As exciting as the first 9 games were. Until we can get a true inside presence offensively, We’re going to live and Die with the 3 ball offensively. Losing Smith hurts us more defensively against teams like Mizzou. We’ve got to reign in first pass 3 balls in games where we’re shooting poorly. Mizzou did a good job of stuffing penetration drives. Yes we missed some chip shots but some of those were shots quickly due to their size. We simply shot poorly and played poor defense. Too many uncontested Dunks. Against Mizzou we missed Smith Defensively very badly.
If Vanover can’t make open 3’s we’re in big trouble.
It is not complicated. We don’t match up well against Missouri. They have size and muscle, and we don’t. When we don’t shoot well against a team bigger and more physical, we are going to have a tough time winning.
This is an offense built on 3’s and layups and FTs. We were not good at any of those today. (Maybe FT% picked up later in the game but it felt like we were about 8-10% below our season average.)
No one had a good game. NO ONE! That is crazy to have the entire team out of kilter.
My thought (haven’t read Clay’s essay yet): we were out-Mussed. Martin opted to take Sills out of the game and allow Vanover to beat them on offense in exchange for having the chance to play physical inside because Vanover is not an inside defensive bruiser. It worked. It was a game we needed a Roosevelt Wallace or Larry Marks to bang around and bruise right back.
Usually, Muss is the coach that has the better plan. Whatever our plan, it didn’t ever seem to have a stretch where it really worked. Martin and Co schemed us out of it. I bet Muss learns, and circles the rematch for a game the Hogs are over-prepared and hungry.
I am not going to overreact from the loss. I am bracing myself for some losses as we await Smith’s return, however. Connor is a finesse player. He offers some real attributes to the team…but inside strength is not one of them. (That said Connor’s +/- was the only person on the squads not in the minus today(. He’s not a liability inside. Just not the physical presence Smith provided. Smith’s strength and agility inside was a real key to this team.
With Smith out, we will see more 4 guard lineups. and I suspect will see a heavier dose of something else we saw some of today…extended minutes for Jaylin Williams. I have been wondering how long Muss was gonna keep giving Jackson a chance to assert himself. I think I have my answer. Jaylin got those minutes and more. I think he’s the short term help inside…and a long term answer.