I know, I know. Everyone is in football mode now. But there’s still a basketball season coming up and we’re going to do our best around here to keep talking about it. With hoops on a down news cycle I’m looking to fill in the content machine with a few of these previews for the upcoming non-conference schedule. Mizzou released their non-conference schedule a few weeks ago and it’s not exactly what you might call a gauntlet.
Since the bulk of the schedule amounts to what some might deem “Cupcake City” I figured it would be easier to recap two teams at a time. And spend less time breaking them down. To recap here’s the schedule:
- Nov 7th — Southern Indiana
- Nov 11th — Penn
- Nov 13th — Lindenwood
- Nov 15th — SIUE
- Nov 20th — Mississippi Valley State
- Nov 23rd — Coastal Carolina
- Nov 26th — Houston Baptist
- Nov 29th — @ Wichita State
- Dec 4th — SEMO
- Dec 10th — Kansas
- Dec 17th — UCF (in Miami)
- Dec 22nd — Illinois (in St. Louis)
- Jan 28th — Iowa State
We’ve already discussed the lack of intrigue here. Matt Harris took a dive into how the schedule is about par for the course for 1st year head coaches. But what can we expect from these specific teams?
Let’s take a look with some light previews to better understand the opponents.
GAME 3: Lindenwood Lions
Head Coach: Kyle Gerdeman
Last Season: 12-17 (8-12 in the GLVC D2 — same as Southern Indiana)
Much like Southern Indiana, the Lindenwood Lions are making the move from the Great Lakes Valley Conference towards the Ohio Valley Conference. Going from Division 2 to Division 1.
While Southern Indiana has been really a very good program for a long time, Lindenwood hasn’t really had the same levels of success. For most of its school history Lindenwood was a member of the NAIA, where the basketball team was consistently pretty good in the later years. But moving to Division 2 hasn’t been without it’s bumps. Kyle Gerdeman took over the program in 2019-20, and their best record was 10-10 in a COVID shortened 2021 season.
Before taking over at Lindenwood, Gerdeman was a long time assistant at Central Michigan. Also on the staff is former K-State Wildcat Anthony Beane. That’s a name a few will likely remember.
This will be Lindenwood’s inaugural season in Division 1, so there is no real history between the two programs. I went back a few years to see if Missouri ever played Lindenwood in an exhibition, but couldn’t find anything. At the least I can say they haven’t played since Mike Anderson took over the helm at Mizzou.
Last season, Lindenwood played two D1 teams to start the season, SLU and Northwestern. The Billikens beat them by 23 points and Northwestern won by 45. Before COVID, the Lions travelled to Champaign to take on Illinois for an exhibition game. They lost 117-65.
What about the team now?
Gone are the Lions’ top two scorers from a year ago, but back is starting point guard Kevin Caldwell. Caldwell averaged 14.9 ppg with an attack that focused heavily on scoring guard Jacoby Ross and combo forward Romelo Burrell. Brandon Trimble started 15 games in 2021, and another 18 last season. He and Caldwell look to be fixtures in the backcourt. But like a lot of college teams, Lindenwood is looking to get some impact transfers.
Darius Beane is on his 4th school after playing for Cal State Northridge last season, Northern and Southern Illinois both before that. Cameron Burrell has played at Western Illinois, Eastern Illinois, and Highland Community College. So between he and Beane, they’ve got all the directions of Illinois covered.
They’ve got Chris Childs, a Bryant transfer, Donavan Moore, a Green Bay transfer, Jacob Tracey, a JUCO transfer, and five listed freshmen.
It really is a grab bag. Though there is at least one name I recognize, Karrington Davis, who was a big wing from Chaminade who had early interest from Missouri during his freshman and sophomore seasons. But his career and development was derailed by injuries.
Game 4: Southern Illinois - Edwardsville
Head Coach: Brian Barone
Last season: 11-21 (5-13 in the Ohio Valley Conference)
Life at a small school means the SB Nation photo tool doesn’t give you very many options. Even fewer when most of the options are incorrectly tagged as being Edwardsville when it’s clearly SIU-Carbondale in the picture.
Like most of the Mizzou slate to begin, Edwardsville is relatively new to Division 1 basketball. While not the new kids on the block that Lindenwood and Southern Indiana are, the Cougars are members of the Ohio Valley Conference.
Brian Barone has been the head coach at Edwardsville for three full seasons and last year was their best season. He led the Cougs to an 11-21 record and a 5-13 record in conference. In Barone’s defense, 11 wins marks the second highest mark for the Cougars since they joined Division 1 basketball for the 2008-09 season.
Missouri and Edwardsville do have history! In 2008 the Tigers beat SIUE at Mizzou Arena by a score of 107-57. That game was a post-Braggin’ Rights matchup where Demarre Carroll lead all scorers with 21, and six Tigers scored in double digits.
The next game went a little better for the Cougs. In 2012 Mizzou won 83-69 in Frank Haith’s second season. Laurence Bowers led everyone in scoring with 20, and Phil Pressey tacked on 19. The rest of the Tigers struggled from the floor. Pressey and Bowers combined to shoot 16 of 26, everyone else shot just 16 of 42.
But this isn’t a very good program. They have zero top 100 wins, have beaten zero power conference teams, and their best win was a few years ago in the COVID year when they took down Belmont on the road. It’s rare for the Cougars to win games on the road, and rarer for those wins to be against teams in the top 200 at Kenpom.
What about the team now?
If there’s any reason to be excited for Cougar basketball this season it’s largely because of local product Ray’Sean Taylor. Taylor is a bucket-getter from Collinsville, IL who started all but one game as a freshman last year before getting hurt in late January and missing the rest of the season with an ACL tear.
It remains to be seen how quickly Taylor will be back and ready to play this season but he averaged over 17 points per game, and did so with a 101.5 offensive rating and a 54.7% true shooting. If Taylor is healthy the Cougars have their scorer.
Second leading scorer Shaun Doss Jr is gone, but 3rd and 4th leading scorers DeeJuan Pruitt and Shamar Wright are both back. But even with Pruitt and Wright and Taylor, this is still a game Mizzou should win by 15-20 points.