A new look for Mizzou
The Tigers might score less this season, but the D could make up for it
The Missouri Tigers were a team that inspired a good deal of consensus last season, but what's interesting is there was more than one consensus. On the eve of the NCAA tournament many observers were very sure that the Tigers deserved a No. 1 seed. After all, this is a team that compiled a 30-4 record in head coach Frank Haith's first season, an impressive mark that included a Big 12 tournament title.
To those of us who look at other measures in addition to wins and losses, however, Haith's team wasn't quite what it was cracked up to be. Mizzou was self-evidently magnificent on offense, but its defense was average (or even, speaking more precisely, a little worse than the Big 12 average in conference play).
As often happens in these disputes, neither side turned out to be entirely right. The Tigers didn't march to the Final Four like the first group of observers expected, but then again no one in "my" group stepped forward before the fact and said, "I fully expect Missouri to lose to a No. 15 seed from the MEAC." I may have had my reservations regarding this team's ability to defend, but those reservations emphatically did not encompass the possibility of losing to Norfolk State in the round of 64.
Arguably the most surprising outcome in the entire 2012 NCAA tournament, that loss ended the Missouri careers of Marcus Denmon, Ricardo Ratliffe, Kim English and Matt Pressey. That's a lot to lose. But on the plus side Laurence Bowers has returned from the injury that sidelined him all of last season, and the Tigers have also added transfers Alex Oriakhi (Connecticut), Earnest Ross (Auburn) and Keion Bell (Pepperdine). Lastly, Haith of course has 5-foot-11 point guard Phil Pressey, the SEC's Preseason Player of the Year.
To read John Gasaway's full take on Missouri, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- Kaminsky, No. 6 Wisconsin prevail in overtime
- Kentucky matches best start under Calipari
- Williams, Texas Tech upset No. 9 Iowa St.
- Alexander, No. 11 Kansas top No. 17 Texas
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider CBB content
• Greenberg/Telep: Kansas Jayhawks
• Greenberg/Finkelstein: Marquette
• Gasaway/Rankin: Indiana Hoosiers
• Gasaway/Rankin: Michigan Wolverines
• Gasaway/Rankin: Ohio State Buckeyes
• Greenberg/Finkelstein: Memphis Tigers
• Gasaway/Rankin: Florida Gators
• Greenberg/Telep: Kentucky Wildcats
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Louisville Cardinals
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Syracuse Orange
• Greenberg/Biancardi: NC State Wolfpack
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Duke Blue Devils
• Biancardi/Gasaway: North Carolina Tar Heels
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Arizona Wildcats
• Greenberg/Telep: UCLA Bruins
• Gasaway: Breakout second-year coaches
• Lunardi: Could Louisville repeat as champs?
• Greenberg: UVA tops list of surprise teams
• Fraschilla: How returning stars can improve
• Gasaway: Top title challengers to Kentucky
• Lunardi: Who will earn No. 1 seeds in 2014?
• Telep: Latest on No. 13 junior Theo Pinson
• Rankin: What Wiggins means for Kansas
• Biancardi: KU to prep Wiggins for NBA success
• Telep: Updated look at top recruits
• Roundtable: Most impressive on AAU circuit?
• Ford: NBA draft lottery preview
• Ford: Winners from the NBA draft combine
• Fraschilla: Burke the draft's top point guard?
• Ford: Measurements concern some GMs
• Ford: Why Wiggins would go No. 1 in 2013
Jay Bilas Blog
Jay's take on latest from around the nation
Analysis from Fraschilla, Greenberg and Lunardi
Get news and rumblings before anyone
Hollinger's College PER
College basketball's top players
Get wagering advice for every game