Missouri fans have had an interesting past week. Whether they are fans of the idea of jumping to the SEC or continuing their loyalty to the Big 12, the fans are anxious to see what their athletic department’s next move is. So, when they heard about forward Laurence Bowers‘ recent ACL injury, one that will sideline him for the entire 2011-12 season, their heightened level of anxiety only rose. Bowers, a dynamic frontcourt player who brought athleticism and leadership to the Tiger basketball team, will certainly be missed this season.
Many pundits have picked the Tigers as strong contenders for this year’s Big 12 championship. Led by a senior class with three years of postseason experience, Missouri has been deemed a promising NCAA Tournament contender. Athlon’s College Basketball Preview ranked them #24 in their preseason projections; Lindy’s College Basketball Preview ranked the Tigers #21; Andy Katz ranked them #22 in his pre-season Top 25. With this injury to Bowers, however, those pundits are likely re-thinking those projections. Senior Steve Moore is expected to take Bowers’ spot in the starting lineup. He has developed into a solid role player, but lacks the athleticism and basketball IQ that Bowers possesses. With conference realignment rumors swirling and Frank Haith’s issue of possible infractions at Miami (FL), this season will be interesting enough for the Tigers. With Bowers’ injury, it seems the hits just keep coming.