Scratching the win column in the National Invitation Tournament for the first time since 1996 and only the second time in nine games won’t be easy for Missouri.
The Tigers face Davidson, 20-12, at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Mizzou Arena. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
The Wildcats’ motion offense with an array of shooters could pose a problem for Missouri’s porous three-point defense.
“They’re going to be a chore, and we’ve got to adjust a little bit in how we play,” MU coach Frank Haith said. “You’re playing a team that can put five guys out there who can step out and make a three. That’s going to be tough to defend.”
Especially for a Tigers team that got scorched for 12 three-pointers — on 21 tries, a 57 percent clip — during a quarterfinal loss Friday against Florida at the SEC Tournament.
Of course, that was just the latest in a long line of three-point barrages versus Missouri, which has allowed at least 10 threes in seven games this season.
The Tigers, who rank 111th in three-point field-goal defense, allowed 238 threes on the season, an average of 7.2 per game.
By the way, Davidson — which handed Missouri its first loss at Mizzou Arena (back when it was still Paige Sports Arena) on Nov. 19, 2004 — averages 8.3 threes per game and shoots nearly 38 percent from deep.
The Wildcats won the Southern Conference regular-season championship, finishing 15-1.
But Davidson, which had reached the last two NCAA Tournaments and has been to the NCAAs five times since 2006, was upset in the conference tourney semifinals by Western Carolina.
Three-pointers won’t be the only issue for the Tigers against Bob McKillop’s squad.
“Bobby’s teams in the past have been good in transition,” Haith said. “They run on makes and misses. Transition defense will be important and our ability to guard the three-point line.”
McKillop is 452-279 in 25 seasons with the Wildcats.Missouri’s NIT history
Missouri is 1-7 overall and 1-3 at home entering Tuesday’s matchup with Davidson at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.
|1972 (first)||St. John’s||L, 82-81 (OT)||New York City|
|1973 (first)||Massachusetts||L, 78-71||New York City|
|1985 (first)||St. Joseph’s||L, 68-67||Hearnes Center|
|1996 (first)||Murray State||W, 89-85||Hearnes Center|
|1996 (second)||Alabama||L, 72-49||Tuscaloosa, Ala.|
|1998 (first)||Alabama-Birmingham||L, 93-86||Hearnes Center|
|2004 (first)||Michigan||L, 65-64||Ann Arbor, Mich.|
|2005 (first)||DePaul||L, 75-70||Mizzou Arena|