#95 Missouri Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Missouri Tigers
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #95
Conference Rank: #11 SEC
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Missouri has now finished below .500 in consecutive seasons under Cuonzo Martin after a 20-win debut year in 2017-18. The good news is the Tigers return the majority of their production from last season. However, Missouri did just fail to finish above .500 with the same players. Cuonzo Martin and Missouri will be hoping the past two years were learning years and that this season will be the payoff. Offense was a struggle last year, but Missouri should be one of the top defensive teams in the SEC in 2020-2021. With improvements across the roster, the Tigers could potentially compete at the top of the SEC.

2019-20 Record: 15-16, 7-11
Coach: Cuonzo Martin
Coach Record: 50-46 at Missouri, 236-166 overall
Key Departed Players:
Reed Nikko, Forward, 4.9 ppg
Tray Jackson, Forward, 2.9 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Dru Smith, Senior, Guard, 12.7 ppg
Xavier Pinson, Junior, Guard, 11.1 ppg
Mark Smith, Senior, Guard, 10.0 ppg
Jeremiah Tilmon, Senior, Forward, 8.2 ppg
Javon Pickett, Junior, Guard, 6.6 ppg
Kobe Brown, Sophomore, Forward, 5.8 ppg
Mitchell Smith, Senior, Forward, 5.1 ppg
Torrence Watson, Junior, Guard, 4.6 ppg
Parker Braun, Sophomore, Forward, 1.4 ppg

Key New Players:
Drew Buggs, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Hawaii

Ed Chang, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Junior College
Jordan Wilmore, Freshman, Center
Each of the top seven scorers from last season are back for Missouri. Dru Smith led the Tigers in scoring (12.7), assists (3.9) and steals (2.1) per game in his first year at Missouri. Smith is a talented all-around guard who has potential to be an all-conference guard as a senior. Xavier Pinson and Mark Smith, the other double-digit scorers for Mizzou last year, are also back as upperclassmen. D. Smith, Pinson, M. Smith, junior guard Javon Pickett and grad transfer Drew Buggs will make up one of the most experienced backcourts in the SEC. Senior big man Jeremiah Tilmon could be the X-factor for the Tigers this year. Tilmon was a top recruit who came to Missouri in 2017 with Michael Porter Jr., but he hasn’t been able to put together a season up to those standards yet. Tilmon played in just 17 games as a junior, averaging 8.2 points and 4.4 rebounds. It may be too late, but if Tilmon can put together a season that matches his talent it could be what Missouri needs to get over the hump. Kobe Brown started 26 games as a freshman, averaging 5.8 points and 3.7 rebounds. Mitchell Smith, Torrence Watson and Parker Braun all return to boost Missouri’s experience level off the bench. Missouri welcomes a couple of transfers as well. Drew Buggs is a grad transfer from Hawaii who averaged 9.4 points, 5.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds last season. Buggs set the all-time assists record at Hawaii in just three seasons there. Ed Chang is a 6-8 forward who spent one season at San Diego State before playing in junior college last year. Chang averaged 8.2 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 41.4% from three last season. Missouri has just one freshman on the roster in three-star center Jordan Wilmore who stands 7-2. Having consistency from last season will benefit Missouri, but they will need improvement from several players to achieve a better record.
Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.1 (286th in nation, 12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.2 (57, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.0 (308, 13)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.8 (61, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (237, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 29.7 (327, 13)
Free-Throw Percentage: 78.0 (10, 2)
Rebound Margin: 2.1 (117, 6)
Assists Per Game: 11.4 (299, 13)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.1 (264, 12)