It's Missouri's best chance yet at a win in SEC play, taking on Vanderbilt on the road this weekend.
TV Schedule: Saturday, February 3, 3:30 pm ET (SECN)
Location: Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tennessee
Missouri (8-13) struggled on the defensive end of the court Wednesday night as they allowed the visiting Razorbacks to leave town with a 91-84 win. The Tigers couldn’t get a stop near the basket, allowing 56 points in the paint. Mizzou also struggled with turnovers, ending the game with 18 and giving up 25 points off turnovers. It’s hard to win games giving up those kinds of numbers.
Mizzou's offense tried its best to make up for the lack of defense, making ten threes and 20 of 22 free throws. Tamar Bates had another strong performance in the seven-point loss. Bates ended the game with 29 points on 9-18 shooting and went 10-10 from the line. Sean East II added 11 points and Freshman guard Anthony Robinson II tied his career high with 10 points.
Sean East II continues to lead the Tigers in scoring, averaging 16 points per game. But in recent games, the offense has run through Tamar Bates. Bates averages 13.8 points on the season, but that number is just over 20 points in conference games. The offense has been good enough to keep games close, but the lack of defense has been the teams downfall. Mizzou is giving up 74.3 points per game while scoring 74.1 points, which is not a great spot to be in.
Mizzou will travel to Nashville on Saturday for another chance to pick up a conference win. Vanderbilt (5-15) has yet to get an SEC game as well. The Commodores couldn't get much going on offense the last time on the court, dropping the game at Auburn 81-54. Ven-Allen Lubin led Vanderbilt with 17 points and 12 rebounds in the loss. Evan Taylor pitched in 14 points and Tyrin Lawrence added 12 points.
Vanderbilt has one of the lowest-scoring offenses in college basketball, averaging 66.3 points per game. The Commodores are led in scoring by Ezra Manjon with 14.6 points and Tyrin Lawrence with 14.2 points per game. Vanderbilt hasn't shot the ball well, making only 39.1 percent from the field. Which ranks 352nd out of 362 Division I teams. Defensively the Commodores give up nearly 73 points per game, allowing opponents to make 44.1 percent from the floor and 37.3 percent from three.
I think the best game plan for Missouri is to feed Tamar Bates the ball. He has been the most consistent scorer for the Tigers as of late. On the defensive end, hopefully, Mizzou can get a few stops. The numbers show that Missouri should be favored in this one, but as we've seen many times this season that doesn’t necessarily matter.
Even with the poor defensive play by Missouri, I think the Tigers will win this one. The offense is trending in the right direction and should be able to take advantage of a struggling Vanderbilt team and start to climb out of the basement of the SEC.