Missouri Outlook and new player against the Gophers

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Story Missouri has been finding their way along so far. Big guy probably going to be helpful for them.
Good veteran guards.

Missouri coach Dennis Gates believes experiencing early adversity can help his team grow this season.

So the Tigers blended more early tests into the standard mix of nonconference mismatches.

“I want to throw our guys into a high level of competition,” Gates said before the season. “Our entire schedule is built a certain way to have an ebb-and-flow response. I believe it will help us in the long run.”

Gates certainly has created ebb and flow.

After outscoring Arkansas-Pine Bluff 101-79 in their opener, the Tigers suffered an ugly 70-55 loss to Memphis at Mizzou Arena on Friday. They regrouped Monday with a 68-50 victory over SIU Edwardsville, but now, they must hit the road to face Minnesota.



The Golden Gophers have earned lopsided victories over Bethune-Cookman (80-60) and UTSA (102-76). But they were also picked last in the Big Ten preseason media poll, so it's not like the Tigers will be up against Kansas or Illinois just yet.

Missouri came into the season citing the Final Four as its stated goal. But against Memphis, the team looked like a First Four team at best.

That gave Gates and his players plenty to go over.

“Recovering from mistakes and having awareness, I believe it does help our confidence,” Gates said during his postgame news conference Monday. “Being able to identify those things in film the next day when you debrief allows guys to move forward. It’s an emotional game, and the emotions can get the best of you if you don’t handle them the right way.”





That’s what happened Friday. Missouri was rolling along, leading Memphis 29-15. But then their game began eroding as Memphis gained its footing.

Sean East II was having a fabulous first half until he launched a transition 3-pointer from Nick Honor distance. The shot rimmed out, and the real trouble began.



Aidan Shaw took a silly defensive foul away from the ball. John Tonje got jammed up in the lane. Caleb Grill missed a 3-point shot.

Jesus Carralero Martin made an errant back-door pass, then committed an immediate foul. Grill missed another 3-pointer. Honor fouled Memphis guard Jaykwon Walton while trying to prevent a steal.



Noah Carter missed a 3-point shot. Memphis switched to a 1-3-1 zone, and Jordan Butler missed a 3-point jumper. So did Grill, again. East tried an ambitious step-back 3-pointer and missed.

Missouri escaped the half with a 33-26 lead. This gave the Gates and his staff time to settle the troops for the second half — but things only got worse after the break.



The veteran, transfer-laded Memphis team came together during the course of the game. It hounded Missouri on defense and crashed the boards for second and third offensive opportunities.



Missouri, meanwhile, remained unglued. Gates tried many combinations, but none worked. Veterans struggled. Freshmen struggled. All 13 players Gates called on contributed to the loss.

Tamar Bates came in, turned the ball over and missed a 3-pointer. Trent Pierce turned the ball over and missed two 3-pointers. Carter missed shot after shot in the paint.

Add it all up and Memphis enjoyed a 54-24 run while Missouri failed to respond. That collapse gave the squad much to reflect on.

“We want to turn losses to lessons,” Gates said. “We don’t want it to be a loss; we want it to be a lesson. We want to learn as soon as we get the opportunity to learn. We don’t want to repeat certain actions. We want to be able to move forward and make sure guys are able to execute those game plans.”

The Tigers began applying those lessons against SIU-Edwardsville, which was picked to finish second in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Cougars went to Dayton for their opener and led for most of the first half before the Flyers wore them down.






Then they came to Boone County and played the Tigers tough through the first half, led by relentless guard Damarco Minor.

The Tigers used a smaller lineup against the undersized Cougars, starting Tonje and Carter at forward after starting Martin in the first two games.

("Free Connor Vanover!" Gates exclaimed afterward. The Tigers will need the 7-foot-5 center to make an impact now that he has completed his three-game NCAA suspension.)

Missouri struggled offensively in the first half, dribbling too much and passing too little. The Tigers got in sync in the second half with freshman point guard Anthony Robinson helping run the offense.



East played under control. Carter battled on the boards. Tonje played his first significant minutes. So did Curt Lewis. Grill hit both of his 3-point attempts after working some intensive shooting drills between games.



Shaw flashed hints of a low-post game. Butler got some run. Everybody stepped up their defensive effort to make life miserable for the Cougars, who went much of the second half without making a basket.

So the Tigers took a step while preparing for the bigger challenges ahead. Gates still has much sorting to do while searching for the right player rotation.

“It takes a while to get to that next side, or the other side,” Gates said. “I’m just excited about where our mentality is.”

Linked Story:


COLUMBIA, Mo. — In terms of personnel, they were just two of 11. But on the scoreboard, their presence occupied a far greater proportion.

Point guard Sean East II and forward Noah Carter were responsible for 35 of the 68 points scored by Missouri men’s basketball in a win over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Monday night. In percentage terms, they were 18.2 percent of the players on the floor for the Tigers and 51.5 percent of the scoring.

East scored 20 while Carter notched 15 and 10 rebounds, good for a double-double on his 23rd birthday.

“(Carter) wanted me to leave him in the game,” Mizzou coach Dennis Gates said. “He was celebrating on that 10th rebound. He was hunting that rebound and he knew he had nine.”



East was MU’s top-scorer for the third consecutive game, the first time that’s been done to open the season in 16 years.

“Sean East, to be able to come out and score 20, but not just 20 points but an effective and efficient eight for 11 from the field,” Gates said. “I thought he led us emotionally. He coached.”



Wait. The Tigers’ primary scorer was a coach?

In a sense, Gates explained. There was one particular play that he identified after the game where Carter had lined up correctly to run an offensive set — only for East to invert the play, instructing Carter to swap places with a smaller player. It netted Carter a 3-pointer and East some schematic coaching points.





“You got to have guys like that, confident enough to have the conversation,” Gates said.

Through three games — one offensive explosion, one offensive implosion and one performance that fell rather in the middle — East has scored a team-high 55 points on electric 74 percent shooting from the field. Carter is second with 44 points.



To keep the proportion trend going, that’s 99 of Mizzou’s 224 points scored so far this season, or 44 percent of the production.

East and Carter’s scoring seemed to almost be its own sort of competition during the Tigers’ takedown of the Cougars. SIUE chucked a brick — well, 16 consecutive ones — during a 16:30-long second-half cold streak, but the MU duo alternately played key roles during a more competitive first half.



Trailing by three points just over six minutes into the game, Carter made a 3-pointer. He washed, rinsed and repeated, and then repeated one more time, creating a personal nine-point run on three straight made shots from beyond the arc.



About six minutes later and down by two points, it was East’s turn. Two layups, a 3 and another layup constructed his own nine-point run. And after East had his scoring say, MU didn’t trail the rest of the way.



Both are in their fifth years of college basketball and second in Columbia. Carter started his career at Northern Iowa before transferring, while East played at UMass, Bradley and John A. Logan Community College, where he won national junior college player of the year honors, before his MU tenure.



That experience has been a factor early on.

“This isn’t our first rodeo,” Carter said, “so just being able to get going into the season and get a flow, really understand the team — I’m very happy with what’s going on.”

And yes, it’s still early on.





“I’m still figuring everything out,” East said. “It’s three games in. It’s a long season. I don’t know how many games we got, but we just take it game by game. The roles are gonna change. Things are gonna be different every game.”



Gates identified East, Carter and point guard Nick Honor as the three anchors of his starting lineup before the start of the season. All three — Honor is third in scoring, third in 3-point shooting and first in assists — look up to the part.



Gates tinkered with the starting lineup around that triangular core by inserting guard John Tonje into his first five in exchange for forward Jesus Carralero Martin and later used freshman center Jordan Butler in that role out of the halftime break. Guard Caleb Grill has been the other starter.

That grouping might well change soon, starting with Missouri’s trip to Minnesota on Thursday. An early test against a Big Ten foe is an interesting one, even if the Gophers have struggled in recent years.

Center Connor Vanover, who missed the first three games of the season because of an NCAA ruling regarding his participation in an offseason showcase tournament, is eligible to return for that game. Some of the Tigers’ second-half defensive success with a more traditional center and Carter at the power forward role could suggest that Vanover will play heavily, but his role remains to be seen — and will likely fluctuate with the rest of MU’s rotation.





East, who was plenty calm and collected after his cool 20 points, leaned into that patient approach to a big early-season role.

“It’s fun right now,” he said. “We’re just enjoying it.”
 
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Missouri has played against one solid team and one team similar to UTSA and one team similar to Bethune Cookman--per KenPom.

Curious if that loss to Memphis is a big advantage because they could see their flaws against a capable squad.

FWIW Missouri is ranked 62 and Gophers 101.
 

The article sure seems to suggest they are expecting an NCAA tournament team this year and they have a lot of new players but a solid core returning from a good team. I’m not as confident as when I didn’t really know much about them. Upside is I think it’s a much better win if we get it.

Aren’t KPom ratings an extension into last year for the first half of the season or so? Basically don’t give us much until January?
 

This is a fantastic "Game of the Night" (according to Torvik-which I prefer over Sagarin/KPom)!! 7'5" Connor Vanover transfer from Oral Roberts is eligible for his first action as a Mizzou Tiger. More playing time for Thor as an Edey warmup! Most interested in how well MN can defend, and limit turnovers vs higher competition. Also will be a fantastic in-game coaching matchup X's and O's. Hope Payne can play.

Much talk about how old and experienced Mizzou is, but MN is fairly OLD as well! Looking at who has the most minutes and years out of high school, we have a nice seasoned veteran team that should limit youthful mistakes. Please correct me but off hand I see our roster as follows (yrs out of HS):
Fox (5)
Wilson (5)
Ramberg (4)
Ihnen (4)
Garcia (4)
Mitchell (3)
Hawkins (3)
Payne, Betts, Carrington (2)
Christie, Keinys (1)

Defend and limit TO's! Go Gophers!
 

Nick Honor is a solid PG. Was good at Clemson before transferring to Mizzou. Bowling ball strong.

Saw him play quite a bit when he was at Clemson, and I seem to recall him making a lot of clutch buckets. A guy to watch along with Vanover, who is the opposite (a 7-5 string bean) of a bowling ball. Vanover shot a lot of 3s last year at ORU (142) at a 32.4% clip.

Gophers should try to push the pace, especially when Vanover is playing. He got winded easily in the two games I saw him play vs. Saint Thomas.
 


This is a fantastic "Game of the Night" (according to Torvik-which I prefer over Sagarin/KPom)!! 7'5" Connor Vanover transfer from Oral Roberts is eligible for his first action as a Mizzou Tiger. More playing time for Thor as an Edey warmup! Most interested in how well MN can defend, and limit turnovers vs higher competition. Also will be a fantastic in-game coaching matchup X's and O's. Hope Payne can play.

Much talk about how old and experienced Mizzou is, but MN is fairly OLD as well! Looking at who has the most minutes and years out of high school, we have a nice seasoned veteran team that should limit youthful mistakes. Please correct me but off hand I see our roster as follows (yrs out of HS):
Fox (5)
Wilson (5)
Ramberg (4)
Ihnen (4)
Garcia (4)
Mitchell (3)
Hawkins (3)
Payne, Betts, Carrington (2)
Christie, Keinys (1)

Defend and limit TO's! Go Gophers!

If you're literally talking about "years since leaving high school" then some of the older guys have more. Wilson was in the class of 2018 so he's six years removed from high school. Fox was in the 2017 class so he's seven years removed from high school. Ihnen was in the class of 2019 so he's five years removed from high school. Ramberg also was in the class of 2019 so he's five years removed. Ramberg played his first season at the prestigious McGill University in Montreal but returned to MN after that season because McGill's basketball program shut down due to COVID.
 

Thank you TwistingMyMelo for correcting my year estimates, and for reaffirming my point! Watching games at normal speed vs playing can benefit guys without wearing their bodies out. MN is fairly OLD.
 

Thank you TwistingMyMelo for correcting my year estimates, and for reaffirming my point! Watching games at normal speed vs playing can benefit guys without wearing their bodies out. MN is fairly OLD.

Thanks! I liked that you laid out the case that we have a good mix of maturity and youth. JOJ looks much better than he did at this time last season, Carrington looks better, and hopefully Payne returns to form soon. Christie was almost scary good in his debut. As for the older players, Ihnen and Fox emerged from their extended rehab giving us more than we thought they would at this point and Garcia came out of the gate validating his preseason selection as a first-team all conference player.
 

Preview from the Mizzou side:

This will be the first time the two programs have played each other since they took part in a home-and-home series during the 1959-60 and 1960-61 seasons. It will be a chance for both sides to pick up their first victory against a quality opponent. Mizzou will have the bigger challenge of being away from home.

"We have an opportunity to go out on the road in Big Ten country in Minnesota against a well-coached program that is led by Coach Johnson, who I respect so dearly, an unbelievable coach," head coach Dennis Gates said. "But also a historic place, a great venue, a little different because there's a heightened court but it's it's still remarkable venue to play in. And they have great talent in the program. Their fans are unreal, great city, nothing but positive."


KEYS TO THE GAME​

1. Contain Dawson Garcia. The 6-foot-11 forward has gotten off to an impressive start for the Golden Gophers, scoring 23 points in the season opener and dropping another 22 in the team’s second game. Garcia was Minnesota’s best player last season, leading the team with 15.7 points and 6.7 rebounds. This is the first year of his college career in which he has the same head coach as he did the season prior. Garcia has range out to the 3-point line, but does his best work in the paint. He displayed a knack for getting to the free throw line throughout his career, drawing at least 4.4 fouls per 40 minutes every year. Sophomore post Pharrel Payne, who missed the Golden Gophers’ game against UTSA due to a foot injury, gives the team another strong interior finisher if healthy.

Denying Minnesota’s bigs good looks around the hoop will be Mizzou’s biggest priority on defense. It’s a good thing, then, that Tigers 7-foot-5 center Connor Vanover, the No. 2 shot-blocker in the country last year, will finally be available to play.

"We just have to see where he's at," Gates said. "And he's been practicing, which is tremendous for him to continue to do. It wasn't like he was, you know, not able to practice. So he's been there every step of the way, he's been coaching his behind off in our last three games, he's been into it mentally and emotionally. And those are the things you want a guy like him, who's been through several seasons, to be able to stay connected. And he's been that. I think he has a smile on his face if anything. But you know the guys love him. I'm looking forward to seeing what he does in this system. This is his first time playing in this system, it's not a secret, this is his first game back. But ultimately for him, I don't want him to just try to make home
runs, I want him to play simple and stay within himself and ultimately allow the game to come to him."
2. Pressure Minnesota’s backcourt. The Golden Gophers lost last year’s starting point guard to the portal in Ta’Lon Cooper, the Big Ten’s No. 2 leader in assists with 6.3 per game. Johnson brought in Howard transfer Elijah Hawkins and Pepperdine transfer Mike Mitchell Jr. to fill in the gap. While the pair have kept the team’s assist rate at a high level, they’re also turning the ball over at an alarming rate. Combined the pair of guards have an assist-to-turnover ratio of 7.5-to-5.5. The loose handle on the ball should be something Missouri’s guards can take advantage of — the team’s opponents have coughed the ball up at least 10 times in each of its first three games this season.
3. Keep the ball moving. The Tigers’ offense has seen a slight decline in its assist rate this year compared to last. The team earned an assist on 56.5% of its made field goals in 2022-23 — so far this season, the team’s only done so on 53.2% of its makes. In its two wins this year, Mizzou had 19 and 16 dimes. The Tigers got off to a slow start on offense against SIUE on Monday but got out of its funk once players started sharing the ball more. Minnesota has not produced a high number of takeaways in any year with Johnson at the helm. Missouri should feel confident swinging the ball around to find its best shot each possession without much threat of giving the possession away.

PREDICTION​

Minnesota may be improved this season, but it’s still a team Mizzou should beat. The Tigers know this is a game that could help their resume come March. Vanover’s return should deepen the black and gold’s frontcourt and be beneficial against a post-oriented offense. I’ve got Missouri winning 72-66.


 



Lots of info and betting line
Wow! This site has us 1.5 underdogs.
I read about a guy who bet $500,000 on a four piece parlay....close but he lost.
Big pay day if he won but he didn't. I would think if the spread truly is 1.5 I'd bet big on Missouri?
 




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