Posted: Jan 17, 2014 12:00 PM by Mark Kim, KOMU 8 Sports Columnist
Updated: Jan 18, 2014 11:45 AM
COLUMBIA - Missouri needs a wake-up call now. They've made the same mistakes over and over again since beginning SEC play and now hold a 1-2 conference record. The Tigers will have a chance to finally break out of their funk as they face off against Alabama.
The biggest problem with Missouri is their bad shot selection. Since beginning SEC play, the Tigers have had a 36.1% field goal percentage and a 30.1% three point percentage. Missouri can't shoot like this and expect to compete against opponents. Missouri needs to work for the best shot they can get. A big reason why Missouri's assist numbers are so low is because Missouri isn't working to get the best shot. There's not enough ball movement. Instead of blindly driving to the hoop or taking mid range shots, Missouri needs to play old school basketball and pass until there's a high accuracy shot open for them to take.
Another thing the Tigers need to work on is defending the perimeter. Over the last three games, Missouri's opponents have made 10 more three pointers than the Tigers. Those extra points come back to haunt them as the Tigers usually lose by a possesion or two. Missouri has done a decent job defending the low post, but now it's evident that defending the perimeter is more of a priority, especially with a sharpshooter like Crimson Tide forward Trevor Releford coming to town. Releford, in Alabama's last game, made six out of nine three pointers against Mississipi State. The Tigers can't let Releford torch them from long distance. A 3-2 zone sounds good for Missouri, especially since Alabama doesn't have a good center. It's more important to lock up the shooters than to duke it out in the post.
While Missouri continually has fallen on their face in conference play, it looks like this is a game they can win. It's hard to put faith in Haith right now, but the Tigers will not settle for a back-to-back loss. Expect a lot of early struggles with field goal percentage, especially from Jordan Clarkson, but the Tigers should be able to turn things around. The Tigers need to Roll the Tide if they want expect to compete in March.