1. Rebounding continues to be a problem for the Tigers
It isn’t a secret that Missouri has struggled on the boards under Head Coach Dennis Gates. And even though rebounding has improved this year, the Tigers are still getting out-rebounded in almost every game. This game against Kansas was no different. Missouri held their own for a little while in the first half but ended up losing the battle on the boards 42-25.
What hurt Missouri the most was that they allowed Kansas to grab 13 offensive rebounds, which led to 17 second-chance points for the Jayhawks. Mizzou did grab seven offensive boards of their own, but unlike Kansas, none of the rebounds led to any second-chance points for the Tigers. If Missouri was able to capitalize on a few of those second-change opportunities then they might have walked out of Allen Fieldhouse with a win for the first time since January 24, 1999.
Missouri was already hurting when it came to rebounding before the game even started. Caleb Grill, arguably the team’s best rebounder, hurt his left wrist in the win over Wichita State on Sunday and is out for a few weeks. I don’t know if his rebounding would have been what put Missouri on top but it’s easy to see that he was missed.
I’ve spent most of the Gates tenure trying to figure out why his Missouri teams have struggled on the boards. This game was no different. Some of Missouri’s struggles can be explained away against Kansas by the fact that Hunter Dickinson, who ended up with 16 rebounds, is one of the best rebounders in the country.
But I think the biggest reasons for the poor rebounding fall under two main areas. The first is that Missouri doesn’t always get bodies on opposing players and fight for the rebounds. And the second is that the style of defense Mizzou plays doesn’t always leave them in the best position to grab the rebound. I know there are probably more complex reasons for the rebounding woes, but those two are the easiest to pin down.