Over the course of the next two weeks, College Basketball Talk will be detailing what some of the country’s best, most intriguing, and thoroughly enigmatic teams need. It’s the spirit of the holidays. We’re in a giving mood.
What do other teams have on their Christmas Wish Lists? Click here to find out.
Gotta have it list-topper: Filling Mike Dixon’s role
It’s no secret that the loss of Mike Dixon is a crippling one for the Missouri basketball team. In addition to being a tough perimeter defender, Dixon would have been the Tigers best perimeter shooter during the first month and a half of the season. He also would have been their best perimeter scorer, the guy that has the ball in his hands when they really need a basket. Jabari Brown gets eligible this month after transferring to Missouri from Oregon, and the Tigers are going to need him to fill that role. He’s not as good as Dixon, but he’s bigger and he’s a better shooter. And more importantly, unlike Keion Bell and Negus Webster-Chan, he hasn’t looked overmatched yet this season.
Dixon wasn’t Missouri’s most valuable player, but he was a long, long way from expendable. Until Frank Haith has an answer alongside Phil Pressey in the back court, the Tigers are not going to be complete.
Stocking Stuffer: Defensive playmakers
Missouri is currently 65th in the nation in defensive efficiency, according to Kenpom. But as you look at their tempo-free profile, they’re pretty solid in most areas on that end of the floor: they’re good at forcing teams into tough shots and solid at clearing the defensive glass. They don’t foul all that much and they’re pretty good at cutting off penetration. But, as a team, the Tigers are 290th in the country in turnover rate and 160th nationally in block percentage. This is a team with size, with length and with athletes at a number of different positions on the floor. They should be better at forcing turnovers and blocking shots.
Planning on re-gifting: Wings that can’t shoot
Earnest Ross, Keion Bell and Negus Webster-Chan are a combined 22-75 from three this season, which checks in at a sultry 29.3%. Last year, Missouri was the 10th best three point shooting team in the country, and they are running much of the same offense that they did a year ago. If those threes don’t start dropping and the Tigers aren’t getting stops, than Missouri is going to be in trouble this season.