Mizzou’s basketball preview: Tigers meet SMU in Jacksonville Classic

The term “measuring stick game” gives the impression that it shouldn’t apply to games like the one we’re going to see on Sunday. After all, who wants to measure themselves against anything but the highest level.

And yet … here we are. After three games, Missouri experienced a dramatic drop in public perception and predictive metrics. It would be one thing if the Tigers had strangled two less important teams before dropping an inexplicable home game against UMKC. It’s a whole different thing that the loss was sandwiched between two error-prone performances in which the main takeaways were: “Jordan Wilmore is definitely great” and “that Ronnie DeGray III is a great garbage collector!” “

Cuonzo Martin’s Missouri Tigers head to the Jacksonville Classic in search of an identity – on offense, on defense, in the minds of their own fans – and in the unenviable position of fighting to get back into a plan. of mediocrity.

Meanwhile, the Southern Methodist Mustangs are in the same position as their Sunday opponents – although there are a few more rungs up the ladder. SMU hasn’t sniffed at the NCAA tournament since Tim Jankovich’s debut season in 2017, and they are fighting an uphill battle for AAC supremacy against Houston, Memphis and even UCF. If they’re anything more than a second-tier contender in a mid-major conference, they need the results of events like Jacksonville. And most importantly, they have to prove that they are better than the dregs of the Power Five … an arena that Missouri currently occupies.

So, with a few more “tune-ups” before the real meat of the Missouri calendar begins, Cuonzo Martin and his team are faced with an opportunity to reassert themselves in the realm of “teams that don’t get an NCAAT offer but which may also prevent you from getting one. That being the goal of a coach’s fifth year in office is somewhat depressing, but it is also the reality that Missouri faces. If they want to climb higher, they will have to manage one step at a time.


Position Missouri (2-1) SMU (3-1)
Position Missouri (2-1) SMU (3-1)
PG Kobe Brown (Jr., 6’8 “, 250) Kendric Davis (Sr., 5’11 “, 180)
CG Amari Davis (Jr., 6’2 “, 175) Zach Nutall (Sr., 6’3 “, 185)
WING DaJuan Gordon (Jr., 6’3 “, 190) Emmanuel Bandoumel (Sr., 6’4 “, 180)
PF Javon Pickett (Sr., 6’5 “, 215) Marcus Weathers (Sr., 6’5 “, 215)
PUBLISH Jordan Wilmore (So, 7’3 “, 300) Isiah Jasey (Sr., 6’10 “, 250)

Note: these starting eleven are projected.

Like most teams Missouri have faced so far, SMU comes in with a bit of rotation in the roster, although the Mustangs also have a good experience with seven seniors on this year’s roster.

One of the biggest successes of the offseason has been the signing of Weathers brothers Michael and Marcus, the first of whom comes to SMU as his fourth school in four years while the second was transferred after three good years at Duquesne. . Michael has been injured in the last two games but will provide an immediate boost whenever he returns to the lineup. Marcus is the taller of the two and plays huge for his 6’5 “frame. He’s a tenacious rebounder and efficient point-blank shooter. Jankovich also drew sniper Zach Nutall out of state from Sam Houston, though the senior didn’t not experienced the hottest start to the season. At the bottom, Tristan Clark comes to SMU fresh out of a shot with Baylor and cleaned up in somewhat limited minutes so far, turning into an almost automatic attack for the ‘Stangs.

Kendric Davis and Emmanuel Bandoumel will be the biggest problems for Missouri, as both senior guards started strong in 2021. Davis is a whirlwind coming to the edge, where he’s just as skilled at dealing as he shoots a foul and wins easily tape points. Bandoumel, meanwhile, has apparently cleaned up its turnover problems and refined its outside rider, which it reaches very early on at 38.5%.

So far SMU has managed a pretty deep bench and it’s worth getting to know some of its reserve players. Senior Isiah Jasey won’t have a ton of run despite his starting status, but he’s way above average protecting the rim and pulling easy boards. The Mustangs freshman trio also all pitched early, with Zhuric Phelps providing viable defense and a habit of cleaning defensive glass, Stefan Todorovic contributing a very useful shot off the bench and Jalen Smith providing solid minutes from the bench. combo guard as an unwanted man who will do the dirty work while the EMS seniors take a break.

When Missouri has the ball …

Missouri offense against SMU defense

Team Adj. Eff. Poss. Length eFG% TO% WHERE% ALE / FGA 3P% 2P% FT% % black Stl%
Team Adj. Eff. Poss. Length eFG% TO% WHERE% ALE / FGA 3P% 2P% FT% % black Stl%
Missouri 101.5 (129) 16.6 (137) 48.8 (168) 20.7 (222) 29.7 (149) 38.5 (70) 27.3 (276) 52.8 (106) 66.1 (238) 3.8 (21) 8.4 (117)
SMU 94.6 (84) 17.6 (233) 41.3 (33) 17.2 (248) 26.9 (149) 24.7 (100) 22.1 (24) 45.8 (109) 61.5 (57) 8.9 (172) 9.1 (197)

Twitter: @MizzouHoops

What to watch | How do new guys get involved?

As Sam pointed out in the Northern Illinois Study Hall, the lack of input from Amari Davis and Jarron Coleman in the last two games has been glaring. After both paving the way for Mizzou’s season opener over Central Michigan, they combined a 20-point 8-26 total on shots against UMKC and Northern Illinois. Growing pains are to be expected with so many new faces coming together, but Missouri has already reached a point where Coleman and Davis must be the engines of the Missouri offensive. Whether that means fewer more punchy minutes, having the ball in hand more often or just relieving them in their new environment, Cuonzo Martin must find a way to get the two juniors more involved in the offense.

When SMU has the ball …

SMU offense against the Missouri defense

Team Adj. Eff. Poss. Length eFG% TO% WHERE% ALE / FGA 3P% 2P% FT% % black Stl%
Team Adj. Eff. Poss. Length eFG% TO% WHERE% ALE / FGA 3P% 2P% FT% % black Stl%
SMU 106.8 (54) 15.1 (33) 53 (94) 19.3 (172) 34.2 (66) 30 (177) 33.7 (152) 54.8 (76) 76 (68) 11.6 (255) 11.5 (274
Missouri 96.2 (107) 18.9 (334) 45.9 (104) 18.2 (215) 22.2 (54) 25.9 (116) 32.4 (173) 43.8 (81) 65.9 (108) 16.7 (25) 9.4 (188)

NCAA Basketball: Southern Methodist in Oregon

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

What to watch | Does the Missouri defense translate to a faster pace?

The Missouri defense had three drastically different games to start the season: a patchy, but certainly not bad, performance against Central Michigan; an unprecedented disaster against UMKC; and a suffocating, boa constrictor-like stop from northern Illinois. Of the three, Missouri is probably the closest to performing in central Michigan, which may tell us something against the Mustangs.

SMU is executing the 54th fastest attack in the nation, meaning the Tigers won’t always be able to use their length to strangle SMU in the half court. Faster play may help lift the veil on the transition offense, but does Missouri have the athletes to recover quickly in a more run-and-gun atmosphere? If so, the Tigers may be able to live without a medium attack … although it won’t be much fun to watch.

SMU 73, Missouri 68 | It’s been a less than desirable start to the season for Mizzou Hoops, but KenPom still gives them a one in three chance on neutral ground, winning in Quadrant 2. That wouldn’t end many long-term health concerns. of the program, but it could also suggest that the loss of UMKC was more random than we had imagined.

Still, it seems a win at Jacksonville is less important than putting together a full team game (although the two often go hand in hand). While an ugly victory would stem the tide of disillusionment, a sense of progress and cohesion would likely do more to quell frustrations. It can be difficult to grasp, but when you have little room to climb you need to find tiny bursts of light everywhere you look.

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