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A first look at Mizzou

The Missouri Tigers (22-10, 10-6) finished 5th in the Big XII with essentially a 3rd place record. Three teams were tied for 2nd with 11-5 records in conference (K State, Baylor, Texas A&M). Mizzou split 2 with K-State, but lost to A&M and Baylor. 

Coach Mike Anderson is of the Nolan Richardson tree, meaning he runs it up-tempo pretty much nonstop. I would say they press more than Clemson does actually. He was hired away from UAB 4 years ago, and has gone 84-44 at Missouri. His best finish was last year, going 28-6 and finishing 3rd in the Big XII behind Kansas and OU, but winning the Big XII Tournament.

Leading Scorers: So. G Kim English (13.9ppg, 3.4rpg), So. G Marcus Denmon (10.8ppg, 3.1 rpg, 42% from 3), So. F Laurence Bowers (10.1ppg, 5.6rpg), Sr. G J.T. Tiller (8.8ppg, 3.1 apg, 3rpg), Sr. G Zaire Taylor (8.2ppg, 2.5apg, 3.1rpg)

Starting lineup: 6'9 F Keith Ramsey, 6'4 G Zaire Taylor, 6'6 G Kim English, 6'3 G JT Tiller, and the 6'9 Bowers are expected to start. G Marcus Denmon is a shooter, and plays considerably but doesn't start. Freshman Guard Mike Dixon Jr. also plays quite a bit.

Common Opponents

Clemson and Mizzou have two common opponents, Illinois and Texas A&M. They beat the Illini as bad as Clemson should've beaten them, 81-68. Had we not imploded in the 2nd half, our score would've been similar. They fell to A&M by 3 at home. Clemson lost to A&M by 9 at the 76 Classic Tournament.

Best Wins

Missouri's best wins include Texas, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State in conference and they defeated Tourney-bound Old Dominion early on this year. Clemson's are over Butler, Maryland, FSU twice, Georgia Tech, and we beat Tourney-bound Winthrop earlier.

Mizzou has limped into the Tournament a bit though, losing 3 of their last 4 games to K-State, Kansas, and a woeful Nebraska team in the Big XII Tournament. Their lone victory was a close win over a bad Iowa State team. All of these games have been without Jr. Forward Justin Safford who was averaging just under 9ppg, but was doing a little better than that in conference play and giving them a needed boost inside. Sophmore Forward Laurence Bowers is also injured.

Bowers revealed Sunday that he has two torn ligaments in his left wrist and will have to have surgery after the season. He re-aggravated the wrist in practice before Missouri's loss to Nebraska on Wednesday when a hard pass from teammate J.T. Tiller bent the wrist back. He played with a splint and heavy tape on the wrist against Nebraska and wore a soft black cast on the wrist Sunday.

Bowers repeated he will continue to play and that he cannot afford to sit out with fellow forward Justin Safford sidelined with a knee injury. On Sunday, Anderson said Safford is “nowhere near ready to do anything.”

Safford suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in February. He has been delaying surgery in slight hope that he could return this season. But it’s clear that won’t happen next week, and it seems there’s almost no chance Safford could return even if Missouri advanced deep into the tournament. (source)

Looking over the statistics from their last 4 games, I notice their shooting has really hit a rough spot. They averaged a little over 40% for their conference schedule coming in, but in all 3 losses they shot under 36%. Against Iowa State they shot 44%. From the arc, its been worse though. Their best in the last 4 was 33% against Nebraska in a loss, and under 23% otherwise. They shoot better from the FT line than we do, and a good bit better from 3 overall on the season.

But there was no way to rationalize Missouri’s 75-60 loss to Nebraska on Wednesday afternoon in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament. Mike Anderson watched his team get outplayed at both ends of the Sprint Center court by the 12th-seeded Cornhuskers, who became only the second last-place team in league history to see the tournament’s second day.

The loss shouldn’t cost the Tigers an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, but they can’t expect to be there very long unless they find a way to quickly repair the anemic offense and shaky defense that have been on display, particularly in the past two games.

“It’s nothing that we can do. It’s right here. If you don’t got a sense of urgency after a loss like this, you shouldn’t be hooping,” sophomore guard Kim English said. “I mean, you just lost to the 12th-place team in your league that you beat twice by 20, and we just gave them the win. … This loss has got to hurt.”

Sounds like our NC State loss....

They were also outrebounded in each of the last 3 losses, and handily by Kansas and Nebraska. Looking through the season stats, I wouldn't say theyre a particularly great rebounding squad. Losing Safford took 4 per game out of what wasn't that great a number. They have comparable height inside but none with the bulk of Booker. They're also a team with a lot of starting young guys.

What do they do really well? Force turnovers, 19 per game. They're the best at stealing the ball in the nation (10.9 per), Clemson averages just behind them at 9.6 per game. Not a good thing when Clemson has been more turnover-prone lately.

Defensively Clemson comes across just a little better statistically other than the Turnover category.

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