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Tigers can’t capitalize on bye week, lose third game out of four in SEC play

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Tigers fall to 16-7 after another road loss

For a team that opened up conference play with a road win against a Top 10 team, the Missouri women’s basketball team has had a tough time on the road this calendar year.

The Tigers returned to action after a week off on Monday night, but couldn’t handle their business on the road against a good-not-great LSU squad, falling 61-51 for their fourth straight road loss and third overall in the past four games.

The Tigers took a two-point lead into halftime, using their lockdown defense to suppress the game to a low-scoring 23-21. But LSU finally gained an edge in the third quarter, and wouldn’t relinquish the lead for the rest of the night. Sophie Cunningham scored 14 points on four-for-six shooting (all four field goals came from behind the arc.) However, the Tigers only got more than seven points from two other players (Amber Smith and Lauren Aldridge, and the lack of offense wasn’t enough to keep up with the home Tigers.

All in all, things are starting to look potentially troublesome for Robin Pingeton’s squad. Expectations are higher than ever for the program, yet the Tigers have struggled to maintain their footing in the SEC, and national writers are taking notice.

Missouri’s lone top-50 win is over Auburn, which is No. 50. Mix in a loss to five-win Florida -- an offense that has scored more than 70 points only five times -- and a schedule that is just average and the Tigers are probably staring at an 8 or 9 seed. Missouri’s résumé could use the boost it would get from beating Texas A&M this Thursday in Columbia.

The Tigers are staring at the possibility of never getting past the second round of the NCAA Tournament with Sophie Cunningham in the fold. That wouldn’t necessarily be a disastrous result, but it would certainly be disappointing considering the amount of prestige she’s brought to the program. Time hasn’t run out on the Tigers yet, but they’ll need to find a way to win some tough games if they want to put themselves ins safer territory come March.

Jeremiah Tilmon getting recognition for improved play

The Missouri men are on the road tonight against number-one-ranked Tennessee (fun!), and they have their work cut out for them.

If the Tigers have any hope of pulling off a massive upset, it’ll have to start with Jeremiah Tilmon, who is winning praises on the Mizzou beat for his improved play over the past few weeks.

But since fouling out against South Carolina, the Tigers’ next opponent after Tennessee, Tilmon has been one of Missouri’s most effective players.

The sophomore from East St. Louis has played at least 26 minutes in each game and is averaging 13.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 turnovers and just 2.8 fouls.

“I have done some bad fouls and fouled out in back-to-back games and I would just talk to myself like, ‘The refs are picking on me,’ but I had to just look myself in the mirror and tell myself it was me,” Tilmon said. “Ever since then I felt like it was changed.”

It’s easy to see how comfortable Tilmon is starting to become, and Sam pointed out as much in his Study Hall after the Vanderbilt win.

He’s figuring out how to play within his body, and another thing he’s starting to figure out is how to draw contact. The learning to play without fouling part usually comes sooner for young post guys, but the learning to draw contact and make enough movement to get a whistle is something which usually takes post guys much longer to develop.

It’s been frustrating to watch Tilmon develop over the past year and a half, mostly because it’s so easy to see his immense potential. This year, he’s now rattled off two great stretches of basketball, and it appears he’s closer than ever to putting it all together.

It would be wonderful to see him have a breakout game in Knoxville, even if the Tigers have a tough time with the top-ranked Volunteers.

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • At PowerMizzou, Sean Williams checked in with 2020 QB commit Brady Cook, who seems more sold than ever on his decision ($$). Gabe DeArmond also posted his weekly Monday Morning Thoughts (also $$).
  • Bleacher Report has a full seven-round mock NFL draft up, and five Mizzou players are listed. Bragging rights to the person who can name all five without looking.
  • For their #MizzouMadeMonday series, the Mizzou Athletics team talked to women’s basketball alum Amanda Lassiter.