I say this in all seriousness: this is a pretty good 0-8 team.
The story I always think of when UAPB pops up on the schedule took place during Mizzou's first ever meeting with the Golden Lions (seriously), a ridiculous 89-33 mercy killing in which Mizzou had to try rather hard not to win by 75 (seriously, Matt Rowan played more in that game than in the rest of his Mizzou career combined). At one point in the second half, John Woods was inbounding the ball along the press row sideline, turned to the folks on press row, and said in exasperation, "These guys are terrible!"
For most of UAPB's decade-plus at the D1 level, they have been just that -- terrible. God-awful. Wretched. Their best record: 13-16 in 2005-06. Their worst: 1-26 in 2003-04. Amazingly, their 5-21 record in 1999-00 is only their sixth-worst record since 1997-98. It's also their sixth-best. Point is, they've been ridiculously bad. But that is slowly starting to change. Their conference standing has improved for most of the last five years, from 10th in 2004-05, to 7th in 2005-06, to 5th in 2006-07, to 4th in 2008-09. They will snag an NCAA bid one of these years. Yes, they're in a bad conference (SWAC); yes, they're 0-8; and yes, they continue to play a schedule that is 17x too hard. But even in going 0-8 this year, they have shown major improvement. They have yet to lose a game by more than 20, and they have gotten more and more competitive -- they lost by only 12 to Georgia Tech earlier this week. They're going to lose tomorrow at Mizzou Arena, and that's fine, but this is a solid, fundamentally sound team that is putting up an infinitely better fight than they were 5-10 years ago.
|Points Per Minute
|Points Per Possession (PPP)
|Points Per Shot (PPS)
|True Shooting %||48.3%||59.9%|
|Ball Control Index
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Offensive Rebounds||100||83|
UAPB's season thus far:
- @Colorado 88, UAPB 72
- @Denver 75, UAPB 56
- @UTEP 70, UAPB 52
- @Akron 68, UAPB 65
- @Arizona State 74, UAPB 57
- @Michigan 67, UAPB 53
- @Oklahoma State 81, UAPB 66
- @Georgia Tech 65, UAPB 53
UAPB's first home game of the season: January 16, versus Southern. Ouch.
What Does Ken Pomeroy Have to Say?
|UAPB Offense vs MU Defense Ranks
|UAPB Offense||MU Defense||Advantage|
|Effective FG%||296||11||Huge MU|
|Turnover %||305||2||Huge MU|
|Off. Reb. %||217||256||UAPB|
|MU Offense vs UAPB Defense Ranks
|MU Offense||UAPB Defense||Advantage|
|Effective FG%||41||319||Huge MU|
|Turnover %||88||332||Huge MU|
|Off. Reb. %||120||2||Huge UAPB|
Where the Golden Lions are solid
These mofos block out. Wow. They give up good shots, and they don't force turnovers, but if you miss a shot, your possession is over. No second chances. I say this often, but this is another unique challenge for Mizzou. They will win this game, but UAPB has shown against teams like Oklahoma State, Michigan and Georgia Tech that they are more than capable of hanging around, and it's because you only get one-shot possessions. A cold streak will allow them to stay in the game.
Where the Golden Lions are less than solid
|Savalace Townsend (6'2, 160, So.)||13.8||0.42||33.1 MPG, 12.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 2.3 TOPG|
|Lebaraon Weathers (6'8, 245, Sr.)||8.7||0.40||22.1 MPG, 9.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.0 TOPG|
|Tavaris Washington (6'5, 215, Sr.)||8.5||0.34||25.0 MPG, 7.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.4 SPG, 2.6 TOPG|
|Terrance Calvin (6'2, 170, Sr.)||7.5||0.23||32.6 MPG, 7.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 2.0 TOPG|
|Tyrees Glass (6'7, 220, Sr.)||6.1||0.26||23.5 MPG, 8.4 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.4 APG, 2.5 TOPG|
|George Davis (6'5, 210, Sr.)||5.3||0.33||16.0 MPG, 3.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG|
|Terry Tidwell (6'8, 230, Fr.)||2.7||0.43||6.4 MPG, 2.6 PPG, 2.0 RPG|
|Dominic Moore (6'10, 195, Jr.)||2.5||0.22||11.4 MPG, 3.3 PPG, 1.6 RPG|
|Allen Smith (5'10, 170, Jr.)||1.2||0.09||14.3 MPG, 1.9 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.1 APG|
|Terrell Kennedy (6'6, 250, So.)||0.8||0.24||7 minutes|
|Vincent Martin (6'2, 175, Fr.)||0.4||0.05||8.0 MPG, 2.0 PPG, 1.2 RPG|
|Stephan Collins (6'5, 185, Fr.)||0.1||0.01||8.3 MPG, 1.3 PPG|
|Antonio Ootesey (6'1, 180, Jr.)||-0.7||-0.30||5 minutes|
|Hugh Barnett (6'9, 265, Sr.)||-0.7||-0.37||6 minutes|
|Antoni Lasker (5'10, 170, So.)||-1.3||-0.43||6 minutes|
* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds. It redistributes a team's points based not only on points scored, but also by giving credit for assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls. It is a stat intended to determine who had the biggest overall impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.
- Needless to say, you like Mizzou's chances to win big when the other team's top five players all average at least two turnovers per game.
- You can sort of see why this UAPB team is better than previous ones -- they have a pretty good playmaker in Savalace Townsend (42% from 3-point land ... and 37% from 2-point range, strangely enough), who blew up against Georgia Tech with six 3's. He's hit-or-miss sometimes, but almost every other player in the rotation is a junior or senior, and I think that will be beneficial in conference play.
- Perhaps the most interesting UAPB player in terms of Mizzou's strengths and weaknesses could be George Davis, who has actually grabbed more offensive rebounds than defensive ones to date.
Keys to the Game
Show Up. I know I've been building UAPB up a bit here, but this still a game Mizzou will likely win easily. Whether they win by 12 or 40 depends on how much fire they show and how much rust they don't.
The rims. If the rims are friendly and Mizzou's shots are falling in early, this game really could get out of hand. But with Mizzou's rebounding weaknesses, a first-half cold stretch could lead to an uncomfortable crowd for the game's first 20-25 minutes.
Justin Safford. In The Challenge, I mentioned that Justin Safford is a guard trapped in a post player's body, and that he absolutely must improve on the boards. UAPB presents a nice opportunity for him to discover some aggression in that regard. Mizzou is actually average to above average in terms of offensive rebounding, but that's because of Laurence Bowers and Keith Ramsey. It's time for Safford to start becoming the rebounding force we need him to become.
UAPB plays a pretty slow game (65.2 possessions per game), and Mizzou hasn't been as good about picking up the pace this season. After a week off, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Mizzou struggling early with their shot and UAPB keeping things relatively close in a boring first 15 minutes. Of course, even in that scenario I still see Mizzou pulling away early in the second half and winning this one easily. Mizzou 77, UAPB 56. But if the shots are falling and Kimmeh or Marcus Denmon get hot, then we're looking more at Mizzou 85, UAPB 49. I'm going with the former, but I'm posting the latter, you know, just so I get two chances to be right.