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68779_153744021329317_100000811606883_211677_1206186_nToday basketball tickets became available for student pick-up.  In four years here, I've never seen so much excitement over tickets for the non-conference games.  Throughout most of the day, the line for tickets was out the door of Mizzou Arena.  Mizzou officials said they expected to distribute all 4,000 student tickets by the end of the day.  As excitement for the season builds (the first exhibition game is this Friday), guest contributor and supreme basketball mind Mitch Gilman breaks down Mizzou's roster.

It’s easy to forget about the Mizzou basketball team when our football team is having a great year with a 7-1 record, but here is some preseason basketball news. The Tigers are ranked 15th in the preseason coaches’ poll. Now you may think this number 15 ranking isn’t a big deal since Mizzou finished the 08-09 season ranked 9th in the nation after the unforgettable trip to the elite 8, but think again. This is the first time in seven years that the Tigers have even been RANKED in the top 25 in any preseason poll. This just proves that the voters believe that this year’s Mizzou squad is much more talented than the 08-09 group. Expectations are sky high for this season with Mizzou having a legitimate shot of competing for a Big 12 title. Kansas State in my opinion will hands down be the team to beat this year in conference, with Baylor, Kansas, and Missouri closely following. Here is a preview of the 2010-2011 team.

*Statistics (PPG, RPG, APG)

Contributing Returners: Justin Safford, Sr. (8.6, 4.1, 1.2), Kim English, Jr. (14.0, 3.4, 1.1), Laurence Bowers, Jr. (10.2, 5.7, 1.2), Marcus Denmon, Jr. (10.4, 2.9, 1.4), Michael Dixon, So. (7.5, 1.1, 1.6)

  • Great group of returning players, solid nucleus of the team. Kimmie made the Naismith watch list for being one of the 50 best returning college players. If Safford puts up similar numbers Mizzou will be a tough team to beat. Look for Kimmie’s scoring to go up slightly as well as Bowers’. Denmon is back to 100 percent healthy and will play a much bigger role in Mizzou’s offense. Dixon however will show the most improvement out of this group. Don’t be surprised if he averages 10 points and 5 assists this season. He is also Mizzou’s premier perimeter defender.

Key Losses: J.T. Tiller (8.9, 3.1, 3.3), Zaire Taylor (8.1, 3.1, 2.6), Keith Ramsey (6.4, 5.9, 1.4)

  • Losing three impact players is always unfortunate, but this year’s Mizzou squad is a much more talented group. Tiller’s tenacious defense and knack for frustrating opposing point guards will be missed, as well as Zaire’s leadership and offensive skill. Ramsey was an undersized hustle player that was a fan favorite because of his constant effort on the boards.

Key Additions: Ricardo Ratliffe, 6’9 240lbs. (JUCO transfer), Matt Pressey , 6’2 170lbs. (JUCO), Phil Pressey, 5’10 162lbs. (Episcopal School of Dallas), Kadeem Green, 6’8 200lbs. (United Faith Christian Academy, NC), Ricky Kreklow, 6’5 185lbs. (Rock Bridge HS, MO)

  • If you asked MU students which recruit will make the biggest impact this year, I think most would say Phil Pressey, without a doubt. I disagree completely. Ricardo Ratliffe is going to be a beast in the Big 12. He has already won the preseason newcomer of the year award for the conference. Yes Mizzou fans, we have finally added the legitimate post presence that we so desperately needed. We finally have a banger that has the ability to guard the Marcus Morris’, the Perry Jones’, and the Curtis Kelly’s of the league. Look for Ratliffe to average north of fifteen points and seven boards a game in his first year here at Mizzou. Phil Pressey will be an impact player for us as a backup point guard. He is a great ball handler and has freakish athleticism for his size. His brother Matt is a defensive specialist who will probably play a similar role to that of Miguel Paul last year. Kadeem Green when healthy could be another viable low post option coming off the bench. Ricky Kreklow is a three point specialist that could be a scoring threat coming off the bench.