The second act of Mizzou’s 2016-17 basketball season begins tonight, for better or worse, when Lipscomb comes to town (7 pm CT, SECN+). We probably know how this story is going to end, but any hope of a season turnaround requires wins in the next two games, which are, per Ken Pomeroy’s projections, the two most winnable games left on the schedule.
For that matter, the third most winnable game comes up pretty quickly, too:
Most winnable remaining games:
- Dec. 29: Lipscomb (77% win probability)
- Jan. 4: LSU (50%)
- Jan. 10: Auburn (44%)
- Jan. 21: Ole Miss (44%)
- Feb. 15: Alabama (43%)
- Feb. 11: Vanderbilt (41%)
(Only one road game — January 25’s trip to Mississippi State — features a win probability higher than 20%, by the way. Guh.)
If Mizzou hasn’t won three of its last four following that Auburn game in about two weeks, then ... well ... Mizzou might not match last season’s 10 wins.
The big story of the day heading into the battle with mighty Lipscomb: changes.
Puryear and Woods seem locked into their starting roles, but there figures to be changes in the backcourt, where point guard Terrence Phillips has started all 11 games along with wings Frankie Hughes and Cullen VanLeer. [...]
Phillips has been MU’s best 3-point shooter at 35.1 percent, but the Tigers got a spark against Illinois with sophomore Jordan Geist on the floor as the point guard. Since practices resumed Monday, the Tigers have played with Geist at the point and Phillips off the ball as a shooting guard, Anderson said.
“It gives us a different look offensively,” Phillips said. “I think that’s what we need right now.”
And from the KC Star:
“Clearly, we haven’t put the ball in the basket like we want to, so I think coach Anderson is trying to find a different approach,” Puryear said. “With the way me and Russ have been playing, I think we have the potential to produce at a high level offensively and still get everybody involved on the perimeter as well within the offense.”
Mizzou is willing to try anything to get back in the win column right now.
“As any coach would after losing three in a row, he’s looking for different solutions and we’re going to follow his lead,” Puryear said. “Calling on other guys might increase the level of play and I’m excited to see how things pan out.”
It sounds like Geist is likely to be in the new-fangled starting lineup, which makes perfect sense (though “Phillips has been MU’s best 3-point shooter at 35.1 percent” was such a depressing sentence to read), but is that it? Until proven otherwise, one has to assume that Cullen VanLeer continues to start, so ... Geist-Phillips-CVL-Puryear-Woods then?
By the way, if you’re interested in Anderson’s thoughts on KJ Walton...
Anderson: KJ Walton's biggest challenge is being able to shoot the ball some. Lacks confidence in outside shot. Teams taking away drive.— Tod Palmer (@todpalmer) December 28, 2016
KA on Walton: He's got to shoot more. Teams are backing off him, playing him to drive. He's lost confidence in his shot. Defense is OK— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) December 28, 2016
KA on Walton, hopes the holiday break will help him. "He's a good kid. He works hard." Says he can't stop shooting when he misses some shots— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) December 28, 2016
A perfectly valid critique. It would be a lot more valid if anyone else on the team could shoot.
- Here’s my latest Wednesday chat with George Young on The Closers:
- Tramel did another Facebook Live session last night:
- The Trib’s Blake Toppmeyer shared a seven-item Mizzou fan wishlist for 2017. No. 4 is by far the biggest to me (though they’re all pretty big).
- With signing day just five weeks away, PowerMizzou looks at five remaining Mizzou recruiting stories.
- Here’s the latest from Juanita Robinson and her post-gunshot recovery:
Hey guys. I had another successful surgery today. I am waiting to hear from t... https://t.co/fQh96ek5sG— Juanita (@JuaJua23) December 29, 2016
- The esteemed Senator Blutarsky found an interesting Wall Street Journal piece about conservative play-calling. Not necessarily something Mizzou fans have to worry about at the moment with Josh Heupel, but interesting nonetheless.
- This week’s PAPN takes on Ohio State-Clemson, Bama-Washington, Florida State, and more.