Quick programming note: I was supposed to be driving to Oklahoma tonight (and therefore listening to the dulcet tones of Mike Kelly filling me in on the action), but we are now not leaving until tomorrow morning. Which means I get to watch the game tonight after all. Which means...LIVEBLOG!!!
Since it's the biggest game of the season thus far, I figured I could throw together my fun, wonky numbers for a preview...
|Points Per Minute
|Points Per Possession (PPP)
|Points Per Shot (PPS)
|(Assists + Steals) / TO||1.92||0.96||2.62||0.89|
|Exp. Offensive Rebounds||122||141||136||138|
|Eq. Rebound Margin||+1||0||+17||+3|
- You probably didn't need these numbers to tell you that Mizzou is the more up-tempo, offensive team, while Illinois is the slug-it-out, defensive team. If Mizzou has an advantage here, it's because their margins are better. They are +1.73 on the (Ast+Stl)/TO ratio, while UI is +0.96. They are +0.30 on Points Per Possession, while UI is +0.25.
- Illinois' rebounding is not quite what I thought it would be. Again, the Expected Offensive Rebounds figure is based on the fact that there are different offensive rebound %'s for 2-pointers, 3-pointers and FT's...plus, both UI's and MU's opponents have missed more shots than they have, so they expected number is higher. From the Expected Rebounds standpoint, Illinois is...only average. They have both grabbed and given up pretty much the exact number of expected offensive rebounds.
- Missouri, on the other hand, has been slightly below average in defensive rebounds...but great in offensive rebounds. Strangely, Mizzou might actually have the rebounding edge here.
- Projected score based on Points Per Minute: Mizzou 71, Illinois 68
- Projected score based on Points Per Possession (and average possessions per game): Mizzou 70, Illinois 69
Missouri Season to Date
|DeMarre Carroll||17.83||0.69||17.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.8 SPG|
|Leo Lyons||14.50||0.62||16.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.5 SPG|
||7.96||0.46||7.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.4 SPG|
||7.44||0.30||4.2 PPG, 3.5 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.4 SPG|
||7.21||0.34||6.4 PPG, 3.3 APG, 2.8 RPG, 2.2 SPG|
|Matt Lawrence||7.17||0.38||9.5 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.8 APG|
|Miguel Paul||4.99||0.31||4.8 PPG, 2.4 APG, 1.2 RPG|
||4.39||0.36||4.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.7 BPG|
||4.00||0.32||6.9 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.0 APG|
|Laurence Bowers||3.78||0.41||3.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 0.7 BPG|
|Justin Safford||3.77||0.30||4.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.5 APG|
|Jarrett Sutton||2.04||0.58||3.0 PPG|
|Steve Moore||1.45||0.26||1.8 PPG, 2.0 RPG|
|Michael Anderson Jr.||1.10||0.16||1.5 PPG, 1.0 RPG|
Illinois Season to Date
|Chester Frazier||13.40||0.44||7.2 PPG, 6.6 APG, 3.8 RPG, 1.3 SPG|
|Mike Davis||12.34||0.43||13.0 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.8 SPG|
|Demetri McCamey||11.16||0.37||12.4 PPG, 4.8 APG, 3.3 RPG|
|Trent Meachem||8.09||0.27||10.9 PPG, 2.5 APG, 1.9 RPG|
|Mike Tisdale||5.56||0.25||10.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.1 BPG|
|Dominique Keller||5.12||0.46||6.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG|
|Calvin Brock||3.44||0.20||5.2 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.3 APG|
|Jeff Jordan||2.19||0.20||1.4 PPG, 1.5 APG|
|Richard Semrau||1.21||0.09||2.5 PPG, 2.6 RPG|
|Bubba Chisholm||0.92||0.55||0.7 PPG, 1 Walk-on, 1 great name|
|Bill Cole||0.79||0.13||1.9 PPG, 1.3 RPG|
|C.J. Jackson||0.25||0.11||1.2 PPG, 0.7 RPG|
|Alex Legion||-0.54||-0.03||6 pts, 2 reb, 3 TO, 2 PF in 18 minutes|
- Two things to note immediately: 1) Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carroll are the two (statistically) best players on the court, and 2) While UI has four guys averaging in double-digits, it's Chester Frazier (7.2 PPG) who makes this team tick.
- Foul trouble could come into play here. UI's Mike Tisdale averages 0.13 fouls per minute, as does Richard Semrau, while MU's Leo Lyons (0.10) and DeMarre Carrolle (0.08) have both improved in their body control from last year...but they still have lots of foul potential. And in the backcourt, JT Tiller is averaging 0.13 fouls per minute (0.16 against 'real teams'--USC, Cal, Xavier), and none of UI's major guards average higher than 0.08.
- Another potential issue: depth. Illinois has three guys averaging 30 minutes per game and has another at 28.7. Meanwhile, Missouri only has four guys averaging as much as 20 minutes per game, with another six averaging 12 minutes or more. Plus, Laurence Bowers is starting to work his way into the rotation, meaning Mizzou has 11 guys who could play regularly. Illinois just got deeper with the addition of Alex Legion, meaning their rotation just went from 10 guys at 11 minutes per game or more, to 11, but Mizzou's "line change" could be pretty effective, as their bench has contributed much more.
Strength of Schedule
According to KenPom.com, Mizzou is currently the #8 team in the country. Illinois: #16. According to CollegeRPI.com, Mizzou is #39, Illinois #26. Lucky for Mizzou, Ken Pomeroy says the RPI is dead. So there!
Illinois 1, Missouri 0. A clear Illini advantage here.
The Big Ten has recently asserted itself in a major way, especially against the Big 12 in particular. The Big 11 is 4-0 versus the Big 12 this year and 13-4 over the past two seasons. Granted, this year's results have been from just two teams--Michigan State (who beat OSU and Texas) and Iowa (who beat ISU and KSU)--but still...looks bad. CONFERENCE PRIDE!!!
What does StatSheet.com have to say?
God bless StatSheet...a site that is virtually guaranteed to become my favorite website over the next three months. For Braggin' Rights, they have both a written and stat-heavy preview. Plus, all the StatSheety goodies. Point spread history? Yup. DeMarre Carroll vs Mike Davis comparison? Got it. Jarrett Sutton vs Bubba Chisholm? Bingo. (Sutton kicks Bubba's butt.) Fun (and slightly blinding) player impact charts? Hell yeah...
This is just about as evenly-matched a Braggin' Rights game has been since at least about 2002 or 2003. This one should be fun, tense, annoying, exciting, etc. I don't know why I'm even making a prediction--in the current 8-game losing streak to Illinois, I'd have probably picked MU to win in at least 5-6 of those games, because I'm me--but the numbers give the slightest of edges to Missouri. Take strength of scheulde into account, and it basically becomes a coin toss. After landing on Heads for eight straight years, surely the coin will land on Tails this time, right? Missouri 70, Illinois 69.