After a roller-coaster off-season, that featured shocking allegations of misconduct by new coach Frank Haith when he was at Miami, the loss of star forward Laurence Roberts to a season-ending knee injury and the school's soap-opera departure to the SEC, the No. 25 Missouri Tigers are finally read to begin the 2011-2012 college basketball season.
They play the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks, an Ohio Valley Conference team, at 7:00 PM Friday in Mizzou Arena. The game will be televised regionally on the MSN network, while 980 AM will have the radio call.
Even without Bowers, Missouri returns a lot of talent for Haith, led by the experienced back-court of senior Kim English and junior Marcus Denmon.
However, 6'8 senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe is now the only big man on the roster with any significant experience, so it will be interesting to see how Haith handles a guard-heavy roster used to playing Anderson's "40 Minutes of Hell" system.
Southeast Missouri State returns their top three scorers from last year, seniors Leon Powell and Nick Niemcyzk and junior Marland Smith, but they were only 10-22, finishing seventh in the low-major OVC.
For the Tigers, Thursday's contest is the first of three relatively easy non-conference match-ups before a home game against Notre Dame on Nov. 21.
For in-depth and comprehensive coverage of Missouri's basketball season, check out Rock M Nation.