Missouri begins its first season of play in the Southeastern Conference, ranked 15th in the A.P. Poll, just released this weekend. The Tigers begin league play on Jan. 8, 2013, vs. Alabama. Missouri is getting an early start to the 2012-13 campaign with tonight’s exhibition season tip against Northwest Missouri State, but the actual start to the year came in Europe from Aug. 8-18. The Tigers played games in Amsterdam, Belgium and France and earned four wins during the tour.
Tonight’s Missouri will be seen on TV and a school record 18 games will appear on national TV during the regular season.
Mizzou also had four players ranked among the top players at their position by CBS. Phil Pressey headlined that list at No. 2 among point guards, while Mike Dixon checked in at No. 26. Dixon has been suspended indefinitely and will not play tonight. In the front court Alex Oriakhi was ranked No. 35 and Laurence Bowers checked in at No. 38.
Mizzou player profile:
#1 Phil Pressey, 5-11, 175 Pounds
> Finalist for the 2012 Bob Cousy Award given annually to the nation’s top point guard.
> Preseason SEC Player of the Year by the league media.
> Preseason First Team All-American by CBS Sports.
> Broke the Mizzou single-season assists record last year with 223 assists and was second with 74 steals.
> Needs 158 assists and 61 steals as a junior to claim the career marks at Mizzou in both categories.
> Led the Big 12 Conference in both assists (6.4) and steals (2.1) last season, “quarterbacking” the nation’s most efficient offense in 2011-12.
> Missouri averaged 1.187 points per possession last season, tops in college basketball, just ahead of Creighton who was second at 1.151.
#3 Tony Criswell, 5-11, 175 Pounds
> Has NCAA Division I experience after beginning his career at UAB … Started eight games as a redshirt freshman for the Blazers.
> Averaged 9.5 points during Mizzou’s tour of Europe and shot 60 percent from the floor.
> Will bring very good size and athleticism off the bench for the Tigers and has added nearly 20 pounds of muscle during Mizzou’s offseason weight program.
#5 Keion Bell, 6-4, 200 Pounds
> Named one of college basketball’s Top Four Impact Transfers by ESPN The Magazine.
> Has scored nearly 1,400 points in his career, but will be called upon to be Mizzou’s primary defensive stopper on the perimeter in 2012-13, a role he relishes.
> High-flying guard that won top play honors on ESPN’s Top 10 Plays of the Day after dunking over six people during Mizzou Madness on Oct. 12.
> Averaged 12.0 points and 6.3 rebounds during Mizzou’s tour of Europe.
> Was a key practice player for Missouri during its 30-5 season, sitting out due to NCAA transfer guidelines.
#11 Michael Dixon, 6-1, 190 Pounds
> Second Team All-American by The Sporting News.
> Second Team Preseason All-SEC by the league media.
> Was the nation’s No. 1 bench scorer last year at 13.5 points per game. That total bettered the 12.6 ppg average of former Syracuse star Dion Waiters. Waiters was later drafted by Cleveland at No. 4 overall.
> On a run of 14 consecutive double-figure scoring games dating back to last season.
> Is Missouri’s career leader in FT percentage (.854).
> Has already topped 1,000 career tallies (1,057) and ranks No. 37 all-time in career scoring.
> Needs 56 assists to move into the Mizzou career Top 10.
> Needs 24 steals to move into the Missouri career Top 10.
> Was ranked among college basketball’s Top 50 point guards in 2012-13 by CBS.
#14 Negus Webster-Chan, 6-7, 200 Pounds
> One of two Canadians on the Missouri roster and a prep school teammate of Stefan Jankovic.
> Brings great size along the perimeter for Missouri and is able to play each of the three guard positions.
> Did not able to play for the Tigers in Europe.
#21 Laurence Bowers, 6-8, 227 Pounds
> Missed last season with a torn ACL (left knee), but is back to full strength in his senior season.
> Continues to be one of Missouri’s best finishers around the rim and was named one of college basketball’s “Top Dunkers by NBC Sports”.
> Listed by CBS as one of college basketball’s Top 50 post players prior to the start of the season.
> Needs just 162 points to reach 1,000 for his career.
#32 Jabari Brown, 6-5, 205 Pounds
> Will be available for Missouri after the completion of the fall semester.
> One of the country’s top players as a high school senior, earning Jordan Brand All-American honors.
> Very good shooter that averaged 10.0 points in the summer tour of Europe.
#33 Earnest Ross, 6-5, 222 Pounds
> Brings great familiarity with the SEC after beginning his career at Auburn.
> One of Missouri’s top performers in the weight room and has added great quickness and flexibility under the watch of Todor Pandov.
> Led Missouri in Europe with 9.3 rebounds, including a pair of double-doubles.
> Did most of his scoring damage attacking the rim, shooting 62 percent inside the three-point stripe.
#35 Stefan Jankovic, 6-11, 230 Pounds
> Good ball-skill for his size and can bother opponents around the rim with his length.
#42 Alex Oriakhi, 6-9, 255 Pounds
> Late addition to the Mizzou roster and has one season of eligibility remaining after transferring from UConn.
> Has improved offensively during his time at Mizzou and will benefit from the play of the nation’s top pass-first point guard, Phil Pressey.
> Played on the AAU circuit with Pressey early in his high school career.
> Needs 211 points as a senior to top 1,000 for his collegiate career.
#44 Ryan Rosburg, 6-10, 250 Pounds
> One of the state’s top players as a high school senior and gives the Tigers great size behind senior Alex Oriakhi.
> Brother (Andy) played at Mizzou in 2011-12 as a walk-on.
> Grew up a Mizzou fan and led all freshmen in Europe with 5.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 17.3 minutes.