Greetings! I thought I’d do something a bit different today, and rather than focus on one specific aspect of my favorite Mizzou topic, I’ve decided to share several tidbits of hoops info I found Thursday afternoon from a variety of places.
To kick things off, I read Dave Matter’s STL Today chat as I always do (and you should too), and I found a few interesting notes to share. Aside from the weirdo commenter “David” who thinks the football Tigers should be on par with the Alabamas & Georgias of the SEC like right now, it was a good one. You can read the chat in full here, but here’s what I think is the most pertinent hoops content.
First up, someone asked what fans should expect from Kentucky this weekend.
Kentucky is a tough team to figure out. They had a really bad home loss to Evansville earlier in the year but they also have two of the SEC’s best wins over Michigan State and Louisville. They don’t shoot many 3s and when they do they don’t make a high rate. That could neutralize one of Mizzou’s strengths, guarding the 3-point line. Kentucky has two big post players in Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery, so this will be a pivotal game for MU’s fours and fives. UK scores a high percentage of its points at the foul line - and shoots very well from the line. The Tigers have to play sound defense without fouling. That’s been a challenge for this team at times. It’s always a tough matchup at Rupp, but Missouri’s playing well right now - and if you’re going to face Kentucky, it’s usually better to get them in early January than late February or early March.
So, basically, it’s as good a time as any to get the ‘Cats, and Mizzou only has to face them once! Yay! If the Tigers keep up the suffocating defense and don’t foul too much, there’s a beacon of hope. Easy enough, right?
Another reader asked what Mizzou could do to prove it’s a tourney team.
Cut down turnovers, shoot well from 3. I wouldn’t say Missouri’s defense is consistently elite, but when they invest in their defense and do it without fouling, it’s hard to score against this Missouri team. Offense is the unknown from night to night. If MU can get Watson or Mark Smith hitting 3s and cut down on turnovers and offensive fouls this team can beat anyone in the SEC. There’s the Tilmon factor, too. He’s not 100 percent healthy. What can you get out of him for 20-25 minutes?
Seems reasonable enough... Fans — if you can — pleaseeeeeeee show up to support your Tigers! It’s really weird that the most attended game of the season thus far was Chicago State when students were gone (and I was gone too)...
Next up, I know have previously expressed my affinity for Xavier Pinson, but man, how can you NOT root for this guy?
And finally, some pretty cool stats provided by Associate Director of Strategic Communications, RJ Layton, huh? DE-FENSE!!!
Mizzou has already held eight different opponents to 56 or fewer points this season.— RJ Layton (@RJLayton_) January 2, 2020
The last time a Mizzou team held 8 different opponents to 56 or less in a single season? 1998-99.
We're 12 games into the 2019-20 campaign...
Onto the links!
Yesterday at Rock M
- Thursday’s Top Mizzou Moment focused on KP’s role in helping to extend HCKA’s career just one more day. I highly, highly, highly encourage you to check out the hard work Josh (& Sam) have put in on this project.
- Hoops analytics guru Matthew J Harris posted a very interesting look at all of Cuonzo’s different lineup permutations and what could be the reasoning behind some of the “random” choices. He also examined how other SEC teams are dispersing their top players’ minutes. READ IT.
- PowerMizzou (free): Mitchell continued his roster reviews series with the cornerback position.
- PowerMizzou (subscribers): Sean Williams of Rivals put together a 2021 Mizzou recruiting primer.
- Saturday Down South: Adam Spencer made 5 New Year’s resolutions the Tigers need to make and keep.
- Truman’s Tales/Fansided: Thomas Huitt-Johnson shared his top 10 Missouri football games of the decade.
- Looks like Coach Drink is adding a few more pieces to his staff. Welcome, Coach Cook and new Director of FB Ops, Andy Lutz!
Eli Drinkwitz has hired Andy Lutz as his Director of Football Operations. Lutz follows Drinkwitz from Appalachian State— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) January 2, 2020
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Dave covered Rio’s return to action. Gordo said the region’s college hoops teams face massive conference challenges. (editor’s note— SLU lost to Dusquene on Thursday to open their A10 season, so that’s not ideal, and my fam roots for SLU)
- PowerMizzou (free): Gabe and Mitchell also put out a new episode of their PowerMizzou Podcast, featuring friend of the hoops pod, Blake Lovell, AND former Mizzou fan favorite, Kim English!
- KC Star: Souichi wrote that Mizzou’s depth adds layer of strength as SEC hoops opener at Kentucky approaches. He also handed out some hoops grades on SEC Opener Eve (Eve).
- Columbia Missourian: Brian Napier wrote that Tilmon is ‘day to day’ as hot-shooting MU takes win streak to Kentucky in his coverage of Thursday’s SEC Teleconference.
- The women’s team had a strong start to Thursday afternoon’s match up, and they cut down the lead to as little as four on several occasions, but ultimately could never get any closer, losing to #22 Tennessee 77-66. Amber Smith had a great game, though, so that’s good to see. Choose your own Gamers available at MUTigers.com and Owen Krucoff’s piece (Missourian).
- The men’s team is begins SEC play Saturday as they visit storied Rupp Arena to take on the #17 Kentucky Wildcats. Our preview will be up later this morning.
Other Mizzou Sports News
- Mizzou Gymnastics is back in action this weekend with a meet against Illinois and SEMO at Hearnes!
- Volleyball picked up a commitment in the way of Anna Dixon. From the comments, it looks like she’s transferring from K State. Welcome, Anna!
Super excited to announce that I will be finishing my academic and volleyball career at the University of Missouri! pic.twitter.com/QxjOcyOndz— Anna Dixon (@annaedixon) January 2, 2020
- In the “not what you want to see” news category, Souichi Terada reported that MU is being is being sued for mishandling two women’s Title IX complaints against former MU hooper, Terrance Phillips. Brian Napier of the Columbia Missourian linked to the officials docs about it in his tweet. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also had a write up about it.
Mizzou in the Pros
- Michael Porter, Jr news: Looks like MPJ just missed the cut in the Kia Rookie Ladder, but there is a good amount of info about him regardless (NBA.com). SB Nation’s Denver Stiffs said that Mike continues to take advantage of his minutes. (editor’s note— after tonight’s result? uhh... yeah, I’d say so)
- Speaking of Michael Porter, Jr awesomeness... Damn. Here’s Mike Singer’s game story from Thursday’s contest against the Pacers (Denver Post). LOVE.TO.SEE.IT.
FINAL SCORE THREAD— NBA (@NBA) January 3, 2020
Michael Porter Jr. scores a career-high 25 PTS on 11-12 from the field, lifting the @nuggets over Indiana.
Jamal Murray: 22 PTS, 7 AST
Nikola Jokic: 22 PTS, 7 REB
Will Barton: 16 PTS, 10 REB, 5 AST pic.twitter.com/phkHavHLbs
MPJ has a new career-high with 9+ minutes left in the fourth!— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 3, 2020
23 points on 10-11 shooting in just 18 minutes of action!!
Michael Porter's last four games:— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) January 3, 2020
7-14 3s https://t.co/UfSjDMg9yL
- SI.com’s Mile High Huddle reported that Drew Lock’s mom imparted a lot of wisdom on him during his injury exile.
- Don’t forget to listen to Chase Daniel as he hosts ESPN’s Golic & Wingo show from 7-9am today and check him out on SportsCenter!
Not only am I hosting @GolicAndWingo tomorrow morning live in-studio from 7-9AM ET…but I’m also going to be talking all things #WildCardWeekend on @SportsCenter live! Sportscenter AM (9:15AM) & Sportscenter Coast to Coast (12:15PM) Make sure you tune in!!!— Chase Daniel (@ChaseDaniel) January 2, 2020
- CB DeMarkus Acy has signed with an agent as he prepares himself for the NFL Draft. Best of luck, DeMarkus!
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