Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. Ready To Play Thursday

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"You add (Michael) Porter to that - all of the sudden, they become very, very unsafe".

Martin landed in Missouri after three seasons at the University of California.

The game against Georgia is all about Porter Jr.

Anyway, it was nearly poetic, how quickly and perfectly it all went down, and nearly overnight Missouri shape-shifted from a program that finished 8-24 in 2016-17 to a team that legitimately had a chance to reach its first Final Four a year later. He played two minutes and scored two points before leaving with an injury. I don't have it in my head to say, 'He's going to play this many minutes, and that's it.' ... "I want to leave a legacy".

Whether Missouri sees four-game-losing-streak Kentucky or four-game-win-streak Kentucky on Friday remains to be seen (as does whether Missouri sees Kentucky on Friday at all) - but one player stands out as a must-slow-down for the Tigers.

And that's how it was supposed to be: a triumphant return for the biggest recruit in the history of the program.

While rumors have swirled suggesting Porter Jr. could play any day after recovering from back surgery, he hasn't taken the floor.

Whether or not Porter Jr. steps onto the court in a Missouri Tiger uniform, March Madness seems sure to excite for the rest of them.

Missouri was good without Michael Porter Jr., so it was only natural to wonder: Could it be great with him? Georgia rallied from the 10-0 deficit and outscored the Tigers 15-2 and built a 33-24 half time lead. Could Missouri win the SEC tournament?

It will be at least a week before the star freshman can suit up for them again.

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As he did in the first half, Jontay Porter did everything in his power to will the Tigers to victory.

But he missed the next three games to end the regular season. I'm not putting this all on him, however.

Whichever team Missouri faces off with Thursday, SEC All-Freshman Team recipient Jontay Porter will be its most important individual component. Widely projected as an 8 or 9 seed in the field, Mizzou all-but certainly will make its first NCAA appearance since 2013.

Still, it was Porter's 3-pointer with a minute left that kept the Tigers' rally alive and trimmed Georgia's lead to three points.

"Yes, he's prepared to play", Martin answered when asked if Porter will play in the second-round game in St. Louis. "Yes, that's right. Fifty-eight points a game my senior year, my kids can't get that", she told the Gazette.

Maybe, but now what?

His shooting proficiency all comes while playing the most minutes in the conference, averaging 38.2 minutes per game.

"I feel really good (about Texas A&M's NCAA Tournament chances)", Aggies coach Billy Kennedy said.

It's all very complicated, and Missouri did the selection committee no favors Thursday.

Michael Porter's name is expected to be called somewhere in the top 10 in June's draft, and with nothing set yet, it'd be unfair to rule him out of a top 3 pick. "But there's more tickets than there are people that are actually coming out here", said Kentucky Wildcats fan Mike Coatney.