March 18, 2019- Issue #16
Missouri guard Torrence Watson passes the ball away from Auburn guard Bryce Brown in the second half of a game at the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee. Source: Mark Humphrey/AP Photo
Auburn guard Bryce Brown encourages the fans to cheer in the final minutes of Thursday’s Southeastern Conference Tournament game against Missouri in Nashville, Tennessee. Auburn won 81-71. Source: Mark Humphrey/AP Photo
- Freshman Xavier Pinson played a crucial role in the victory against Georgia, but nearly 24 hours and eight turnovers later, he watched the last six minutes from the bench as Mizzou lost to Auburn, 81-71, to bring the season to a close.
- The Auburn Tigers lead the SEC in steal-to-turnover ratio (meaning they force turnovers but don’t commit many of their own), and they capitalized on Pinson’s mistakes.
- In the first-half, however, Mizzou played strong defense and Pinson helped hold Auburn’s top shooters Jared Harper and Bryce Brown to a combined zero points.
- Unfortunately for Missouri, things fell apart in the second half. Mizzou gave up just 32 points in the first half, but surrendered 49 in the second.
- Jordan Geist was phenomenal, scoring 25 points in his final game as a Tiger. Bryce Brown caught fire in the second half and led Auburn with 17 points.
Missouri forward Kevin Puryear keeps the ball from going out of bounds during the second half of Wednesday's game against Georgia in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference tournament in Nashville, Tennessee. Missouri won 71-61. Source: Mark Humphrey/AP Photo
- Jordan Geist poured in a career-high 30 points to help lead Mizzou to a 71-61 victory over Georgia last Wednesday. The win set up the Tigers matchup against Auburn in the second round of the SEC Tournament.
- “It’s easy to see why Jordan Geist is our leader,” forward Mitchell Smith said after the game. “He comes out every night and does his best."
- Georgia was able to get the Tigers in foul trouble, but struggled mightily from the free-throw line, shooting an abysmal 21-36.
- Freshman Xavier Pinson was also a valuable sidekick to Geist on Wednesday night, adding 15 points of his own. “He’s ready for the stage,” head coach Cuonzo Martin said of his young point guard.
Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin yells to his team during a March 6 game at Georgia. Source: Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald
- The Missouri Tigers went 15-17 this season, but head coach Cuonzo Martin believes next year will be better with the returning players and new recruits.
- It is still unknown if sophomore Jontay Porter will return next season, but most expect he will enter the NBA Draft. If he enters the draft, Porter is projected as a first-round pick. He missed the entire season with an ACL injury he suffered in a preseason practice.
- Missouri will return a talented core of young players that includes Torrence Watson, Xavier Pinson, Javon Pickett, Mark Smith, and Jeremiah Tilmon, among others. The Tigers will also welcome top recruits Mario McKinney from St. Louis and Tray Jackson from Detroit. Both players are expected to make an immediate impact.
Next Week Preview: Season over
With the loss to Auburn on Thursday, the men's basketball season is officially over. Source: Giphy
- The 2018-2019 Missouri men's basketball season has drawn to a close. Mizzou finished the season with a 15-17 record. The first round of the NCAA Tournament begins Thursday, but the Tigers did not have a good enough season to make the tournament.
- Next week, Full Court Press will have a full preview of what to expect for Mizzou in the 2019-2020 season.
Missouri's Amber Smith drives past Florida's Delicia Washington and Funda Nakkasoglu during the second half of a game at the SEC women's tournament in Greenville, South Carolina. Source: Richard Shiro/AP Photo
Mizzou Awaits Tournament Fate
Missouri’s Sophie Cunningham reacts during the second half of the SEC Tournament quarterfinal against Kentucky in Greenville, South Carolina. Source: Richard Shiro/AP Photo
- The Missouri Tigers have had over a week off since the SEC Tournament semifinal loss to Mississippi State. The Tigers are patiently waiting for Monday night, when they will finally find out where they are seeded and who they will play first in the NCAA Tournament.
- Mizzou was a five seed last season but was upset by 12th seeded Florida Gulf Coast, 80-70, in the first round of the tournament. Sophie Cunningham and the Tigers will likely be a five seed once again, and the team will look to avenge last season's early exit and make a deep run in the tournament.
- The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will take place on Monday night at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN. Tournament play will begin on Thursday.
Strafford's Hayley Frank (left) looks over her shoulder before embracing her teammate during a game earlier this season at JQH arena. Frank is headed to Mizzou to play for Coach Pingeton next season. Source: Twitter: @hayfrank42
NEXT WEEK PREVIEW: NCAA Tournament time for Mizzou
- Hayley Frank has had an incredible high school career at Strafford, and the list of accomplishments got even longer last week.
- Frank led Strafford to its fourth consecutive state championship over the weekend and was also named Missouri's Gatorade Player of the Year for 2019. This is the second consecutive year Frank has won the prestigious award.
- This season, Frank averaged a remarkable 22.8 points, 13 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 2.1 blocks and 2 steals per game.
- Frank will have big shoes to fill at Mizzou next season with the departure of Sophie Cunningham.
Cierra Porter, Sophie Cunningham, and Jordan Roundtree celebrate a big play during the senior day game against Alabama. The women now turn their attention to the NCAA Tournament. Source: Ethan Weston/Missourian
Prediction: Regardless of matchups, Mizzou continues to play well and wins its first two games to make the Sweet Sixteen. After that, it's time to sit back and enjoy the madness of March!
- The Tigers will find out Monday night where, when, and who they play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
- The four number one seeds in the tournament are projected to be Notre Dame, Connecticut, Baylor, and Mississippi State, according to ESPN's Charlie Creme. Most project Mizzou to receive a five or six seed.
- This Missouri team has been hard to predict all season. At times, the Tigers have looked like they can beat anybody in the country (take the win against Mississippi State for example). At other times, however, Mizzou has looked like it could be vulnerable to any of the teams that will be in this tournament (remember that Florida loss?).
- With the way Mizzou played in the SEC Tournament and the weeks leading up to it, the team appears poised to at least win its first round match-up and avenge last season's early exit.
Missouri's Jordan Geist had two of the best games of his career in the SEC Tournament. Geist, Kevin Puryear, Cullen VanLeer, and Adam Wolf saw their Mizzou careers end with Thursday's loss to Auburn. Source: Twitter: @MizzouHoops
Mario McKinney waits on the perimeter during Vashon's Class 3 state title victory over Springfield Classic on Friday in Springfield. McKinney is signed to play for Missouri next season. Source: Reed Koutelas/Missourian
- When Vashon won the Missouri Class 3 state title on Friday, star Mario McKinney immediately teared up from the moment and the realization that this chapter of his life had concluded.
- McKinney will be joining the Missouri Tigers next fall: “I actually am (excited to join MU),” the senior said. “It’s a blessing. There aren’t a lot of kids out there that get to be in a position that I’m in.”
- McKinney has already started to develop a close relationship with Xavier Pinson. “I feel like me and him can be the best backcourt duo in the NCAA,” McKinney said.
- Hayley Frank, another future Tiger, led her high school team to a Class 3 title, putting up 34 points in the championship game.
- “Yeah, I’m really excited to get up there,” Frank commented about Mizzou. “They have a great program. I’m excited to keep building on what they’ve done to this point.”
- Mizzou recruit Hayley Frank has now won four Missouri state championships at Strafford. Who were the last two Mizzou women's basketball players to win four state championships in high school? (answer at the bottom of this newsletter, beneath the bylines)
Twitter Poll: The Mizzou men's basketball season has drawn to a close. With a strong returning core, what are your way-too-early predictions for the Tigers' next season? Vote on Twitter: @FullCourtMizzou
If you have any comments or suggestions about the newsletter, DM us on Twitter @FullCourtMizzou or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support!
The Full Court Press Team:
Andrew Moore - News writer and graphic designer
Molly Jackson - News writer
Tyler Driesenga - Managing editor
**Trivia Answer: As teammates at Rock Bridge High School, Sophie Cunningham and Cierra Porter won four state titles from 2012-2015.