Busting Brackets

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

Tennessee v Missouri
Tennessee v Missouri / Ed Zurga/GettyImages
3 of 3

The Good

Let's finish this out on a good note and take a look back on some things that went right for Missouri and some areas that the Tigers improved this season.

The MVP and Most Improved Player for Missouri this season was Sean East II. East was the Tiger's best and most consistent player all year. I wasn’t sure of the exact role he would play this season for Mizzou, there were flashes last season of what he could do but there were still questions about his play.

East exceeded all expectations. In his second year under Gates, East thrived. He was the lead ball handler for the Tigers as well as the team's leading scorer. At Missouri, he increased his scoring average by over 10 points. He led Mizzou this season with 17.6 points per game, making 52.1 percent from the floor on 12 shots per game. He also made 45 percent from three, on nearly three shots per game. East was almost automatic from the free throw line, hitting an incredible 85.6 percent.

East scored in double figures in 24 of the 30 games he played this season. Dropping 20 or more 14 times with a season of 33 points in a loss at Arkansas. Missouri only won once when East scored less than 10 points, that was against Minnesota, a game in which the Tigers rallied from being down 20 with 12 minutes to play to get the win. He did his best all season to pull Mizzou to wins but the rest of the team wasn’t quite strong enough to assist.

Another bright spot in a bad season for Mizzou was the play of Tamar Bates. Bates spent two seasons at Indiana before joining Missouri last off-season. He was a talented recruit out of high school, but never really got to showcase his skills with the Hoosiers.

In transferring to Missouri it was thought he could be a solid piece of the offense, one that was in desperate need of scorers. But the big question was if he could shoulder a larger role.

Bates started the season coming off the bench and saw varying degrees of success in that role. Once he joined the starting lineup he really took off. As a starter, Bates averaged 15.2 points per game and scored in double-figures 22 times in 25 games, with a season-high of 36 points in a loss to Florida. At points during the season, he became the go-to scorer for the Tigers when the offense was having trouble getting a bucket.

For the entire season, Bates averaged 13.5 points, second best on the team. He made nearly 50 percent from the floor, hitting a solid 38.5 percent from three and an incredible 92.6 percent from the free throw line, for a true shooting percentage of 60.5 percent.

Missouri among early offseason winners. dark. Next. Missouri among early offseason winners

Without both East and Bates, Missouri’s offense would have been an absolute trainwreck. It is still unknown what the team will look like next year as the roster continues to change, but with East running out of eligibility the offense will be in good hands with Bates being the team's leading returning scorer. It's hard to have expectations for a program following an eight-win season, but Dennis Gates and Co. have already proved they can win at Missouri. We will just have to wait a few more months to see if Gates can put this poor season behind him for good.