One of the nation’s highest-rated junior college men’s basketball players has verbally committed to Missouri.
A childhood friend of Ricardo Ratliffe, a 6-foot-8 226-pound forward from Central Florida Community College, told the Missourian on Sunday night that Ratliffe has verbally committed to play for the Tigers after visiting MU this weekend. Sterling Sanders, who attended the same high school as Ratliffe in Hampton, Virginia, said Ratliffe told him Sunday that he had committed to Missouri.
PowerMizzou.com first reported Ratliffe’s verbal commitment, along with the commitment of another junior college player – Matt Pressey from Navarro Junior College in Corsicana, Texas. Pressey also visited MU this weekend, according to PowerMizzou.com. He is a 6-foot-2 guard and the older brother of Phil Pressey, a high school senior who signed his letter of intent to play at Missouri in November of last year. Matt and Phil’s father, Paul Pressey, was an NBA player for 10 years.
Multiple posts to social media Web sites by Missouri players and graduate assistant Michael Anderson Jr. allude to the commitments. Ratliffe and Pressey cannot official sign with Missouri until Wednesday, the start of the NCAA’s spring signing period.
If Missouri adds Ratliffe and Pressey, two current players will be leaving the Tigers because Missouri would need to free up two scholarships. Sophomore Miguel Paul posted the following on his Facebook page: I love my fans, mizzou fans, and the team. God knows they are like my brothers but its time for me to move on to a better opportunity for my family and I. I wouldn’t trade or take back nothing from these last two years. I will always be a tiger GOOD LUCK MIZZOU (MIZ – ZOU)
Rumors on internet message boards over the past week suspected Paul and freshman Tyler Stone would be transferring.
By: Alex Ruppenthal
There was a lot of action in the Big 12 over the last week. Here are some interesting bits of information from the new AP Top 25 Poll release:
- Previously ranked No.1 Kansas lost at Oklahoma State Saturday, falling to the No. 2 spot in the AP polls. That loss ended the Jayhawks bid for an undefeated Big 12 run and means the game against Missouri won’t be for an undefeated season or their 2000 total win. However, I doubt the Border Showdown won’t be any less intense.
- Missouri not only lost a chance at picking up a quality win on the road against No. 5 Kansas State, but it is now the dreaded five seed in the Big 12. If standings stay in place, Missouri won’t receive a bye in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.
- Texas fell out of the Top 25 for the first time all season. Missouri’s win against them is looking less and less impressive as the weeks go on.
- The Big 12 has five teams ranked in the AP Top 25 polls. The Big East is the only other conference to have that many schools in the Top 25. Missouri is once again receiving votes, but no where near being ranked.
By upsetting No. 6 Kansas State tonight at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan., Missouri would jump to second place in the Big 12 and put itself in prime position to hang on to one of the top four spots in the conference, which guarantees a first-round bye in the Big 12 Tournament. But a loss tonight, a far more likely scenario considering how tough it is to win at “The Octagon of Doom,” and the Tigers fall to fifth.
Texas A&M and Baylor both won earlier today to move to 9-5 in Big 12 play. Missouri is 9-4 but will most likely be 9-5 at the end of the night. Because A&M and Baylor beat Missouri, both teams have the tiebreaker over the Tigers and would claim the third and fourth spots. Also, both teams could reasonably win their final two games, giving Missouri no chance to get in position for a bye.
Missouri will be expected to win at Iowa State on Tuesday, but No. 1 Kansas comes to Mizzou Arena on March 6 for the regular season finale. In other words, Missouri can save itself a lot of trouble with an upset tonight.
Even though the players won’t admit it, the NCAA Tournament is quickly coming upon them, and sportswriters and Bracketologists alike are putting projections out like there is no tomorrow. With just three games left to play most experts claim the Tigers are playing for seeding at this point (although it isn’t a done deal until March 15 when the Selection Committee finalizes it). Here are the latest projections for Missouri.
- According to ESPN’s Bracketology expert Joe Lunardi, Missouri is projected to be a No. 7 seed in Providence. Not that the match up means anything because it most likely will change, but the Tigers would play Georgia Tech, but then face a match up with Villanova in the round of 32. Now that would be interesting, especially since Kansas State coach Frank Martin said the Tigers were mirror images of Villanova last time Missouri played Kansas State.
- Missouri is also projected as a lock for the NCAA Tournament according to Mark Schlabach in his latest Bubble Watch. Although nothing is a lock until the NCAA Selection Committee finalizes it March 15.
- In the latest polls the Tigers received just 17 votes in the AP Top 25 and 7 in the USA Today poll. Missouri has been teetering on the edge of the rankings all season long, and unless it beats Kansas State or Kansas its going to stay like that.
Missouri is set to tip-off against Colorado (12-14, 3-9) tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Mizzou Arena. You can catch the game on Fox Sports Midwest, KFRU/1400 AM or KBXR/102.3.
By: Brian Nordli
There has been a lot of talk about Missouri potentially leaving the Big 12 for the more academically prestigious Big 10, however, Kevin Sherrington, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News has a different take. Sherrington writes that Texas may be satisfied with the Big 12 right now, but thinks it could leave for the Big 10 or potentially go Independent. Among other things, Sherrington says that the Big 12 is too limited financially, which may drive the Longhorns away. Unless the Big 12 comes up with a TV network like the Big 10, conferences like the Big 10, which has its own TV station, is far more lucrative.
Sherrington also writes that the potential of Texas leaving may lead to the demise of the Big 12. Missouri has expressed plenty of interest in the Big 10, and Colorado has looked at going to the Pac-10. Then there is the possibility that Texas drags Texas A&M with it. That would be four schools leaving, which will probably mean the conference will be disbanded. Who knows, maybe 10 or 20 years from now the Big 12 may not even exist.
By: Brian Nordli
Zaire Taylor looked so sick after Missouri’s win against Iowa State on Wednesday that it was hard to believe he even played in the game.
The guard had been fighting a week-long stomach bug that forced him to leave the court during practice and Wednesday’s game to use the bathroom. After the game, he threw up in the stands and could hardly walk on his own.
But Taylor looked just fine during Missouri’s 64-62 loss at Baylor on Saturday, leading the Tigers with 15 points. Taylor said his stomach issues were solved when he finally sought help.
“I went to the doctor, he gave me some medicine that he said would help. And it helped,” Taylor said Monday. “Pretty much I was just trying to be a superhero and take care of myself, try to stay quiet about it.”
“Once I said something about it, it got killed right away, which I should’ve done I guess a week earlier.”
Missouri forward Keith Ramsey also fought threw some pain Wednesday after spraining his ankle in the first half. He looked relatively healthy Saturday against Baylor, though he played just 15 minutes.
“I think Keith will be fine. He’ll be ready to play (Wednesday against Texas),” coach Mike Anderson said. “The injury, there’s no question, he’ll be a little gimpy. But he’s a senior and he’s only got so many games, so there’s no time to sit over there and be an assistant coach. You want to be out on the floor. You’ll see him. He’ll be ready to play.”
Missouri welcomes No. 15 Texas at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
By: Alex Ruppenthal
Compare the Missouri basketball intro videos from last year to this year. What do you think? Hard to match DeMarre Carroll’s shaking hair. And why can’t Missouri make something that’s at least in the same league as Kansas’ video, posted at the bottom? Just because you don’t have the history doesn’t mean you can’t make a sweet video.