Everybody is in uproar about it. The Missouri Tigers, who had only lost to the then no. 2 Louisville Cardinals, lost to the unranked UCLA Bruins after a stellar performance from Shabazz Muhammad. Finally, the talk surrounding Missouri as best in the SEC are gone.
Phil Pressey is the best guard in the country. I have been trying to avoid this realization since the 2012-2013 season began, but after his 19 assist SEC record breaking performance in a LOSS. It is hard to come to any other conclusion. Frank Haith is kicking himself over the selfishness of preseason star Michael Dixon Jr. who transferred from the team after rape accusations. Dixon was what this team was really missing; another player capable of putting up big numbers while Pressey was busy passing the ball to the rest of the team. This team is filled with talented offensive players like Jabari Brown, Laurence Bowers, Keion Bell, etc. But what about defense?
Alex Oriakhi looked horrible in the loss to UCLA, as did the rest of the big men defensively. Missouri cannot win important games down the stretch unless they step up their defense. Florida, Kentucky, and even Tennessee are all SEC teams capable of stopping the Tigers high-flying offense, but will Missouri’s defense be able to hold back these offenses? Probably not. Missouri is a good team – definitely a top twenty team in the country. However, Missouri is a great Forward away from being an elite national championship ready team. Muhammad proved that last night when bulldozing through the Missouri paint. Defense wins championships, and the Tigers have a subpar defense.