(photo courtesy of jefflphoto)
Fall is here, and school is back in session, which means the good times are almost here - the start of college basketball season! To get you ready for this upcoming season, The Hoops Manifesto presents to you its preseason top 25 team rankings, based on the input from our esteemed voting panel. Next up #11 Missouri Tigers.
Big thanks to our voting panel: Jeff Fox (@HoopsManifesto) from The Hoops Manifesto, Perry Missner (@PerryMissner) from RotoWire, Ray Bala (@CanBallReport) who writes The Can Ball Report on Raptors HQ, Adam Francis (@RaptorsHQ) from Raptors HQ, Ian (@SoxAndDawgs) from SOX & Dawgs, and Alex Gallant (@SeaTownSports) from SeaTown Sports.
#11 - Missouri Tigers
2011/12: 30-5, lost NCAA Tournament Second Round
Key Returning Players:
Phil Pressey - Point Guard - Junior
10.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 6.4 apg, 2.1 spg
Michael Dixon Jr. - Shooting Guard - Senior
13.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.2 spg
Laurence Bowers - Power Forward - Senior (redshirted last season)
2010/11 - 11.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.8 bpg
Keion Bell - Shooting Guard - Senior (transfer from Pepperdine)
2010/11 - 18.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.4 apg
Jabari Brown - Shooting Guard - Sophomore (transfer from Oregon)
Alex Oriakhi - Power Forward/Center - Senior (transfer from Connecticut)
6.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.3 bpg
Earnest Ross - Shooting Guard - Junior (transfer from Auburn)
2010/11 - 13.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.4 spg
Negus Webster-Chan - Small Forward - Freshman - #108 ranked recruit, (Rivals.com)
Top NBA Prospect:
Phil Pressey - projected last first round pick in 2013
If you were to just look at Mizzou's returning player list, you'd think the Tigers were in for a down year this upcoming season. Sure, they return All-Big 12 point guard Phil Pressey and All-Big 12 shooting guard (and All-Defensive Team member) Michael Dixon Jr., but that's it. But in actuality, Frank Haith's squad could have a better season this year than in year's past. The Tigers have a formidable crop of newcomers on the roster this season, led by power forward Laurence Bowers, who missed all last year at Missouri due to a knee injury. When healthy in 2011, Bowers was all-conference as well as All-Defensive Team. Bowers along with transfer Alex Oriakhi give the Tigers a formidable presence in the paint. The backcourt is also stacked, as Pressey and Dixon Jr. will be joined by a trio of talented transfers in Keion Bell (All-WCC), Jabari Brown (top 20 recruit in 2011) and Earnest Ross. The Tigers will be roaring once again this upcoming season.
Preseason Top 25
#12 - Gonzaga Bulldogs
#13 - Syracuse Orange
#14 - UNLV Runnin' Rebels
#15 - Arizona Wildcats
#16 - Wisconsin Badgers
#17 - Baylor Bears
#18 - Creighton Bluejays
#19 - Florida Gators
#20 - Kansas State Wildcats
#21 - San Diego State Aztecs
#22 - Saint Louis Billikens
#23 - Memphis Tigers
#24 - Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#25 - Texas Wildcats
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I don't know if I think Missouri will be better than they were last year, but I think they will win the SEC. Kentucky and Tennessee will be good, but the Tigers have by far the best backcourt in the conference. Bowers and Oriakhi will be the keys. I really like Ross as well - he's an x-factor.
@Perry Missner They've really got a loaded team this year - depends how quickly the new pieces mesh.
@Jeff Fox They have more returning parts than Kentucky, who I think will be somewhat disappointing. The Vols probably have a better frontcourt. I really like Stokes. The bottom half of the SEC is pretty bad.