Missouri head coach Mike Anderson supposedly rejected a deal that would have been worth close to $2 million per season to coach at Oregon. Missouri would not have been able to equal that amount of money, a year after they gave Anderson a new seven-year contract worth $1.55 million per year. The decision by Anderson to remain shows quite a bit about his character. This will be his fifth year in Columbia, and he wants to complete what he began. A veteran roster along with a Top 10 recruiting class gives Missouri an opportunity to do some serious damage not only in the Big 12, but in the NCAA Tournament. After reaching the Elite Eight in 2009, Missouri went 23-11 overall and 10-6 in conference action last season while making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
BetUS has marked Missouri at +600 to win the conference this year. I believe this is the best value bet among college basketball spreads in terms of futures wagering for this conference. Missouri is certainly a sleeper, and will be a force this year just two years after they reached the Elite Eight. This sportsbook will give you $500 free cash by signing up for a new account and depositing $500 or more.
Jack Jones offers NCAA basketball picks at affordable prices. Sign up for a premium package with him as he extends his 37-23 (62%) CBB run after finishing last season very strong.
Justin Safford returns from a torn anterior cruciate ligament for his senior year, making him the only senior on the Tiger roster. Junior Laurence Bowers is healthy after offseason wrist surgery, and hopes to continue his stellar play within the conference where he led the team in rebounds and blocked shots last year. The signings of Ricardo Ratliffe and Tony Mitchell has Columbia humming. Ratliffe was the country’s top junior college players last season, averaging 27.4 points and 11.3 boards for Central Florida Community College. As good as Ratliffe will likely be, Mitchell has the potential to be even better. He was a top-15 recruit with NBA talent who, if he can keep his grades up, will probably be a big addition for Missouri. Providing depth on the inside is junior Steve Moore along with sophomore John Underwood.
No question the Tigers will miss the services of J.T. Tilller and Zaire Taylor, two team leaders who were able to lock down opponents on defense. But there are still a lot of talented guys on the roster, as junior Kim English is the team’s top returning point producer at 14.0 PPG. Junior Marcus Denmon put up 10.4 PPG and shot 40.7% from behind the line a year ago. English must improve his shooting after netting just 34.6 percent of his attempts, and he also needs to protect the basketball after committing a team-high 71 turnovers. Sophomore Michael Dixon will probably get the first opportunity to run the point, especially with his quickness and ball-handling skills. If he can make more of his jump shots, the sky is the limit for Dixon. Phil and Matt Pressey are two brothers and two new faces the Tigers are depending on right away. Both are sons of former NBA player Paul Pressley, who was Anderson’s college roommate. Phil is a freshman who is one of the top recruits at the one, while Matt is a junior college All-American. Look for freshman Ricky Kreklow to possibly find some playing time as well due to his excellent shot.
Jack’s Prediction: 4th Place in the Big 12 – Anderson coaches a fast paced brand of basketball, and he has the depth this season to run his scheme to perfection. Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor are the preseason favorites to contend for the Big 12 title, but if Anderson can get his new players to buy into his defensive philosophy, then Missouri will be competing for that championship themselves. The Tigers have never reached the Final Four, and they don’t just want to make it to the NCAA Tournament for a third consecutive season. Anderson stuck around because he knows the talent this team has and their upside, which makes the Tigers a clear sleeper in both the Big 12 and on a national level.
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