2014-2015 record: 9-23
2014-2015 SEC record: 3-15 (last in the SEC)
2014-2015 final RPI ranking: 218
Random stat: Derrin Hansen and the Mavs posted a 4-3 record against Kim Anderson and Central Missouri in the MIAA.
Best wins in 2014-2015: vs Valparaiso (57), and vs LSU (65)
TV: SEC Network, 7pm
Let me start out by saying that I hate University of Missouri Athletics. Every time I watched Nebraska play the Tigers in any sport, I found an unease and chill move down my spine like I was Batman trying to investigate a crime scene left by the Joker. I sometimes find myself unable to change the channel when I turn on a Missouri sporting event and see that they are losing. I was in a hotel in downtown Denver during softball season and I was the only person in the entire hotel bar watching Alabama beat Missouri in softball, actually I was probably the only person in Denver watching it. I could sit here and say a lot of nasty things, but I do not really want to do that even though I would have the time of my life.
Anyway, after I get back to reality and think about Missouri Tigers basketball the only thing that comes to my mind is that they lost to UMKC to open up the season last year. A friend of mine told me that he knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy that coaches for UMKC, or something like that. So when I was checking basketball scores at the beginning of last season and saw that UMKC upset Missouri and texted my friend that I was proud to have a connection of six degrees of separation to someone involved with beating the Tigers; we both grew an agreement that the Missouri Tigers were done as a basketball program last season, and we were apparently right.
The Tigers finished 9-23 last season, but they did play what appeared to be a somewhat difficult non-conference schedule. Try and wrap your head around the fact that UMKC beat Missouri, but Missouri beat Oral Roberts. Try that one. Then again a Missouri fan could say: how did the Mavericks beat Marquette and lose to Chicago State? I know I have difficulties with it as well, but I know the Mavs were not fully healthy.
The Tigers are a young team with only one senior on the team, 6’10” Ryan Rosburg that averaged 3.3 ppg and 2.6 rpg in his junior season.
How about we go over the players that Missouri has lost.
Keith Shamburger – 5’11”: 8.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.9 apg, 38 FG%, 33 3ptFG%. 89 FT%
Keanu Post – 6’11”: 4.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 0.5 bpg, 57 FG%
Jonathan Williams (Gonzaga) 6’9″: 11.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 0.6 bpg, 41 FG%, 34 3ptFG%, 62 FT%
Montaque Gill-Caesar (San Diego State) 6’6″: 9.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 36 FG%, 31 3ptFG%
Deuce Bello (East Tennessee State) 6’4″: 1.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg, 38 FG%
It is probably never good when your team loses guys named Keanu and Deuce. Never.
Something that sticks out about Missouri is that they were virtually in the bottom half of division one in every statistical category last season, and on top of that they lost 3 of their top 4 scorers. The Tigers ranked 321st in points per game as a team and 307th in field goal percentage, so based on that it does not seem like the Mavs’ poor defense would be too much of an issue here. Maybe it is a good thing they are losing those guys actually, but losing two young core players to transfer is never anything anyone brags about.
The Tigers were able to pick up the 55th best recruiting class in college basketball for whatever that is worth. On top of what sounds like an okay recruiting class, Missouri is returning Wes Clark a 6’0″ junior that averaged 10 points per game along with 3.5 rpg and 3.1 apg. The Tigers were able to pick up two junior college transfers, one that was a 6’2″ second team Junior College All American, and a 6’9″ player who was a 14 and 7 guy in junior college.
Just looking at the Missouri fan board, Tiger fans have many mixed emotions about their team. Fans appear confident in Kim Anderson as a coach, but maybe not so much confidence riding on him as a recruiter. I would assume fans found some confidence after upsets against Valpo and LSU. Also Anderson has not taken over a dream situation for any coach. As a fan base for Maverick basketball, it appears our fans are pretty optimistic moving forward, so it feels pretty good going up against a power conference opponent that has a fan base mumbling uncertainty.
With that in mind, you have to feel comfortable that the Mavericks can make this a competitive game, and maybe even pick up a win. The Tigers do have a pretty difficult non-conference schedule with Xavier, Kansas State, Northwestern (or North Carolina), North Carolina State, and Illinois. So it is entirely possible for a young team like Missouri to completely overlook a team like Omaha that was plagued with injuries the season before.
I know before I said that our best chance to pick up a win against a power conference team was Minnesota, but this may actually be a little more doable. The big hope is that the Mavs will have a healthy back court of Devin Patterson and Marcus Tyus at this point in the season. Patterson has averaged 16.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.6 spg, and shot 55% from the field in 5 career games against power conference teams, and Tyus has averaged 8.4 ppg and shot 52% from the field in nine games against power conference teams. Also on top of that, Tre’Shawn Thurman averaged 8 ppg and 5.7 rpg and shot 52% in the three games against Marquette, Kansas State, and Nebraska last season.