A closer look at the five games Frank Haith will miss

The Tigers will open the season without their third-year coach.

Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith will be suspended five games for his role in the Nevin Shapiro scandal, the NCAA announced Tuesday.

Haith’s punishment could have ranged from sanction to scholarship losses, but it was deadened by snafus in the NCAA investigation.

Still though, the Tigers will be without their leader to open up the season. Here’s who the Tigers face and how Haith’s absence may affect the outcome:

Nov. 8 vs. Southeastern Louisiana
Previous history: First career meeting
Conference: Southland Conference
2012-2013 record: 13-18

The Take: Not only is it the season opener, but this will be the highly anticipated debut of guard Jordan Clarkson. It will also be the coaching debut of Tim Fuller, assuming he is handed the reigns during Haith’s absence. The Tigers have no excuse to lose this game, no matter who is coaching, as the team is 10 times more talented than the visiting Lions.

Nov. 12 vs. Southern Illinois
Previous history: First career meeting
Conference: Missouri Valley Conference
2012-2013 record: 14-17

The Take: Another home game at Mizzou Arena, the Tigers should once again have no trouble beating the Salukis as the Tigers have more talent and will face tougher competition than the MVC. Fuller’s first two games should be pretty smooth barring injuries or ejections.

Nov. 16 vs. Hawaii in Kansas City
Previous meeting: 95-89 Tigers win on December 30, 1995
Conference: Big West Conference
2012-2013 record: 17-15

The Take: The Tigers return to Kansas City for the first time since winning the Big 12 tournament, which should make for a great atmosphere, regardless of who’s running the team. Missouri fans will have some fun with former guard Negus Webster-Chan who is currently sitting out for Hawaii after transferring there last year. With the distance the Warriors are traveling and the proximity to Columbia, this is pretty much another home game for the Tigers. They should pick up the win.

Nov. 23 vs. Gardner-Webb Previous meeting: first career meeting
Conference: Big South Conference
2012-2013 record: 21-13

The Take: Here’s where it gets interesting. The Tigers face Gardner-Webb in the opening round of the Las Vegas Invitational, which Haith will be back for around Thanksgiving. The Bulldogs have a brutal out-of-conference schedule as they face Duke, Northwestern, Georgia and a few other top-conference teams aside from their game against the Tigers. The Bulldogs gave Illinois a run for their money last year, losing by only a single point. They also beat DePaul despite playing in a conference like the Big South. This will likely be the Tigers’ first real test of the season, as well as Fuller’s. With the game being at home, one has to favor the Tigers but don’t be surprised if the Dogs escape with a win.

Nov. 25 vs. IUPUI Previous history: first career meeting
Conference: The Summit League
2012-2013 record: 6-26

The Take: The Tigers should make quick work of the Jaguars, a team that struggled greatly last season in the Summit League, a low division one conference. The Tigers should have their starters out well before the fourth quarter starts and Fuller should have an easy game before returning back to the passengers seat for Haith’s return.

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