Well, since I am a student at the University of Missouri and this is my blog, I think it’s okay to draw a little attention to my school’s basketball team. Last season, the Missouri Tigers basketball team was a joke, going 16-16 and their players constantly getting in to trouble with the law and the University. This season, head coach Mike Anderson has turned the team around. With one of the best freshman classes in Mizzou basketball history and the seniors playing better than ever, the Tigers are 17-3 and are looking at their first tourney berth since 2003.
So why are the Tigers so good this season? Depth and aggression. Nine players get regular playing time and are making an impact. In the starting line-up, seniors DeMarre Carroll (F) and Leo Lyons (F) are averaging double digits in scoring. Experienced players Matt Lawrence (G) and J.T. Tiller (G) are adding valuable minutes with scoring and steals. However, the most exciting part of the MIzzou Tiger basketball team may be the freshman. Marcus Denmon (G), Keith Ramsey (F), Miguel Paul (G, Chris Paul’s cousin), and Kim English (G) all come off the bench and make a huge impact in the game. One of the reasons why the Tigers are beating opponents by an average of 25.4 points is because there is no drop off of talent from
starters to their bench, just lack of experience.
It’s not like they are beating up on nobodies. The Tigers have already beaten Cal by nearly 30, USC by 11, and Georgia in Athens. Their only losses are to no. 15 Xavier by four points, a underrated Nebraska team by four points, and no. 24 Illinois (a game in which they got blown out in, the Tigers one REALLY bad game all year.) Missouri is in second place in the Big 12, with a 4-1 record.
The Tigers aggressive style of play also has them overwhelming teams. Constantly on the attack, the Tigers force an obnoxious amount of turnovers a game and, consequently, a number of fastbreak points. The teams quick hands pay off: the team averages 10.8 steals a game. Despite the speed that Missouri plays with, they have the second best assist to turnover ratio in the nation with 1.6:1. With 5 guys running around on the court, stealing the ball, heaving it down court, and making fast lay-ups and quick jump shots, watching the Tigers is more like watching a playground basketball game instead of a collegiate game.
While the TIgers aren’t (yet) a top-10 team, they deserve to at least be in the top-25. More importantly, when March rolls around, I wouldn’t want to play them. They are young. They are deep. They average 85.5 points a game. They allow only 65.2 ppg. And, worst of all, they aren’t getting any respect.