Missouri had a tough welcome to the SEC with the Tigers’ first game coming against expected SEC West champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide. After trailing for most of the game, Alabama tied it up midway through the second half due to an outstanding performance by Trevor Releford – clearly a top player in the SEC. However, Jabari Brown went off hitting five straight three pointers and the Tigers finished strong. Although a great first SEC victory for the Tigers, it came at an enormous cost with Laurence Bowers injuring his knee.
To begin the season, the Missouri Tigers had four expected stars: Super point guard Phil Pressey, transfer from the national championship UConn team Alex Oriakhi, three point shooting Brown, and explosive offensive weapon Michael Dixon Jr. Early into the season, Brown was injured. Then Michael Dixon Jr. transferred due to an incident where he was falsely accused of rape. Oriakhi hasn’t been playing up to par either. Missouri wouldn’t be half as good as it has been, if not for the outstanding play of Bowers. Bowers return from an ACL tear last season has led to him averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds a game.
Although the extent of Bowers injury is unknown, his loss, no matter how short or long of an absence, will greatly affect the Tigers. Missouri have to find an answer for his presence in the paint. Oriakhi must step up, and Brown must start hitting threes like he did against Alabama for Missouri to continue winning in a tough SEC.