clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

In case you haven’t been paying attention, Missouri is rebuilding

I read Dave Matter’s chat the other day and had some thoughts on some of the questions he was presented.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Before I jump in, I want to say very clearly I really respect Dave Matter. He’s probably been my favorite Mizzou media person to deal with and he handles these chats with the utmost class, as well as providing smart answers. This isn’t about Dave at all, this is about the people who haven’t been paying attention to the Mizzou basketball program beyond maybe watching a few games last year.

Matter had his weekly MIzzou chat the other day, and as usual the site publishes some of the questions and answers in a piece. I found most of the questions curious to say the least...

Here you can read the full piece.

COMMENT: While it’s impressive that Mizzou unexpectedly leads the SEC in 3-point percentage, they are last in FG percentage, last in scoring average, last in blocked shots, 2nd-to-last in steals and 2nd in turnovers made. This is not a sound fundamental team.

Dave answered this well. But...

I’m trying to wrap my head around how any of those things represent poor fundamentals while 3-point shooting does not. If anything it’s rather the opposite.

  • Scoring average per game takes no account of pace. Without understand how fast a team plays its impossible to judge how efficiently they score if you’re looking at how many points they score. Mizzou does struggle from 2-point range which we’ve covered extensively here, but they’re depth causes more issues with scoring than anything else. But overall Missouri’s offense is at worst moderately efficient.
  • Since when is not blocking shots considered un-fundamental? Because of the roster Martin was left to turnover and the injury issues with the Porters the Tigers are forced to play a very position-based defense. So while they don’t block shots, they force you to take the shots they want. All you have to do is look at Matt’s excellent piece yesterday on turnovers and you can see how good Mizzou’s defense is when they control tempo. Is that not fundamental?
  • The same thing with steals and turnovers. Missouri makes the other team take tough shots. They don’t take the ball away because they work to force you into spots to take the shots they want you to take. Look at Virginia, one of the top efficiency Defenses in the country and they barely force turnovers or block shots. Weird how that works. Meanwhile Oregon State is top 10 in blocked shots but 109th in Adjusted Defense... 40 spots below Missouri.

I can point to Matt’s piece from yesterday and some of the turnovers as reason why Mizzou maybe isn’t the most fundamental team, but they’re also incredibly young and the roster is in a lot of transition. Maybe give it a minute.

QUESTION: When I watch the basketball games it seems like we lack the athleticism that a lot of the other teams have. Besides Pinson and Tilmon, it seems like the other players lack the athleticism of their opponents. Do you see this as a major concern?

I’m going to thank Dave for pointing out many of the rotational players who lack athleticism were Kim Anderson recruits. Anderson and his staff went away from athletic players trying to focus more on skill (I’m not going to get into a debate on how that worked out because we know — just wanted to point out that was their goal).

It’s almost like Mizzou fans have either forgotten or blocked out the last three years. I know turning around and making the NCAA tournament last season may have skewed expectations for some, but all I’ll say is maybe they should read RockMNation more often. ;)

But I do think Torrence Watson and Javon Pickett are good athletes, and just wait until Mario McKinney and Tray Jackson hit campus. Then the possibility of Harlond Beverly and or Myronn Gardner added to the class and suddenly the athleticism jumps substantially.

QUESTION: Can you compare Mark Smith to Kassius Robertson, whom I think was a more impactful player? Mark plays well and was very good against the Hogs, but he seems to disappear in some games. Was it because Kassius was older and could create his own shot better, or was he surrounded by better teammates?

Comparing a sophomore to a 5th year senior isn’t completely fair or realistic. Also the roles here are very different. Smith is playing more of a role comparative to Jordan Barnett last year while Jordan Geist is playing more the role of Kassius Robertson. Robertson handled the ball more, while Smith is using spot ups from ball movement to get his shots.

If Smith is still playing the same role as a senior we can discuss, but I tend to think he can get better and be even more impactful than Robertson. And we also shouldn’t discount his ability to defend and his defensive rebounding which is very valuable. In fact as important as Kash was to Mizzou’s tournament run last year I can’t even imagine where this team would be without Mark Smith.

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

Thirty-Four is a LOT of duals in a row. And it wasn’t close, it was 40-6.

Speaking of the athleticism and upcoming classes, a few Mizzou targets are on the court together.

  • Texas A&M assistant coach and former Mizzou assistant Isaac Chew promptly resigned from his position. The timing is sort of strange which usually meant there was a story behind it. And while I certainly don’t want to get into the details since they’re sketchy at best, but I might recommend searching the twitter feed of @CoachingChanges.
  • Be on the lookout for an LSU preview soon.