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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Phil Pressey must control his emotions if Mizzou hopes to beat Arkansas

There comes a time in a basketball player’s life that he will one day have to compete against his former school, team, or even coach. That time has come for Missouri Tigers point guard Phil Pressey. This Saturday, February 15th in Fayetteville, Arkansas,
Pressey will lace-up his sneakers against his former coach, Mike Anderson.

Coach Anderson left Missouri in March of 2011 and this will be the first meeting against his former team, not to mention his two former special recruits, Pressey and senior forward Laurence Bowers.

You can bet there will be plenty of emotions, before, during and after the game for Pressey and Bowers as they get set to square off against Anderson's Razorbacks.

What we fans are mainly concerned with is how those emotions, particularly the emotions of our playmaker Phil Pressey, will be like and if they can be contained during the game.

Pressey has been catching a lot of heat lately for some careless turnovers and erratic shooting during important stretches of recent games.

To Pressey's credit he bounced back nicely against Mississippi State in helping lead Mizzou to its first road victory of the season.  Pressey made the only shot he attempted, finishing with eight assists and getting the whole team involved in an easy win.

Pressey, as they sometimes say in golf, must clear the mechanism and remember to have faith in his current coach, Frank Haith. He only has one coach to be concerned with.  Memories of Mike Anderson will and should stay in his past, and the less he thinks about Coach Anderson, the freer his mind will be to keep setting up Keion Bell, Jabari Brown, Bowers and the rest of the Tigers for easy buckets.

Sometimes all this hype and catchy storylines can cause a player to try and do too much. Some players, such as Lebron James, can absorb that and use it as fuel, like when King James returned to Cleveland. James torched the Cavs for 38 points and the Heat blew out the Cavs 118-90.

Pressey hasn’t been through that many wars yet to achieve that type of dominance, but Flip must stay cool and just play his game. Pressey must pass first, shoot second, but if needed in the right situations, step up and take the shot.

Pressey's latest performance has gained some renewed confidence from me and hopefully the rest of Mizzou nation.  If Pressey can continue to be the controlled playmaker we have all been accustomed to watching last season, Mizzou can only benefit.

I’m expecting big things from Flip and feel he will fuel a special key victory that will stretch this road win streak to two games.

My prediction: Missouri wins 68 – 61 on the road at Arkansas.

Zvonko Dzinovic covers the Missouri Tigers basketball team for StlSportsMinute.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@Z_Dzinovic) and read the rest of his content here.