Conference call thoughts: Dec. 14

Missouri coach Quin Snyder met with league media on Tuesday morning during the Big 12 coaches' teleconference. Snyder discussed the Tigers' recent performance and the difficult games coming up on their schedule. Read on for a few of his thoughts.

Opening statement: "I think our biggest focus has been just trying to get better defensively. A lot of the guys on our team have equated making baskets with playing well. When you struggle to make shots, that can't be your identity. You've got to identity with the defensive end. I think we've made progress to that end, but it takes time. One of the things we need to do is not be so reliant on the jump shot; we have to go to the basket more and go to the line more…

"I think Spencer Laurie being out has affected our team. "With Glen (Dandridge) not playing as much and Spencer being out, we're suddenly thin on the perimeter. The big thing for us is that it is a process and that we've got building to do. At the same time, we've got to win games as we're doing it."

On the defensive challenges of facing Illinois: "We've got Indiana first. A guy like Bracey Wright can help get you ready for Dee Brown. Both of the games we have upcoming are going to be really challenging. You just have to be unbelievably alert. The minute you let your guard down, they run it down your throat or they're making a shot."

On practicing and facing the containment press more often: "In fact, we've actually used it, in the Davidson game. It was a little less containment and a little bit more aggressive. We're looking for ways to change the tempo because it makes us a little more alert when we're in man to man. We've also done it because it's something we have to play against so much…

"We have not been real successful converting in transition. Against Arkansas, we ended up beating the press but we didn't always convert on the other end. That's the challenge with those three-quarter court presses. If you don't try to make plays on the back end, it's like a free press. I feel like we've attacked it too much, just with the jump shot. If you're making jump shots, that looks good. If you're not, you have to find other ways to convert."

On the status of junior center Jeffrey Ferguson: "Right now, we're scheduled to meet with Jeffery again. We're trying to see if his (meniscus) can heal. There's a chance it can heel in the next two weeks and he can avoid surgery. The advantage there is the doctors feel there's a pretty good chance that he can get some healing in that tear and play in January and February without having that surgery."

On former Hickman standout and current Kansas State guard Lance Harris: "We saw Lance play a lot in our camp. I really think he's gonna be a good player in our league. We felt that Lance and Thomas (Gardener), in our mind, were similar players. That was kind of how that process evolved with us."

Check back on Wednesday for the Tigers' thoughts on facing the Hoosiers on Sunday.

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