Last season’s Missouri team was one of the best we’ve ever seen from the Tiger program. They spent much of the season ranked in the top five, they won the Big 12 tournament and earned themselves a No. 2 seed before getting upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Norfolk State.
The way the Tigers won was centered on their ability to spread the floor and shoot the three. With Kim English and Marcus Denmon playing, essentially, the two forward spots, it created matchup problems each and every time Missouri took the court, and it didn’t hurt that it seemed like those two hit every single open three they had all season long.
But with those two graduating, next season’s Missouri team will look quite a bit more traditional, which is why bringing in Alex Oriakhi for one season as a transfer will end up being the most important transfer addition this offseason.
Oriakhi is by no means a potential all-american or a future lottery pick. He’s not a great low post scorer and he’s probably a downgrade from Ricardo Ratliffe offensively. But he is bigger, better defensively and better on the glass than Ratliffe, and that is what the Tigers are going to need from him. With Laurence Bowers starting at the four and some combination of Phil Pressey, Michael Dixon and Jabari Brown/Earnest Ross/Keion Bell on the perimeter at all times, the Tigers will be winning games with their defense. Where Oriakhi is at his best is anchoring a front line. Have we already forgotten the interior presence that he provided UConn during their 2011 national title run?
And playing with a playmaker of Pressey’s ilk, I don’t think it’s out of the question to expect Oriakhi to be a double-digit scorer. When you’re 6-foot-9 and your point guard can consistently get you the ball when you’re alone in front of the rim, it’s not difficult to score. He may not make a shot outside of five feet all season, but would you be surprised to see him get three dunks and four free throws every game?
Missouri, once again, does not have much front court depth. Oriakhi provides them an anchor in the paint to compliment the talent and athleticism already on the roster.
His addition will make Missouri Kentucky’s biggest threat in the SEC.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.
Notre Dame shot over 70 percent on 21 3-point shot attempts.
It wasn’t enough.
Tenth-ranked Florida State became the first ACC team to defeat the Fighting Irish with a 83-80 win Wednesday night in Tallahassee.
Johnathan Isaac had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Seminoles, who moved into a tie for the ACC lead along with Notre Dame and North Carolina, which all sport 5-1 league records. The ‘Noles shot 50 percent from the floor and had 39 points off their bench.
The Fighting Irish made 15 of 21 3-point shots on the night, getting six from Matt Farrell and five apiece from VJ Beachem and Steve Vasturia
Florida State continues the ACC gauntlet with a home test against Louisville on Saturday while the Irish have Syracuse in South Bend on Saturday.
The suspension that Arizona guard Allonzo Trier is currently serving is due to positive test for performance-enhancing drugs during the preseason, sources told NBC Sports.
Trier has missed the first 18 games of the season.
According to ESPN, who first reported the news, Trier has been cleared by the NCAA after an appeal, but he cannot suit up for the Wildcats until the drug is completely out of his system.
There is no timetable for his return, but the door is open for a return.
As a freshman last season, Trier averaged 14.8 points and shot 36.4 percent from three. He was Arizona’s best isolation scorer and their leading returning scorer.
Without Trier, Arizona has looked like a Pac-12 title contender. They are 16-2 on the season and undefeated in league play heading into their games at the LA schools this weekend.
In a battle of undefeated SEC programs, Frank Martin’s club came out on top.
Sindarius Thornwell finished with 20 points and six boards and Chris Silva added 11 points as No. 24 South Carolina landed a come-from-behind, 57-53 win over No. 19 Florida in Columbia on Wednesday night.
With the win, the Gamecocks remain undefeated in the SEC and just a half-game behind Kentucky atop the conference standings.
It was the first conference loss for Florida, who is among a handful of teams that have the look and computer numbers of a tournament team but who have yet to put together the wins they need to back that up.
Indiana’s tumultuous season may have encountered some more adversity.
Hoosiers sophomore forward OG Anunoby left Wednesday’s game against Penn State after going down clutching his right knee in the first half.
The incident came at the end of the first half, and Anunoby did not start the second half with the Hoosiers.
The 6-foot-8 Anunoby is averaging 11.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 56.5 percent from the floor. He’s considered a potential lottery pick in June’s NBA draft.
Indiana was already without forward Juwan Morgan against the Nittany Lions due to a foot injury.
The Hoosiers, who opened the season ranked 11th in the AP poll, are currently 12-6 overall and 2-3 in the Big Ten, with losses in four of their last six games.
St. John’s has officially cut ties with Zach Brown.
Brown, a top-50 recruit, was released from his National Letter of Intent with the school Wednesday, just days after he was arrested for theft in Florida.
“It was a mutual decision to release Zach from his national letter of intent,” St. John’s coach Chris Mullin said in a statement released by the school. “We wish him the best of luck.”
Brown was arrested after allegedly reaching into a cash register and stealing money from it earlier this month. He was charged with a misdemeanor.
The arrest only adds to the list of issues for Brown as he was charged with a felony of credit card and robbery in May 2016. He was also dismissed from a school in Connecticut not long after enrolling after allegedly getting into a fight.
At one time, Brown was a top-10 recruit in 2017 and committed to UConn, but his off the court issues has resulted in the diminishing on-court opportunities available to him.