Posted: Jan 6, 2014 7:46 PM by Mark Kim, KOMU 8 Sports Columnist
Updated: Jan 8, 2014 4:40 PM
COLUMBIA - While the Missouri football team ended its season with a victory in the Cotton Bowl, the Missouri basketball team is kicking into high gear. With its SEC leading 12 wins and one loss, the Tigers will open conference play against the Georgia Bulldogs on Wednesday Jan. 3 at the Hearnes Center.
The Tigers have been riding their 1-2 punch of guards Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown all season in terms of scoring. Both players are averaging over 18 points a game on the season. Georgia doesn't really have any players that can guard Clarkson or Brown as seen in the Bulldogs last game against George Washington. The highest scorers in Georgia's last game were the Colonial's starting guards Maurice Creek and Keethan Savage. To put things in perspective, Clarkson and Brown average 7.7 more points combined than Creek and Savage combined. Expect Missouri's top two scorers to have a field day against Georgia.
The Tigers don't just overpower the Bulldogs in just scoring, but almost every other statistical category in the book. Missouri is either evenly matched or holds an advantage in all categories except for blocks. In that category, the Tigers need to keep an eye out for Bulldogs senior forward Donte' Williams, who averages about 1.5 blocks a game. The Tigers will probably try to lock him up with their big forward Ryan Rosburg in man to man situations, but if Georgia decides to go zone, the Tigers should try to find a way to keep Williams away from the ball whether its cutting to the basket and then dishing the ball to an outside shooter outside the paint or having smooth ball movement in the paint to keep Williams busy.
The biggest key if the Bulldogs want to upset Missouri is three point percentage and it doesn't seem Georgia can dial it in from long distance. Georgia made only 10% of their three pointers in their last game against George Washington and only 33.1% of their three pointers on the season. The team's best three point shooter is Nemanja Djurisic, but the Tigers should put their best shot blocker on him in Jonathan Williams III so Djurisic shouldn't expect much success from long range. Don't expect Georgia to light the Tigers up from long range and make this game competitive.
Last time Georgia played a ranked opponent, they were beat down by Colorado by 14 points. To keep it brief, Missouri should have no problem finishing off Georgia. Clarkson and Brown should have impressive scoring numbers in this game. It'll be another day in the office for the Missouri basketball team as it'll be a while before Missouri meets a formidable SEC opponent for a matchup.