Tempering Expectations: Is Missouri Really This Good?

Posted by dnspewak on November 23rd, 2011

Forget the controversial hiring of Frank Haith or the ensuing scandal in connection to his Miami days. Forget the Laurence Bowers injury or the Mike Anderson departure. Missouri put every criticism to rest this week with two blowout victories in the CBE Classic. It was stunning enough to watch the Tigers dismantle a consistent Notre Dame program by 29 points on Monday. The Irish are young, but they’re trying to replace Ben Hansbrough and they probably just got overwhelmed by an experienced MU team. Right?

Kim English

Kim English Took Four Charges -- In One Half

But one night later– after Missouri then beat Pac-12 favorite California by 39 points — there were no good words to describe the Tigers’ performance. They’ve been brilliant. CBE Classic MVP Marcus Denmon scored 26 points against the Irish and managed 18 against the Golden Bears. Even in a relative “off-night” (6-13 overall, 2-8 from three-point land) against Cal, he still finished with four assists. Revitalized senior Kim English led the team with 19 points, but more impressively, he took four charges in the first half. MU shot 58% from the floor during the tournament, tallied 30 team assists and dominated the defensive end by forcing turnovers. The Tigers had run away with both games by the second TV timeout.

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Big 12 Team Previews: Texas A&M Aggies

Posted by cwilliams on November 10th, 2011

Predicted finish: 3d

2010-11 season: 24-9 (10-6)

Head coach: Billy Kennedy, 1st season (currently on medical leave)

Key losses: B.J Holmes (9.7 PPG), Nathan Walkup (9.4 PPG)

With Mark Turgeon’s legacy at Texas A&M coming to an end this offseason because of his departure to Maryland, the Billy Kennedy era in College Station has officially begun. Luckily for Kennedy, he has a luxury many first-year coaches do not — a talented, experienced roster. The Aggies started last season strong but fizzled in the heart of conference play. They eventually fell to Florida State in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. This year, an experienced and mature Aggie team hits the court of Reed Arena. A&M has not make it to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament since 2007, despite making the field of 65 68 each season since. If Kennedy wants to make an immediate impact on this resurgent A&M basketball team, he will need to show they are more than a one-and-done program and that they can be a legitimate threat to earn a Final Four berth.

Is A&M Prepared to Take the Next Step With Kennedy?

The Stars: All eyes will be on Khris Middleton, or as we like to call him, Maroon 22. Middleton is an athletic, dynamic player who is likely NBA-bound once there is such a thing again. He averaged 14.3 PPG last season, carrying the load for the Aggie offense. He is expected to do more of the same this season, as he’ll be the focal point in Kennedy’s new offense as well. Helping Middleton will be David Loubeau, a versatile inside player who can rebound, block shots and score. He has impressive athleticism, but needs to improve his consistency, especially when squaring off against bigger players.

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