The Missouri Tigers are in the home stretch of what’s been a interesting season. Originally predicted to finish 10th in the SEC, Missouri now sits in 7th place as they look to close out their regular season strong.
This morning, Cuonzo Martin and two of his players met with the media to catch up after having nearly a week off following the postponement of their game versus Texas A&M.
“It’s been a great time to regroup,” Torrence Watson opened with. “I feel like were really ready to go. We’re focused on executing on offense and getting back to our defensive ways.”
Though Missouri has taken a stumble as of late, Watson’s role off the bench has been amplified over the past few games.
Sophomore Kobe Brown echoed a similar message. “Everyone needs a break every now and then,” he said. Brown has stepped up recently as well, putting up double digits in the point column the last three consecutive games for the Tigers. “Why not me?” Brown said, explaining his thought process. “I’m just trying to help the team out as much as I can.”
The Tigers haven’t been their best the last few weeks, but both Watson and Brown have been signs of life for sure. It begs the question, how well can this team play if everyone is contributing?
“I think this team is as good as anyone when we’re playing on all cylinders,” Martin said in this morning’s press conference. “The absence of Jeremiah [Tilmon] was a tough blow… but he’s back in the fold, ready to go.”
Missouri is fortunate enough to not have any major injuries on it’s roster this year, a problem that’s certainly plagued them in years past.
Martin noted that the week off was beneficial as well, and believes his team will be ready to go come game time Wednesday in the Swamp. Coach alluded that he had the option to either give his guys a break physically with their extended time off, or ramp things up in preparation for Florida.
“We did a little bit of getting up and down,” Martin commented. “With this time off we felt like we had to get back to the pace we were playing at… I felt like we had a good week.”
The Gators are certainly not a team to play around with, and if Missouri wants to walk out of Gainesville with a victory, they’ll need to bring their A game. “Scottie Lewis is a good passer,” Watson said this morning. “We’ve been paying attention to their 2-3 zone also.”
“Often when they score the ball their in a ¾ press,” Martin said. Missouri hasn’t always looked their most confident in press break scenarios this year, so it will be crucial that they stay under control inbounding the ball.
“We need to take care of the mental lapses, the turnovers,” Kobe Brown noted. Hopefully, this extra time off gives them the preparation they need.
Torrence Watson briefly discussed something in today’s press conference that was recently talked about in their players-only meeting. “Dru Buggs made a great point... we’ll never have the same locker room again. The season isn’t over yet,” Watson explained. “Our main goal is to win.”
Martin was asked if the topic of seeding/rankings has been at all a part of his locker room discussion, to which he replied, “We talk about it.” Watson also made a comment regarding Missouri no longer being in the AP top 25. “Now that we’re not, we feel like we have a chip on our shoulder.”
“I feel like we’re safely in [the tournament]...but that’s not even the topic for me. Lets win a game at Florida,” Martin said.