This reporter really felt like as the 2020/21 has reached its apparent conclusion, the Missouri State Bears were jelling into the cohesive and winning unit which we have been expecting for the last several seasons. And, with a roster that could, with luck, stay intact, some very bright and entertaining days might be in the future.
Selection Sunday is March 14th and the Bears’ immediate future will be foretold then. However, their inclusion in the Big Dance is virtually nil. With the reduction in size of the NIT to 16 teams as opposed to the usual 32, well the chances of an invitation to the nation’s oldest postseason competition have been greatly reduced. But, as the old adage states, “never say never.” This year’s Collegeinsider postseason tournament, the CIT, has been canceled.
This year’s team was a 17 game winner against 7 losses. 12 of those wins coming within the Missouri Valley Conference and in this era of the pandemic, I felt that was pretty good.
Offensively, the Bears appeared to have developed poise and consistency once their individual roles began to be absorbed and the timing more precise. The combination of leading scorer Isiaih Mosley and the talented post dominator Gaige Prim was, at times, unstoppable and the points began to accumulate. Mosley led the Bears in scoring at just under 20 points per game, a stat that’s enhanced by an overall shooting of .505.
The 6’8″ noticeably slimmed down Prim averaged 16.7 points per game and his accuracy from the field was an eye popping 59.9. Obviously, most of his goals were from the paint and within 5 feet of the basket. But his strength and skill at powering the ball home against sometimes imposing forces was most impressive.
They weren’t the only contributors of course. The likes of Ja’Monta Black, Demarcus Sharp, Keaton Hervey, Jared Ridder, Lu’Cye Patterson and the other key Bears off the bench all made major contributions to what this reporter thinks will be a winning finished product in the future.
That’s NOT a prediction of a championship on the horizon, a most unfair supposition to apply in any case. But it IS a thought that competitive, hard charging and entertaining basketball is awaiting in the immediate future.