J.J. Angelo-23Sports

As the air cools, leaves change, and snow begins to fall, it’s time to welcome in a new season: basketball season. The Missouri Tigers men’s basketball team will take the court for their first regular season game on November 6th. Before that, take a look at what to expect for this upcoming season.

The Tigers finished the 2018-19 season with a record 15-17 and 12th in the Southeastern Conference. The 2019 SEC Media Poll, released in October, projects Mizzou to finish 13th this year in conference play. Polls and projections can only say so much; there is much to be optimistic about for the Tigers.

With only one senior on the roster, this is a young team with a plethora of raw talent. The lack of experience could hurt the Tigers at times. However, lack of experience does not mean lack of talent. Mizzou is welcoming three ESPN-rated four-star recruits from the 2019 high school class. LaTrayvion Jackson, Mario McKinney Jr., and Kobe Brown make up one of the best recruiting classes in recent memory for the Tigers.

It’s Coach Cuonzo Martin’s third year at the helm for Mizzou. Martin has faced no small amount of adversity in his first two years at head coach. He’s dealt with injuries, lack of roster depth, and locker room issues. However, greatness never comes easy. Look for the battle-tested Cuonzo Martin to establish himself as a strong leader this year.

It’s going to take unity for this young team to find success this season. Underclassmen need to play like upperclassmen. Sophomores Torrence Watson, Javon Pinkett, and Xavier Pinson will have to step into leadership roles. All the pieces and talent are there for the Tigers to make the NCAA Tournament, immaturity and individualism will be the only hindrances. Whether or not the Mizzou men play for themselves or play for the team will determine the success of this basketball season.

The Tigers open the season against Incarnate Word on November 6th and begin SEC play on January 4th at Rupp Arena against the Kentucky Wildcats.