Missouri Tigers basketball racking up preseason awards

(Photo by Timothy Tai/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Photo by Timothy Tai/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images) /

The Missouri Tigers have totally changed the complexion of their program in one offseason. Fans should remember success for the Tigers will ultimately be earned on the court, not with preseason awards.

This offseason for the Missouri Tigers basketball has definitely been one of change. However, don’t let it be said that change was a bad thing in this instance.

The offseason began first with the much needed (but still sad) departure of Kim Anderson followed by the hiring of Cuonzo Martin in March. That addition was accompanied by Michael Porter Jr., Jontay Porter, Blake Harris, and Jeremiah Tilmon all joining the Missouri basketball program.

As a result of all of these changes, the Tigers are relevant for the first time since the Frank Haith era.  Not only are the Tigers relevant, but the team is expected to seriously compete in 2017 – 2018.

Getting Some Recognition

For proof, look no further than the initial USA Today coaches poll. Yes, it’s true Missouri didn’t make the top 25 in the initial cut. However, the Tigers did receive enough votes (35) to be considered the 29th best team in the nation as things currently stand.

That’s not the only positive news coming out of Columbia right now though. A panel vote conducted by members of both SEC and national media has the Tigers finishing fifth in the SEC this upcoming season. The teams ahead of the Tigers? Kentucky, Florida, Texas A&M, and Alabama.

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Missouri fans would love nothing more than to see the Tigers ascend to the top of college basketball this season. Despite the huge influx of talent into the program, it’s not likely the Tigers make a strong run at a national championship this season.

The Pieces Are There

Yes, Michael Porter Jr. was named the Preseason Player of the Year in the SEC as well as being named to the Preseason All-SEC team. He also is among the top five on ESPN’s #CBBRank Top 50 for this season. That being said, the fact remains that the Tigers will be raw and untested at the collegiate level next season.

In terms of returning players, Kevin Puryear, Terrance Phillips, and Jordan Barnett are most likely to contribute. However, you should not expect Puryear or Barnett, starters last season, to maintain that position in 2017 – 2018. You don’t bring in the caliber of recruits Missouri has and not put them in a starting role.

Following Sunday’s Showdown for Relief against the Kansas Jayhawks, we should know a little more about what to expect from the Missouri Tigers this season. If nothing else, perhaps the Tigers can at least secure some bragging rights over their neighbors to the west.

Honestly, there’s no reason for this squad to not be competitive. My initial expectation for this squad is for them to finish the season ranked in the top 20 and solidly in the NCAA Tournament field.

Regardless of how the season goes, there is now an aura of excitement present around the Missouri basketball program. I, for one, think it was sorely missing and am absolutely stoked to see it again!

M – I – Z!