For a guy who played for a program that has never made the Final Four, former Missouri guard Kim English sure has a lot of confidence in his ex-teammates.
English made a bold prediction Thursday after a workout with the Knicks, telling SNY.tv's Adam Zagoria that he expects the Tigers to cut down the nets in Atlanta next April.
"I can say this now that I'm gone, but I expect them to win a national championship without a doubt," English said. "We should've at least went to the Final Four this past year and it definitely left a sour taste in a lot of guys' mouth out there, but they should win a national championship. They're the best team in the nation heading into next season."
It's admirable that English believes in his former teammates, but they'll have to overcome long odds in order to prove him right. Bovada currently lists Missouri's title odds at 50-1, behind such championship long shots as Florida State (25-1), Stanford (30-1) and Georgetown (40-1).
English, Marcus Denmon and Ricardo Ratliffe have graduated from last year's 30-win team that lost to Norfolk State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, but the Tigers do still have plenty of talent.
Returners Phil Pressey and Michael Dixon form a potent one-two punch in the backcourt. Former all-league forward Laurence Bowers returns after missing last season as a result of a torn ACL. And Alex Oriakhi (UConn), Jabari Brown (Oregon) and Keion Bell (Pepperdine) headline a parade of notable transfers ready to make an immediate impact.
That's a roster that's definitely capable of challenging Florida and Kentucky at the top of the SEC next season if it meshes. Is it also one that can make it to Atlanta and win two games there? It's unlikely, but after the Tigers' surprise success last season, perhaps it would be foolish to rule them out.