SE Missouri-Missouri Preview
Frank Haith wasn’t the first choice to take over as coach at
Missouri, and he’s had to deal with plenty of adversity before his
team has even played a game.
Haith and the 25th-ranked Tigers will be without one of their
top players when they open the season at home against Southeast
Missouri State on Friday night.
After Mike Anderson left Missouri to join Arkansas at the end of
last season, the resulting coaching vacancy seemed an attractive
one. The Tigers were coming off a 23-win season and a third
straight NCAA tournament appearance, and set to return the bulk of
Missouri failed to get its top choice in Purdue’s Matt Painter,
then settled for Haith, who went 129-101 in seven seasons with
Miami including 21-15 in 2010-11. The Hurricanes reached one NCAA
tournament during his tenure.
The hiring became a more unpopular one when Haith was linked to
booster Nevin Shapiro in a Yahoo Sports investigation into alleged
corruption in Miami’s athletics program.
While the Tigers are standing by him, it remains to be seen how
Haith will deal with the absence of senior forward Laurence Bowers,
who tore his ACL in October.
Bowers averaged 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds as a junior last
season, and finished second in the Big 12 with 62 blocked
“Losing Laurence Bowers obviously hurts our team,” Haith said.
“But I will tell you that our guys have handled that very
Missouri was the 10th-highest scoring team in the nation last
season, averaging 80.8 points. Haith plans to play up-tempo ball
again, but may need to rely on a guard-heavy lineup in Bowers’
Fortunately, the Tigers have a lot of talent in the backcourt,
led by senior Marcus Denmon. Denmon averaged a team-high 16.9
points in 2010-11, shooting 50.0 percent from the field overall and
making 82 3-pointers.
Missouri is also hoping Kim English can contribute more after he
averaged 10.0 points last season – down from the 14.0 he averaged
as a sophomore.
“He had a couple good players at Miami, but he has never had an
allotment of really talented guys like what is here,” English said
Southeast Missouri returns its top three scorers from last
season’s squad, which finished 10-22.
Forward Leon Powell led the Redhawks with 14.1 points per game
last season, led the nation with a 63.0 field-goal percentage and
averaged 7.7 rebounds, but his status is uncertain after he injured
his knee in an exhibition game Monday. An MRI showed no structural
After losing its first 10 games last season, Southeast Missouri
recovered to make the Ohio Valley Conference tournament for the
first time in four years.
“We were able to take that momentum in our summer,” coach Dickey
Nutt said. “That tournament gave us the momentum and taste in our
This is the first meeting between the programs since Missouri’s
65-64 victory in 1997. The Tigers lead the all-time series 5-0.
Missouri is seeking its 58th straight non-conference home
The Redhawks haven’t faced a ranked opponent since Dec. 28,
2005, when they lost 89-64 at then-No. 6 Illinois.