Blog Entry

Frank Haith has Missouri Tigers rolling

Posted on: December 1, 2011 1:59 pm
By Jeff Goodman

Frank Haith was concerned with how his players would react when the reigns of a veteran club at Missouri.

"Usually, it goes one of two ways," Haith said. "They can adjust to what you do -- or they fight you on it. ... These guys bought in -- and I was surprised at how quickly it happened."

Haith has raved about how this team obliged thus far, but he is also cautiously optimistic going forward.

"We've got a lot way to go," Haith said.

Remember, this is a team without much depth - especially along the frontline. The matchups against both Cal and Notre Dame were advantageous, but for Missouri to win the Big 12 - the Tigers will have to win games against Kansas and Baylor.

"Those are two tough matchups for us because of their size," Haith said.

Haith raved about the chemistry of the team, something that was clearly an issue a year ago. Guys are getting their shots - and the numbers are impressive. has the Tigers at second in the nation at efficiency field goal percentage (a number that credits teams for 3-pointers) and eighth in the country at adjusted offensive efficiency. Missouri is shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc and 77 percent from the line.

The first move that Haith made after taking over was to make it clear that sophomore Phil Pressey would have the ball in his hands far more than was the case a year ago under former coach Mike Anderson. Pressey has responded, averaging 10.2 points and coming off a game in which he had 11 assists without a turnover -- and also without taking a single shot.

"I say it all the time that he reminds me of T.J. Ford," said Haith, who coached Ford as an assistant at Texas. "They are both pure point guards who can control the game without scoring. Phil can also be a terror on the defensive end. T.J. didn't do that as much."

Senior Kim English has thrived thus far under Haith after being forced, following the season-ending injury to big man Laurence Bowers in the preseason, to play the four spot. He's averaging a career-high 18.2 points while shooting 63 percent (25-of-40) from 3-point range.

"These guys are so gifted offensively that they don't have to hunt shots," Haith said. "They've bought into that."

Marcus Denmon leads the team in scoring (18.5) and is also averaging 5.7 boards per game while shooting 42 percent from long distance - all with committing just three turnovers through the first six games, all victories.

"He's a great scorer whose been sharing the ball, too," Haith said. "He can really shoot it, has a great first step and is terrific in transition."

Since: Mar 8, 2011
Posted on: December 2, 2011 4:22 pm

Frank Haith has Missouri Tigers rolling

Hate giving props to Mizzou, but you guys are fielding a good team this year.  What I've noticed: By taking the players used to the "40 minutes of hell" and taking them out of that high tempo style of defense, Haith is ending up with some talented shooters whose legs aren't tired at the end of the game and can actually rise up to hit some jump shots.  If Mizzou keeps showing patience on offense, you are going to be going places.  I'll go back to hating y'all now.

Since: Aug 10, 2006
Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:41 pm

Frank Haith has Missouri Tigers rolling

Hey Slippy - are you forgetting this is a Bill Self coached team?  His teams get better as the year goes on.  Tyshaun is a 4 year starter and will play more within himself.  He is scoring very well - just needs to take care of the ball better.  I suspect Johnson will become the point if this doesn't improve.  I know you don't know basketball but there is no way KU finishes 5th in the big 12.  Who would finish ahead of them in your dream scenario?  Inquiring minds want to know (and laugh).

Since: Jan 7, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2011 3:29 pm

Frank Haith has Missouri Tigers rolling

Easy there ChickenHawk fans..... KU looks to be in real trouble this year.   Outside of Thomas Robinson, KU is very average.   I haven't seen a KU with such terrible talent in a long time.    Mizzou will finish higher than KU this year in the BIG12... guaranteed.   

Kansas to everyone else in the BIG12 is their Superbowl game.....  teams/fans get up for the Chicken Littles... when KU goes on the road...I see them losing @ Kansas State, Missouri, Baylor, and Texas.....  possibly OK State.....    Look for KU to finish 5th this year...I know it sounds crazy..but my god...its Tyshawn Apple Turnover Taylor as your 2nd best player?

No depth a Kansas....old Billy Self better start getting some better recruits...he missed on Henry and Selby as #1 players...they were terrible one and dones (But at least you get one and dones...Mizzou doesn't).


Since: Aug 10, 2006
Posted on: December 2, 2011 2:08 pm

Frank Haith has Missouri Tigers rolling

It is still mizzou and at the end of the season there will be another ending without a conference title or a final four trip.  The only sellout of the season will be when Kansas comes to Columbia.  And as the Miami scandal heats up - broadcasters will discuss this during the mizzou games and it will become a distraction.  And they will face tougher competitition in Big 12 play.  mizzou will do dancing but will likely be out in the round of 32 - they hang banners up for that at Cheater Arena!!  Congrats mizzou - the big 12 is so proud of you now don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya!!

Since: Sep 9, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:44 pm

Frank Haith has Missouri Tigers rolling

Hey badbunny, thanks for the ringing endorsement. After mizzou runs the preseason table and gets a fast start in conference maybe you will move them up into your top 4 Big 12 teams because the whole sports fan world really cares about what you think...

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: December 2, 2011 12:36 pm

Frank Haith has Missouri Tigers rolling

I'm very impressed with this Misery team. I'm moving them up to 5th in my preseason Big 12 projections. I see them as a #9 seed or so, which isn't bad by Misery standards.

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:46 am

Frank Haith has Missouri Tigers rolling

Take it from a Miami fan... this is what Frank Haith does.  His teams start out hot, often going into January undefeated or close to it while playing a cupcake schedule.  But when they get into conference play it all goes downhill.  Sure, Miami has a tough conference schedule... but Mizzou has to face some pretty stiff competition as well.  All that said, Missouri is more ready to win now than Miami is so a tourney bid there is more likely.  Plus Haith got to leave right as Miami stepped into all that mess with Dequan Jones.

Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2011 9:24 am

Frank Haith has Missouri Tigers rolling

Ditto from a Louisville fan. In fact, their chemistry reminds me of our Cards. Maybe we'll dance together in April.


Since: Nov 18, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2011 12:35 am

Frank Haith has Missouri Tigers rolling

I watched them dominate Notre Dame and was completely impressed with the defense and the sharing of the basketball.  They are playing fantastic team basketball, which is something that is missing a lot in today's game.  I didn't see the Cal game, but I have to assume it was more of the same based on the 39 point thrashing they handed the Golden Bears.

Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2011 11:33 pm

Frank Haith has Missouri Tigers rolling

Wow Sling Blade, its unusual to get props from a Jayhawk fan.  Which I never really understood because we have been a basketball doormat for you guys for a LONG time.  This is how we expected this team to play last year, but Anderson ran that 40 Minutes of Hell (on my eyes) which did not have good offensive structure and relied solely on points off turnovers.  As good as the team looks, we unfortunately will be looking up at KU in the standings....AGAIN. But it is good to be winning, playing good defense and running the first structured offense since Stormin Norman.  Cant wait for our last two conference dust ups Sling. I hope the series continues, its a great rivalry.

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