Missouri Basketball: Tigers projected to finish 9th in SEC

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 08: Jontay Porter
ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 08: Jontay Porter /

The Missouri Tigers, which will be short of one Michael Porter, Jr. going forward, are not expected to end the 2018-19 season any higher than ninth place.

Critics can be brutal, and this is no exception, as the 2018-19 Missouri Tigers’ men’s basketball team is projected to finish ninth overall in SEC play.

During the 2017-18 season, the Tigers almost played the entire 2017-18 season without coveted recruit, Michael Porter, Jr., who missed the season to injury, after only playing two minutes in the Mizzou’s season-opener.

The rest of the season was a roller-coaster for Mizzou, as the Tigers competed well enough to earn an overall record of 20-13 (10-8 SEC). However, the Tigers lost some close games that could have gone either way.

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During the 2017-18 season, Missouri lost 10 games by four points or less, including its 62-60 loss to Georgia in the SEC Tournament. This year’s slate of non-conference opponents should present a challenge for the Tigers.

Missouri will rematch UCF and Illinois from its 2017-18 schedule, and has a competitive non-con schedule with programs Xavier, Temple, and Iowa State, to name a few.

Not surprisingly, Kentucky is picked to win the conference, and Tennessee is picked to finish second. Without a doubt, the SEC’s programs finishing ahead of Mizzou are talented, and will present a challenge to the Tigers.

Rounding-out the SEC’s top-10 are Kentucky (1), Tennessee (2), Auburn (3), Mississippi State (4), Florida (5), LSU (6), Alabama (7), Vanderbilt (8), Missouri (9), and Arkansas (10). Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss round-out the bottom four programs finishing in the conference.

To me, ninth place seems a little low, despite the Tigers starting their second year under head coach Cuonzo Martin, and Mizzou returns talented play-makers from a year ago. Barring any major injuries to key players, I can’t see Missouri finishing the season lower than sixth place.

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Among Mizzou’s returning playmakers are Jontay Porter, Kevin Puryear, and Jeremiah Tilmon. There’s also the possibility that transfers Mark Smith and Dru Smith could play for Missouri as soon as this season.