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An old friend awaits Missouri early in non-conference basketball play

Looking at Games 4-8, with some Power Conference teams, and some low majors.

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Last Friday, Mizzou announced their basketball Non-Conference schedule and then yesterday we talked about the first segment of that schedule. So today we'll talk about the middle part. The nice, juicy meaty part. With our tempered expectations in hand, HHKB Chris, jaeger, Jack Peglow and myself will add our thoughts to the next 5 games of the conference schedule.

For comparison sake here (again) 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 Rock M Talks about the CBE...

the Kansas State Wildcats

Last Season: 15-17
KenPom: 88

The only for certain opponent that Mizzou takes on in the Sprint Center, we'll figure out the Tigers chances against their old conference foe.

Notable Losses MPG PPG ORtg
Thomas Gipson 28.8 11.3 111.8
Nino Williams 26.9 11.4 110.6
Marcus Foster 27.8 12.5 98.2
Jevon Thomas 25.8 4.5 81.7
Tre Harris 10.0 3.8 118.0

59.6% 69.0%

Notable Returners Ht Yr MPG PPG ORtg
Justin Edwards 6-4 Sr 21.1 6.3 97.8
Stephen Hurt 6-11 Sr 13.4 4.2 92.7
Wesley Iwundu 6-7 Jr 25.2 5.8 85.8
Nigel Johnson 6-1 Jr 17.9 5.2 102.3
Malek Harris 6-8 So 12.4 2.1 85.2

From the experts...

Sam Snelling: Kansas State has the potential to be one of the worst Power 5 teams that Missouri will face this season. They lost 60% of their minutes and 70% of the scoring, and most of those guys were run off by Bruce Weber. I really kind of feel like he was just imploding the program during the offseason. They'll have more experience than the Tigers, but Weber seems to have lost the plot a bit since taking Bill Self's players to a National Championship game a decade ago. Since then he helped stall out the Illinois program, and did fine at K-State with Frank Martin's players. I actually like Mizzou's chances in this game believe it or not. As much as I fear the Tigers taking on UNC, I'll say Mizzou pulls out a win with a low scoring ugly slugfest amongst old rivals. First team to 60 wins!

jaeger: Obviously, there's likely to be great drama here, old Big 12 foes and all that. I have absolutely no idea what to expect beyond that. Bruce Weber has been hemorrhaging players for seemingly his entire tenure at KSU, and the impression from this outsider is that he's having trouble keeping his players engaged. I think KSU is trending down while I hope Mizzou is trending up. I'll say 65-62 Mizzou.

HHKB Chris: These guys, these guys, they look familiar...As Mizzou did last year, with games against Oklahoma and a KC "neutral site" game against OK State, the Tigers dip their toes back in the water with a game against a familiar foe. Of all the teams Mizzou was formerly aligned with K-State seems to have been the most open to playing some sort of yearly game, and perhaps this game sets the stage for just that. K-State had an up and down year last season with some high highs and some low lows, while also experiencing some pre-season off the court drama. Drama to which if I recall many Mizzou fans laughed and laughed that at least we weren't K-State. I wonder what those same people thought at the end of last year...Anyway, to the game, the ambiance should be amazing, similar to the Braggin' Rights game against Illinois and the young Tigers should be able to build off of that as they did against OSU last year. The Wildcats bring back a pretty experienced team with a large crop of freshman, so a team similar to Mizzou that appears to be just a bit ahead of them where it counts. At this point in this season we should have a good idea of what kind of team we have and what kind of system Kim Anderson wants to run, going forward. Can Mizzou grab this opportunity and take a step towards respectability, or are we living last year over again due to another young team?

My scandalously early prediction: K-State 63 - Mizzou 60 with a packed Sprint Center, 45% Mizzou Fans, 45% K-State Fans, 10% Kansas fans who just want to boo Mizzou while saying they don't care about any rivalry. Meanwhile in Lawrence, Bill Self keeps telling anyone who will listen to him playing Mizzou doesn't matter and to please stop asking him these silly questions.

Jack Peglow: Like any good fling with an ex, this game should be passionately intense enough to take both teams' minds off the fact that since breaking up they've moved back in with their old, gray-haired parents. It'll be entertaining as hell while it's happening, but it won't change the fact that they've both moved on and made new friends. Afterwards, they'll each go their separate ways. They'll say that this is the last time. That this is a bad idea, and it'll never be like it was again. And they're right, it won't ever go back to the way it was when they were together, but that doesn't mean they won't secretly look forward to the next time fate sends them back to Kansas City in late November.

Next Rock M Talks...

the North Carolina Tar Heels

Last Season: 26-12
KenPom: 11

Notable Losses MPG PPG ORtg
J.P. Tokoto 29.3 8.1 101.4

14.6% 10.4%

Notable Returners Ht Yr MPG PPG ORtg
Marcus Paige 6-1 Sr 33.2 14.1 118.8
Brice Johnson 6-9 Sr 24.7 12.9 114.5
Kennedy Meeks 6-9 Jr 23.3 11.4 113.0
Justin Jackson 6-8 So 26.7 10.7 114.0
Isaiah Hicks 6-8 Jr 14.8 6.6 109.3
Nate Britt 6-1 Jr 15.3 5.5 109.5
Joel Berry 6-0 So 13.2 4.2 111.2
Theo Pinson 6-6 So 12.5 2.8 102.5
Joel James 6-10 Sr 10.0 2.5 93.9

HHKB Chris: If they do play UNC, I'm going to be brief, Mizzou is gonna get smoked. UNC's a top 5 team and while it may be close early based on adrenaline and a partial crowd, I don't think our Tigers could sustain the scoring needed to get a win.

Should this game transpire, my silly early prediction is: UNC 79 - Mizzou 51, it's not pretty and Kim Anderson does that thing where he puts his hands behind his hand and sighs...a lot.

Sam Snelling: I'd actually love for the Tigers to have the chance to get blown out by the Tar Heels. Seriously though, UNC can be scary good this year, with everybody coming back from a top 15 team a year ago. This wouldn't be a pretty matchup for the Tigers, and likely an even tougher task than Arizona. I do like their chances against K-State, which would likely match them up against UNC... but its hard to see them staying within 20 points of Roy Williams squad.

Jæčk Pęgłœw: If Mizzou draws UNC, I would suggest Tiger fans prepare by watching The Leftovers on HBO and imagining that all of the bad things that befall the program’s characters will soon come to pass on the basketball court. The more likely scenario will be the JOURNO BOWL matchup with Northwestern. Living in Chicago, I would be incredibly excited for all the smack I would be able to talk to the countless Wildcats I see downtohahahHAHAHAHAHAHAHA sorry I can’t even pretend there are that many of them around here.

Rock M also talks...

the Northwestern Wildcats

Last Season: 15-17
KenPom: 118

Notable Losses MPG PPG ORtg
JerShon Cobb 22.3 6.1 104.1
Dave Sobolewski 10.9 2.6 118.9

22.4% 6.1%

Notable Returners Ht Yr MPG PPG ORtg
Trey Demps 6-3 Sr 32.6 12.5 102.6
Alex Olah 7-0 Sr 29.4 11.7 106.2
Bryant MacIntosh 6-3 So 33.3 11.4 101.4
Vic Law 6-7 So 24.4 7.0 94.8
Sanjay Lumpkin 6-6 Jr 22.5 4.3 110.4
Scottie Lindsey 6-5 So 15.1 4.4 96.2
Nathan Taphorn 6-7 Jr 11.0 4.1 117.1

HHKB Chris: Who Mizzou plays in this game all hinges on how the Tigers do against the other purple Wildcats, and how UNC and Northwestern fair in the other semi-final of the CBE Classic, but based on my pick I'm expecting to see the Wildcats of Northwestern sitting down court from our Tigers as we play for third place.

Fun fact that you've heard over 100 times: Northwestern has never made the NCAA tournament, like, ever. And like so many years before, this could be the year! In all seriousness, this Northwestern team probably has the best chance of any version of their team in the recent past to make some noise in the B1G, and should be a matchup mess for our Mizzou Tigers. The team returns a big experienced squad that should spend the game owning the glass, so hopefully Mizzou is making their shots. Will Kim Anderson go big running three talls out on the court all game long, some combo of Woods, Rosburg, Gant and Allen on the court for most of the game? Or has he decided to run a small lineup to try and take advantage of the quickness afforded to him with Clark, TI, Wright and Terrence Phillips. This game, regardless of outcome, should show what level of maturity this team has developed since last year, because if you recall Mizzou got thumped by Arizona and then saw another B1G team across the way in Purdue and promptly got their doors blown off because they didn't show the proper amount of respect to their opponent. Can Mizzou bounce back from a predicted loss to the other purple Wildcats and beat these purple Wildcats?

My irresponsibly early prediction: Northwestern 58 - Mizzou 56, with a filled Sprint Center of a hodgepodge of disgruntled Mizzou fans, UNC fans (lots of bandwagon I imagine), K-State fans and for some reason Iowa State fans. In Lawrence Bill Self peels an apple in its entirety in one go with no breaks, gets so excited and goes to run to tell someone and falls down.

jaeger: If we're playing UNC, I'm just hoping for a respectable effort. I just can't be intimidated by Northwestern. I think Mizzou wins that matchup 62-55.

Jacque Pougleau: Northwestern will likely field a decent team this coming season, and I'm not sure how confident I am saying that about Missouri just yet. If I had to place a bet on the game, I would be picking a second-straight Mizzou loss to a team dressed in purple. Which is fine. Purple is great (Ed. note: we can't print falsehoods here -- Sam).

Sam Snelling: I honestly like the direction that Northwestern is headed in at the moment. Chris Collins has an experienced, but still fairly young team coming back, coupled with a nice looking recruiting class, Northwestern might actually have a shot at that ever elusive NCAA tournament. I'm not sure about this season, in fact I doubt it, but in a year or two I think they'll be on the brink. However, if the Tigers end up matched up against the other Wildcats, this should be a tossup game, but I would give the edge to Northwestern. Experience coming back will matter, although I like Mizzou to keep it close. Say within 5-6 points.

Rock M talks about...

Arkansas State Red Wolves

Last Season: 11-18
KenPom: 292

Notable Losses MPG PPG ORtg
Daijon Maclien 12.3 2.0 73.9

6.2% 3.1%

Notable Returners Ht Yr MPG PPG ORtg
Anthony Livingston 6-8 Jr 35.8 15.9 99.2
Cameron Golden 6-0 Sr 35.1 13.7 94.4
Sean Gardner 6-5 Sr 30.9 12.0 99.2
Frederic Dure 6-5 Sr 18.5 6.3 93.4
Nouhoum Bocoum 6-10 Sr 15.5 5.5 95.3
P.J. Hardwick 5-10 Jr 28.7 4.8 91.2
Kelvin Downs 6-9 Sr 17.9 3.9 77.1
Charles Waters 6-6 Sr 12.9 3.1 96.6
C.J. Foster 6.3 Jr 14.2 2.0 77.9

Jhalk Paegsloo: A veteran team that returns *all* of its best players from last year? One whose football team is going to get gobsmacked by Missouri's football team at home earlier in the year? Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and pencil this in as a loss. The Red Wolves will head for Columbia with revenge on their minds, and by golly they're going to get it. Sure, football and basketball are completely different things played by totally different players, but this is personal. Okay, fine. If I'm being serious, Arkansas State really doesn't stand a chan- wait, who is that? That large man sitting on the Arkansas State bench wearing a tracksuit with the word STATE crossed out, who is he? Could it be? BAH GAWD, IT'S BRET BIELEMA IN DISGUISE, COME TO LEAD THE RED WOLVES TO VICTORY.

HHKB Chris: The Red Wolves of Arkansas State come a calling to Mizzou Arena for a Tuesday night affair after the Tigers get some days off to celebrate Thanksgiving and get back to it. Side note, did anyone else drink Red Wolf while in Missouri? I did and I found it to be the more robust flavor of the Red family of beers, Red Dog being just too light for my taste. Red Wolf was paired best with freshman sadness and rejection, good times! Anyway, the Red Wolves bring back a very experienced team from last year, however it is not a very good one...though they did beat Mississippi State but who didn't last season? Oh...yeah...mmmm, ignore that. Anyway, after a couple tough games against power 5 opponents Mizzou gets to sink it's teeth into a Sunbelt opponent that is experienced and deep, however, Mizzou should be able to get this win. Kim Anderson should be able to extend the bench in this game if the Tigers come out and are able to assert themselves early. If Mizzou has trouble and let the Red Wolves hang around, this could be a game late into the second half that causes the Live Thread to panic a little.

My spectacularly early prediction: Mizzou 68 - Arkansas State 45, Mizzou gets the big win in a dead as a doornail Mizzou arena that has about 2.5 K in attendance with everyone planning their trip to Atlanta...for another SEC title game. Yeah, I just went there.

Sam Snelling: The Red Wolves marched into the Hump in Starkville and took down the mighty Mississippi State Bulldogs last year (he said sarcastically), so it's not out of reach that they find the right mix for this game and challenge one of the worse SEC teams again this year. They also return a lot of contributors from a year ago, but to a team that was one of the worst in the country, so that probably doesn't mean much. My expectations, if things are progressing as we'd all hope, are that the Tigers take care of the Red Wolves with ease, say by 12-15 points. Less and it's not ideal, more and then you're a lot happier about the outlook on the season. But 12-15 sounds reasonable.

jaeger: They're experienced, sure, but is the talent there? I don't think so. I'm calling it a convincing Mizzou win, 71-47

Last, Rock M wraps up with...

Northern Illinois Huskies

Last Season: 14-16
KenPom: 181

Notable Losses MPG PPG ORtg
Anthony Johnson 22.8 10.8 110.1
Jordan Threloff 24.7 8.3 109.5
Aaron Armstead 20.9 7.2 105.5
Pete Rakocevic 15.1 3.7 86.5

41.8% 45.4%

Notable Returners Ht Yr MPG PPG ORtg
Darrell Bowie 6-7 Sr 23.5 9.8 90.5
Aaric Armstead 6-5 Jr 28.8 11.1 100.5
Trevon Baker 5-10 Sr 25.6 8.0 96.4
Marin Maric 6-10 So 14.5 4.9 105.9
Chuks Iroegbu 6-4 Sr 10.9 3.7 103.0
Michael Orris 6-2 Jr 26.2 3.7 80.0

HHKB Chris: Come on feel the Northern Illinoise! Like the Red Wolves before them, Mizzou faces another team that they should be able to beat before the schedule picks up again. In this lull between power 5 teams, Mizzou should be feasting. Northern Illinois brings back an experienced team, but like Arkansas State before them, not a very good one. NI couldn't shoot, pass or score, so they should be a team Mizzou can feel better about itself after this game. Like in the ASU game, Kim Anderson should be able to extend his bench and give the freshmen currently not playing a chance to get some good minutes, while giving some rest to whoever is in the established top 7 of the squad to this point. Honestly, this is a game Mizzou should have little trouble with.

My egregiously early prediction: Mizzou 66 - Northern Illinois 42, with around 2.75 K in the arena though everyone in attendance is wishing they were in Atlanta at the SEC championship where Mizzou will take on Texas A&M and the SEC will weep wondering how they got to this point...

jaeger: Like the last couple games, this could go a couple ways. Either the team has taken a step forward and wins convincingly by 20+ points, or they're not as improved as we hope and it's a nail biter.

Sam Snelling: NIU was slightly better than Arkansas State was a year ago, but don't really seem to have a program defining player who can help keep them in games against bigger, faster opponents. Head Coach Mark Montgomery has done a good job elevating the NIU program from awful to merely decent. This is a program who haven't had a winning conference record since 2006, so there's still some work yet to do. I feel as though this is a game that should be a little closer than the Ark. St. game, but should still be an easy win for the Tigers. I'll say a safe 8-10 point win.

Janko Kukanisko: It’s high treason in this conference to play basketball on SEC Christmas Eve. The mere act of scheduling this game has likely doomed Mizzou to a stocking full of Independence Bowls. I hope you’re happy, scheduling office. Thanks to you, we’ll be spending our Christmas vacation in Shreveport.

Rock M wraps up with...

Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks

Last Season: 12-17
KenPom: 248

Notable Losses MPG PPG ORtg
C.J. Cater 34.3 16.9 101.4
Mike Romstampour 24.4 10.2 100.8

29.8% 29.1%

Notable Returners Ht Yr MPG PPG ORtg
Davin Patterson 5-11 Sr 30.5 11.7 97.5
Marcus Tyus 6-1 Sr 27.9 13.0 110.7
Jake White 6-8 Sr 20.4 7.3 103.2
Trashawn Thurman 6-7 So 25.8 9.5 101.8
Tim Smallwood 6-2 Sr 15.2 4.5 90.7
Randy Reed 6-6 Sr 11.7 3.9 112.2
Rylan Murray 6-7 Fr 10.0 3.1 110.9
Kyler Erickson 6-0 Sr 14.0 2.9 106.0

HHKB Chris: OMAHA...OMAHA!!! Thanks for that Peypey. The Omaha Mavericks come to Mizzou Arena as the last tune up Mizzou has before they get back into the power 5 portion of the non con, and hopefully by this point the Tigers are comfortably cruising through games. The Mavericks are another experienced team that finished 20th in the country in scoring last year, so this could be a barn burner. The Mavericks play an up tempo style offense that goes up and down the court at quite the clip, so expect to see Kim Anderson lean on a smaller lineup, potentially including 2 freshman starting. Honestly, I don't care how much they score, Mizzou should win though I imagine it will be a closer first half than we as fans want because as we saw during the Mike Anderson era even bad teams can score when playing this style, but it won't be enough I say!

My confoundingly early prediction: Mizzou 70 - OMAHA 58 with 4K fans in attendance...only two Antlers get tossed from Mizzou Arena.

Sam Snelling: With two seniors who were double digit scorers returning, this could end up being a bit of a trap game for the Tigers. Mizzou will have some looming opponents, but they can't overlook this team. Like Mizzou they lost a close game to UMKC a year ago, but the Mavs have some power 5 opponents that they've kept close to in the last few years, and Mizzou will not scare them. You hope that this is a game where Missouri puts some early distance between them and their foe, but I kind of think with Arizona and NC State behind them on the schedule, the Tigers get caught and end up in a close game until about 10 minutes to go. Then they gain some separation and win the game by 8-12 points.

jaeger: Nebraska sucks. The state, and all its colleges. And Payton Manning saying the city's name way too much. I say 143-1 Mizzou because one of these predictions should be wildly biased for no apparent reason.

ˈdʒæk p[e^]g-ˈlō: Missouri takes a pit stop in Omaha on their way out to the west coast for a trouncing. (Okay, so they come to Mizzou Arena, but that doesn’t allow the analogy to work so just hush for a second.) In theory, this should be a great opportunity for the Tigers to make sure all systems are performing at a high level before they hit the big time out West. They just have to make sure they don’t run out of gas during what will apparently be a drag race of a first half.