My Two Cents: It has been a miserable three years if you're a Missouri men's basketball fan. The program has only won 26 games in the last three seasons. Despite having a fanbase that has fervently embraced basketball in the past, the struggles have had an effect on attendance; and the future of head coach Kim Anderson has been in doubt as a result of those struggles. Yet, this team has continued to compete, and it finally paid off with wins in two of their last three games. That leads me to believe Alabama is catching this team at the wrong time, and that this game will be a challenge.
Players to Watch: Avery Johnson Jr. has really exceeded expectations in his first season on the floor in all aspects of the game. Coming into the season I really wasn't sure how much Avery would contribute, but at this point, I believe the team is at its best when he's running the point (in fact, Avery mentioned in his press conference that the team is 5-1 when Avery Jr. starts). After a career night at South Carolina, Avery had a rough outing against Kentucky. I think you could make a strong argument that Avery is one of the three best players on this team right now; therefore, the hope is he can bounce back and contribute on Wednesday night.
Jordan Barnett has been pretty, pretty, pretty good in the last three games for Missouri. Over that span he's averaging 21 points and 6.6 rebounds. A transfer from Texas, Barnett is averaging 13.1 ppg and 6.3 rpg for the season. I'm guessing he's going to be a priority on the scouting report for this game.
Prediction: This game worries me. I just feel like our guys are facing this Missouri team on their home floor at the wrong time. Missouri is playing with confidence, and Alabama is another turnover-plagued game or free throw debacle from losing to anyone. And yet, I step back, I see the issues that this Alabama team has, and they're still 7-5 in the league, still with a shot at finishing in the top four of the league. That's a testament to the competitiveness of this team and the coaching staff for squeezing everything they can out of this roster. Logic tells me to pick the Tigers at home, but I'm going to stick with my heart on this one. Alabama - 66 - Missouri - 59