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Missouri Looks To Turn Things Around In 2011 NCAA Tournament

The Verizon Center is hosting four first round games of the 2011 NCAA Tournament on Thursday that will feature some of the best teams in the Nation. You can find the schedule for Thursday's games here. We're going to preview each of the eight teams that will be playing on Thursday.

Missouri Tigers:

Coach: Mike Anderson

Conference: Big-12 (Fifth)

Record: 23-10 (8-8)

Best Player And Why: This is a toss-up between Marcus Denmon and Laurence Bowers. Denmon is a scoring threat from everywhere on the court, but he doesn't bring a whole lot of other contributions to the game. Bowers is a good defensive player, can score when needed and is the team's leading rebounder. 

Strength: Depth. The Tigers don't have one marquee player that can take over games in the NCAA Tournament, but they have about four or five guys that can make a very serious contribution. If they are going to be successful, they can't rely on Denmon to win the game for them. They have to share the ball and get everyone involved.

Weakness: Momentum. The Tigers were ranked at one point this year, but they have fallen on some hard times recently. They enter the Tournament having lost four of their last five games. But they've had a pretty good amount of time to get things together. That could be very helpful for them.

Starting Lineup: Marcus Denmon - Michael Dixon - Kim English - Ricardo Ratliffe - Laurence Bowers

Prediction: I think Missouri has a very good chance to beat Cincinnati in this game. I don't have a ton of faith in the Bearcats, and I think that Missouri's guard oriented style of play can be very successful in the Tournament. I was a bit surprised to see that they got a No. 11 seed, and I think they'll show that it was a bit low.

If you haven't filled out your bracket yet, it's not too late! We have a printable bracket that's been updated to reflect the results of the first-four wins.