Over the next seven days, PowerMizzou.com will preview every team in the 2012 Battle for Atlantis. Missouri opens play in the tournament at noon Central time on Thanksgiving Day and we will have complete coverage of the Tigers throughout the three-day event.
Our previews start today with Missouri's first-round opponent, the Stanford Cardinal.
Coach: Johnny Dawkins
Last Year: 26-11, 10-8 PAC-12 (7th)
Postseason: NIT Champions
Returning Starters: 3
Strengths: The Cardinal bring back five of the top six scorers from a team that caught fire last year and won the NIT. Sophomore Chasson Randle is an underrated guard who could lead the team in scoring and undersized Aaron Bright averaged 11.7 points and 3.7 assists a season ago. Freshman Christian Sanders was a stat-sheet stuffer as a senior in high school in Houston last season. The Cardinal also have quite a few bodies in the front court to match up with a Tiger team that got much bigger this season.
Weaknesses: While Stanford has plenty of bodies in the front court, they don't have any established stars. Dwight Powell put up solid numbers a season ago and hopes are high for freshman Rocco Allen, but they'll have their hands full with the Tigers. Mizzou should have an athleticism advantage on the wing with the likes of Earnest Ross and Keion Bell being tough matchups.
Overview: Stanford came on strong at the end of last season and is a team to watch early on this year. The Cardinal have a lot of players with potential who they're hoping to see take a step forward this season. Can they do it this early? If so, they could provide a big challenge for Missouri in the opening round, particularly if the Tigers are still short-handed without Michael Dixon Jr..
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