Hot Take: Believe the hype, Mizzou basketball will rise back to the top

mizzou on rise

The last time the Missouri men’s basketball team made the NCAA Tournament was just 4 seasons ago, but for Mizzou fans, that seems like a lifetime. Just this summer, however, there has arguably been more buzz around the program than any other around the country. So much so that Mizzou is being recognized as a team to watch. With the additions of Cuonzo Martin, Michael Porter, Jr. and one of the best recruiting classes in the country, the Tigers not only look like they could be a threat in the SEC and the tournament this year and for years to come.

Heading into the 2017 season, the Tigers have one of the best rosters in the SEC, alongside perennial heavy hitters Kentucky, Florida. This is in large part due to the great freshman class coming to Columbia, which ranked seventh best in the country according to Scout.com.

Michael Porter, Jr. deservedly gets all the attention, being the top overall recruit, and is a large reason for all the hype, but don’t count out some of the others joining the team. Center Jeremiah Tilmon and guard Blake Harris, both who are considered among the top players in the country, not only give the Tigers more talent, but can combine with Porter to make a great high-low combo. Harris will be at the point, Tilmon down in the post, and Porter has the talent, flexibility and athleticism to play the wing and the post. Along with returning players like Terrance Phillips, Jordan Barnett, the Tigers are gearing to fulfill Porter’s wish to get the Tigers to their first Final Four

And let’s not forget about new coach Cuonzo Martin, who has a solid record of making the tournament and putting together winning seasons. In his nine seasons as a head coach, Martin hastwo NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16 run with Tennessee and only one season with a losing record. Martin has the coaching potential. With his talents and the players on the roster, this year could be very special for the team and fans.

While having one great season would be good, what about in the future? No Tiger fans want to go through what has happened these last four years again. Fortunately, Coach Martin and the rest of the program have set themselves up well to avoid being a one-season wonder.

Looking ahead of the 2017-18 season, the Tigers already have a good lead on another great recruiting class in 2018, with Jontay Porter, Michael Porter Jr.’s younger brother. The younger Porter is already signed to play his college days in Columbia. While Michael will most likely leave after one season for the NBA, Jontay can try to fill his presence and Tilmon and Harris are likely to stay, unless they have extraordinary seasons and declare for the NBA Draft.

If the Tigers can grab this lightning in a bottle and pull off some successful seasons while either Porter brother is around, the program could make a 180 degree turnaround. On top of the talent coming on board, the Tigers have a quality location for recruiting, being close to Kansas City, St. Louis, and not too far from Chicago. And with success, no matter if it’s college or professional, the top, talented high school players may be attracted to play for a quality team and showcase their play as an individual. If Mizzou can do that while the Porter brothers are playing in Columbia, Mizzou could easily become a go-to spot for top recruits, whether they are from the area or not. The Tigers do have the potential to go from the bottom of the SEC and missing the NCAA Tournament to a possible powerhouse that competes for the SEC title and makes consistent runs in the tournament.

What do you think? Will the Tigers and Michael Porter, Jr. live up to the hype and have a great season? How do you think the season will go? And can the Tigers continue that success to turnaround the program? Let us know in the comments!

For more on the Tigers, go to our College Sports page for more articles about Tigers’ basketball, football and other sports. For more about our local sports, make sure to check out the rest of our website at kcsportspaper.com and like/follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

One Response to Hot Take: Believe the hype, Mizzou basketball will rise back to the top

  1. Roy says:

    Mizzou for LIFE

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