The Mizzou Men’s Basketball team lost their eighth game in a row last night against Alabama, and is on their way to their worst season since 2005. They’ve been romped twice by Kentucky, fallen flat against Ole Miss, lost in overtime twice, and even dropped the season opener against UMKC all in a season that could be described as growing pains.
It hasn’t been a great start to the Kim Anderson era, especially after so much hype in the off-season. A coach who had plenty of success at Central Missouri–including a national championship–Anderson was considered to be a coaching elite, an attribute that brought him back home to Columbia.
Although still in it’s early stages, his success in Division II hasn’t transcended to success in Division I. It hasn’t been easy coaching this team, a team full of young potential starts, that as Anderson has said so many times, lacks a true leader.
It’s hard watching a team play with no leader on the court, because it’s so evident. Often times this Mizzou team has looked lost on the court, not sure of what play to run, or who to get the ball to. Their starting lineup is anything but consistent, evidence that Anderson is struggling to find a working formula.
The worst part about this team is their offense, which is really bad. They don’t seem to have any real strength on offense, and they often take poor shots. They are shooting just 40% from the field (300th) and averaging 61.4 points per game (313th). How does that compare to the rest of the field? Gonzaga leads the NCAA in FG% at 52%, while BYU leads the NCAA in scoring, at 85.3 points per game.
Nobody expected Mizzou to be a national title contender in Anderson’s first year, but nobody expected a season as bad as this one. This team does have a lot of potential stars, and it’s a shame that Anderson can’t find a way to put it all together.
It is a team full of freshmen and sophomores, that Anderson has said has no “voice” in the locker room. Sophomores Wes Clark and Johnathan Williams III have tried to fill that role, but to no avail thus far. This lack of vocal leadership has left the team at a large disadvantage on the court, as Anderson struggles to finish his first year at Missouri.
The inherent problems of such a young team have certainly shown for Missouri this year, but are hopefully just those ‘growing pains’ that every program has gone through before. Anderson’s job is to grow with the team, and adapt to be the coach he needs to be in order for the young players to develop their skills.
Missouri’s next game is at Mizzou Arena against Texas A&M on Saturday, and it’s going to be another tough matchup. Mizzou lost the first contest against A&M earlier in the season 62-50, but will look to snap their losing skid on Saturday night.
The rest of the season isn’t going to be easy or fun for Mizzou, but the best they can do is grow, grow, and keep growing; right on past those growing pains.