2009-2010 Missouri Tigers Basketball Preview
What a difference a year makes. The Missouri Tigers (31- 7 overall, 12- 4 Big 12) finished fourth in the conference and for the first time in three seasons made a post- season appearance by gaining a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The last tournament they were in was the 2005 NIT. In this past year’s March Madness event, the Tigers made it to the Elite Eight where they lost to the Connecticut Huskies 82- 75. On the way, they beat Cornell, Marquette and Memphis.
The Tigers were number one in the conference in scoring offense, putting in 81.5 PPG. They were third in field goal percentage, hitting 47% from the field, and seventh in threes, knocking in 35%. They were ranked 10th on frees, hitting just 67%. Scoring defense allowed an average of 67.7 PPG, which was ninth in the league. The team’s rebound margin was minus-0.5 (7th).
Junior forward Justin Safford (3.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.8 APG) offers fine shooting skills but must become a better rebounder and defender. Senior forward Keith Ramsey (3.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.8 APG) is fine on the defensive end and sophomore forward Laurence Bowers (3.2 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.5 APG) has the makings of a go-to guy but must refine his rebounding and defensive skills.
The backcourt is deep and talented. Look for seniors J.T. Tiller (8.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 3.6 APG) and Zaire Taylor (6.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.4 APG) to run the offense and play tough “D.” The Tigers need both guys to put points up on the board too. Points will come from Kim English (6.5 PPG, 1.6 RPG. 1.1 APG) and Marcus Denmon (6.0 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.4 APG). Freshman point guard Mike Dixon Jr. is a fine ball handler and shooter.
Head coach Mike Anderson starts his fourth season at Missouri minus four top players. The team has lost about half of its offensive output with the departure of forward DeMarre Carroll (16.6 PPG), forward Leo Lyons (14.6 PPG) and guard Matt Lawrence (9.2 PPG). Still, the Tigers have a lot of talented and skilled players who waited in the wings last season. Although the NIT looks certain, what’s uncertain is whether or not this team can excel and make it to their second straight Big Dance. There is the possibility that they can do just that.