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Before the trip to Xavier, Mizzou Hoops must conquer Wofford

Part one, where we cover the exhibition game, plus the games that count, 1-3.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, Mizzou announced their basketball Non-Conference schedule and it looks like a nice combination of difficult Power 5 challenges, and some easier low-major games. With the Tigers coming off their lowest win total since 1967, expectations for the coming season are... well... tempered.

So with tempered expectations, we thought we'd take some time to walk through the Non-Conference schedule and do a few quick takes on each opponent so we can figure out where we hope and expect our Tigers to land going into the conference schedule, which will likely be released soon as well. Over the next few days we'll preview each team and HHKB Chris, jaeger, Jack Peglow and myself will add our thoughts to the first 13 games (plus one exhibition) of the 2015-16 season.

For comparison sake here is your returning Tigers:

Missouri Tigers

Last Season: 9-23
KenPom: 214

We all know the story at this point, but here's the outlook.

Notable Losses MPG PPG ORtg
Johnathan Williams III 29.4 11.9 90.4
Montaque Gill-Caesar 24.0 9.1 83.8
Keith Shamburger 34.1 8.8 109.9
Keanau Post 14.1 4.1 103.8
Deuce Bello 10.9 1.8 66.0

56% 59.5%

Notable Returners Ht Yr MPG PPG ORtg
Wes Clark 6-0 Jr 31.0 10.1 93.4
Namon Wright 6-5 So 20.2 6.8 89.3
Jakeenan Gant 6-8 So 14.1 4.9 103.4
Tramaine Isabell 6-0 So 15.1 4.1 81.0
D'Angelo Allen 6-7 So 17.0 3.3 101.7
Ryan Rosburg 6-10 Sr 16.7 3.3 93.2

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

First let's talk Missouri Western...

Mo Western

jaeger: Just...just don't lose this one, guys.

HHKB Chris: This game shouldn't really tell us anything about anything unless the Tigers completely blow it and somehow lose, which just doesn't even seem remotely possible. Missouri Western is not on the level of a UMKC, but like and UMSL or William Jewell who Mizzou was able to handle before the dark times. What I'm looking to see is who Kim Anderson puts out in his starting 5. Has Jakeenan supplanted Rosburg? Does Mizzou go with one big and four smaller guys, putting Wes, Namon, TI, and a Terrence Phillips or KJ Walton out there alongside Gant or Rosburg? The starting 5 we see on November 6 may not be the one we see on the regular come SEC play, but I'm intrigued to see how the team starts out. This is a game Mizzou will win, because they are just flat our more talented than Missouri Western, and I'm hoping that the win is large enough so that we see the entire incoming class getting minutes during the game and some mixing and matching of the lineups. From a traditional 3 small, 2 bigs, to a 4 small, 1 big run and gun and letting all three ballhandlers get some time leading the show.

A WAY too early prediction: Mizzou 75 - Missouri Western 34 with an attendance around 3K for this Friday night affair.

Sam Snelling: I mean, they have to win this one right? I'm not gonna bother with a score. But they'd better win by 20 or more.

Jack Peglow: "Exhibition" means that this one counts double, right? Pretty sure it does, which means this sure-fire win will be a big boon for the Tigers during the tournament selection proce-


Nah, I can't even finish that sentence.

Now Rock M Talks...

the Wofford Terriers

Last Season: 28-7
KenPom: 86

The Tigers start Kim Anderson's second regular season off at home against the Wofford Terriers. Wofford took Arkansas down to the wire a season ago in the round of 64 of the NCAA tournament.

Notable Losses MPG PPG ORtg
Karl Cochran 31.1 14.1 103.6
Lee Skinner 29.6 9.9 106.5
John Swinton 11.2 1.9 111.3

35.9% 38.6%

Notable Returners Ht Yr MPG PPG ORtg
Spencer Collins 6-4 Sr 27.6 11.8 111.1
Justin Gordon 6-6 Sr 21.2 7.5 99.6
Eric Garcia 6-0 Jr 26.9 7.7 115.0
Jaylen Allen 6-3 Jr 17.7 6.3 101.4

From the experts...

HHKB Chris: Welcome to game 1 of the CBE Classic! Don't let the mascot fool you, the Terriers of Wofford are going to be a challenging group to play, especially if Mizzou comes out thinking that the name on the front of their jerseys is worth a win by itself based on the name across those of theTerriers. Wofford are coming off their best season in their history and an NCAA tournament appearance where they lost a heartbreaker to Arkansas by a mere 3 points. This game should give Mizzou an early test and give Kim Anderson an idea of what kind of team he has. The starting 5 in this game should mirror what we expect to see and I imagine barring a blow out, we'll see the bench shrink as KA decides who he can lean on to win games against the real competition on the schedule. I'll be interested to see where D'Angelo is playing in this game, if he's going to be in the stretch three mold taking shots from the outside or being more in the traditional four position banging for boards and looking for entry passes from one of our many guards.

Too Early Prediction: Mizzou 56 - Wofford 55 with an attendance around 3K as most fans are in the parking lots at arrowhead already tailgating for the BYU game.

Sam Snelling: This is a game that downright frightens me on the schedule. Wofford has always been a solid low to mid major, and they'll be bringing in a team that is deep with experience of a big run a season ago. Mizzou will have the athleticism to beat Wofford, and honestly they SHOULD win this game. But this just feels to me like the kind of game that will trip up this young team. If Mizzou wins this game, my outlook on the season will get a little rosier. I'm guessing Wofford 57 - Mizzou 53 right now; If Mizzou can push the pace and the score well into the 60's, I think they'll win though.

Jackie Pegs: I appreciate the scheduling elves giving me the chance to gauge how much of my time I want to invest in the basketball team during the early stages of the season. If the Tigers trounce the tournament-tested Terriers, they will have obtained my full, non-football attention. A close win or loss will both have roughly the same result for me personally: morbid curiosity. If Mizzou comes out and lays a big ol' egg, I'll overlay a loud farting noise over Sam's discussion of the game during the following podcast.

jaeger: Silliest mascot ever? Possibly. I'm actually glad this game is early in the season; the Terriers are a solid team (although they lost some big-time scoring in Cochran and Skinner), and it should give a nice early indication of where the team is at. And, since it's the first official game of the season, the team should be geared up for it. Finally, if we lose, it gives all of us fans the opportunity to adjust our expectations accordingly. My prediction is a 10-point Mizzou win, something like 66-56.

Rock M Talks...

the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks

Last Season: 18-15
KenPom: 191

UMES was a solid MEAC program a year ago, but the MEAC was a pretty bad league. Their best win a year ago was against the 183rd ranked team in the country last season.

Notable Losses MPG PPG ORtg
Mike Myers 26.4 15.8 105.7
Devon Walker 27.8 9.4 118.3
Ishaq Pitt 25.2 5.5 96.7
Isaac Smith 12.2 1.3 63.1

45.8% 47.0%

Notable Returners Ht Yr MPG PPG ORtg
Devin Martin 6-4 Sr 29.9 14.0 107.6
Dominique Elliot 6-8 Sr 21.0 7.1 90.5
Ryan Andino 6-2 So 21.5 7.1 121.9
Iman Johnson 6-5 Sr 17.7 3.7 91.9
Travis Trim 6-1 Sr 12.1 1.7 77.7

Jackson Peegs: Experience is great. I have tons of basketball experience, I've been playing the game since the early 1990s. That's *significantly* more time spent playing basketball than the children on Mizzou's roster have accrued. That said, they would wipe the floor with my ass if I ever played them. Experience doesn't mean much if you don't have the talent to compete with your opponent. UM-ES has a very extensive "Work History" section on their resume, but it shouldn't be enough to get the job over a much more talented Missouri team.

HHKB Chris: It's game 2 of the CBE Classic and should not be on the level of difficulty that Wofford showed in game 1 of this tournament. UM-ES brings back a very experienced team however this is still a game Mizzou should win and win with some ease. In this game, much like the Missouri Western game I imagine we'll see a few different lineups from Kim Anderson as he continues to try and get an idea of what works and what doesn't and get a feel of what kind of tempo he wants to see from his offense. UM-ES is not the biggest team so there should be plenty of rebounding opportunities and a chance to see the progress Jakeenan has made in year two. Mizzou should win and win going away. If it's a close one this could portend a follow up of last years dreadful season and Mizzou fans will begin to question if the program is headed in the right direction. But I don't think it will be!

A Really Too Early Prediction: Mizzou 65 - UM-ES 33 with an attendance of 3K for this Sunday night affair.

jaeger: This one should be a no-brainer. UM-ES has some experience, but should be sufficiently outclassed athletically that Mizzou wins handily. I'm predicting something in the neighborhood of 68-40 Mizzou, with the bench emptying about halfway through the second half. The only way I see a loss is if the team has already lost to Wofford and implodes.

Sam Snelling: A relatively deep team, and as you can see by the minutes played, they played a lot of guys last year. With that sort of disbursement amongst the minutes that would lead one to think that the Hawks played at a faster pace, but their Adj Tempo was at 134, pretty much average. They ended their season ranked higher than Mizzou in KenPom rankings a year ago, however the Hawks didn't come within 20 points of a high major opponent, losing by 25 to Virginia Tech (who finished 11-22 a year ago), 37 to Villanova and 40 to VCU. Even with Mizzou's lack of experience they should be able to out-talent the Hawks to the tune of an easy win. The only way this is an important game in the season is to gauge how much improved the Tigers are from a year ago. A close win and it might signal another long year, but there's almost zero ways I see the Tigers losing this game, I'll say by at least 15 points.

Rock M wraps up with...

Xavier Muskateers

Last Season: 23-14
KenPom: 22

Notable Losses MPG PPG ORtg
Matt Stainbrook 26.7 12.3 118.9
Dee Davis 32.8 9.0 104.3

29.8% 29.1%

Notable Returners Ht Yr MPG PPG ORtg
Trevon Bluiett 6-6 So 28.3 11.0 109.9
Remy Abell 6-4 Sr 27.6 8.4 115.0
Myles Davis 6-2 Jr 26.9 10.6 112.9
Jalen Reynolds 6-10 Jr 20.3 9.9 114.9
J.P. Macura 6-5 So 13.2 5.4 100.9
James Farr 6-10 Sr 15.6 4.2 90.3
Brandon Randolph 6-2 Jr 9.7 2.1 100.9

jaeger: Mizzou kept the game close despite a hilariously inconsistent offense, and Matt Stainbrook is leaving, who wasn't a monster but was basically the best possible version of Ryan Rosburg. If Mizzou maintains some scoring momentum and gets some stops, they could surprise a team like Xavier, but I think they lose a close one, 71-70 Xavier.

HHKB Chris: Mizzou's first name opponent of the season and first road game of the season all wrapped into one, what more could you ask for? The Tigers head to Ohio to take on the Musketeers who advanced to the sweet 16 before falling to Arizona in last year's NCAA tournament. Uber driver and Mac6 look alike, Matt Stainbrook, is no longer around to hold down the middle for Xavier but the Musketeers still have plenty of talent returning this season along with freshman Kaiser Gates who you might remember as a player Mizzou offered, Sam profiled and then chose to go somewhere else...I know, you've heard that song before. Xavier came to Mizzou arena last year in December which was Jakeenan's first game with the team after his 9 game suspension and he started on a tear. Mizzou kept the game close, and even led mid way through the second half, but were felled when Xavier went on an 11-2 run and put the game away as Mizzou couldn't score. If Mizzou can keep this game close into the second half and give a scare to Xavier, I think we'd all feel good about that. Mizzou's going to have to go with a bigger lineup due to the size of the Musketeers, so we could see a lot of Gant, Rosburg, Allen and Woods in an effort to keep up on the boards.

A touch too early prediction: Xavier 62 - Mizzou 50. The Tigers keep it close for the first half but the Tigers just don't have enough at this point to get a win on the road against what should be a top 25 team.

Sam Snelling: It's hard to like this matchup for the Tigers, as this is a tough task and it's one that occurs quite early in the season. Xavier returns a lot of experience and scoring from a team that slapped the Tigers around in Columbia a year ago, and the Muskateers should project as a borderline top 25 team heading into the season, where Mizzou is probably NOT going to be hanging around the top 25 or receiving votes to get into the top 25... anytime soon. If there is one reason for hope, Xavier is known for being a highly efficient offensive team, but not the most stellar of defensive teams. So I think the score will likely be higher than what Chris predicted, but Mizzou will still end up on the losing end, probably in the 78 - 66 range. If they keep it under 10, I think that's a good sign.

Jolk Pëggslø: Remember earlier when I talked about Mizzou having the talent to trump their opponent's experience? That, uh, won't work here. Xavier returns a large chunk of last year's Sweet 16 team, and should likely end the season ranked somewhere within the top 25. Mizzou... shouldn't. I don't see Mizzou being able to give the Musketeers much of a scare, but stranger things have happened. Even without their Uber driver driving them, Xavier should still cruise to a double-digit win.

Next update, we'll chat about the CBE tournament in Kansas City and more.