The toughest aspect of today's game is to decide what the headline should be.
- MU played a game, and nobody cared. .
- MU scores 102 . . . with a defense that proves they'll need every point they can get in Big East play
- Dog Bites Man: MU Beats Presbyterian.
I'll go with the third option.
First, the good. After a somewhat shaky start (the Blue Hose actually held a 12-10 lead with 14 minutes to go in the first half), MU shook off the rust, the cobwebs, and the remainder of their Christmas dinner and took care of business with an impressive offensive outburst, beating the out-manned Blue Hose by a final score of 102-62. The point total was the most for MU this season, and fell just short of the 106 point Bradley Center record set just over a year ago against Chicago State.
As impressive as the point total was, the real story was playmaking, with a season high 24 assists (compared with just 8 versus North Florida), helped by 60.9% shooting from the floor and 57% on treys. As a team MU protected the ball extremely well posting just 4 turnovers.
MU showed nice balance, with six players in double figures, paced by 23 from Lazar Hayward. Dwight Buycks added an MU career high 14 points, Jimmy Butler chipped in 16 points, DJO with 15, Acker with 15, and Cubillan with 10. MU's scoring was rounded out with 6 form starter Joe Fulce, and 4 from Erik Williams off the bench.
The bad: The opponent. Let's dispense with the usual comparisons--RPI (275), Sagarin (315), Pomeroy (320), etc, and simply point out that the Blue Hose have just one win over a D1 opponent this year--Southern. Southern's only win? New Orleans. Presbyterian has been tagged with a 43 point loss to Clemson, a 46 point loss to Illinois, 30 points to Ohio State, 39 to North Carolina--and now 40 to Marquette.
Also bad: MU's Defense. The Blue Hose shot 47.8% overall, and 47.1% on 3 point attempts (compared to 43% overall/33% treys on the season). At one point, Buzz Williams instituted a reverse version of the Scrambled Eggs to find some way to improve a defense that managed to allow the Blue Hose to slice through MU's defense like a hot knife through butter.
The disappointing: Despite 15 minutes of playing time, Youssoupha Mbao did not score and managed just a single rebound. He did have an assist, a block and a steal.
The Ugly: We knew it would be bad. Between the Packers game, MU's Christmas break, and the quality (sic) of the opponent, nobody expected this game to break the record books. They should have held an '80's day promotion, because the crowd (sic) could have easily reminded one of a Bob Dukiet game in the early days of the Bradley Center. When the head coach and the radio broadcast team can hold conversations over the roar (sic) of the crowd, audible over the radio, you know the fans just aren't into it, sounding nothing like the reported 14,321.
Next up: a road trip to 6th ranked West Virginia for a game on Tuesday. WVU is coming off an overtime win over Seton Hall--which was noted for its impressive play by both teams. Given that nobody expects MU to win this game (actually, Pomeroy gives us a 14% shot at winning), MU enters the game with nothing to lose, and possibly a chance to steal one.
MU/Presbyterian Game Box: