When the players from Missouri say they’ve only seen a little bit of Florida State and in return they say they haven’t seen much video of the Tigers, it will be difficult for me to lay out what type of strategy Mizzou needs to employ in order to get past the Seminoles in this first round NCAA Tournament game on Friday night from here in Nashville.
However, after discussing the game with those who cover Florida State, listening to their players speak yesterday and what I know about the Tigers…I can lay out my “keys to a win.”
Let’s talk about the game tonight on Twitter. Follow me @Missourisports
The biggest concern is depth. Florida State has ten players that logged an average of no fewer than 11 minutes per game and five players with 24 or more minutes per game. Mizzou had ten of those players who also played no fewer than 11 minutes per game, but here’s what has happened.
Blake Harris transferred. Terrance Phillips suspended. Cullen VanLeer, injured. Jordan Barnett suspended. That leaves Mizzou with just five players who have put any significant court time in plus Michael who says he is better than the 60 or 70% he claimed to be in St. Louis for that Georgia game,
In short, the Tigers have to stay out of foul trouble. If they run into the same issues they had in the opening round of the SEC Tournament, they won’t have the ball for the final shot against Florida State. The Seminoles will blow them out. They are a much better team than Georgia.
Mizzou will have to get gritty. Much like the Tigers, Florida State prides themselves on strong defense yet some knock them for their inability to protect the three-point shot. It’s important to get Jeremiah Tilmon and Kevin Puryear looks inside. Puryear has to be aggressive. Given opportunities to drive to the rim, he must do so. There might be some shot blocks or misses, but the Tigers have to make Christ Koumadje (1.6 blocks per game) and Ike Obiagu (2.2 blocks per game) work.
Kassius Robertson needs an all-around better game. He didn’t shoot the ball well and Cuonzo Martin said he didn’t have a good game defensively in the loss to Georgia. The senior has been asked to do a lot, but they need him on both ends of the floor. If Kassius is the main focus of Florida State’s defense…in other words if their goal is to shut him down and not get open, he should become the point guard and work to get the Porter’s open on the outside.
Given what the last three weeks have been like for Jontay Porter, people are talking about him, but I really believe he’ll have a big game again. Florida State will be geared towards limiting Kassius and slowing down Michael, but if the big stage nerves don’t get to Jontay, he’ll have open looks from long range and he should try to get inside as well. Florida State’s thought process may be to let Jontay score his points, but slow Michael and Kassius and they can win.
Then when Reed Nikko and Brett Rau come off the bench, they have to be invisible to us…the media and the fans. What I mean by that is they are not going to score much, they won’t be big impact players. Rebound, play good defense, don’t turn the ball over. Eat up a couple of minutes at a time and don’t get exposed.