I like stats as much as anyone.
I love diving into box scores and breaking down who did what and why is had a certain effect on the outcome of a game and whether or night it’s a sign of a bigger trend. I spend more time on Kenpom.com than I do on any other site not named twitter.
Having said that, there are times where there isn’t more to the story, where we can toss any and all concerns we have about the ‘how’ and simply focus on the ‘what’.
Missouri’s 63-60 win over No. 5 Florida is precisely one of those situations.
Look, the Tigers have some serious flaws. We know this. They were 5-22 from three on Tuesday night, a trend of inconsistent three-point shooting that has been far too common for this version of the Tigers. They turned the ball over 19 times. Five of those turnovers were credited to Phil Pressey, and while he also added 10 assists, six boards and three steals and just five shots from the floor, it was the 0-1 from three that was the most concerning stat.
Because it came with Missouri leading 61-60, 20 seconds left in the game, and seven seconds left on the shot clock. It was off the dribble, from 22 feet out on the wing. More importantly, it was yet another questionable decision made by Pressey in crunch time.
But none of that is important tonight.
Because Missouri finally got a win that they so desperately needed. This was a Tiger team whose resume was built upon beating Illinois and VCU, both of which came before Christmas. They were blown out by Florida, Louisville and Ole Miss. They lost heartbreakers to UCLA, Texas A&M, Arkansas and LSU. They’re 8-5 in a weak SEC and have just a single road win this season.
At Mississippi State.
Missouri had doubters. In their fan base. In the media. I’d bet that there were folks in their locker room wondering if they were going to be able to turn this season around.
And Tuesday is the perfect opportunity to do just that.
The Tigers erased a 13 point second half deficit against the No. 5 team in the country. They showed that they not only have elite talent on their roster, but they are capable on winning close games and beating the best teams in the country.
Missouri still has work to do. They still have issues that could cost them in the future. They still stink away from Columbia, MO.
But this was a huge win. A potentially season-changing win.
Let’s see if they capitalize on the chance.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.