There isn’t a program in college basketball that has had their expectations shift as drastically as Missouri has since the end of last season. Bringing in a new coach and adding the top recruit in the nation will do that.
When Iowa State agreed to this series it wasn’t met by much fan fare with the Cyclone faithful. Sure, adding a Power 5 conference opponent is also better than not, but there didn’t appear to be an opportunity for a quality win. That is no longer the case.
With Missouri expecting to compete for a NCAA Tournament birth, this two year arrangement will feel more like the Big 8/Big 12 rivalry it was than not.
Starting the season on the road against a quality opponent will be a tall task for a young Cyclone group playing without a couple of players they expected to be key contributors coming into the year.
Last Time Out
Iowa State struggled to a 77-68 victory over Division II Emporia State. It was ugly, and it was frustrating and according to Steve Prohm.
The good news is Iowa State will at least be getting back one of the three players to miss the exhibition game when Terrence Lewis suits up for his Cyclone debut this Friday.
The last time Iowa State traveled to Columbia for a matchup with the Tigers, Royce White and the Cyclones fell to a Top 10 Missouri team, 78-72. From that point forward, the two programs seemed to head in opposite directions.
Missouri is coming off a 93-87 exhibition loss to the Kansas Jayhawks in a one-game renewal of an extremely heated rivalry to benefit hurricane relief.
We think we know what we will be getting with the Missouri Tigers this season, but there is still a bit of mystery. Will they fall to the wayside like LSU did with Ben Simmons and Washington did with Markell Fultz? That remains to be seen, but there appears to be at least a bit more talent around Michael Porter Jr. than there was the previous two lottery picks mentioned.
Cuonzo Martin was a great hire for a program looking to turn things around in a hurry. No one will ever accuse Martin of being an X’s and O’s guru, but the man can certainly recruit. It will be interesting to see just how well this team has gelled at this point in the season.
Don’t expect Missouri to play flawless basketball on Friday evening or honestly improve a great deal over the course of the year. This team will rely on their talent to win games this year without much of a schematic advantage to be had.
Still, in college basketball, talent is paramount and the Tigers have a roster full of it and will be able to compete with anyone on any given night.
Players to Watch
We’ve mentioned the projected #1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft Michael Porter Jr. several times now. Why? He’s really, really good. He will be the best player on the court and a tough guard for whoever draws the assignment on him. The freshman scored 21 points in 23 minutes in his team’s exhibition loss to the Kansas Jayhawks.
As if one Porter wasn’t enough, Missouri added Michael’s little brother Jontay Porter this off-season as well. Jontay re-classified in order to play with his brother who won’t be playing in Columbia past this season. The younger Porter presents a massive size advantage in the post, and although he doesn’t boast the same accolades as his brother, he will certainly be a significant contributor for the Tigers.
In stark contrast to the two young Tigers listed above, Kassius Robertson comes to Missouri as a 23 year old graduate transfer from Canisius. Robertson averaged over 16 points a game for the Golden Griffins. He is threat from outside, shooting over 41% from three-point range last season.
What to Expect
On Sunday, we told you to expect a game that only a mother could love. We were right. It would make sense to expect more of the same on Friday, but it can’t get much worse. With the return of Terrence Lewis to the lineup Iowa State should have another deep threat to go with Donovan Jackson.
Things aren’t ever as good or bad as they seem. There is still decent talent on this roster, and with solid guard play, anything can happen. Playing Missouri in the very first game of the year isn’t a bad thing for Iowa State.
However, there isn’t a player on Iowa State’s roster outside of Cameron Lard (who won’t be making the trip) that I feel confident matching up against Michael Porter Jr.
KenPom.com has Iowa State as a four point favorite in this game. Ken, himself, has admitted Missouri has too many factors that haven’t been accounted for yet in his system. Vegas has tabbed Missouri as a point favorite which seems to be a much more accurate number.
Iowa State will generate turnovers and keep it close for awhile before watching Missouri pull away.
Missouri- 73 Iowa State- 62
- Michael Porter Jr. scores 20+ points
- Terrence Lewis hits two or more three pointers in his debut
- Donovan Jackson is the game’s leading scorer
Game Time: Friday November 10th, 8 PM
Line: Missouri (-5) O/U (154)
TV: SEC Network