Meet The Tigers
Cuonzo Martin is in his 5th year at Mizzou and coming into the Braggin’ Rights game with a 3-1 record against the Illini. This year, Mizzou has had a rocky start in the season and is 6-5 with only one combined Quad 1 and Quad 2 win. Against Power 6 teams, Mizzou is only 1-2, getting blown out by Florida State and Kansas before finally beating Utah on Saturday.
Mizzou is currently ranked 146th in the KenPom rankings with an Adjusted Offense ranked 185th and Adjusted defense ranked 119th. On average, Illinois current SOS has an adjusted offense of 77 and adjusted defense of 59. This is much different than the last four meetings under Martin, whose worst team, in 2020, was still a top-100 team, with an adjusted defense of 71. It’s safe to say that this isn't the best roster that Illinois has faced in the matchup and the worst statistical Missouri team since 2016, right before Martin took over as head coach.
Players to Watch
Mizzou is led by junior forward Kobe Brown, junior guard Amari Davis, and former Illini commit and senior guard Javon Pickett. Brown is averaging close to a double-double, with 15 points and 9 rebounds in 30 minutes per game. He’s the team’s most efficient player, with an effective field goal percentage of 56%. Brown is really the catchall, leading the team in 3-point field goals, rebound percentage and assist percentage for players that have played at least 100 minutes.
Amari Davis is averaging 11.2 points per game and is the only other Tiger in double digits. Pickett averages 9.5 points per game. Both players have an effective Field goal percentage of 45% and winshares of 0.9 and 0.6, respectively.
And honestly, that's about it. This Mizzou team is short handed, with Jeremiah Tilmon leaving for the NBA and Mark Smith transferring to Kansas State. Only about 20% of the scoring and minutes played is coming from last year’s roster.
Mizzou has really drawn the short end of the stick. No player that plays meaning full minutes is above 6-foot-7. This means, Kofi gets either double-teamed or is left open to impose his will on the Tigers. Double teams for Kofi means at least one shooter is open.
On defense, Mizzou will continue to press the Illini, attacking their primary weakness. The team is terribly poor in forcing turnovers and with Curbelo likely out again, the Tigers will start the game lining up in the backcourt.
I don’t see how this game isn’t fun to watch, and if all goes well, should be another breezy win.