Mizzou at UCLA: Two Post-Game Thoughts

Stephen Dunn

Hoo Lawd! That was something.

1. Somebody has to be able to set the offense other than Pressey. So, Missouri had 20 assists. Flip had 19 of them. Seeing as how Michael Dixon, Jr. is not walking through that door somebody else must step into the backup PG role. Flip can't play every minute, but when he leaves the floor the offense just becomes an unwatchable train wreck. And even when he is on the floor it's starting to become too hard. I'm starting to see people standing around and waiting for him to do something great. No one else is a competent ball handling threat right now. Missouri doesn't need another Phil Pressey. Missouri needs another player that can competently handle the ball and set the offense.

Right now, Negus Webster-Chan is the presumptive backup point guard. In truth though, I'm not sure how much the Tigers can count on NWC in that role this year. I really like his skill set, and the light may yet come on. There's a lot of basketball left. He just seems much more comfortable as a big guard/small forward that hits the boards rather than sets people up. So here's the thing. Frank Haith forgot more about basketball on his way to the lobby this morning than I'll ever know. If he puts NWC in the backup PG role then I'm inclined to believe he knows what he's doing. If that's the direction though, Haith may need to force feed him minutes in the role and live with the results as he develops.

2. UCLA beat us up the floor consistently. Missouri goes hard to the offensive glass, but at times really loses defensive floor balance. That will show up on film, and you can bet Florida, Kentucky, et al. will take note. For all the (justifiable) griping about how Mike Anderson's style left the team vulnerable on the boards it's worth noting that Haith's style can leave the team vulnerable to easy buckets. UCLA was also running out on Missouri makes, suggesting that the bigs struggled to get down the floor. On a somewhat related notes, the Wear twins played ball tonight. If two pick-and-pop bigs like that are hitting shots at 18 feet there's not a lot you will be able to do defensively. This was a bad night to be without Tony Criswell.

Bonus Thought: It sure felt like tonight was Keion Bell's best game as a Tiger. The blown layup was a real shame for a guy who overall played a really good game in precisely the role we need. He's an energizer bunny who really brought it defensively.

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