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Old 05-08-2012, 08:52 PM   #127
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Take Two: Not enough hype

Editorís note: Each week, writers will debate a topic of interest in the college basketball landscape. Todayís topic: Which teams are garnering too much (and possibly unwarranted) preseason buzz? Which teams arenít receiving enough? For the former, click here to see the selections of Eamonn Brennan and Dana O'Neill.

Jason King: Missouri

Iíve seen a few preseason college basketball polls that have Missouri somewhere between No. 20 and 25. But in the majority of them, the Tigers arenít ranked at all.

I donít understand it.

This is a team that returns a Cousy Award finalist (Phil Pressey), the national sixth man of the year (Michael Dixon) and a forward (Laurence Bowers) who averaged 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds two seasons ago before missing 2011-12 with a knee injury. Thatís a solid trio -- and those guys may not even be the best players on the team.

Since Frank Haithís arrival last offseason, Missouri has become a home for transfers seeking a fresh start after things didnít work out at their initial stop. Some folks are referring to Mizzou as Transfer U. The label is fair. As many as four transfers are expected to either start or play major roles for the Tigers.

Whatís interesting is that these arenít your average, run-of-the-mill transfers. Forward Alex Oriakhi started on Connecticutís 2011 NCAA championship team. And the other three were the best players on their respective rosters before deciding to take their talents elsewhere.

Guard Earnest Ross averaged a team-high 13.1 points for Auburn two years ago. Keion Bell, who is also a guard, scored 18.9 points per game for Pepperdine in 2010-11 before electing to leave. Sharpshooter Jabari Brown -- a consensus top-20 recruit -- earned a starting spot in Oregonís lineup last season but quit the team after two games.

Bottom line: We know all of these guys can play because theyíve all proven it. The one exception is Brown, but heís the most highly touted of the four. Brown, Bell and Ross practiced with the Tigers throughout last season, so itís not as if they wonít be used to Haithís schemes and coaching style. Oriakhi doesnít arrive on campus until this summer, but the senior veteran should adapt quickly.

Along with its speed, quickness and prowess from long range, Missouriís biggest attribute last season was its chemistry. Not many teams in the country operated as a unit quite like Mizzou. That cohesion will be hard to match in 2012-13.

Still, to me, this team is too talented -- and its players are too proven -- to leave the Tigers out of the top 15.

That rabbit is crazy; I'm Brian Waters!

Kotter: "You are lucky I'm truly not the vindictive or psycho type...I'd be careful from now on, and I'd just back the hell off if I were you....otherwise, the Mizzou "extension office" life might get exciting"

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