They all have positions on this team. It's not really an example of position-less basketball this season. Pinson plays the 1. Drew Buggs is his backup. Dru Smith plays the 2, sometimes the 1. Mark Smith plays the 3. Pickett is his backup. Kobe Brown plays the 4, plus Mitchell Smith, sometimes Parker Braun. Tilmon is the five, with Mitchell Smith and Wilmore as his backups.
They looked pretty good against Oregon, Illinois and Arkansas. They looked pretty good in big wins last year over Illinois, Florida and Auburn. They're not very consistent other than consistently missing 3-pointers. But I still think this team can finish in the top four of the SEC. There's just no momentum from one game to the next in this league because there's not a whole lot of separation between teams. It wouldn't shock me at all to see Mizzou beat a really talented LSU team Saturday - and then struggle against Vanderbilt next week. No one should be surprised if you're paying attention.
Yes, the eight-game rotations are already set through 2025. I don't anticipate the SEC going away from that scheduling model unless there's a dramatic shift from the majority of the coaches and ADs this offseason.
It's hard to predict at this point. This team rides a roller coaster lately. Just when everyone jumped off the bandwagon following the Tennessee game, Mizzou played a thorough game and soundly beat a good Arkansas team. Then Mizzou played its best half of the season, followed by its worst half. They've proven this year they're good enough to beat this LSU team. LSU doesn't play much defense. But they can score - a lot. I wouldn't write this team off. They're good enough to beat every team left on the schedule. They're flawed enough to lose to any team left on the schedule.
Tilmon, Pinson ... and I'm not sure about number three. They've always spoke highly of Mark Smith because he does have an elite skill - though the results aren't always consistent.
In a case like this, where there's never any traction between a high-profile in-state player and the in-state school, more often than not it's a case of the player making it clear early in the process that he's not interested in Mizzou. Martin isn't the kind of coach who's going to waste time recruiting someone he knows won't play for him. I don't know if that's what happened here, but that's generally how this has worked in the past. I don't think it's a case of Mizzou not thinking the guy is talented enough.
I can't tell you how to feel. I don't think this team is mediocre - yet. They played a bad half and didn't show up against the best team in the league. They still have more good wins (three) than bad losses (one).
As bad as Tuesday was in the second half, why isn't the Illinois game or the Arkansas game considered a full 40-minute performance? Those were really good wins. You didn't see wild fluctuations in play in those games. I know we're prisoners of the moment when it comes to the teams we follow, but one bad half shouldn't erase what happened just three days earlier. Again, we've seen a lot more good halves from this team than we've seen bad halves. If they can recapture the good stuff consistently, there's no reason they can't still have a strong season. If they keep playing like they did in the second half on Tuesday, then it's going to be a long, painful slog.
I touched on this earlier. He shot 44-percent in the final six weeks of last season. He's in those positions to make 3s because he's made them before. He's missing them now. Do you pull the plug on those sets based on this year's results or hope he can recapture his form from last year?
For sure. It's a good sign for this staff that so many veteran players are coming back for 2021. Now, keep in mind, if these guys were getting advice from the NFL that they should enter the draft, then they're not coming back to school. But Mizzou benefits from this trend. The more experience and depth you have along the line of scrimmage, the better chance you'll have to compete next year. Maietti's return is pivotal because you lose Larry Borom and don't have an experienced center ready to step in right away. Remember, the seniors who choose to take advantage of the NCAA's extra year don't count against the 85-man scholarship limit in 2021.
Make better passes? I'm not sure there's a magical answer. They need to handle the ball better, make better decisions with the ball and stop with the offensive fouls.
But he did. He called a timeout with 15:25 left when Mississippi State cut the lead to five - even though he was getting a media timeout at the next stoppage. He called another one when MSU got up by 12. In between those two timeouts there were three media timeouts. MSU called one during that stretch, too. The clock stops plenty in college basketball. Some coaches don't like calling a timeout in those situations because it gives the other team a chance to regroup, too. It's a feel and a philosophy. But in this case, he called a couple timeouts during the MSU run and had plenty of other stoppages.
Howland is 7-1 against Mizzou since he got the Mississippi State job, with some of those wins coming against Kim Anderson. Barnes is 4-1 against Martin the last four years. Bruce Pearl is 3-1. Martin has done better against Tom Crean and Frank Martin, two coaches who have Final Four rings.
I don't think that's the right read on what's happening here.