Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sleeping with the enemy, Mizzou Tigers

Chris Bocquet from Rock M Nation graciously provided us with the honest assessment of the Mizzou team below.  If you visit Rock M Nation, please respect their site's rules and be a good representative of the University of Alabama.

Hello Bama fans, Chris Bocquet from Rock M Nation to provide you with some insight on the Tide's opponent tonight, the Missouri Tigers.
When DJC presented this opportunity to us, he asked for us to note the strengths and weaknesses at the top and that got me thinking, does Mizzou have any strengths? First some background on this year's team.

Much like the team from last year, Mizzou is very, very young. This youth is due to the fact that Kim Anderson's (now in his third year) first recruiting class is gone, everyone of them is gone. The best players from the preceding class, also gone whether that be to transfer (Jonathan Williams III is now balling out at Gonzaga) or dismissal/quitting (Wes Clark, no one knows what's true here). Last year's four man class is still whole and are being looked upon to provide leadership for this young team. Coming into this season, Kim Anderson had brought in a strong recruiting class though that has already lost a player to transfer, though it seems for nothing more than the need to be near a sick family member, but it's a trend and that makes things not necessarily complicated but difficult for a coaching staff that spent the past year saying that the reason was playing poorly was because the previous recruiting classes had looked in Frank Haith's direction. 

That all said, things aren't going great for Mizzou this year who have home losses to North Carolina Central, Eastern Illinois, Lipscomb and fellow SEC bottom dwellers Auburn and LSU. Mizzou has yet to win an SEC road game under Kim Anderson's watch so heading on the road to Tuscaloosa doesn't look great for them. 

Where Mizzou has improved and what could be considered a strength is their defense, though of late their defense has looked ragged, giving up over 90 points to Arkansas in a regulation game. They do rebound decently, though their bigs have all suffered some form of injury at this point and the Tigers are having to rely on their stretch fours (Puryear and Barnett) to provide more work down low than they had wanted to. Their weaknesses are numerous, but the biggest most glaring one is that this team simply cannot shoot the ball. They are awful from outside the three point line and not great from inside the arc. Outside of Terrence Phillips, there's not a person on the team that can hit from distance with any kind of regularity.

If you want to key in on any Mizzou player, focus on Jordan Barnett. Barnett was a mid year transfer from Texas and after getting his feet under him and in game flow has now become the impact player Tiger fans were expecting. He's a great shooter, big body and is active under the basket. If there's a knock on him it's that he's too nice. The coaches would like to see him get a little bit of an edge, maybe be more assertive than he's been though that's difficult when you've only been playing since mid December. 

I think that at this point you can tell from my previous paragraphs that I'm not too high on Mizzou's chances the rest of the way and I do not think tonight will be any different. For a Mizzou team that has trouble scoring against an Alabama squad that plays tremendous defense, I'd expect a low scoring ugly at times game that the Tide pull out, getting up by double digits in the second half and then hanging on. Like all Mizzou fans I'm just ready to move onto the next chapter once the season ends.

Thanks for the opportunity and good luck tonight!

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