Good wins: N-USC, California, at Oklahoma State, at Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, N-Oklahoma State
Bad losses: None.
1. Pressure Defense. Mike Anderson has brought Nolan Richardson’s ’40 minutes of hell’ to Columbia. Missouri will guard you the full 94 feet on just about every possession. They trap whenever possible and play at a frenetic pace to fluster ballhandlers.
2. Balanced Offense. At the offensive end, DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons both get plenty of easy buckets inside, and Matt Lawrence, J.T. Tiller, Kim English, Justin Safford all knock down threes with regularity. Unsurprisingly considering Mike Anderson’s style, most of the aforementioned players are quick and athletic. Not only does this team guard well in the full-court, but they themselves are tough to guard at the other end of the floor.
1. Road energy. Perhaps more than any team in the country, Missouri relies on its defense to create its offense. Without its home fans, Missouri’s energy, which fuels its style of play, has lacked at times. If their pressure defense is avoided with good ballhandling, or an opponent can slow them down into a halfcourt game, the Tigers could go down unexpectedly.
2. Beef. Lyons and Carroll inside are excellent pure athletes. But at 6’9 and 6’8, they only run 244 and 225 lbs. respectively. Teams with a bigger post presence (like Cole Aldrich of Kansas, for example) might pose problems.
Bench: Missouri relies heavily on its bench due to its frenetic, pressing style. They’re largely a team of interchangeable parts, and it’s unlikely that foul trouble OR fatigue will plague them at any time in the NCAA Tournament.
Sweet 16. Mike Anderson’s winning ways from UAB are finally taking hold at Mizzou. In fact, while many thought he was on the hot seat prior to the start of the season, this team has responded far better than expected, and now many fear he may bolt for an open SEC position, potentially at Alabama. Missouri’s “gimmick” style is no longer a gimmick when you can win as many games as they have. It becomes an advantage against teams who either haven’t played against it before, or who have only one primary ballhandler. But it’s hard to see Mizzou winning a half-court game, which many NCAA contests turn into, particularly in the later stages of the Tournament.