Without their leading scorer on the floor, Missouri’s offense was anemic against a better-than-you-think Ole Miss team. The Tigers managed all of 49 points and 0.73 PPP — both season-lows by a long shot — against the Rebels, as they shot all of 2-18 from beyond the arc while Phil Pressey managed just five assists to go along with five turnovers.
Losing Bowers hurts the Tigers two ways.
For starters, he’s the team’s best perimeter shooter, and he just so happens to do so from the power forward spot. Not only does his presence create space for Pressey to penetrate, it does so while drawing one of an opponent’s biggest players out of the paint. Pressey is about 5-foot-8. He has enough trouble finishing in the lane as it is. Getting another big guy out of the way is a major bonus.
Not only is Bowers a terrific shooters, but he’s simply an all-around efficient offensive player. He can penetrate from the perimeter, he can score in the post. He’s effective in pick-and-roll situations. The Tigers tend to be too reliant on the inefficient Pressey at the point with Bowers on the floor.
Without him? Well, you see what happens.
The good news is that the injury isn’t serious. There were no ‘ifs’ in Haith’s quote in the tweet above; the only question is ‘when’.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.