13. Missouri (8-7, 0-2)
Bouncing back nicely, Dennis Gates led the Tigers into the second round of the NCAA Tournament in his first season last year, more than doubly Missouri’s wins from the prior year. This was a team that played elite offense and took care of business against some strong opposition throughout their season, greatly exceeding expectations. Unfortunately, this year’s team doesn’t quite compare after two months.
A 15-point home loss to Memphis in the opening week set the tone, though these Tigers did bounce back with nice road wins over Minnesota and Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, this schedule has also included a dreadful home loss to Jackson State and a blowout at the hands of rival Illinois back in late December. To make matters worse, the Tigers have dropped their first two conference games, including at home against Georgia last weekend.
Not only has the offense taken a significant step back from last season, but the defense isn’t holding up, giving up at least 90 points in three of Missouri’s last five games. Sean East has proven to be a potent scorer and isn’t the only notable name on Gates’s roster, but it hasn’t quite come together for this program like last year. There’s potential for Missouri to get some conference wins in the weeks ahead but this defense needs to drastically improve.