Through two matches, Mizzou averages 95 points. It is the first time since November 23-24, 2017 that the team has 90 points in back-to-back games.
The Tigers shoot 56.3% on 2s, 36.5% on 3s and 74.1% on free throws. They are ranked 25th in modified offensive efficiency, according to KenPom. Five different players score double-digit points per game.
When people talk about a team that is “versatile” as Missouri has been described, they usually imply players’ ability to defend multiple positions or fill multiple roles, which is true of the Tigers. But this team is also versatile as it will collect points no matter which defense its opponent performs.
When the Tigers got cold from outside against South Indiana in the season opener, they started riding to the rim and eating Kobe Brown inside. When they warmed up against Penn on Friday, they took more treys than 2-pointers. They took more than 25 free throws in both games.
Upping the pace helps – more possessions means more chances to put points on the board. But if Missouri can continue to find approaches that are effective both inside and out, the team may be guessing the opponent’s defense.
Scoring a high number of runs did not lead to victories for the Tigers in their first two games. Their struggle with perimeter defense has been a big reason for that.
USI’s second half from beyond the arc was an anomaly, but Mizzou wasn’t great at slowing the Quakers from distance either. The Screaming Eagles finished the season opener 15-30 on three-pointers – Penn went 16-32.
The 50% mark the Tigers allow in 3rd in the bottom 40 in the NCAA. The number will undoubtedly fall, but by how much?
Opponents have shot even worse by getting closer to the basket, with a 47.4% clip on 2-pointers. It’s a major reason Missouri’s modified defensive efficiency still ranks in the NCAA’s top 100 (the other reason is the plethora of sales the team generates).
The Tigers avoided the consequences of giving up a large number of threes because of the success of their attack. But when the day comes when the attack sputters, they will have to put in a much better defensive performance.