After watching the first half of the Missouri Tigers win over SIUE over the weekend, a couple of things became painfully obvious.
This group of players assembled by head coach Frank Haith clearly are not as familiar with each other as last year's senior-laden bunch. The Mizzou offense looked out of sync early and Mizzou's defense lacked the intensity fans have come accustomed to seeing at Mizzou Arena.
It was also easy to see that some of the Mizzou newcomers were a bit nervous and jittery in their first official game wearing the black-and-gold.
Now that No.14 Mizzou has their first win under their belt, Haith and company can start working on playing better together and stop worrying about being nervous.
Haith and the Tigers take the floor on Tuesday night at home against Alcorn State and will look to improve upon their performance over the weekend.
Alcorn State comes into the game with a 1-0 record after blowing out the Oakwood in their opener.
Alcorn State was led by 18 points from 6'4'' guard Anthony Nieves. Sophomore guard LeAntwan Luckett chipped in 15 points and four rebounds. Junior Joshua Nicholas, who stands 7'0'', played 12 minutes off the bench and grabbed five rebounds and scored two points.
Alcorn State returns four senior starters from last year's team that finished with just a 10-22 record. Anytime a team returns that many experienced players, it could signal trouble and a possible upset. If Mizzou comes out timid, as they did against SIUE in the opener, things could get interesting.
Unfortunately for Alcorn State fans, it is extremely unlikely Tuesday's game will get to that point.
Look for transfers Keion Bell and Earnest Ross to both step-up their games and have their first impressive showings in a Mizzou uniform.
Also look for Mizzou to dominate in the paint thanks to the efforts of senior Laurence Bowers, who led Mizzou with 20 points in the opener. Senior transfer Alex Oriakhi also figures to play a prominent role and give Haith's group a sizable advantage in the paint.
Finally, junior guard point guard Phil Pressey gives Mizzou an advantage against virtually any opponent on the schedule. Pressey, who scored 19 points himself in the opener, will be looking to get the Mizzou offense going and will likely do so in the open floor.
Mizzou should be able to post their second victory of the season on Tuesday night as long as Pressey and Bowers are in charge. Also look for Bell and Ross to both have huge nights as Mizzou should roll.
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