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Rise and shine, it’s basketball time!

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Tiger basketball begins tonight

No need for filler here, y’all. The subhead says it all.

It’s basketball season, and Cuonzo Martin’s Tigers open their season tonight at Mizzou Arena against the Central Arkansas Bears. And the beginning of the season also means it’s time for basketball previews.

Coming off last year’s season, which featured the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in five years, Missouri enters this one full of unknowns.... Martin has never won at least 20 games during his second season in charge of a program. A lot must be figured out before it’s determined if that streak could be in jeopardy.

Alex Schiffer also gave a score prediction in the linked piece. The Columbia Missourian also broke down the season opener by looking at five important match ups.

This game will only be close if the Tigers allow it to be. While Missouri disposed of some of their buy game opponents last season, the Tigers played very close games with Stephen F. Austin, also of the Southland, and even Division II Emporia State.

For our fair site, Matt will be taking care of preview pieces. Be on the lookout for that (and more from Matt) tomorrow! And follow our new basketball beat writers:

As for any sort of starting lineup, it looks like things aren’t decided as of yet. But like last year, Cuonzo could be in the process of narrowing things down.

“I’ve never been one to have a different starting lineup every other game because as players I need comfort,” Martin said. “I need to feel and know what’s going on. Do I have a starting five right now? No I don’t. I have an idea of guys but it’s more right now finding rotations of guys and who plays well together.”

Also on the hardcourt tomorrow night, Robin Pingeton’s Tigers take the court in Sophie Cunningham’s final season opener. They’ll be in Macomb, Ill., taking on Western Illinois, and it doesn’t look like anything will come easily.

Western Illinois shouldn’t go quietly. The Leathernecks finished 22-10 last season and made it to the semifinals of the Summit League Tournament before getting knocked out in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Pingeton has been on a hot streak off the court lately, and now it’s time for her to show she can continue that momentum into the season. Between the men’s and women’s teams, it should be a fun year at Mizzou Arena.

It’s still football season too!

Ah, yes. Football is still happening! And things are looking up, up, up!

Saturday’s win doesn’t erase what happened a week earlier against Kentucky or the similar collapse at South Carolina last month. It doesn’t absolve the mistakes made in both games. And it doesn’t guarantee the Tigers will sweep through Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Arkansas and finish the regular season 8-4. But it proves this team is more than capable of finishing strong.

There have been a lot of questions about Barry Odom and the Tigers in this up-and-down season. But as we’ve extensively noted, the win in Gainesville suggests there’s a high ceiling in this program. Now it’s up to the Tigers to close out a strong end to the season. It starts this Saturday against a mediocre — but feisty — Vanderbilt team.

Other football links:

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • Corey Fatony is getting closer to a Ray Guy Award...
  • Mizzou Volleyball dropped a few spots, but is still ranked in the Top 25 this week.
  • It’s a day late, but ABC 17’s weekly Sunday Sit-Down featured St. Louis Post Dispatch beat writer Dave Matter. It’s worth a watch.
  • Mad Max Scherzer is up for his third straight Cy Young award (but spoiler alert, he’s going to lose to Jacob DeGrom.)
  • In one day, the Oakland Raiders got an injection of #MizzouMade pass rushing talent.

Congrats on the contracts, Jacquies and Kony! We’re all very sorry you have to play for Jon Gruden.