I’m not sure of the timing of the multi team event tournament they backed out of but I think it would have been at least a week deeper into the schedule and met the idea that you are suggesting with decent opponents further down the line. Chickening out of that really messed up the schedule and de facto forced their hand in getting at least one decent opponent in the preseason. Perhaps this was a game or two early, but there were few options after abandoning the tournament.Not quite true. We'd care (or at least some of us would). Personally, I'm indifferent to what non-fans think.
You know, much has been written about our lowly nonconference schedule but maybe an opponent like Missouri would have been better delayed for a couple of weeks. If you look at Nebraska, Penn State, and even Indiana to a degree you'll see that they have played no one of stature yet. That's probably a smart move for a team like PSU with a new coach and practically brand new team.
Johnson still seems unsure of his player rotations. Perhaps two or three more games against weaker opponents would have allowed him to see more combinations and allowed Payne further time to heal. Speaking of Payne, I thought he played well against Missouri and I'm not sure why he played only 18 minutes. I'm not sure why Ola Joseph who is one of our most aggressive scorers and currently has a true shooting percentage of 72.8% didn't play more than 22 minutes. It wouldn't hurt to cut a few minutes per game off Garcia's time either since he's currently averaging more minutes per game than he did last season.