebounding (41.4) and Colorado State is fourth (40.4).

It's the second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament for the Rams, who have won a school-record 25 games. Missouri is in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive year, tying a school record. The Tigers also made five straight appearances from 1986-90 and 1999-2003. The teams are meeting for only the third time - and the first since 1969. They have split the first two contests.

TV: 9:20 p.m. ET, TBS

ABOUT MISSOURI (23-10): The Tigers stumbled to the No. 6 seed in the SEC tournament thanks to a 2-8 road record, which included a loss at Rupp Arena. In addition to the strong frontcourt, Missouri boasts one of the nation's top point guards in Phil Pressey (11.6 points, 7.1 assists), but the Tigers have faced difficulty trying to close out games away from home. They squandered a 14-point second-half lead against Mississippi in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament. The Tigers are deep, with Laurence Bowers (14.4 points, 6.2 rebounds) leading six players who average double-digit scoring.

ABOUT COLORADO STATE (25-8): The Rams finished second in the Mountain West behind league champion New Mexico and bowed out of the conference tournament with a loss to UNLV in the semifinals. They stumbled somewhat down the stretch - losing four of their last eight - but won six road games and went 3-0 at neutral sites. Seven of their eight losses have come against NCAA Tournament teams. Minnesota transfer Colton Iverson (14.7 points, 9.8 rebounds) is the key to Colorado State's success, as he leads four players who average double-digit scoring.

TIP-INS

  1. Colorado State has made the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years for the only the second time in school history. The Rams also accomplished the feat in 1989-90.

  2. Missouri is trying to avoid its third consecutive one-and-done trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers were a No. 11 seed and lost to Cincinnati in 2011 before being bounced by Norfolk State as a No. 2 seed last year.

  3. Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy's fall from grace at Iowa State began in Columbia, Mo., where he was photographed drinking at a party with college students after the Cyclones lost to the Tigers.

PREDICTION: Colorado State 71, Missouri 69