#44 Missouri Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Missouri Tigers
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #44
Conference Rank: #8 SEC
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In his first season as head coach at Missouri, Cuonzo Martin led the Tigers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2013. Despite losing top-five prospect Michael Porter Jr. to an injury in the first game of the season, Missouri won ten games in the SEC and earned an 8-seed in the NCAA Tournament. The expectation for this season is a return trip to the Big Dance and improved success upon getting there. However, Missouri lost Porter Jr. to the NBA Draft and will be without their top two scorers from last season. Budding sophomores Jontay Porter and Jeremiah Tilmon should still have Missouri back in the thick of the SEC race.
2017-18 Record: 20-13, 10-8
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Cuonzo Martin
Coach Record: 20-13 at Missouri, 206-134 overall
Key Departed Players:
Kassius Robertson, Guard, 16.3 ppg
Jordan Barnett, Forward, 13.7 ppg
Michael Porter Jr., Forward, 10.0 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Jontay Porter, Sophomore, Forward, 9.9 ppg
Kevin Puryear, Senior, Forward, 8.6 ppg
Jeremiah Tilmon, Sophomore, Forward, 8.2 ppg
Jordan Geist, Senior, Guard, 7.3 ppg

Cullen VanLeer, Senior, Forward, 2.4 ppg
Reed Nikko, Junior, Forward, 2.3 ppg
Mitchell Smith, Sophomore, Forward, 0.0 ppg

Key New Players:
Christian Guess, Freshman, Guard

Javon Pickett, Freshman, Guard
Xavier Pinson, Freshman, Guard
K.J. Santos, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Junior College
Torrence Watson, Freshman, Guard
Missouri loses their top two scorers along with Michael Porter Jr., but they have several promising players returning this season. Jontay Porter flirted with following his brother to the NBA Draft and could have potentially been a first round pick, but he elected to return for his sophomore season. Porter only started seven games as a freshman, but averaged 9.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.7 blocks in just under 25 minutes per game. Jeremiah Tilmon didn’t have the same NBA buzz as Porter, but Tilmon started all 33 games as a freshman. Tilmon was highly inconsistent though, averaging 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in under 20 minutes per game. Porter and Tilmon both have sky-high potential heading into their second collegiate season. Kevin Puryear is back as a senior after starting 26 games last season. Puryear averaged 8.6 points and 4.3 rebounds and should provide senior leadership in the Missouri frontcourt. Senior guard Jordan Geist should become a full-time starter this season. Geist started 11 games in 2017-18, averaging 7.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Cullen VanLeer and Reed Nikko also return to provide frontcourt depth for the Tigers. K.J. Santos will give Missouri some much needed experience in the backcourt as a junior college transfer. Santos spent one season at Illinois-Chicago, averaging 7.1 points and 4.2 rebounds before playing last season in junior college. Missouri also has four freshmen guards joining the roster, headlined by four-star recruit Torrence Watson. Missouri has quite a bit of production to replace, but the potential is there for the Tigers to be just as good as they were a year ago. Missouri should find themselves back in the top half of the SEC in 2018-19.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.7 (205th in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.1 (63, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.0 (160, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.8 (27, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.3 (43, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.3 (39, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.4 (98, 4)
Rebound Margin: 4.3 (50, 4)
Assists Per Game: 13.4 (184, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.2 (293, 13)
Madness 2019 NBA Draft Rankings:
#15 Jontay Porter
Madness 2018 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#117 Torrence Watson