16 December 2011

Mizzou Hoops Preview

Tigers take on William & Mary, followed by Arch Rivalry
by Mizzou Matt
The University of Missouri basketball team may as well have a bye week for this Sunday's matchup against The Tribe of William & Mary (VA). The Tribe only has two wins on the year, and the game will probably resemble the Kennesaw State game (W 104-67). The toughest test of the season lies in wait after this Sunday's game: Illinois. The annual Braggin' Rights game in St. Louis.

Both teams will likely be undefeated and ranked in the top 25 when they meet. Head coach Frank Haith has to keep them focused and disciplined. They started losing their discipline in the first half of the Kennesaw State game, as shown by their sloppy passing and questionable shot selection. Though they got their act together during halftime, it was still an area of concern addressed by Haith during postgame interviews.

"We didn't have that 'junkyard dog' mentality," said Haith in his postgame interview with Gary Link. "In the first half, we were playing too cool. We were playing like a Cadillac. We need to get back to that junkyard style of play."

So far this year, Mizzou has faced some good talent in Notre Dame, Cal and Villanova. Notre Dame wasn't ranked, but they are 7-4 on this young season, Cal was ranked 20th when we played them in the CBE Classic. They're now unranked and 8-2. Villanova isn't quite as good as they've been in year's past, which is illustrated by their 6-4 overall record. The Illinois game will be the second ranked opponent Mizzou has faced in non-conference play, and will be the toughest test yet. 

The numbers have been crunched, and here's how the two shape up: Illinois only has five games of double-digit wins, compared to Mizzou's 10. The Illini won by nine against Richmond, four against Illinois State, nine against Maryland, seven against Gonzaga, and five against SBON. The closest game that Missouri has played in this year was against Villanova, a 10-pt margin of victory. The Tigers are averaging a margin of 26.7 points per win, compared to Illinois' 15.1. Overall scoring, Illinois is averaging, 71.6 points per game which is 119th nationally, while Mizzou is averaging 87.3 (3rd). The Tigers' are offset by their 104 points against Kennesaw State while the Illini are offset by their 47-pt win over Chicago State.

The Braggin' Rights is always an entertaining game, but given the numbers above, (as well as having a favorable leaning toward the Tigers), I have to give the game to Mizzou. They may not win by 30+ like they did in four games this season (Niagara, Cal, Northwestern State, Kennesaw State), but they will, in my personal opinion, likely bring another Arch Rivalry trophy back to Columbia.

Play free web games.

Use the countdown generator to create your own countdown.