Mizzou basketball has been all about defense during its first five games of the season. The Tigers will try to keep it up as they head into a tough back-to-back stretch next week.
The Mizzou basketball team is one of the best in the nation so far at defense.
Mizzou ranks in the top 10 in adjusted defensive efficiency. That is something coach Cuonzo Martin can be proud of early on in the season. Mizzou checks in at No. 7 in the nation.
Virginia is No. 1 in that category. Mizzou is one of three teams in the SEC to not give up 60 points yet in regulation to any of its opponents. The other two are Arkansas and Ole Miss, who haven’t played as tough a schedule through the first month of the season as the Tigers.
Xavier is the only team to top 60 against Mizzou, scoring 63 after overtime to hand the Tigers their only loss of the year so far.
The defense is the key to the Tigers’ 4-1 start. Mizzou shut down the Wofford offense and didn’t allow a field goal in the final 14 minutes, 35 seconds. The Terriers finished that game with 15 missed baskets in a row.
In Wednesday’s win over Morehead State, Mizzou shut down the Eagles offense after Morehead closed within eight points in the final seven minutes of the game. They went 2 of 9 shooting after that with the two baskets coming toward the end of the game.
Northern Kentucky went 7 1/2 minutes without scoring a point in the second half, helping Mizzou to an early-season victory. And Incarnate Word only scored 42 points in 40 minutes.
The defense has been good. Now, just as Martin pointed out, it has a chance to improve next week. Mizzou plays stiffer competition in the Hall of Fame Classic, first getting Butler to open things up in Kansas City on Monday.
The Bulldogs average 76 points a game and play Friday night against Morehead State with a chance to up that point total. If the Tigers can shut down Butler, that will speak volumes as to how good its defense can be this season.
It already has been pretty good. Monday could make it even better.