Mizzou will not have Jordan Barnett for its first-round NCAA Tournament game against Florida State. For one thing, that probably means a few more minutes for walk-on Brett Rau, who had his story shared with the KC Star by family and former coaches this week.
Walk-ons must keep a positive outlook and bring consistent energy to the bench while knowing they’ll probably never get in the game.
“He knew what he was getting into,” Corey Rau said.
Rau played sparingly in his first season in Columbia, which was Anderson’s last.
In the nine minutes he played against Georgia, Rau held his own on the defensive end and as a reliable ball handler, which is something Missouri has lacked throughout the season.
Cuonzo Martin has half-joked that while Rau has played well recently, he’s not sure if he has “the green light” on offense.
More importantly, it’s going to mean a full game and a green light for one Mr. Michael Porter Jr., who wasn’t all that bad against Georgia.
“He’s not a selfish player,” Martin said. “He took 17 shots. It doesn’t matter to me how many shots you take. More than anything it’s catching and shooting the ball in rhythm (and) not necessarily shooting it quick but allowing it to come to you. … I didn’t have a problem with his shots. It’s not like they were bad shots. It wasn’t like he was forcing shots over guys. I think our offense was stagnant, was clogged up because of his rhythm (and) not being part of (the rotation).”
When he was on the floor, Mizzou was plus-10 on the scoreboard. The Tigers averaged 1.0 point per possession with Porter on the court and 0.77 with him off. He played four shifts in the second half, and in each one the Tigers outscored Georgia from the time he stepped on the floor to when he stepped off.
The types of shot he takes against FSU, though, could — should — change.
Martin said after the Georgia game that he hoped Porter could be a catch-and-shoot player for Mizzou, but foul trouble led to him playing more than expected and taking on a heavier burden. The coach suspected Porter’s legs might not be back at full strength after so much time away from live game action.
According to ESPN shot-tracking data, Porter was 2-of-6 from three-point range and 3-of-7 from inside the paint against Georgia. He was 0-for-4 from mid-range, with all of those shots coming in the first half.
“We knew as a staff, coming back, it wouldn’t flow as well unless you got him spotting up in the corner,” Martin said.
Whatever MPJ has in his arsenal at the moment, we’re probably going to see it. Maybe shore up that mid-range game, though.
More Hoops Links
- Beat writer Q&A!
- FSU is deep and balanced.
- Jontay Porter is Mizzou’s most complete player.
- The Missourian flashes back to Mizzou’s strange-as-hell start to the 1994 Tournament. Hey, that one worked out alright.
- I did a full hour with George and Jay on The Closers yesterday. Have a listen.
Yesterday at Rock M
- Stadium’s gonna look awfully weird this summer (and into the fall).
- The NCAA Wrestling Championships begin today! Team #TigerStyle is awfully confident. Here are some interviews:
- The Missourian has a nice preview of Mizzou’s NCAA Women’s Basketball subregional in Palo Alto. Also, the culture for Robin Pingeton’s program is astoundingly strong at the moment.
- Yeeeeesh, Mizzou Softball got swept by Illinois in a doubleheader yesterday, 5-2 and 9-6. (The second game was 9-2 until the seventh.) I believe the Tigers had won eight of nine all-time against the Illini before Wednesday.
- Sure did.