Busting Brackets

Missouri Basketball: 2023-24 Tigers season recap, including good/bad

Tennessee v Missouri
Tennessee v Missouri / Ed Zurga/GettyImages
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The Bad

Let's start with the most obvious thing that went wrong for Mizzou - the offense. The Tigers took a huge step back this year on the offensive end of the court. This wasn’t necessarily a surprise since Missouri lost its top two scorers from last season to the NBA, but the Tigers struggled more than I thought they would.

It wasn’t just the points per game that regressed, it was nearly everything on the offensive end that took a step back.

Last season Missouri was one of the more efficient scoring teams in the country, making over 47 percent from the floor on just under 60 shots per game. This season, the Tigers only made 43.9 percent from the floor. Mizzou also went from being one of the better three-point shooting teams in the country to one of the worst. You can see the picture I’m painting here, shots weren’t falling from anywhere. Missouri made less than 40 percent from the field nine times this past season, dropping all nine games. Last season Mizzou was 24-0 when scoring 70 or more points, this year the Tigers were 7-12.

Missouri also struggled with depth issues all season, mostly due to injuries. From the first game of the season, the injury bug was impacting the Tiger's rotation. John Tonje, who I thought could lead the team in scoring, missed nearly the entire season with a foot injury. He appeared in a handful of games but never looked quite healthy enough to make a true impact for Mizzou.

Another major loss due to injury was Caleb Grill. Grill never really found his shot in the nine games he played, but during his short season proved to be the team's best rebounder and defender. He had as many games with 10 or more rebounds as the rest of the team combined. Grill grabbed 10 rebounds twice in the first nine games, only Noah Carter and Connor Vanover had 10 rebounds in a game, both of them doing it once.

Missouri dealt with a myriad of injuries, especially as the season wore on. Most were role players who didn’t have a large impact on the season. But the final injury that had the biggest impact was Sean East II. East was injured during the Vanderbilt game. He missed the two games following the loss to the Commodores. During this three-game stretch, Missouri’s offense only averaged 57.6 points per game, nearly 15 points below the Tigers’ season average. East was the soul of this inconsistent offense and without him, things were so much worse.

Injuries impacted the defensive end as well, but there weren’t high expectations that the defense would be winning this team any games.

I could write for days about the things that went wrong for this team. There are certainly a ton of examples for a team that only won eight games this season, but I chose to highlight a couple of the more obvious examples. You don’t have to be a basketball expert to see that the offensive regression and the lack of depth due to injury cost Missouri dearly this season. I don’t want to only focus on the negative. There were some improvements from last year's team and I wanted to highlight those as well.