If all goes well during Friday’s practice, Michael Porter Jr. will be suiting up for the Missouri Tigers on Saturday. The Tigers are (19-11, 9-8) in the SEC and they have a 38 RPI entering the season finale. They went (6-3) in February to help solidify their standing in the NCAA Tournament projections. Currently, the Tigers are projected around the 8/9 seed line. Meaning, depending on how they finish, the Tigers may have an opportunity to knock off a No. 1 seed in a potential second round game.
But what does all this mean? It means Porter Jr. may have a real impact on the rest of the season. Porter was cleared for basketball activities in the final week of February. He survived Thursday’s practice and his ability to recover from Friday’s practice will determine if Porter can perform on Saturday. Moreover, it will be important to see Porter prior to the one and done nature of the SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament.
For example, if Porter appears in Saturday’s contest against the Arkansas Razorbacks, he will play in at least two games prior to the NCAA Tournament. We will know more about the Tigers’ conference position after the season finale. However, they are tied for No. 6 and one game in back of the No. 3 spot. Therefore, tiebreakers should become a huge factor in where teams are located.
If the Tigers earn a double-bye, they won’t play again until Friday, March 9. As a result, Porter will have plenty of time to recover from Saturday’s contest. Otherwise, he will likely have to take the court on Thursday. Yet, it’s not the first game that’s the problem for Porter. The question remains- will he be able to play in back to back contests? Furthermore, would the Tigers want to play Porter in back to back games this early in his return? Moreover, the Tigers have to win their first SEC Tournament game for any of this to become a reality.
The Tigers are (6-7) in Quadrant I games. They are (4-2) in Quadrant II games and (6-2) in Quadrant III games. They can get another high profile win on Saturday to secure their place in March Madness. The Razorbacks are projected as a No. 7 seed. However, the Tigers might have Final Four aspirations with the return of Porter. Yes, the goals are lofty, but his presence could be that valuable in a tournament where every team can lose in any round. Porter scored two points and grabbed two rebounds in only two minutes of his college basketball career. Maybe he will make his mark afterall.