After a really fun and exhilarating overtime game against Xavier, Missouri came out and laid a dud on the court against Davidson. In all manners of speaking, the performance on Friday was disappointing as Missouri fans are searching for reasons to be excited about basketball again and many of us felt hope following the narrow loss to a top 25 team.
A few days ago I said this:
All in all it felt different, didn't it? But the reality is if Mizzou goes out this morning and loses to Davidson, a good program ranked 78th but one that got torched by Clemson in round one, then all bets are off again. Stringing together success is going to be the key to this season. On the table the next two days are winnable games. On the other side of the bracket is Arizona State and Tulane. Two teams who aren't very good but good enough to beat Missouri because the Tigers are still a flawed team.So all bets are off. We’d hope to find reason things were different, but you can’t be this inconsistent and expect a season of different results. You can’t show up and play well against teams where you have no margin of error against, and then play poorly against teams who give you a much larger margin of error. Davidson was a team who gave Missouri a big margin of error and the Tigers were flat out bad. Davidson left the door open on multiple occasions throughout the game and the Tigers couldn’t capitalize. The Wildcats shot a pedestrian 44% from the floor and only made 10 three’s on 30 attempts, they also turned the ball over 16 times. Davidson didn’t play that well, but Missouri played far worse. 36% from the floor, 18% from 3, 15 turnovers against a defense who doesn’t pressure the ball much.
After torching Xavier for 67 points, Frankie Hughes, Kevin Puryear and Terrence Phillips managed just 15 points, 12 of which came from Puryear. Hughes and Phillips were a combined 1-19 from the floor. Missouri isn’t good enough to survive a lack of production like that from three starters. This is a team who will need to spread production around if they want to keep up the offensive efficiency they showed through the first two games. They simply need more production from Russell Woods and KJ Walton, from Cullen VanLeer and Reed Nikko. The latter two were some of the only producers on Friday as Nikko had 10 points (and strangely no rebounds -- how does a 6’10 guy play 16 minutes and not find one rebound?) and VanLeer chipped in 11. The Tigers don’t have a lot of guys who can generate offense on their own, so they need to work within the offense to get good shots. They took good shots against Xavier, and seemed to force more bad ones against Davidson. All areas that can be cleaned up.
Which leads us to today...
Nov 20 & 11am Central
ESPN WWoS Even Center
7th Place in the TirePro Invitational
WatchESPN/ESPN3 (Stream only)
Probably those same two guys we've had
Tiger Radio Network
Tom Ackerman, Gary Link
Keeping an eye on the Four Factors! For a quick explanation on what they mean: Click Here!
So we’ve seen good and bad Missouri in this short season. Today they take on a Tulane team who is not very good, to be kind. They’re in season one of Mike Dunleavy, a pretty unusual hire to say the least. It’s not often you go find a 62 year old coach who’s never coached and recruited in college basketball, but that’s where they are. Tulane hasn’t made an NCAA tournament since 1995 as a part of the Metro Conference, and haven’t been sub-200 in KenPom since 2013. This is exactly the kind of game Missouri has to win. Tulane is a bad team and Missouri is favored to win and they should win. This is a game where style points can matter. Win by a lot and they can send a message Friday was the blip, win by a little and we’re still asking questions. Lose? Well, don’t. Losing throws any goodwill earned in the game on Thursday out the window, and we don’t want that.
Tulane is pretty awful defensively, and pretty poor offensively. Missouri on the other hand has shown they can be pretty decent defensively, or at least teams haven't shot well against them. The area to keep an eye on is rebounding, while Mizzou looks improved in this department, Tulane crashes the glass pretty hard, which considering the amount of shots they miss is something to be worried about.
Either way, the Tigers should win. We'll see where we are once this game is wrapped up but the Tigers must come out of Florida with at least one victory to hold serve on the early projections.