At long last, this brutal beast of a season has concluded. I feel a little bad for how relieved I am, but I think it's best for everybody that we can now move on and hope that this year is a footnote to Kim Anderson's successful tenure as head coach.
In the meantime, let's break down the last gasp of the 2014-2015 season: Mizzou vs. South Carolina in the SEC Tournament. This game was a mess. Neither team played especially well, because neither team is very good. It's really a pretty fitting end to this season that this game end on a game where the winning team only managed a whopping 45.7% from the floor. On to the numbers.
13 and 6
Again, this is roughly the performance I expected from Keanryan Rospost this year - combining to contribute 10 points and 8ish rebounds. Obviously the rebounding wasn't as good as you might have hoped, but Ryan Rosburg managed to score 9 points to balance the ledger. It was a losing effort, and it remains a damn shame that this is Keanau Post's last season, but it is what it is. Here's hoping that the staff can land a big man with some offensive talent this offseason.
For what has to be the first time all year (I'm not checking, sorry), Mizzou and their opponent shot the same number of free throws. And they made the same number of free throws! I'm just glad that this isn't a reason we lost. Although we found another way to not win, so it's kind of a wash.
Added bonus: Rosburg hit 3 of 4 of his free throws. We all know that Rosburg's limited athleticism means he has a relatively low ceiling, but if he can post up, get to the line and hit his free throws at anything resembling a decent clip, that's going to go a long way toward reaching that ceiling.
Another rough offensive performance for Johnathan Williams III. It looked like he tweaked his knee in the Mississippi State game, and it looked like he did it again last night. He's also still facing collapsing defenses every time he gets the ball, because he's the best scorer on the team, and he hasn't quite figured out how to counter when teams take away his left hand (he did have a nice drive to his right that got him a right-handed layup that he missed, so that's a step in the right direction).
Effort has never been a problem for J3. Nor has athleticism. And his skill set is tantalizing, even though it's incomplete. If he packs on a little more muscle, gets a full offseason with his teammates, and develops a counter move to the double teams and left-handed shading defenses are throwing at him this year, he's going to be the centerpiece of the Tigers for the next couple of years.
Jakeenan Gant made a layup on a nice pass from Keith Shamburger with 8:52 seconds left in the second half that got Missouri within 2 points of South Carolina. That was the last meaningful field goal Mizzou scored. They did hit 4 free throws - 3 from Montaque Gill-Caesar, and 1 from J3 - but when South Carolina went into a zone that took away the backdoor cuts that had been keeping Mizzou in the game, Mizzou just ran out of gas. This team has bit, scratched, and clawed to find any kind of advantage on offense this year. They found one early in the second half last night, and when Frank Martin took it away, they didn't have anything left.
I don't want to belabor this too much. I think we're all relieved to be done with basketball this year. So I'll end with this: whatever happens this offseason, whatever happens next year, thanks to the team and the coaching staff for fighting tooth and nail during one of the worst seasons in Mizzou Basketball history. I hope you all stick around for our inevitable 2016 National Championship run.