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NCAA Basketball Missouri Tigers

SEC Basketball: Missouri Tigers Could Struggle in Conference Play

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 25 Missouri Tigers defeated the Long Beach State 49ers in their last game of non-conference play. Perhaps their poorest performance of the season, the Tigers probably would have lost if they were playing against a better team. Missouri was lucky that Long Beach State only went 33 percent from the field, because the three point shot that the Tigers rely on so much would not fall. Missouri lives and dies by the three and that could hurt them later on.

With the win, Missouri now goes into SEC play with the best record of any team, 12 – 1. However, the SEC is a lot more difficult than Missouri’s non-conference schedule. The Tigers’ toughest opponents so far have been the UCLA Bruins; next to UCLA there isn’t a team that they have played that is expected to go to the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

In the SEC, there are nine teams that are capable of making it to the 2014 NCAA Tournament including Missouri. The Florida Gators and Kentucky Wildcats are favored to win the conference and only need to win around 9 games to make it to the tournament. However, the Tennessee Volunteers, Arkansas Razorbacks, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Ole Miss Rebels, LSU Tigers and even the Alabama Crimson Tide have the talent and capability to string enough wins together to go to the Big Dance.

Don’t expect Missouri to miss out on the 2014 NCAA Tournament, but they might struggle against the upper half of the SEC and their tough defenses. As the win over Long Beach State showed us, if you stop Jordan Clarkson, you stop the Tigers.

Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google