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Happy Valentines Day, Mizzou fans. You have a good basketball team again.

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Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Mizzou was 18-45 the last two years. The Tigers are 18-8 this season.

They had eight conference wins over the last three seasons. They are 8-5 this year.

Defense was the story in this one. It had been a while since anyone had done to A&M what Mizzou did to A&M on that side of the court.

* Mizzou’s defense held Texas A&M to 58 points, its lowest since Dec. 30 at Alabama while snapping a four-game streak of 80+ points for the Aggies.

* Mizzou registered 10 steals against A&M, tying the team’s season high. The Tigers also had 10 steals against Stephen F. Austin on December 19.

Almost incredibly, Mizzou has a nearly equal KenPom ranking on both offense and defense. The Tigers are 42nd on O and 44th on D. That’s an improvement of 53 spots on defense and 188 spots on offense. They are in the top 40 in eFG% and top 80 in FTA/FGA in both directions.

The Tigers needed every stop they could get.

The Tigers only shot 39.3 percent from the field and made just 6 of 20 three-pointers. But they held the Aggies to under 60 points for just the second time in SEC play.

“Their defense was much better than the teams we’ve played recently,” said Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy, whose team had just made the top 25 after winning four straight games coming into Tuesday’s game.

Two players stood out above the crowd in this one.

First, Jeremiah Tilmon was a damn man.

Tilmon tied his career high in points with 14, and he added three rebounds, an assist, a steal and a pair of blocks.

”I just went out there and played ball,” Tilmon said with a smile Tuesday night. [...]

On Texas A&M’s home court, Tilmon’s foul trouble started early. Tuesday night, on Norm Stewart Court, it was the Aggies’ Tyler Davis who found himself with two fouls in the first nine minutes.

”Our inability to get the ball inside to Tyler Davis was a big key in the game,” Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said.

Second, of course: Kassius Robertson. Always Kassius Robertson.

It earned Cuonzo Martin’s maximum allowable praise in a postgame press conference.

“He’s a good player,” Martin said. “He made the right play.” [...]

The Toronto native has played 95 percent of Missouri’s minutes in SEC games, more than any other player in the conference. In league play, he’s hit 90.2 percent of his free throws (which ranks third) and 44.1 percent of his 3s (which ranks seventh).

This was a huge win from an RPI perspective.

The win over the Aggies was Missouri’s sixth Quadrant 1 win of the year, according to the Selection Committee’s new formula. Home wins over top 30 RPI teams, neutral court wins over top 50 teams and road wins over top 75 teams fall in this category. Missouri’s six Quadrant 1 wins rank sixth in the country, behind only Virginia, Xavier, Villanova, Kansas and North Carolina. The Tigers have played 12 Quadrant 1 games, more than any team in America except Kansas.

Oh yeah, and that guy looms.

Mizzou is proving itself to be a dang good team with [Michael Porter Jr.] as a cheerleader. But his return now feels like when and not if, video of him taking jump shots and dunking with his head at the rim stoking anticipation around the sport, and adding one of the nation’s top talents to this mix means a whole new set of possibilities.

Happy Valentines Day, Mizzou fans.


Yesterday at Rock M


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