Mizzou Ready for Return to NCAA Tournament



Now, FSU - especially after their performance late Friday night - has a chance at redemption against the team that ended their historic campaign last season.

After a five year absence the Missouri Tigers Men's Basketball team is back in the NCAA Tournament. Not only that, but Mizzou has Michael Porter Jr. back on the court after missing pretty much the entire season with a back injury. "Give them a lot of credit for pressing us, getting out in the passing lanes, forcing us to make extra plays". "I've got to get my body right, and just keep going forward step by step".

If that names rings a bell, it's because Xavier crushed FSU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament past year.

PJ Savoy added 12 points, canning 3-of-6 from 3-point land, and Phil Cofer chipped in 11.

More important, the Seminoles' win-by-committee approach shined bright against the Tigers.

Yes, the team has been good, 10-8 in the conference, 20-12 overall and Porter, Jr.'s younger brother Jontay has been a fan favorite and complete player revelation, but still. We didn't handle it very well. Not a bad first game for someone who hadn't played meaningful basketball since November 10th. A Florida State shot-clock violation drew hoots and hollers from the defensive-minded coach, and all of a sudden, thanks to hands-up defense and some fast-break points, Missouri was within six. "Second half, I thought they did a tremendous job coming out, denying spots on the floor".

"We kind of got the message for what we needed to do there", Porter said. "We have to keep the same energy no matter if they make shots or make runs, we'll be fine". If Jontay Porter returns for his sophomore season and Porter Jr. declares for the draft, a more realistic scenario, Missouri is likely a tournament team again. Porter had the ball stolen from him with 7:55 left in the first half and followed that up just over a minute later with an airball on a jumper. Missouri scored four points in the final eight minutes of the first half - a 17-4 run in which the Tigers (20-13) didn't register a single field goal. The Tigers will likely add another point guard, with Geist now the only one on the roster, and St. Louis floor general Courtney Ramey has a good chance to take that spot. As a team, Missouri is scoring 73.3 points per game on 45.3% shooting from the field, 38.5% from behind the arc and 73.6% from the foul line this season.

But FSU remained poised to reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year. The senior guard was averaging 13.7 points per game. This is a facet of Porter Jr.'s game I can't fault him for, as it is hard to exercise when one has spinal disc fix surgery. "I've got to do what's best for me". "After that, I don't know". Kassius Robertson led the Tigers with 19 points. "Last two games it's been like that". Tilmon, Puryear and a solid recruiting class that could include four-star point guard Courtney Ramey will be a tough out, but they might not be ready for another NCAA Tournament run.

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