As the No. 16 ranked Missouri Tigers head into the next stretch of their season with a 5-1 record, many are still curious about the availability of senior guard Michael Dixon Jr.
Dixon has been suspended for the entirety of the season thus far, and on Tuesday, news broke as to why.
According to reports from KansasCity.com, Dixon was accused of rape back on August 20 and the case was dropped due to insufficient evidence on November 16.
While Dixon looks to be cleared legally, the guard is still wrestling with the University and possibly facing disciplinary action from the school.
Dixon's return to the lineup does not feel evident and it is impossible to predict a timetable for his return.
One thing that can be predicted is that Dixon's absence could derail a very promising Mizzou season.
Mizzou's two wins over Stanford and VCU at the Battle 4 Atlantis Tourney were nice wins, but they were badly exposed against Louisville and a player like Dixon could help.
The Tigers looked lethargic against Louisville on both ends of the floor, particularly on offense.
Mizzou players were caught watching point guard Phil Pressey, hoping that the Preseason SEC Player of the Year could make something happen.
Dixon, who averaged 13.5 points and 3.3 assists per game while coming off the bench last season, is not one to sit back and watch.
Dixon is a relentless scorer who, despite his smaller stature, constantly looks to attack the defense with dribble penetration and make acrobatic shots at the rim over bigger defenders. His ability to make plays with the ball and knock down shots from the outside would help Mizzou's offense be less stagnant.
Dixon could also help the Tigers defensively if his suspension were lifted. He's a pesky defender who hawks the ball and causes turnovers, and his defense would bring intensity and excitement to a team that looks more apt to sit on their heels and pray for rebounds.
He would also give Coach Haith the lineup flexibility to go with a small lineup on occasion. In direct contrast with last season, Mizzou has gone with size mainly because the team lacks the backcourt depth to implement a four-guard lineup.
While Dixon's absence from the lineup has hurt the Tigers on the floor, it also has proven as a distraction off the court.
Haith and company have been continuously asked about the status of Dixon and his availability. Rather than focus on what is happening, Mizzou players and coaches are constantly reminded of what is not happening since Dixon is not in uniform.
That constant distraction coupled with Dixon's missed contributions on the floor could pose a threat to Mizzou's success down the road this season.
Hopefully Dixon can get his personal life cleaned up quickly.
If not, it is possible that this season's Mizzou team never lives up to its potential.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!