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Missouri releases its SEC basketball schedule

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The Tigers play South Carolina and Florida to start SEC play, then finish with three doozies in a row.

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The SEC featured five teams in Ken Pomeroy’s top 35 in 2016-17 — Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Vanderbilt — and Missouri will play those teams a combined seven times this coming winter.

More interestingly, the Tigers will begin SEC play with three of those opponents among the first four games. They will also finish with three in a row.

Missouri released its official completed schedule on Thursday. We already knew what the non-conference slate had to offer — an interesting start, followed by a decent amount of nothing — and now we know that the Tigers’ SEC slate takes on basically the same tone.

Missouri’s SEC hoops schedule

(2016-17 KenPom ranking in parentheses)
  • Jan. 3: at South Carolina (24)
  • Jan. 6: Florida (5)
  • Jan. 10: Georgia (61)
  • Jan. 13: at Arkansas (35)
  • Jan. 17: Tennessee (57)
  • Jan. 20: at Texas A&M (64)
  • Jan. 24: Auburn (82)
  • Jan. 27: at Mississippi State (88)
  • Jan. 31: at Alabama (56)
  • Feb. 3: Kentucky (4)
  • Feb. 6: at Ole Miss (74)
  • Feb. 10: Mississippi State (88)
  • Feb. 13: Texas A&M (64)
  • Feb. 17: at LSU (172)
  • Feb. 20: Ole Miss (74)
  • Feb. 24: at Kentucky (4)
  • Feb. 27: at Vanderbilt (33)
  • Mar. 3: Arkansas (35)

The stakes for Missouri’s season — whether the Tigers need to get hot to assure an at-large bid, or whether they’re going to be players for the SEC title — will be defined by the middle of January. Starting with trips to South Carolina and Arkansas and visits from Florida and Georgia could realistically net anything from a 4-0 to 1-3 start.

From the perspective of opponent quality, things ease up a bit from there; Mizzou hosts Kentucky on February 3 but otherwise doesn’t play a single 2016-17 top-50 team between January 13 and February 24. But then comes the big finish: at Kentucky on February 24, at Vanderbilt on February 27 and Arkansas at home on March 3.