November 7, 2011

Ratliffe the key in win and for the season

Missouri won its third straight exhibition game on Monday night, 88-70 over Central Missouri. That completed a three-game sweep of the state after wins over Missouri Southern and Truman State.

But the fact is, fans know little more about this team than they did nine days ago. Exhibition games are a chance to play under the lights, but hardly provide enough competition for a team to show its true colors.

The Tigers' first chance to play a game against a Division One foe may not look significantly different than the three exhibitions. Missouri faces Southeast Missouri State on Friday night in the regular season opener.

But after that, the tests pick up in a hurry. Thanksgiving week, Mizzou will face Notre Dame and either Cal or Georgia in the CBE Classic. The Illinois game in St. Louis is in between road trips to New York City to face Villanova and Norfolk, VA to take on Old Dominion. Few know what this Tiger team is today, but by the time Big 12 play opens for the final time on January 3, 2012, everyone will have a good idea.

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