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How important is D’Moi Hodge?

The senior guard’s production is seemingly the pendulum between the Tigers being a tourney team or a borderline NIT team

Iowa State v Missouri Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images

Seldomly does a single player’s production dictate a team’s overall performance, but the Missouri Tigers’ stakes rely heavily on one player. And no, it’s not Kobe. D’Moi Hodge’s performance is Mizzou’s pendulum, and how he plays appears to directly impact the Tigers’ results. Mizzou is 14-1 when Hodge scores more than a dozen and 5-7 when he doesn’t.

I did a deep-dive into the games when Hodge scores more than 12, and the only loss I could find was in the kansas game. In that game, most of his points were in the second half when the game was well out of reach.

When you look at Mizzou’s most unflattering performances, there appears to be a direct correlation between them and Hodge’s shooting. Subpar numbers against Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State led to subpar results in those games.

So just what about D’Moi makes him so special? Well, not only does he contribute offensively when he consistently racks up the most steals, he also does a great job of converting his own defense into his own offense.

Missouri isn’t just a better team when D’Moi plays well; I’d argue they are one of the Top 10 teams in the country when he does. A 14-1 record with wins against Tennessee, Iowa State, Illinois, and Arkansas (and the only loss against kU) would have any team ranked in the Top 10.

Hodge’s scoring output isn’t necessarily the only thing that swings the pendulum, though. The Tigers are 10-2 when D’Moi shoots more than 10 times in a game. Adversely, Missouri is 9-5 when he shoots less than that.

In those losing efforts, it feels like there are times when D’Moi is just itching to get more shots up and he doesn’t for whatever reason. That, or he’s just having a cold shooting night and there’s really nothing Mizzou can do about that.

In the Tigers’ most recent tilt against Texas A&M, Hodge started 2-4 from the field in the first half but didn’t really get much of a chance to score. It showed on the scoreboard with the Tigers down 39-25 at the half. He finished the game 4-8 shooting with 12 points and the Tigers did indeed subsequently lose the game.

The A&M game specifically felt like a missed opportunity offensively for the Tigers, as D’Moi shot 3-7 from three in the game, which is a pretty solid clip. Normally if you’re head coach Dennis Gates, you want to see one of your best shooters shoot more when he’s hot, but he just didn’t get looks in this one, probably by the Aggies’ design.

I witnessed Hodge practicing his threes right after the game concluded, still clad in his uniform, and this really does coincide with his thoughts on shooting and how much confidence impacts his game.

“It’s more about if I have the confidence to keep shooting,” Hodge said. “I’m not going to fall off and not take the same shots or risks that I usually do.”