Missouri Tigers forward Laurence Bowers (21) shoots a three pointer past Bucknell Bison forward Joe Willman (15) during the second half at Mizzou Arena. The Missouri Tigers defeated the Bucknell Bison 66-64. Mandatory Credit: Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports
(KSDK Sports) -- The Missouri Tigers will open Southeastern Conference play tonight against an Alabama squad that was expected to be playing a lot better than they currently are.
Tonight's contest at the Mizzou Center in Columbia, will mark the debut of the Tigers as members of the SEC and they enter this game ranked 12th in the nation.
Missouri is coming off a narrow victory last Saturday against Bucknell, winning by two and taking their home record to 8-0. As a team Missouri is averaging 78.5 points, 14.5 assists, and they are shooting 45.1 percent while defensively they are allowing 64.6 points, 11.5 assists, and their opponents are shooting 37.5 percent.
In scoring, the Tigers are led by Laurence Bowers who is averaging 16.8 points and 7.0 rebounds, Phil Pressey is averaging 13.8 points and 7.2 assists, Alex Oriakhi is averaging 10.2 points and 8.8 rebounds, and Earnest Ross is averaging 9.8 points and 5.6 rebounds. Missouri should be a force in the conference and in the NCAA Tournament.
The Alabama Crimson Tide were expected to be one of the more improved teams this season but thus far they have fallen short of those expectations.
Alabama is just 1-2 in road games and 3-4 in games against teams with a RPI better than 200. As a team Alabama is averaging 65.5 points, 12.1 assists, and they are shooting 44.9 percent while defensively they are allowing 58.8 points, 10.5 assists, and their opponents are shooting 38.9 percent.
Trevor Releford is averaging 15.6 points, Trevor Lacey is averaging 12.5 points, and Rodney Cooper is averaging 12.2 points and 4.5 rebounds.
The Tide just seem to be lacking a dominating rebounding presence and that will hurt them against the better teams.