Know Your Old Big 8 Rival: Oklahoma State

UPDATE: SUBMIT YOUR TRIFECTA PICKS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.  WHO WILL FINISH 1ST, 2ND, AND 3RD IN ADJ. GS POINTS FOR THE GAME?

Time for the bounce back game...we hope...


Oklahoma State: 16-4 (4-2)

OSU Opp
Points Per Minute
2.28 1.60
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.27 0.95
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.51 1.16
2-PT FG% 51.2% 44.1%
3-PT FG% 34.1% 32.9%
FT% 70.7% 67.8%
True Shooting % 64.3% 50.1%
OSU Opp
Assists/Gm 12.1 10.8
Steals/Gm 6.2 4.5
Turnovers/Gm 11.8 13.9
Ball Control Index
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.55 1.09
OSU Opp
Expected Offensive Rebounds/Gm 12.2 12.8
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 10.5 9.9
Difference -1.7 -1.9


Ken Pomeroy Stats

OSU Offense vs MU Defense Ranks
OSU Offense MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 68 6 MU
Effective FG% 79 27 MU
Turnover % 18 1 Push
Off. Reb. % 290 308 Push
FTA/FGA 128 185 OSU
MU Offense vs OSU Defense Ranks
MU Offense OSU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 48 39 Push
Effective FG% 89 59 OSU
Turnover % 42 206 MU Big
Off. Reb. % 98 9 OSU
FTA/FGA 236 148 OSU

OSU is all about control.  They don't force the issue, but they don't allow you to either.  Their offense is second in the country in steals allowed, while their defense is just 232nd in steals and 266th in blocks.  They don't grab many offensive rebounds, but they don't allow you to grab any at all.  They play a pace of basketball that is right around the national average, and if I had to bet, I'd say they'll try to play much slower than that tomorrow.  They have one of the nation's smallest benches, and that is with starting point guard Ray Penn in the lineup.  He has missed the last two games due to a minor knee injury, so their bench shrinks even further without him.

If Mizzou can make some shots and force the tempo, OSU will be very hard-pressed to keep up in the game's final ten minutes or so, but because of the control they have managed over tempo and opponents, they have actually pulled off their most impressive two wins of the season (@KSU, ATM) in the last week without Penn. If Mizzou is missing shots and allowing OSU to dictate the tempo, this game will go down to the wire, Penn or no Penn.

(One other note: looking at their True Shooting %, it looks like OSU is one of the best-shooting teams in the country.  But apparently a lot of that great shooting came against terrible teams, as they only rank 79th in KenPom's schedule-adjusted FG% numbers.)

Where the Pokes are strongest

  1. They don't allow offensive rebounds. You will rarely see a team with such disparate splits between offensive and defensive rebounding.  They are almost nonexistent on the offensive glass, but they are one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the country.  Obviously if Missouri continues to shoot like they have the last couple of weeks, this could be a problem.  Mizzou wants to attack and attack, but if they're not only missing shots but not grabbing offensive rebounds, they're in trouble.  Mizzou is a decent offensive rebounding team, Oklahoma State is a great defensive rebounding team.  Marshall Moses (0.27 defensive rebounds per minute) and Matt Pilgrim (0.28) block out like no one's business.  (As means of comparison, Laurence Bowers' is Mizzou's best defensive rebounder, and he averages 0.16 per minute at a higher pace.  John Underwood averages 0.23 in limited minutes.)  That should be no surprise, as the 6'7 Moses is almost as wide as he is tall.  Dude's only 240, but he has the widest frame I've ever seen.

  2. They don't turn the ball over. Mizzou is tops in the country at turning opponents over at a very high rate, but despite an extraordinarily young backcourt (starters Keiton Page and Ray Penn are a sophomore and freshman, respectively, and top backup Fred Gulley is a freshman), OSU has been rock solid at handling the ball.  In Penn's absence the last two games, OSU has been a bit more vulnerable to turnovers -- Page has 8 turnovers, Gulley 4 in that time.  But either way, their forwards and bigs handle the ball well too, as nobody averages more than 2.1 turnovers per game for OSU.  Usually, a team has at least one guy above that.

Where they are weakest

  1. They don't grab offensive rebounds. As I intimated above, OSU has almost no presence on the offensive glass.  Even Moses and Pilgrims, absolute beasts on the defensive boards, average fewer than 0.10 offensive rebounds per minute (Laurence Bowers: 0.12).  If Mizzou slips up and gives OSU some second-chance opportunities, they could be in trouble.  Block out, boys!

  2. They are T-H-I-N. James Anderson averages 34.0 minutes per game, Keiton Page 33.1.  When he plays, Ray Penn averages 30.9.  Page was apparently totally gassed at the end of the K-State game, and K-State doesn't press like Mizzou does (though they do obviously play extremely physical ball).  OSU's five regular starters all average at least 27.8 minutes per game, while only three other players average double digits.  Nick Sidorakis (6.2 minutes per game) was playing major crunch time minutes against KSU, and while it worked out for them there, you have to like Mizzou's chances if the starters get tired, especially at home, and especially if Penn isn't playing (he's day-to-day).

    (On that note, OSU has been a very mediocre team away from Gallagher-Iba this year ... at least until they knocked out a top ten KSU team last weekend.  That game was a total outlier.  Hopefully they revert to their former selves tomorrow, though if the OSU-Mizzou series has shown us anything over the years in various sports, it's that road teams can do crazy things at crazy times.)


OSU's Season to Date

  • Wins vs KenPom's Top 200
    at #10 Kansas State (73-69)
    #50 Texas A&M (76-69)
    #83 Texas Tech (81-52)
    #95 Colorado (90-78)
    at #101 Stanford (71-70)
    vs #102 Utah (77-55)
    #108 Pacific (66-50)
    vs #128 La Salle (77-62)
    vs #136 Bradley (68-57)
    #155 UTSA (61-55)
  • Losses
    at #19 Baylor (70-83)
    vs #59 Rhode Island (59-63)
    at #62 Tulsa (65-86)
    at #92 Oklahoma (57-62)

OSU has faced only three Top 50 teams, all since conference play began.  Their non-conference slate was iffy at best -- their two toughest opponents (according to the rankings) were Rhode Island and Tulsa, and they lost to both teams.

Despite the loss of Penn, however, they're hot right now, having beaten #10 KSU and #50 ATM in the last week.  But even a hot, confident team can still get worn down at "The Wood-Chipper" (as Mitch Holtus likes to call Mizzou Arena, and no, I do not fully endorse that name) with the depth that OSU has.  If OSU wins tomorrow, then having beaten two KenPom Top 15 teams on the road in eight days, they suddenly become a major threat for a Top 3 finish in the Big 12.

OSU Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
James Anderson (6'6, 210, Jr.) 23.3 0.69 34.0 MPG, 22.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.5 SPG, 2.1 TOPG
Obi Muonelo (6'5, 220, Sr.) 12.6 0.45 28.0 MPG, 13.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.9 APG, 2.0 TOPG
Marshall Moses (6'7, 240, Jr.) 11.3 0.41 27.8 MPG, 10.8 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.2 TOPG
Keiton Page (5'9, 170, So.) 9.0 0.27 33.1 MPG, 9.8 PPG, 2.0 APG, 1.7 RPG, 1.1 SPG
Matt Pilgrim (6'8, 235, Jr.) 7.2 0.45 15.8 MPG, 6.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.5 TOPG
Ray Penn (5'9, 165, Fr.) 6.5 0.21 30.9 MPG, 7.9 PPG, 3.1 APG, 1.7 RPG, 1.6 TOPG
Roger Franklin (6'5, 220, Fr.) 4.1 0.33 12.4 MPG, 3.8 PPG, 2.1 RPG
Fred Gulley (6'2, 175, Fr.) 1.0 0.06 16.9 MPG, 1.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG
Nick Sidorakis (6'4, 185, Jr.) 1.0 0.16 6.2 MPG, 0.8 PPG
Reger Dowell (6'1, 180, Fr.) -0.2 -0.05 4.2 MPG, 0.9 PPG
Jarred Shaw (6'10, 230, Fr.) -0.1 -0.03 3.5 MPG, 0.2 PPG
Torin Walker (6'11, 245, Fr.) 0.0 -0.02 13 minutes
Garrett Thomas (6'2, 180, Jr.) -0.3 -0.32 3 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.

  • So how has OSU been winning despite no depth and an injured point guard?  James Anderson and Obi Muonelo.  Anderson, a big-time recruit from the 2007 class, has shot 13-for-27 from the field (4-for-8 from 3-point range) and 19-for-22 from the line in the last two games, scoring 49 points while dishing 10 assists and grabbing 9 rebounds.  That's ridiculous.

    Meanwhile, Muonelo, an even more highly-touted signee who has struggled with injuries, has been a wonderful complement, shooting 13-for-22 from the field in these two games, 9-for-13 from 3-point range, scoring 38 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.  While Mizzou has been dying for its main scorers to get back on track, OSU is showing how good you can look when your stars are on track.  Who knows how long this will last -- they are very good, but they have been unsustainably great the last two games -- but they can beat anybody when Anderson and Muonelo are playing this well.
  • If Ray Penn doesn't play, the start will go to fellow freshman Gulley, who goes way back with Mike Anderson.

Keys to the Game

  1. Make shots.  Basketball is a really easy game to understand sometimes.  Score more points than the other team, and you win.  And if you can't shoot, if two of your best marksmen (Kim English, Mike Dixon) are shooting under 30% in conference play and five of your six most frequent shooters are making under 40% of their shots, then scoring more points than your opponent becomes a lot more difficult.  Not only is Mizzou unable to press after missed baskets (something that could become even more defined if they're not grabbing offensive rebounds), but they are also having to play near-perfect defense, instead of merely good defense, in order to offset the fact that they're not scoring. Making shots leads to better pressing leads to better defense leads to more transition points leads to even better pressing, etc.  Mizzou is a great defensive team, but you still need offense to make the machine run, and while it appears that Mizzou's FG%'s are unsustainably low right now, the longer the slump goes, the worse things will get, and the more confidence this team will lose.  Somebody needs to get hot, and fast.

    (And since I have not yet mentioned it in this post ... GO STRAIGHT UP, KIMMEH.  STOP FADING AWAY WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE TO.)

  2. Attack the bigs.  Mizzou has been settling for a lot of jumpers lately, but they really need to drive hard against Oklahoma State.  OSU's bigs are relatively foul-prone -- Marshall Moses (0.12 fouls per minute) fouls at a higher rate than anybody in Mizzou's rotation not named Steve Moore, but fellow stud rebounder Matt Pilgrim has only managed 15.8 minutes per game in part because he fouls 50% more than even Moses (0.18 fouls per minute).  If Mizzou is settling for jumpers and not getting in position for good rebounds, they could be one-and-done all night.  But if they're driving and drawing contact on offense, and if they're blocking out well on defense, they could draw the fouls necessary to get both Moses and Pilgrim out of the game.  And in that instance, OSU becomes a sub-standard rebounding team very quickly.

  3. Unleash the Tyrannosaurus. Hey J.T. Tiller, it's time to become Jesus Tyrannosaurus again.  I don't even care what you do on offense -- just lock down either James Anderson or Obi Muonelo, and I'm happy.  OSU needed big games from both of those players to beat KSU and ATM, and they haven't proven they can beat good teams with only one of the two players doing well.  If Tiller (and Taylor, and Denmon, and the entire Mizzou defense, of course) can neutralize just one of the two (preferably Anderson), OSU's odds of winning diminish by a decent amount.  But if Anderson and Muonelo are not only scoring but also drawing fouls (Anderson shoots 0.56 free throws per field goal attempt, which is better than a lot of teams' bigs) and getting Mizzou into foul trouble, look out.

Prediction

If OSU wins ... Muonelo and Anderson combined for at least 40-45 points, and Mizzou still couldn't shoot.  Despite a patented late Mizzou charge, OSU puts the game on lockdown with great free throw shooting from Anderson, Muonelo and Page, and OSU wins, 79-72.

If Mizzou wins ... Kim English and/or Marcus Denmon got hot, Mizzou's other guards were driving effectively, Laurence Bowers was grabbing some offensive rebounds, and Mizzou shot above 40% for once.  In this example, Mizzou wins, 85-68.  They can still win if they don't shoot well, but it comes off of turnovers and the eventual wilting of OSU's super-young backcourt.  In this instance, the game is tied with five minutes left, but Mizzou makes the plays down the stretch, as they tend to do at Mizzou Arena, winning 72-66.

Of those three scenarios, I'm going with the last one.  Never bet against streaks ... meaning, until Mizzou shoots well again, assume they won't ... but until Mizzou loses at home again, assume they'll figure out how to get it done.  Mizzou 72, OSU 66.  But if Kim English actually starts to go straight up again with his jumper, and his first 3 finds the bottom of the net, look out.  The game will swing toward Door #2 (85-68) very quickly.

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