The Missouri Tigers will again look for their first road win of the year and they have a shot to do it when they head to Boulder to play the 9-9 Buffaloes. Colorado also 1-3 in the Big 12, the same record as the Tigers. Here’s the biggest stat that sticks out to me. In Mizzou’s three loses to Iowa State, KU, and Texas Tech, those three teams attempted 80 more free throws than the Tigers (132-52)and Mizzou has lost those three games by a combined 18 points.
On Wednesday against Texas Tech, the 50 free throws may be a bit high because Tech went to the line 16 times in the last five minutes, while Mizzou tried to close the gap, but that still meant they went to the line 14 times in the first fifteen minutes, and 20 times in the first half. Mizzou on the other hand attempted just 15 free throws. Tech was 36 of 50, Mizzou 12 of 15, a 24-point swing in a 7-point loss.
Last Saturday against KU, The Jayhawks were 28-45 from the line, while the Tigers shot just 50% at 11-22. Again a 17-point difference in a 6-point loss. That came after a poor night in Ames when Mizzou made 8 of 15 while they sent Iowa State to the line 37 times, in which they sank 25 freebies. Again, a 17-point swing, and Missouri loses by five.
Free throw shooting percentage and free throw attempted, are the only statisical categories Mizzou lacks behind their opponents this season. Mizzou has a higher shooting percentage from the floor and beyond the three point line, they have more assists, they’re virtually tied in the number of rebounds per game (0.1 difference), they have more steals and more blocked shots.
You could make the argument that because of Missouri’s pressure defense they play under Mike Anderson, they are prone to having more fouls called on them, and that’s fine, but Missouri needs to get their number of attempts up. It has to start with Leo Lyons. He’s been benched the last two games in favor of Vaidotas Volkus. Lyons is third on the team in points per game at 11.2 but has been averaging just 7.0 in Big 12 games and his benching has come from lack of effort. Mizzou lacks size upfront, but one of the keys that Mike Anderson talked about this year was having Lyons with DeMarre Carroll upfront. Lyons is strong enough to battle inside to get more looks, draw more fouls. Missouri is relying too much on the outside shooting of Matt Lawrence, who has struggled along with Stefhon Hannah, and Keon Lawrence.
Mizzou tips off Saturday at 3:30 in Boulder.