Missouri Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Missouri Tigers
SEC (23-10, 11-7)

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Missouri Head Coach Frank Haith may not be the best tactician in the country. He also may be coaching a team almost entirely filled with transfer players and other people’s recruits. There is also the matter of the investigation into possible NCAA violations while at Miami. And, well, I am not quite sure where I’m going with this. Nevertheless, Missouri has a talented basketball team. Perhaps partly due to Mr. Haith, this team has somewhat underachieved this season. Although they have spent most of the year ranked in the top 25, expectations were sky high and hope of a season being the best team in the conference was in fans’ sights. It didn’t come together that way but the regular season was not where Missouri’s ultimate goals lay anyways.

Big Wins: 11/24 vs VCU (68-65), 12/22 vs Illinois (82-73), 2/19 Florida (63-60)
Bad Losses: 1/12 at Mississippi (49-64), 1/30 at LSU (70-73), 2/16 at Arkansas (71-73)
Coach: Frank Haith (2 seasons at Missouri)

Why They Can Surprise:
When you’re building a team, most coaches would want to start with a big man and a point guard. Well, Missouri has two talented big men and one of the best point guards in the nation. After that, the rest would be gravy but Missouri manages to flank those three men with other talented ballplayers as well. This Tigers squad is one of the most talented in the country from top to bottom, and the numbers back this up. They are one of the best rebounding teams in the country, thanks to those big men, Laurence Bowers and Alex Oriakhi. Their point guard, Phil Pressey, scores in double figures while dishing out over seven assists per ball game. And on the wings, Coach Haith has three other men who each average double figures to round out a superb top six rotation. With regular season wins over the likes of VCU, Illinois, and Alabama, Missouri’s upside is evident. After all, they never lost at home.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The downside for this Missouri team is also pretty easy to see though. They are a different team on the road. They didn’t play a true road game until the 28th of December. Including that contest, here are the results of Missouri’s first eight road games of the season: loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, win, loss, loss. And not all of those were against high-caliber teams or even tournament teams. Road troubles happen to a lot of teams around the country but perhaps they inflict Missouri more so. Laurence Bowers’ mid-season injury preempted a number of losses and he has not produced the same since returning. However, Phil Pressey, the one who controls the entire offense, also is prone to some very bad games. For a top notch point guard talent, he has bad shooting games and many more 7+ turnover games than fans would like. Without Bowers playing at full capacity, a first round tournament loss could be as simple as Pressey literally throwing the game away.

Probable Starters:
Phil Pressey, Junior, Guard, 11.6 ppg, 7.1 apg
Keion Bell, Senior, Guard, 11.1 ppg, 1.6 apg, 4.3 rpg
Jabari Brown, Sophomore, Guard, 13.7 ppg, 1.5 apg
Alex Oriakhi, Senior, Forward, 11.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Laurence Bowers, Senior, Forward, 14.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Earnest Ross, Junior, Guard, 10.3 ppg, 1.2 apg, 5.1 rpg
Negus Webster-Chan, Freshman, Guard, 2.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Tony Criswell, Junior, Forward, 5.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.2 (15th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.8 (183, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.2 (48, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.6 (74, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.3 (147, 5)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.0 (159, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.4 (29, 1)
Rebound Margin: 9.3 (3, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.9 (105, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (146, 7)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
2012    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Norfolk State
2011    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Cincinnati
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Clemson
2010    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to West Virginia
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Cornell
2009    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Marquette
2009    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Memphis
2009    NCAA    Regional Final loss to Connecticut
2005    NIT        First Round loss to DePaul

*all team stats through 3/10


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules