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Incarnate Word is certainly one way to open the season for Mizzou Basketball

The Cardinals joined Division I for the 2013 - 14 season and it’s been mostly downhill since.

NCAA Basketball: Incarnate Word at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

I tried to find a picture of Incarnate Word doing something on the basketball floor other than getting scored on or fouling someone and it was too hard, so I just went with it.

The Missouri Tigers unveiled their non-conference schedule yesterday (in fantastic fashion btw) and the opener isn’t exactly starting off with a bang. Incarnate Word, a private Catholic University in San Antonio, has been a Division I team for six seasons, and after a brief ascent in their first three years, the program has been in a free fall ever since.

Last season the Cardinals went 6-25 and were 1-17 in the Southland Conference. The Southland was the fourth worst conference in basketball last year, and Incarnate Word was the worst team in the conference and the 346th team in the country (out of 353). In that time, they own exactly one win over what would be considered a high major basketball team. In 2015, they beat Nebraska by one point in a season the Cornhuskers would go 13-18 and finish 121st in KenPom. So, let’s just say it’s unlikely Missouri loses this game. Still, let’s look at the Cardinals.

Incarnate Word Cardinals

Last season: 6-25, 346 in KenPom

Torvik Projection: 313

Head Coach: Carson Cunningham

NCAA Basketball: Carroll College at Stanford Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Cunningham is entering his second season as head coach after spending five seasons turning around Carroll College of the NAIA. He’s also written five books, which I could not have predicted. He’s also got a doctorate.

Leading scorer Christian Peevy transferred, but Cunningham does have a young roster who returns four of the top six from last season, including second leading scorer Morgan Taylor, a sophomore from Chicago, IL.

Last season the Cardinals played two high major teams, Texas Tech and LSU. They lost to the Red Raiders in the season opener 87-37, and to the Tigers 91-50. Technically, DePaul is a high major also, and IWU only lost to the Blue Demons by 10, 81-71. So, they’re capable of being plucky and the coach is working on getting the program going. At the same time, however, they should be mildly better than last year — with a Torvik projection of 313 — but not necessarily the kind of team Missouri should be losing to at home in a year they are hoping to be an NCAA tournament team.

No I think this year starts off with a relatively easy win, and Missouri marches on to 1-0 to start the season.