Ten Thoughts for Monday Morning
With football season over, Mizzou hoops will take the first half of this piece every week, then we'll branch out into SEC and national stuff in the second half.
1) The weeks Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas had should teach us all a lesson for the rest of the season. I'm sure it won't, but it should. The word upset is different in hoops than it is in football. Yes, there are still upsets, but on any given day, just about anyone is capable of looking terrible. The best team in NBA history lost nine times. There hasn't been an undefeated college basketball team in 45 years. Everyone has nights where the ball just doesn't go in (or the team you're playing has one where it does). On Wednesday night, Missouri looked like it didn't understand the point of the sport was to make shots against the Vols. Four days later, Mizzou bounced back with a huge road win and Tennessee went back home and saw Alabama shoot 50% from three point range in a win over the Vols. Is Alabama a better shooting team than Missouri? Most definitely. But the Tide isn't a team that's going to consistently be 29 points better than Missouri--or maybe even be better than Missouri over the course of a season. Arkansas scored 97 points against Auburn on Wednesday and looked like an offensive juggernaut. The Razorbacks then missed 22 layups against the Tigers. It's a long year. Ten teams in the SEC have played two games. Two of them have won both and one of them has lost both. Just about every team is going to have a night or two where it looks like the SEC champ and another one or two where it looks like it could win the Southland.
2) The biggest stat that stood out to me in Saturday's win was one I'm not sure we've talked about. The Tigers had 14 assists on 24 made field goals against Arkansas. That came on the heels of a game in which the Tigers had exactly five assists against Tennessee. Part of that can be explained by the fact Missouri barely made enough shots to get any assists against the Vols, but the Tigers obviously moved the ball much better on Saturday. The pick and roll with Xavier Pinson and Jeremiah Tilmon was working very well. Tilmon was moving the ball out of a double team when it came. Pinson was making the right plays. Missouri didn't exactly burn up the nets against the Hogs, but they took far good shots...even some of the ones that didn't go in. Against Tennessee, Mizzou had a lot of forced threes and even two-pointers under duress. They had far fewer against the Razorbacks. Obviously some of that has to do with Tennessee being a much better defensive team than Arkansas, but some of it's on the Tigers too. It was pretty obvious in listening to Cuonzo Martin after the game against UT that he was relatively disgusted with how Pinson played. He called Saturday one of Pinson's best games. Probably even more than Tilmon, Pinson's play is an indicator for this team. When he's good (and scoring is a part of it, but not all of it) Missouri is good. When he's bad, the Tigers will have a hard time winning.
3) Still, if this team is going to go where you want it to go, it's going to have to start making some jump shots.
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