7 p.m. Friday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia
• TV/RADIO :
Fox Sports KC Plus (Ch. 5 on Time Warner; 261 or 863 on Comcast; 22 on Surewest; 66 on AT U-Verse; 658-1 on DirecTV; 450 or 9573 on Dish; 412-38 for Dish Hopper); KMBZ (980 AM, 98.1 FM)
• ABOUT SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA (0-0) :
The Lions were 13-18 last season but finished 10-8 in the Southland Conference. Coach Jim Yarbrough’s squad returns two starters, senior guards Dre Evans and Jeffery Ricard, but added a wealth of talent from the junior college ranks.
• ABOUT MISSOURI (0-0):
Associate head coach Tim Fuller will lead the Tigers as Frank Haith begins serving his five-game NCAA suspension. The Tigers also will be without senior forward Tony Criswell, who was suspended for a game by MU for violating unspecified team rules. It shouldn’t affect Missouri’s chances to open the season with win, but that’s quite a bit of chaos for the team to deal with entering the 2013-14 campaign. Look for the Tigers’ starting backcourt — senior Earnest Ross and juniors Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson — to carry the scoring load for now, while freshman Johnathan Williams III and junior Keanau Post, a junior college transer from Southwestern Illinois, adjust to NCAA Division I basketball.
• BOTTOM LINE:
There are some built-in excuses, but Missouri can’t lean on not having Haith or Criswell. The Tigers struggled defensively in exhibition play against Central Missouri. Earlier in the preseason, Missouri talked about trying to craft its identity around a locked-down defense. But it’s clear that with only two returning starters (and Ross only started 10 games last season), it will take time to develop the communication needed to be great defensively. Big games from Post and Williams would signal good things for the Tigers.
|F||3||Johnathan Williams III||6-9||Fr.||—|