Guess what you guys, Basketball is here!
Missouri Western Griffons
Friday, November 6th
Pure, Unadulterated Exhibition
RockMNation's Jarrett Sutton
Tiger Radio Network
Mike Kelly, Gary Link
I probably could have timed this a bit better with the previews, but Mizzou's preview as part of the big, giant, SEC countdown, comes out tomorrow. So you'll all have to wait through this game to find out what me, Chris Bohkay, and Anchor Of Gold's Tom Stephenson have to say about this years Tigers. But needless to say there is some modicum of excitement for this team to start playing games. So here's the roster to mull over.
|MISSOURI TIGERS 2015-2016|
|1||Terrence Phillips||5-11||175||G||Fr||Orange County, CA/Oak Hill Academy|
|2||Martavian Payne||6-2||184||G||Jr||St. Louis, MO/John A. Logan College|
|4||Tramaine Isabell||6-0||178||G||So||Seattle, WA/Garfield High|
|5||D'Angelo Allen||6-7||216||F||So||Dallas, TX/Kimball High|
|10||K.J. Walton||6-3||197||G||Fr||Brownsburg, IN/Brownsburg High|
|11||Jimmy Barton||5-9||160||G||RS So||St. Louis, MO/Houston Baptist|
|12||Namon Wright||6-5||202||G||So||Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills High|
|13||Trevor Glassman||6-3||200||G||Jr||Bedford, NH/Manhattan|
|15||Wes Clark||6-0||180||G||Jr||Detroit, MI/Romulus High|
|23||Jakeenan Gant||6-8||212||F||So||Springfield, GA/Effingham County High|
|24||Kevin Puryear||6-7||236||F||Fr||Blue Springs, MO/Blue Springs South High|
|25||Russell Woods||6-8||225||F||Jr||Chicago, IL/John A. Logan College|
|32||Adam Wolf||6-7||202||F||Fr||Lake Forest, IL/Beaver Dam HS|
|33||Cullen VanLeer||6-4||200||G||Fr||Pacific, MO/Pacific HS|
|44||Ryan Rosburg||6-10||260||F||Sr||St. Louis/Marquette HS|
If you hadn't heard, Hayden Barnard left the team to concentrate on his academics. Coach Anderson told Hayden that he was welcome back at any time if he changed his mind.
Exhibition games are always tough to discern much from your team, remember Mizzou played two exhibition games last year and won by an average of 32 points. Your main goal should be to come out of the game healthy, and not make any headlines. Missouri Western plays in the MIAA conference and finished 12-15 last year, so I wouldn't expect that this game be very competitive. Instead of the level of competition, there are some things that you, the viewer, can keep an eye on to see if this Mizzou team is going to give us a little more to cheer for this season over last year.
1) Big & Small
The starting lineup is probably pretty predictable, but how often does Coach Anderson use a smaller, faster, more athletic lineup by using either Jakeenan Gant or Kevin Puryear at center, and put guards around them. We know that they want to play faster than they did last year, we know that the guard depth is the stronger part of the roster at this point. So how does the coaching staff utilize those advantages?
2) Valued Basketball
Even in last years exhibition games Mizzou had trouble hanging onto the ball. They averaged 14.5 turnovers against inferior competition, and that set a tone for the season as the Tigers averaged 13 turnovers a game, and on top of that they only averaged 11 assists a game. To set a tone for this season I'd like to see Mizzou have less than 10 turnovers, while getting at least 15 assists. Penetration and distribution from the guards, without turning the ball over will be a key to getting easy points tonight, and for the rest of the season.
3) And One's
Strength was a big deficiency for the Tigers a year ago, so how many times does a Mizzou player take contact and finish the play. Not only getting the hoop and the harm, but also completing all sorts of plays through contact. Basketball is a contact sport, and a season ago the Tigers got pushed around. They've had an offseason of weight training to improve in this area, and it's time to see where they are.
Last thing I'll be watching, but it's not really anything that is going to show up on the stat-sheet, how does this team play together. Do they pick each other up? Do they make the extra pass? Do they play for each other? It's not that they team was overtly selfish a season ago, but all offseason we've heard about chemistry and how the makeup of the roster wasn't right. The coaching staff feels like they have a better roster balance this year, and that has translated to better chemistry. All of that can go out the door when a loss or two happens during the regular season, but it's something to keep in mind when watching tonight. The Tigers are a long way from being a contender at this point, but in order to start taking steps back towards respectability, they've got to overcome those things and start playing for each other.
Like I said above, there will be a full on preview of the team tomorrow, so we'll talk about everything in detail, but it's certainly nice to get a sneak peek tonight.
So for a starting five, I'll take Wes Clark, Tramaine Isabell,
Namon Wright, Jakeenan Gant and Ryan Rosburg. I'll say Kevin Puryear is first off the bench, with Terrence Phillips and K.J. Walton shortly thereafter. I expect to see everyone in this game, even the walk-ons. But the bulk of the minutes early will likely be Kim Anderson trying out some lineups to see what works. As for a score, I'll take a guess at 74 - 44. I'll be drinking bourbon, I suggest some form of whiskey tonight, it'll be a bit chilly outside. I'm also making Fried Chicken, the wife is making Mac & Cheese, so I'm looking forward to tonight regardless of the basketball game!
Pick 'Em, Gamblin' Style (there's no line on this game since it's an exhibition, so I'll take a guess)
STRAIGHT UP: Missouri/Missouri Western
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Missouri +28.5
UPDATE 6:09 PM: Namon Wright and D'Angelo Allen have been suspended for tonights game
And it begins ... #Mizzou announces that sophs D'Angelo Allen and Namon Wright are being withheld from tonight's exhibition vs. Mo. Western— Steve Walentik (@Steve_Walentik) November 7, 2015