Joel: That was not a good team that we just beat, but they were a decent three-point shooting team and we shut them down from deep [Missouri attempted 16 threes, but made only one]. Coach Mack really looks like he is much more willing to change strategies on defense this year, doesn't he?
Brad: He may be, but we didn't play any zone again today unless it was very late. (IHeartRadio died on me). That's as encouraging a game as I've seen us play in a while. We were steady, then buried someone on the road when we needed to.
Bryan: He does. Gill-Caesar was basically a negative contributor for them on offense, and even though Williams III got some buckets, Mizzou's perimeter attack was basically nullified. How about Randolph and the Davises, though? Randolph and Myles both have been much better this year and definitely carried the load for important stretches of the game today, and Dee had a silly turnover very early and then was almost flawless the rest of the way. We still are struggling to score down low, but it was nice to see especially Randolph and Dee carry more of the scoring load today when we really needed them to.
Brad: Randolph could hardly have been more effective than he was last night. That's really the top level of what we can expect him. Myles buried them with that three he hit that made Byron temporarily lose fine motor control. He did that last year against Alabama too, then vanished. It feels more sustainable this year
Bryan: It was encouraging to see Randolph finding where the defense was not guarding, rather than always looking to put it on the deck and create something for himself. Honestly, I thought it was a little silly that we didn't see him for the first six minutes of the second half when Missouri was making their move, I think he could have stayed hot had we looked to involve him early on after the break, but if he has games like this in his locker, this team becomes almost impossible to shut down on the perimeter. Bluiett and Macura were off yesterday and our guards still carried the day, that is impressive. That being said, what do we do to get our bigs in on the act? Are teams just overplaying the post, or are we too guard dependent?
Joel: Do we need to have everyone clicking to make things go? Our perimeter positions are full of guys who can score; we've got six guys out there who can go for double digits in any given. Meanwhile, our top three bigs absolutely beast the boards at both ends and O'Mara is a great offensive rebounder. If our outside guys are providing scoring punch and the big men are making sure an inordinate amount of misses on both ends go our way, that's going to put us in position to win a lot of games, right?
Bry: It should, and yet we were nip and tuck with Missouri for 25 minutes. My concern is that unless we can get some scoring punch from our front line, that we might get buried by Nova or Georgetown if we have dry spells like we have these last two games.
Brad: I get the last word today, so here's how I see it:
1. The offense is still 11th in the nation in efficiency, so it is hard to complain about much. That said, we are going to have to have some games where Stainbrook is the focus. Missouri isn't a great defensive team, and we tore them apart outside. Villanova and Georgetown will make us show both facets of the offense. That said, in a differently officiated game we may have been able to do that against the Tigers.
2. I'm not sure I've been more encouraged by a win in some time. We didn't crush them early, but we did make them work to drag themselves back into the game, we didn't cave to the run, and then we inexorably eased away to the win. That 59.3% mark from inside the arc is just incredible. What's more incredible is that it is exactly in line with the season so far.
3. The only concerning thing to me is the 26.2% turnover rate. We do have a tendency to get sloppy when we lead. We stayed disciplined enough to hang on last night, but that kind of turnover rate is just asking for trouble against better teams.
4. That's not really what I was hoping for from Johnny Football today. Grim.