RPT of SB Nation's Rock M Nation with three things he thinks he thinks on the Missouri Tigers 84-61 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday.
1. At times this season, frustrated fans have started to question Mike Anderson's ability to develop talent. The continued struggles of Kim English are often cited as further illustration of sometimes stagnant progress, but if there is a single piece of evidence to the contrary, it comes in the form of Steve Moore.
Moore has not developed into a top-line threat, by any means. But for a big man recruited as a project by Mike Anderson, Moore has evolved from an after-thought to one of Mizzou's most valued role players. The kid once too big to stay on the floor for any length of time in Anderson's system has learned how to best expend energy in select spurts. His back-to-back baskets in the first half energized Mizzou Arena, and he continues to provide inside presence for Missouri defensively. His ability to eat minutes and give five fouls has always been valued enough, but his growth on both ends of the floor has been a pleasant surprise.
2. For awhile in the first half, Mizzou was playing perhaps a bit too aggressive in the halfcourt defensively. Following the lead of starting point guard Phil Pressey, the Tigers actively pursued steals and overextended themselves in passing lanes. The result was a series of good perimeter looks for an Oklahoma team able to capitalize early in the first half.
But once Missouri settled down, the Tigers had one of their best performances of the season in terms of contesting shots, particularly inside. With a rare size advantage in the post, Mizzou's lanky big men performed admirably in stepping out to alter shots without drawing fouls. Oklahoma's shooters struggled to find real estate to go straight up when within 15 feet of the basket. So much of Missouri's pride defensively is rooted in steals and blocks that it is easy to forget the less-sexy pleasure of getting stops by forcing off-balance shots.
3. The officiating at Mizzou Arena on Saturday was largely laughable, but in the best way possible for Missouri. In the first half, Oklahoma was called for double dribble after Mizzou's Kim English clearly blocked a shot in the lane. Later in the game, Michael Dixon appeared to scoop a ball out-of-bounds cleanly, only to have possession stay with the Tigers. Both drew the ire of Jeff Capel to the amusement of the Mizzou Arena crowd. John Higgins-led crews have always been frustrating for Big 12 fans, but frustration can be comedy in double-digit wins. Capel, understandably, didn't quite see the humor.