Welcome to the first installment of what (we hope) will be a weekly run of concentric circles around Mizzou, Big 12 and national college basketball. The title is tentative. If you have a better one, post it in the comments.
The week that was.
Let’s start with a quick look at what we learned in a squeaker against Western Illinois and a blowout of
Sometimes it is that simple. The 2010-11 College Basketball Prospectus provides this gem. Last year’s Tigers were one of only two teams since 2004 whose opponents turned the ball over on more than 27% of their possessions. In the season’s first game,
Your English is improving. For the season’s first 62 minutes, Kim English played far below his ability, and teams with ability far below the Missouri Tigers managed to hang perilously close. Then English made a jump shot with 17:51 to play against
Part of the problem is that when he doesn’t make shots, English’s erratic ball handling bogs down the offense. Through two games, Kim has twice as many turnovers as assists, and there have been other times when bobbles have killed a fast break or slowed the half-court offense. To make the leap from shooter-with-potential to game-changing offensive force, English has to become better with the ball.
As the World Rotates. Two games in and it’s clear that Mike Anderson is going to play ten guys. All ten logged at least ten minutes in each of the first two games, ranging from Kim English (26 minutes per game) to Steve Moore and Ricky Kreklow (12). What’s not clear is how the rotation is going to take shape. It’s hard to imagine that
It’s not hard to see why. Phil Pressey is going to be a potent scorer, but he isn’t yet, and neither is Matt Pressey or Ricky Kreklow (Matt took more shots against
Going forward, I suspect that as long as any game remains close, you’ll see a three-man perimeter of at least two of Denmon, English,
As for the end of the bench, Mike Anderson said after Saturday’s game that freshman forward Kadeem Green may redshirt this season as he continues to work back to full strength following an Achilles injury.
The only other scholarship player not getting significant minutes is sophomore big man John Underwood. Underwood has always seemed to be productive in mop-up duty, but mop-up minutes are all that he seems to get. After not getting off the bench against Western Illinois, Underwood played just the final three minutes of the game against
Are you experienced? As much as anything,
As for Ratliffe, he clearly was pressing over the first game and a half (Bill has noted his no-look shots). Once he allowed the game to come to him, his numbers shot up. So far, Ratliffe’s production has come almost exclusively off of offensive rebounds and in transition. The next step in the evolution comes when he starts scoring by design in the halfcourt. This team can’t reach its potential without it.
I’ve Got to Hand it to Myself. How good was Marcus Denmon against
This Game is History. If you’re reading this (and I know you are), it’s likely that you’ve heard by now that the Western Illinois game marked the first time in nearly sixty years that Mizzou won a game without having a single player score in double figures. The last such occurrence was on February 12, 1951 at Brewer Fieldhouse (the second of the Tigers’ four home courts) when Mizzou beat
The Tigers may have also made some history in the second half of Saturday’s game. North Florida’s Matt Sauey made a pair of free throws with 7:18 to play to cut
Around the Big 12.
You shouldn’t take too much from November games, but you shouldn’t take too little, either. And my take from
I haven’t seen them play, but one of the conference’s pleasant surprises in the early going has to be the Iowa State Cyclones. Fred Hoiberg’s team is 4-0, and the Cyclones’ wins include a 91-43 thrashing of Drake, and a 91-88 victory over former ISU coach Greg McDermott’s Creighton team. A key addition for
The league’s best player to date? It could be Jordan Hamilton, Texas’s 6’7" sophomore swingman. He is averaging 24.5 points through four games, including an impressive win against
Who is trending down?
Around the Nation.
That’s what’s happening in your neck of the woods. Here’s what’s happening around the country.
Opposition Research. Two of
Likewise, Vandy has been impressive, standing 3-1 with a win over North Carolina and a three-point loss to West Virginia in Puerto Rico. With sequoia-big center A.J. Ogilvy gone, the Commodores might be less of a matchup problem for Missouri, but a better team overall. Sophomore guard John Jenkins has struggled from the field, but has been so good at getting to the free throw line that he leads the team with 18.8 points per game, and sophomore forward Jeffery Taylor, an elite NBA prospect , is close behind. Like me, Andy Katz is impressed.
So Fresh. North Carolina freshman forward Harrison Barnes got the most acclaim, including a spot on the preseason All-America team, but to date the best frosh in the nation has been Ohio State man-beast Jared Sullinger (though Terrence Jones threw his hat into the ring last night). The 6’9" and 280-pound forward who posted 26 points and 10 rebounds in a win at
Big, Big Ten. The best conference so far? I’ll take the Big Ten. In addition to the expected quartet of
And finally . . . The Clippers are still struggling (though they did manage to beat the Hornets last night), but former