Mizzou hoops preview: The Kim Anderson era begins

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By ALEX SCHIFFER
College Contributor Network

Missouri's 77-54 exhibition win over Missouri-St. Louis on Saturday officially wrapped up the Tigers' preseason, as the team now turns its attention to its season opener next Friday against Missouri-Kansas City. Here's what to expect from the Tigers as year one of the Kim Anderson era begins.

Projected starting lineup:

G- Wes Clark (Soph.)
G- Keith Shamburger (Sr.)
G- Montaque Gill-Caesar (Fr.)
F- Johnathan Williams III (Soph.)
F- Ryan Rosburg (Jr.)

Analysis

Expect the Tigers' starting lineup to potentially change a few times throughout the season because the team has about 10 players that could potentially start, depending upon the situation and build of the team they're facing.

Clark takes the reigns at the point guard spot after coming off the bench his freshman year, while freshman Montaque "Teki" Gill-Caesar will start on the wing after a rather impressive preseason. Gill-Caesar led the team with a game-high 19 points against UMSL and did a little bit of everything, giving Tiger fans a lot to be excited about down the road.

Keith Shamburger may be the most important player on the Tigers' roster because as a senior transfer from Hawaii, and one of only two seniors on the roster, Shamburger is the most experienced player on a young roster and will be asked to be a leader early on.

Williams has a chance to have a breakout season this campaign after showing flashes of greatness his freshman year. Williams battled a knee injury in the preseason, and looked in pain at times against UMSL, but also showed a more mature and expanded game -- being more aggressive on the boards while also shooting some long jump shots, something he rarely did last year.

Rosburg is the longest tenured player on the roster and is a guy that knows his role and plays hard. Coach Anderson will get good minutes out of him.

The bench

Again, this is a DEEP team. Plenty of guys will play.

Baylor transfer Deuce Bello is an athletic freak and should see some time on the floor. Most, if not all, of the freshmen should see significant time on the floor with Jakeenan Gant and D'Angelo Allen likely getting most of them.

Allen is to the team what a defensive specialist is in volleyball, a guy you put in to block shots and lock down the guy with the hot hand -- he makes the game a lot more fun to watch. Gant should get minutes as well, especially if Rosburg and Williams get into early foul trouble.

One guy to watch out for is freshman point guard Tramaine Isabell. Anderson has said that there are times in practice where Isabell is brilliant and others where he is a dud. Against UMSL, Isabell was inconsistent. He had seven points on three-of-12 shooting but showed flashes of what he can really do. With Shamburger and Clark being the only true point guards on the roster, it will be interesting to see what Isabell makes of his minutes because he will play a bit this season.

Schedule

The Tigers' schedule is absolutely brutal for such a young team. The team is in the EA Sports Maui Invitational featuring squads like Arizona and Kansas State, while also playing potential NCAA tournament teams like Illinois and Xavier in their non-conference slate.

The Tigers' schedule in conference play features the usual Southeastern Conference powers in Kentucky and Florida, making things even tougher for Anderson's squad. Nevertheless, this team will be tested the entire season, which could prove beneficial to the program in the long-term.

Outlook

Making the NCAA Tournament or the NIT would be beyond overachieving for the Tigers this season. This team is young and under a first-year head coach who has never even coached Division I before.

If this team gets better and fixes some of its problems as the year goes on, then you can say the Tigers had a good year because they set the foundation for success in the near future.

If you're looking for a number, then 17-20 wins is a fair number to expect from the team.


Alex Schiffer is a sophomore journalism student at the University of Missouri and hails from Westfield, New Jersey. Follow him on Twitter: @TheSchiffMan
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