clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

KNOW THY ENEMY: Missouri Tigers


OK, it's time to get these started again. Admittedly, I faltered a bit due to work, but things are back under control for now. These will proceed largely as before, but with a few exceptions:

  1. Instead of reformatting the player bios like I did before, which was majorly time-consuming and part of the reason these fell by the wayside for so long, I'm merely going to link to the appropriate page. I will add player stats to the tables, however.
  2. Originally, these were season previews. Obviously, much of the non-conference season already has been played, so now they're more like conference season previews. Also, what I've seen of these teams has changed my predictions for the conference's outcome, so I reserve the right to alter my predicted orders of finish from what they previously were.
  3. Instead of twice a week, these are running every day from now until New Year's Eve. Call it the Big 12 Days of Christmas Basketball, if you like.

So, hit the jump for the rundown on the defending conference tournament champion, Missouri. And for more, head over to the Unholy Alliance Auxiliary Headquarters (pending Big Ten absorption): Rock M Nation.

The Story So Far

The Tigers are 7-3, with dominating home victories over Tennessee-Martin, Texas-Pan American, Chattanooga, Oregon, Fairleigh Dickinson and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

They also collected a nice neutral-court win against Old Dominion, who just knocked off Georgetown.

But close losses to Richmond, at Vanderbilt and at Oral Roberts probably will come back to haunt the Tigers in much the same way as K-State's three-game, non-conference losing streak last December hindered the Wildcats.

Current Missouri RPI: 179


The Coach


Mike Anderson
Fourth Season

72-38 (25-23) at Missouri
161-79 (67-43) overall



The Departures



  • DeMarre Carroll (28 minutes per game | 16.6 points per game | 7.2 rebounds per game)
  • Matt Lawrence (20.8 minutes per game | 9.2 points per game | 2.2 rebounds per game)
  • Leo Lyons (23.3 minutes per game | 14.6 points per game | 6.1 rebounds per game)


The Veterans


#3 Miguel Paul
Sophomore Guard
6-1 | 172
Winter Haven, Fla.


14 minutes per game | 4.2 points per game | 0.9 rebound per game


#4 J.T. Tiller
Senior Guard
6-3 | 200
Marietta, Ga.


23.3 minutes per game | 9.6 points per game | 2.3 rebounds per game


#11 Zaire Taylor
Senior Guard
6-4 | 189
Staten Island, N.Y.


27.8 minutes per game | 9 points per game | 3.1 rebounds per game


#12 Marcus Denmon
Sophomore Guard
6-3 | 185
Kansas City, Mo.


20.1 minutes per game | 10.5 points per game | 3.9 rebounds per game


#15 Keith Ramsey
Senior Forward
6-9 | 217
Murfreesboro, Tenn.


25.4 minutes per game | 5.9 points per game | 5.9 rebounds per game


#21 Laurence Bowers
Sophomore Forward
6-8 | 205
Memphis, Tenn.


19.8 minutes per game | 10.2 points per game | 5.6 rebounds per game


#23 Justin Safford
Junior Forward
6-8 | 230
Bloomington, Ill.


18.4 minutes per game | 7.6 points per game | 3.8 rebounds per game


#24 Kim English
Sophomore Guard
6-6 | 200
Baltimore, Md.


22.1 minutes per game | 16.1 points per game | 3.1 rebounds per game


#25 Jarrett Sutton
Junior Guard
6-3 | 190
Kansas City, Mo.


4 minutes per game | 1.8 points per game | 0.2 rebound per game


#32 Steve Moore
Sophomore Center
6-9 | 264
Kansas City, Mo.


11 minutes per game | 1.6 points per game | 1.4 rebounds per game


The Newcomers


#10 Michael Dixon Jr.
Freshman Guard
6-1 | 175
Kansas City, Mo.


18.1 minutes per game | 8.2 points per game | 1.6 rebounds per game


#33 Tyler Stone
Freshman Forward
6-7 | 225
Memphis, Tenn.


4.3 minutes per game | 1.7 points per game | 1.2 rebounds per game


#35 John Underwood
Freshman Forward
6-9 | 208
Phoenix, Ariz.


5.3 minutes per game | 1.3 points per game | 2.8 rebounds per game

My thanks to the Missouri sports information department for the photos.


The Analysis

Missouri is, of course, a tricky team to nail down because of the style they play. Mike Anderson likes to throw waves of guards at you off the bench in a constant, full-pressure style they call "The Fastest 40 Minutes," which is what they had to change the name to when it became apparent UAB owned the rights to "40 Minutes of Hell."

Thus, no Missouri player averages more than 30 minutes per game and so far, eight different players have started for the Tigers. So, rather than talk in terms of 1-5, I'll break down the guards and the forwards as two large groups.

The three most prominent and experienced players in the Missouri backcourt are returning starters J.T. Tiller, Zaire Taylor and Kim English. Not coincidentally, they're logging the most minutes.

Tiller has been bothered by injuries and missed three games, which I imagine has contributed to the Tigers' struggles this season. Taylor, who made the game-winning shot against KU last year, has seen his scoring average dip now that more guards are contributing. But English has continued his steady play from last season and even picked his game up a bit.

Miguel Paul and Marcus Denmon both played quite a bit last year as freshmen, so they're quick off the bench in the rotation and each has started several games. But the biggest surprise of the guard group is Michael Dixon Jr., who is having more of an impact than I anticipated.

Jarrett Sutton is a career backup and doesn't play very much.

If this group has a weakness, it's that there doesn't appear to be a true replacement from sharpshooter Matt Lawrence, meaning that I'm not sure they have a guy who can knock down a contested 3-pointer. when they most need it.

That said, Missouri's problems start and end in the frontcourt. The loss of DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons cannot be overstated. Together with Lawrence, the departed trio accounted for more than 50 percent of the Tigers' points and rebounds during Missouri's Elite Eight season. And to date, no one has stepped up to replace them.

Hopes were high for sophomore Laurence Bowers, but he only has started three games. He is averaging more than 10 points per game, but seems to disappear when they need him most. More disconcerting is that he only averages five rebounds per. In fact, Missouri as a whole has been out-rebounded by all but one opponent. The Tigers don't really try to dominate the boards, and I think it's really going to cost them in Big 12 play.

Keith Ramsey and Justin Safford draw the most starts in the paint, but each is collecting even fewer statistics than Bowers. Sophomore center Steve Moore, and freshmen forwards Tyler Stone and John Underwood, are giving the Tigers even less. This is a serious weakness area that will be exposed against teams such as Kansas and Texas.


Projected Big 12 Starting Lineup

JTTiller ZaireTaylor KimEnglish KeithRamsey JustinSafford
J.T. Tiller Zaire Taylor Kim English Keith Ramsey Justin Safford
1 2 3 4 5


Projected Top Big 12 Reserves

MiguelPaul MichaelDixonJr MarcusDenmon LaurenceBowers SteveMoore
Miguel Paul Michael Dixon Jr. Marcus Denmon Laurence Bowers Steve Moore
1 2 3 4 5


The Final Verdict

I've already stated Missouri's problems above, so I won't rehash them here.

Suffice it to say that the Tigers already have several ugly losses on their resume. At home, they've been nearly unbeatable for the past year and a half, but I think their deficiencies will catch up to them.

Sure, they're probably the third- or fourth-best team in the North, but when every South team looks to have a chance to make the tournament, that equates to a basement finish. Missouri reminds me of K-State last season: One more recruiting class and a few post players away from being an NCAA team. In the meantime, I smell NIT.

Big 12 preseason prediction: 7th

My predicted finish: T-9th (with Iowa State)

Best-case scenario: 7th

Against K-State?: Loss in Manhattan, toss-up in Columbia


Previously on KNOW THY ENEMY...

  1. ???
  2. ???
  3. ???
  4. ???
  5. ???
  6. ???
  7. ???
  8. ???
  9. ???
  10. ???
  11. ???
  12. ???