Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin on Wednesday told Paul Finebaum on his radio show that freshman forward Michael Porter Jr. will make his return in the second round of the SEC tournament. But after Missouri tied the game at 39 with 14:11 to go in the half, Georgia responded by hit four of its next six shots and extending the lead back to nine on a jumper by Rayshaun Hammonds with just over eight minutes to go. He could go as high as No. 1 overall. Should they drop, considering their performance in St. Louis, and if so how unlucky would some future No. 3 seed feel if a 10-seeded Missouri - featuring a McDonald's all-American in the lineup with nearly no game footage to scout - to potentially prepare for in the second round?
The long awaited, long rumored return of Michael Porter Jr. will happen Thursday in the SEC Tournament. With him back, a gritty Mizzou team gets a major talent boost and even if Porter Jr. only plays 20-25 minutes, he will make an impact. Maten leads in rebounds with 8.8 while Jackson II tops in assists with 3.8 per game. He took seven more shots than the second-most prolific shooter on his team.
Graduate senior guard Kassius Robertson played 94.2 percent of Mizzou's SEC slate, appearing in 688 of a possible 730 minutes.
Unfortunately for the Tigers (20-12), the loss to the Bulldogs prevents Porter from continuing to shake off the rust and gaining more valuable experience before the NCAA tournament.
Against these three teams in the regular season though, Missouri had a mix of success.
His collegiate career is likely not over just yet, as the Tigers eye an at-large NCAA Tournament bid.
That's the key for Missouri and Michael Porter Jr. before the NCAA Tournament.
Martin said earlier this week Porter would not have any minutes restriction when he returned, given the one-and-done nature of the postseason.
Who We Like: Porter Jr. was drawing comparisons to Kevin Durant preseason. But as one of the only players not in foul trouble Thursday night, Barnett didn't give the Tigers a whole lot of anything. So should they be granted a higher seed with a preseason all-American in the lineup and now with one game, disappointing as it was, behind him?
Some of that will be inaccurate, and much of it unfair to a 19-year-old kid and team that both deserve better.