Missouri Tigers Head Coach, Dennis Gates wants, and in many ways need an easy non-conference schedule. That is exactly what they have. If the Tigers start their season anything less than 7-0, it will be a massive disappointment. Coach Gates is determined to prove he is the man to take this team in the direction it so desperately needs to go.
Recruiting starts at the top, but it ends with wins. Gates is gifted in many ways, recruiting being one of them, but make no mistake, a losing team is not attractive to would-be recruits. The Tigers will play their first seven games in Columbia, at home in Mizzou Arena. Their first seven opponents are:
Monday, November 7th Vs. Southern Indiana
Friday, November 11th Vs. Penn
Sunday, November 13th Vs. Lindenwood
Tuesday, November 15th Vs. Southern University Illinoi Edwardsville
Sunday, November 20th Vs. Mississippi Valley Sate
Wednesday, November 23rd Vs. Coastal Carolina
Saturday, November 26th Vs. Houston Baptist
If these first seven games look like layups, that is because they are designed to be. This does not guarantee a 7- 0 start by any means, but this scheduling certainly helps. It is important to remember Coach Gates is only returning two players and has added a wealth of transfers. Chemistry issues once the Tigers start actual game play is to be expected. To what extent is still to be determined. One thing that is clear, the Missouri Tigers are more talented than any of the teams they open the season against.
Mizzou follows up the long homestand to open the season with two more games before they welcome the National Champion, Kansas Jayhawks to Mizzou Arena on December 10th. The Tigers will face Wichita State on Tuesday, November 29th, and Southeast Missouri State on December 4th before the matchup with powerhouse Kansas.
Not only is it a decent bet that Mizzou enters the KU game 9-0, but it is also expected. It is also expected that the Jayhawks annihilate the Tigers, but we know what this rivalry means. If the Tigers can somehow pull off a victory against the defending champions, you will never hear Mizzou Arena louder.
Missouri then travels to St. Louis, MO to play Illinois at the Enterprise Center in the famed Bragging Rights game. A game that has lost some of its luster over the years. Both programs have seen better days. It was not long ago that both Mizzou and The Illini were in rebuild mode. Illinois has moved much faster with the process. The Illini have won at least twenty games three seasons in a row and are one of the top contenders for the Big Ten title in the 2022-2023 season.
The Tigers finish their out-of-conference schedule against Iowa State. The Cyclones ended last season with an overall record of 22-13, while only winning seven in the Big 12, and losing eleven in conference. So, what does that tell us? They beat bad out-of-conference teams. Depending how Mizzou starts the season, they could easily be underdogs, and drop this game if they are not careful. This is a game to keep an eye on as the Tigers prepare for the SEC schedule.
In Dennis Gates’ first season as Head Coach, no one can fault him for a soft non-conference schedule but taking advantage of it is paramount. If the Tigers enter the game against Kansas anything less than 8-1, it will be considered a disappointment and a rough start to the season. Securing a March Madness invite in his inaugural season would be a big accomplishment, and help turn the recruiting tide in Columbia, Missouri. Especially with in-state talent.