FanPost

Mid-Season Analysis of Mizzou's Non-Conference Performance

Mizzou's performance in non-conference play this year has been exactly what we (should have) expected it to be: the bipolarity characteristic of a young team, with everything from good wins (Illinois and Georgia) and several unpleasant losses (especially Oral Roberts).  Though full perspective on our non-con performance will come with time as the teams we played either triumph over or flounder in their own schedules, why not take a look now?

Missouri's non-conference results courtesy of the glorious Kenpom:

Date

Opponent

Result

Location

Tue Nov 17

(305) Tennessee Martin

W, 83-68

Home

Sun Nov 22

(320) Texas Pan American

W, 100-44

Home

Tue Nov 24

(248) Chattanooga

W, 99-56

Home

Fri Nov 27

(25) Old Dominion

W, 66-61

Neutral

Sat Nov 28

(52) Richmond

L, 59-52

Neutral

Wed Dec 2

(21) Vanderbilt

L, 89-83

Away

Sat Dec 5

(71) Oregon

W, 106-69

Home

Wed Dec 9

(146) Oral Roberts

L, 60-59

Away

Sat Dec 12

(339) Fairleigh Dickinson

W, 87-36

Home

Sat Dec 19

(204) Arkansas Pine Bluff

W, 88-70

Home

Wed Dec 23

(53) Illinois

W, 81-68

Neutral

Sun Dec 27

(169) Austin Peay

W, 94-79

Home

Wed Dec 30

(271) Missouri Kansas City

W, 91-57

Home

Sat Jan 2

(132) Georgia

W, 89-61

Home

Wed Jan 6

(309) Savannah St.

W, 82-50

Home

We'll assume that wins over teams with an kenpom rankings greater than 150 are not going to make a substantive difference in determining Missouri's fate in March (and thankfully we obliterated all of them that we played), so we can pat ourselves on the back for getting the job done and accept that they pad our record.

The following games are then singled out as being potentially important:

Date

Opponent

Result

Location

Fri Nov 27

(25) Old Dominion

W, 66-61

Neutral

Sat Nov 28

(52) Richmond

L, 59-52

Neutral

Wed Dec 2

(21) Vanderbilt

L, 89-83

Away

Sat Dec 5

(71) Oregon

W, 106-69

Home

Wed Dec 9

(146) Oral Roberts

L, 60-59

Away

Wed Dec 23

(53) Illinois

W, 81-68

Neutral

Sat Jan 2

(132) Georgia

W, 89-61

Home

Based on Pomeroy (admittedly schizophrenic, especially halfway through the season), we have solid wins over Old Dominion (25 Pomeroy, RPI 43), Illinois (53, 81), and Oregon (71, 99), and a mediocre win over Georgia (132, 95).  We have losses to Vanderbilt (21, 47), Richmond (52, 19), and (ouch) Oral Roberts (146, 126).  Our current Pomeroy ranking is 9 and our RPI is 74.  Uh, let's start with the bad news first.

 

Losses

Oral Boberts (8-7, Pomeroy 146, RPI 126)

Frankly, the Oral Roberts loss is probably going to look ugly at the end of the season regardless of what they do from here on out.  They have an impressive win over an otherwise undefeated New Mexico and obviously Missouri as well, but with a 7-6 non-conference record, this will probably be a bad loss even if they end up Summit League champions.  Let's currently call this a "pretty damn bad" loss.

Richmond (11-4, Pomeroy 52, RPI 19)

This loss, albeit to an experienced Richmond team, may still look pretty bad at the end of the year.  Richmond has a marquee win against Florida and they took Wake Forest to OT, and the Atlantic 10 affords them a greater opportunity to play some quality competition in conference.  Ahead they have big home games against some A-10 foes Temple (currently ranked with an Pomeroy of 32) and Dayton (11-3, Pomeroy 64) and away games against Rhode Island (12-1, Pomeroy 69) and Xavier (8-5, Pomeroy 31).  They certainly have the experience to win the conference, but that's probably the only scenario in which Mizzou's loss to them looks less  than "bad."  Unless of course another A-10 team dominates conference play with Richmond just behind and they both make the tourney.  Here's to either of those scenarios playing out!  Let's currently call this a "not good" loss.

Vanderbilt (11-3, Pomeroy 21, RPI 47)

This is pretty clearly our "best" loss (I'd be real interested to see them play Richmond); it was away against a team that has had a pretty successful non-conference run.  They beat St. Mary's away (13-2, Pomeroy 26) and... well, Missouri at home.  I suspect Vandy's season will be defined by how well they perform against Kentucky, Tennessee (though they may not be much of a national player after losing half their damn squad on criminal charges WTF), and Florida, each of whom they play twice, as well as games against both Mississippi (away) and Mississippi State (home). Let's currently call this an "ok" loss.


Wins

Georgia (7-5, Pomeroy 132, RPI 95)

Only really including this as an important win because they're in the SEC and therefore have a strong enough SOS to have a top 150 Pomeroy ranking.  They have a good win over Illinois on a partially neutral court and certainly plenty of opportunities to prove themselves in conference play... but, uhh, don't expect them to do that.  But hell, who knows, maybe their big front-court sees the light and they rock the East, split games with Kentucky, split with Tennessee, maybe knock off Mississippi, secede from the Union and ride off as a state on an alien vessel bound for...  Yeah, you get the picture.  This will probably not have a big impact on Mizzou's post-season chances.  Let's call this an "okay" win for now.

Oregon (10-4, Pomeroy 71, RPI 99)

Remember that Oregon team that we completely manhandled in Columbia a month or so back?  The team that lost to Portland and Montana, the latter at home?  Well, uh, they're tied for first in the Pac-10 after beating both Washington and Washington St, both away.  Does this mean anything?  Probably not; the Pac-10 is really not that good this year (6th in Pomeroy, behind the SEC).  But hey, if they can get wins against USC and Cal, they've already at least split games with the other two top teams in their conference.  By the way, can anyone explain how this happened?  Is the PAC10 really that bad?  Honestly, no win against a Pac-10 team is going to be a marquee win for anyone this year.  Let's call this an "increasingly neat" win.  

Old Dominion (10-5, Pomeroy 25, RPI 43)

I don't understand enough about Pomeroy to know why Old Dominion's is so high.  They have played some fantastic defense, holding opponents to 56.2 points per game... which is pretty damn good.  Unfortunately though, their win against Georgetown (big win for OD) will be their biggest of the year.  Aside from a pair of games against VCU and William & Mary, they don't have much meat remaining on their schedule.  If they run the table in their conference and end up dancing, this might end up being a pretty good win, but hardly marquee.  Let's call this one a "potentially good" win.

Illinois (9-5, Pomeroy 53, RPI 81)

This will be our biggest non-conference win; we man-handled them on a neutral court.  Even if Illinois collapses and plays very poorly in the Big 10 (which is unlikely), it's still probably better than the rest.  If Illinois had beaten Gonzaga last weekend, this might've been a huge win.  They have plenty of good games in conference play ahead of them and nice wins against Vanderbilt and Clemson.  I think this deserves full "good" win status, with potential for "marquee" win status come March.

In Summary

Unfortunately, our non-conference schedule this year left much to be desired.  We beat arguably the best team that we played (Illinois) and lost to one team we definitely should have beaten and two that we definitely could have beaten.  It would have been nice to head into conference play 12-2 or 13-1, but hey, we learned things in our losses (hopefully).  Last year was probably slightly more successful, without any losses as ugly as Oral Roberts and wins against Cal and USC.  This year we didn't face a ranked opponent, so it looks like our dance invitation will be mailed out according to our conference play even more so than last year.

Yes, this is all information you probably could have looked up very quickly on your own.  And yes, my analysis is largely theoretical... then again, what non-conference analysis being done before non-conference is over isn't largely theoretical?  Also, thanks be to Calim for pointing out that I wasn't looking at a listing of RPI on kenpom.com, I was looking at Pomeroy rankings, and they are in fact not the same thing.  Who knew?

This will be updated as the season progresses if I am able.

FanPosts may be posted by any RMN member and may not reflect the views of the management staff of Rock M Nation or SB Nation.

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