Missouri's defensive fingerprint is unmistakable. But after consecutive road losses to Texas and Oklahoma State, Missouri's offensive fingerprint seems completely absent.
Mizzou's defense has generally fed its offense in the Mike Anderson era, and that continues to be the ideal to which Anderson's teams aspire. But nowhere in the handbook does it mention the blueprint for the offense when defensive transition doesn't precede it.
Of course, for label's sake, Missouri runs a "motion offense." From floor level, you can often hear Anderson yelling nothing more than "MOVE!" as his sole on-court directive during games. And in recent struggles, working open hasn't been the problem for Mizzou. More and more, especially on the road, Mizzou's inability to finish is further highlighting the fact that it may lack a "finisher," so to speak.
College basketball will hopefully never devolve into the one-player isolation style of basketball that so dominates the professional ranks. But when watching a struggling Missouri offense, it's hard to imagine Mizzou couldn't benefit from knowing it had one player able to drag along an offense.
Marcus Denmon is Mizzou's biggest offensive threat, but he won't create on his own with any consistency. Ricardo Ratliffe is a big inside presence, but struggles at times to adapt to the wavering levels of physicality present from game-to-game with Big 12 officials. Kim English has so desperately wanted to be that player, but the results just don't match the desire. Justin Safford has tried to drag the offense along on sluggish nights, but he's been largely unable to do so outside of the Illinois game. Phil Pressey has done it a few times, but his ability to do so seems to depend on his ability to hit 30-footers.
Two years ago, when all else failed, Mizzou could rely on a "Dump it to DeMarre" mentality with DeMarre Carroll inside. Last year, even if Mizzou lacked consistent threats, Zaire Taylor upheld his reputation for crunch-time baskets. At this point, Mizzou is running out of options beyond the full team approach. No one's back appears big enough to carry the load on slow nights.
Scoring on the break in transition is a virtue. But if it remains nothing more than a pipe dream in Big 12 road games, Missouri will need to find Plan B in a hurry.