For a moment, let’s set aside the officiating. And the devastating ending. And Jordan Barnett’s ridiculous play. Let’s set all of that aside.
This was still a fascinating game even without those things. It stinks that Missouri lost it, but it was fascinating all the same.
1. Mizzou went 11-for-19 on 3-pointers and lost.
Hard to do.
2. Counterpoint: Mizzou got destroyed in the ball-handling battle and nearly won.
Also hard. The Tigers did only turn the ball over 11 times, which isn’t bad for this team (even with the snail’s-pace tempo). But they forced only six Gator TOs and had only nine assists, very low for this team. And, of course, UF’s BCI got better, and Mizzou’s got worse, in the last five seconds.
3. Should we be concerned that the Tigers are shooting 39% on 2-pointers so far in SEC play?
They were 9-for-25 against South Carolina and 12-for-29 against Florida. Granted, it would have probably been better if Jeremiah Tilmon had been allowed to play more than eight minutes without getting whistled five times. But Jontay Porter is 2-for-7 inside the arc in these two games, Kevin Puryear is 4-for-11, and Kassius Robertson is 3-for-10. Ew.
Odds are, this will progress toward the mean just as Mizzou’s 3-point shooting regresses; the Tigers are 25-for-43 (58 percent) from long range in these games. That’s even less sustainable than the bad 2-point shooting.
Your Trifecta: Barnett-Porter-Tilmon.
4. What could have been for Tilmon...
That Tilmon crept into the Trifecta despite fouling out in eight minutes says a lot. For one thing, it tells you that Mizzou probably wins if he manages to play, I don’t know, 12-15 minutes. He was a serious weapon, and he managed to draw a few fouls while committing them.
I did love, by the way, Cuonzo Martin’s post-game defense of Tilmon.
“We gotta figure out a way to allow Jeremiah Tilmon to play basketball,” Martin said. “Some of those you just watch and it’s a 19-year-old kid, he’s doing the things you ask him to do. I just hope he doesn’t get a reputation, because he’s doing the right things and he plays hard. It is what it is. Leave it on the floor, let them play the game.”
This was Jeremiah Tilmon’s 5th foul. pic.twitter.com/OEWEHruks0— Carrington Harrison (@cdotharrison) January 6, 2018
Somehow that wasn’t the most anticipatory foul call of the afternoon.
(Matt’s piece on the officiating saved me from unleashing the same rant about college basketball officiating that I feel I make every year. I have barely watched any non-Mizzou, non-tourney college basketball in the last few years, and the biggest reason is that I can’t watch a game for more than about three minutes without getting annoyed by the officiating. It’s bad in every sport. It’s worst in this one.)
5. Mizzou’s point guard was a 6’11 freshman.
Jontay Porter had six assists in 27 minutes.
Robertson, Jordan Geist, and Terrence Phillips had one assist in 77 combined minutes.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a game like this. Porter had the highest %Pass figure on the team, and the second highest belonged to his backup, Reed Nikko.
6. Damn, Jordan.
After the South Carolina win, I called Jordan Barnett the forgotten senior. Keep forgetting him, I guess.
Five games into the season, Barnett was averaging 8.4 points per game. It was like he wasn’t sure what his role was supposed to be with Michael Porter Jr.’s unexpected absence. But beginning with the St. John’s game, he’s scored at least 15 points in every game since. That’s a 10-game stretch in which he’s averaging 19.7 PPG. He started 4-for-22 (18 percent) on 3-pointers; he’s 35-for-64 (55 percent) since.
He’s 25th in the country in offensive rating, he doesn’t commit fouls, he’s 127th in 3-point percentage (despite the slow start), he’s 17th in free throw percentage, and he’s both making 2-pointers and grabbing offensive rebounds at a top-500 level.
I mean ... he has basically given Missouri what we expected from MPJ, isn’t he? Granted, he’s not the shot creator that the star freshman was supposed to be. And granted, without MPJ the Tigers don’t have a No. 2 option as good as Barnett might have been. But once his new role became clear, he ran with it. And in a game in which Missouri’s passing game was limited, he continued to make his 3-pointers, and he nearly willed the Tigers to a big win. If MPJ comes back and Barnett remains as deadly from a catch-and-shoot standpoint, that could be absolutely ridiculous to watch.