#37 Missouri Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Missouri Tigers

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #37
Conference Rank:  #5 SEC

Missouri Team Page#37 Missouri Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Missouri Basketball Tickets

Frank Haith has brought Missouri to new heights since coming over from Miami three seasons ago.  He is the fastest coach to 50 wins in the history of the program.  The Tigers had a magical season two years ago when they went 30-5 in their final year as a member of the Big 12 conference.  Their switch to the SEC did not necessarily help or hurt their chances at any sort of NCAA tournament run.  They have to be considered a strong contender in that conference every year, even with Kentucky and Florida having so much success.  Last year, the Tigers fell back to Earth a little bit, but still finished well over .500 in conference play.  With only one returning starter for the upcoming season, odds are things will be difficult early.

2012-2013 record:  23-11, 11-7
2012-2013 postseason:  NCAA
Coach:  Frank Haith
Coach Record:  53-16 at Missouri, 182-117 overall

Who’s Out:
The Tigers lose four of five starters from a year ago.  That is a whole lot of attrition for any team to handle.  Stud guard and team leader Phil Pressey is gone.  An NBA draft pick, he was the floor general for Missouri that could really create some things in space with his speed.  He will be missed.  Laurence Bowers is also gone.  He was the team’s leading scorer and shot nearly 55 percent from the floor.  Former UConn forward Alex Oriakhi fulfilled his eligibility as well.  He led the team in rebounds and was fourth in the conference at snagging boards.  Keion Bell was an important contributor at the guard position.  He was deadly at the foul line (86.6 percent).  There is a lot of production out the door for Missouri with these four gone.

Who’s In:
Missouri has four freshmen coming in that should contribute and fight for minutes.  There are three top-100 players coming in to help bolster the depth for Haith.  The most touted is Wes Clark, the heir apparent to Phil Pressey at the point guard spot.  The Detroit native averaged 6.5 assists during his senior season.  Probably more important than the strong freshman class is the amount of solid transfers that Haith got to come to Columbia.  Jordan Clarkson, a transfer from Tulsa, is a legitimate scorer that is really going to add to the back court versatility Haith will need.  They also have Deuce Bello (Baylor) and Zach Price (Louisville) waiting in the wings.  They must sit out this season due to transfer rules, but they will add great talent once they are able to take the floor.  Top junior college transfer Keanau Post also joins the squad this year.

Who to Watch:
The player everyone will have their eyes on is Jabari Parker.  A highly-touted recruit out of high school, Parker originally committed to Oregon only to transfer almost immediately after the season started.  There was a bit of backlash from that, but he has certainly found his place with the Tigers.  He is the only returning starter whose minutes played are the most of any returner by a mile.  He averaged 13.7 points per game last year and was dangerous all over the court.  Haith will rely a lot on him to make things go right.  He has the talent to carry this team.  Also keep an eye on Stefan Jankovic.  The Serbian forward-center is most likely going to have a significantly increased role with post players coming at a premium.

Final Projection:
Missouri might be a little upset that they lost 11 games last season after losing only five the season before.  Success like that is difficult to duplicate year in and year out.  An 11-win conference record is nothing to sniff at.  The issue for Haith and his coaching staff is that all of their new comers are going to have to learn the college game on the fly.  He will need his deep bench of freshman to contribute to a team that lost 63 percent of their scoring from last season.  Twenty wins might be tough this season simply based on the numbers.  No doubt Haith will have this team playing much better come January.  The question is whether they will be able to rack enough wins to compete for tops in the SEC.

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Jabari Brown, Junior, Guard, 13.7 points per game
Earnest Ross, Senior, Guard, 10.3 points per game
Tony Criswell, Senior, Forward, 5.2 points per game
Ryan Rosburg, Sophomore, Forward, 1.0 point per game
Jordan Clarkson, Junior, Guard, 16.5 points per game (2011-2012 at Tulsa)

By the numbers:
Scoring Offense: 76.1 (20th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.7 (176, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.9 (51, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.3 (56, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.3 (145, 5)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (168, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.4 (30, 1)
Rebound Margin: 8.6 (4, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.9 (98, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (152, 7)

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruiting:
#43 Johnathan Williams III
#84 Wesley Clark
#125 Torren Jones


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