Missouri will return to the NCAA Tournament this year after a four-year drought, according to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi.
The ESPN analyst released his most recent bracket projection Wednesday and Missouri is in as a No. 11 seed playing against St. Bonaventure in one of the play-in games, which are held in Dayton, Ohio.
The winner would advance to Detroit to play Minnesota, who Lunardi listed as a No. 6 seed.
Should Lunardi’s projection come true, Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. would break the recent streak of projected No. 1 NBA Draft picks to miss the NCAA Tournament. Recent top picks Markelle Fultz, at Washington, and Ben Simmons, at LSU, both failed to get their teams to the big dance.
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Throughout the preseason Porter has repeatedly said that he has a better supporting cast around him than Fultz or Simmons, which is why he believes Missouri will be playing in the postseason during Cuonzo Martin’s first year as the Tigers coach.
Missouri is one of six SEC teams to make the NCAA Tournament in Lunardi’s latest projection. The others are Kentucky, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Florida and Texas A&M.
The Tigers open up the season on Friday against Iowa State. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m.