After a runner-up finish in the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Oklahoma Sooners return home as they face a former Big XII foe, the Missouri Tigers.
|Missouri Tigers||Vs.||Oklahoma Sooners|
|64.0||Points Per Game||70.2|
|34.4||Rebounds Per Game||43.5|
|10.9||Assists Per Game||12.2|
|.423||Field Goal %||.398|
CCM - Kim Anderson returns home to replace Frank Haith at Missouri. Inheriting a squad that was consistent at best a year ago, what are the realistic expectations during his first year as the head coach?
@SamSnellingRMN - I think expectations were all over the map for most Missouri fans. Anderson did a great job in the offseason of making enough right moves that a lot of people, even myself, let it sink in that he could have a pretty good first season. Those hopes were dashed opening night when they lost at home to UMKC. Frankly I think deep down most Missouri fans knew this was going to be a rebuild season. Even the most rose colored predictions has this team possibly winning 20 games, which this day in age, isn't much to write home about. At the rate they're going, I think 15 wins would be a good season, and I think 20 losses is a possibility. One thing that will help is Wes Clark, a sophomore guard who started off well, but is currently suspended. Clark is supremely talented, and can really help this team in the future. With him playing the ceiling is slightly higher. Slightly.
CCM - Haith wasn't exactly known for putting a defensive juggernaut on the hardwood. Is that something fans expect Anderson to return to?
SS - That's the hope at least. I don't know that it will be the case. Norm was known for defense, but Kim is a different guy. His teams at UCM actually were better offensive teams than defensive. The common perception amongst Mizzou fans is that the Haith teams were bad at defense, and they weren't good for sure. We've seen this team, at times, look like a good defensive team. Most of this team was recruited by the previous coach which means I just think it's going to be a while before we really know their identity.
CCM - Jabari Brown provided steady scoring as he led the SEC in the statistical category last season. With Brown opting for the NBA and freshman Jakeenan Gant mysteriously unavailable, who has stepped up in the void?
SS - The scary thing about that question is that it's been a few different guys, and nobody specifically ready for that kind of load. The first answer is Montaque Gill-Caesar. MGC was a top 40 2015 player who opted to reclassify and play for Mizzou. He's a former Huntington Prep player, where Mizzou assistant coach Rob Fulford came on, so getting both of those guys was a big deal for Kim Anderson. MGC is probably the most versatile player on the roster, probably similar to Hield for the Sooners, and big physical wing. He's going to be really good, but needs some additional strength to be a great player. After him, it's Jonathan Williams III, who was one of Haith's top recruits. Coming off a minor knee injury, JW3 finally looked like the player many expected him to be this year. If both of those guys are playing well, Missouri has a chance.
CCM - The Tigers have struggled to rebound the ball against exceptional rebounders like Oklahoma's Ryan Spangler. Does blocking out need to be a point of emphasis on Friday?
SS - The Tigers have two very big bodies that play decent minutes in Ryan Rosburg and Keanau Post, they're horribly ineffective on offense. But they held their own against the big front line of Arizona (while basically getting embarrassed by Purdue the next day). So the potential is there for them to have a solid enough game to be competitive on the rebounding side. If Missouri has any advantage here it's that they've got a bunch of young athletes who don't really know any better, and a lot of guards who rebound well. But I completely expect Mizzou to lose the rebounding battle, I think we just hope they're not embarrassed.
CCM - I'm putting you on the spot...can Missouri secure a 4th consecutive win over the Sooners in Norman?
SS - Ha. No. I mean, they have a shot like anybody has a shot anytime you play a sports like game. But Missouri is terrible right now, in their first true road game, against a top 25 ranked opponent, after struggling to beat the likes of Oral Roberts, Chaminade, SEMO, & Valpo. I like Missouri's chances to muck this game up enough to keep it respectable, say around 15-16 points, but anything less than that and this team has to consider it a win.
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