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Time to exorcise a demon, eh? Last season's low-point came at the Mabee Center, when Michael Craion put in a chipshot with one second left and Oral Roberts upset Mizzou, 60-59. It was Mizzou's third loss in four games and dropped them to 5-3. Granted, the Tigers responded well, winning their next nine games; but the loss was still damaging for both Mizzou's pride and NCAA seeding. Now, 371 days later, Mizzou finally gets a chance for revenge. And against a young, thin Golden Eagles team, they should absolutely get it.
Oral Roberts: 4-5
|Pace (No. of Possessions)
|Points Per Minute
|Points Per Possession (PPP)
|Points Per Shot (PPS)
|True Shooting %||55.0%
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Offensive Rebounds||11.9
Struggling with youth and injuries, ORU has not been nearly as competitive so far this year. They are a good offensive team -- 57th in Ken Pomeroy's efficiency ratings with solid shooting ability (40% from long range) and a dynamic player in Kansas City product Dominique Morrison -- but they only go about four players deep and ... well, they're not a good defensive team. If Mizzou is missing open shots and failing to grab rebounds, Oral Roberts is still good enough to give them a scare. Granted, Oklahoma is terrible, but they're still a Big 12 team, and ORU jumped out to a 19-6 lead against them last Saturday.
Ken Pomeroy Stats
|ORU Offense vs MU Defense Ranks
|ORU Offense||MU Defense||Advantage|
|Off. Reb. %||132
|MU Offense vs ORU Defense Ranks
|MU Offense||ORU Defense||Advantage|
|Off. Reb. %||104
Where the Golden Eagles are weakest
Most of ORU's weaknesses come on the defensive side of the court. They don't force turnovers, and they really don't get many steals (268th in Def. Steal%). They allow more open 3-pointers than they get for themselves. Their defense is decent inside the 3-point line, but not amazing.
On offense, they are god-awful free throw shooters (317th in FT%). They get to the line quite a bit, but they fail to take advantage. They don't pass a lot either -- they are 255th in Assists Per Field Goal Made, meaning a large portion of their points come off stop-and-pop drives or putbacks.
Two more weaknesses: they are woefully inexperienced (313th in Ken Pomeroy's Experience measure) and thin (238th in Bench Minutes). Yikes.
Where they are best
This really is a solid offensive team, free throws aside. They are Top 100 in both Turnovers and FG%. They rank 29th in the country in 3-point percentage, though they don't take a ton of them (278th in 3-Point Attempts Per FG Attempt). This is a good thing, as Mizzou still ranks just 278th in 3PT% allowed. They are decent on the offensive glass, primarily because of freshman Steven Roundtree. They do not work nearly as slowly as they did last year, which benefits Mizzou, but they can still slow things down and drive, drive, drive until they get the shot they want.
ORU's Season to Date
Wins (Team Rank is from KenPom.com)
at No. 115 Utah, 78-70
at No. 167 IUPUI, 63-61
No. 209 UALR, 86-60
at No. 282 Western Illinois, 71-58
at No. 49 SMS, 61-78
at No. 95 Tulsa, 68-83
at No. 102 Texas Tech, 82-86
at No. 110 Oklahoma, 60-73
No. 159 Indiana State, 69-74
Two Top 100 opponents and an average loss of 16 points, five Top 125 opponents and a 1-4 record. Losses to Texas Tech (close) and Oklahoma (not as close). This is a potentially competitive team if Mizzou cannot take advantage of their depth problems ... but last year, Mizzou couldn't take advantage of their depth problems. They probably will this year, but it's obviously not a complete given.
ORU Player Stats
|Dominique Morrison (6'6, 210, Jr.)||19.5||0.60||32.6 MPG, 17.3 PPG (50.9% FG), 5.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.1 TOPG|
|Warren Niles (6'4, 175, So.)||12.7||0.46||27.7 MPG, 14.9 PPG (40.0% 3PT), 26. RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.6 TOPG|
|Damen Bell-Holter (6'9, 245, So.)||12.3||0.46||26.6 MPG, 10.4 PPG (55.0% FG), 6.1 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 1.8 TOPG|
|Steven Roundtree (6'8, 180, Fr.)||12.3||0.44||27.9 MPG, 12.0 PPG (51.4% FG), 7.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, 2.6 TOPG|
|Hunter McClintock (6'2, 175, RSFr.)||3.8||0.15||24.9 MPG, 6.8 PPG (40.0% 3PT), 1.7 APG, 1.3 RPG, 2.7 TOPG|
|Ken Holdman (6'0, 180, Jr.)||3.7||0.18||21.1 MPG, 3.0 PPG (34.8% FG), 2.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.1 SPG|
|Kyron Stokes (6'5, 215, Jr.)||2.1||0.15||13.8 MPG, 2.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG|
|Roderick Pearson (6'2, 195, Sr.)||1.4||0.07||19.2 MPG, 2.9 PPG (32.3% FG), 2.4 APG, 1.6 RPG, 1.4 TOPG|
|Tim Morton (6'9, 240, So.)||1.3||0.13||10.0 MPG, 1.5 PPG, 2.0 RPG|
* 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.
- First things first: Dominique Morrison is a stud. We learned that when ORU and Mizzou played last year -- he had 21 points, seven rebounds (four offensive) and four assists in 38 minutes last year -- and he has backed it up with a solid junior season. He does not take many 3-pointers (only 25 of his 114 field goal attempts are 3's), and he draws quite a few fouls, shooting five free throws per game. If ORU makes it two in a row against Mizzou, it's because Morrison was unbelievable.
- Last year's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, Michael Craion, has been hampered by a foot injury and might not play. In fact, it's bad enough that he might redshirt. He sat out to start the season, played 17 minutes in two games, and is out again.
- Beyond Morrison, ORU has basically three solid players -- Niles, Bell-Holter, Roundtree -- and ... dregs. Niles is a good 3-point shooter and complementary scorer (actually, there is not much "complementary" about 15 PPG, huh?), Bell-Holter is easily the team's best defensive rebounder, and Roundtree is by far their best offensive rebounder. Roundtree is a stick (Laurence Bowers' height minus 30 pounds), but he is great on the glass and draws a ton of fouls (57 free throws in 251 minutes).
- After those four players, it gets dicey very quickly. They have to give 82 minutes per game to players who contribute next to nothing (less than 0.20 AdjGS/minute), and that has cost them dearly. Even if ORU hangs with Mizzou for a while, Mizzou has no excuse for not dominating the latter portions of both halves.
Not sure why I'm forcing you to relive this game, but ... I am. Fun, wasn't it? Morrison and Craion were very good, and since-departed Kevin Ford was dominant on the glass. ORU somehow got away with playing seven guys (Ken Holdman played 33 minutes and scored zero points) and slowing the pace down to a ridiculous level, while Mizzou shot 40% from the field and went to the line just three times. Mizzou forced 18 turnovers on ten steals ... and still scored just 59 points. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Why did I bring this up again?
Keys to the Game
Fourth-Round TKO. If Mizzou is a little slow out of the gates following finals week and the five-day break -- especially in what might be a semi-dead Mizzou Arena (students might be gone, and alums might not be able to make it in droves for an odd Thursday tip) -- then ORU can absolutely hang around a while. Dominique Morrison could get to the rim, and Steven Roundtree and Damen Bell-Holter will be more than happy to hit the glass and score on putbacks. But by the 8:00 mark of the first half, Mizzou should be able to make their move. I love a good boxing analogy, and if the 40-minute game is a 10-round fight, then by the fourth round, Mizzou should be in control. Maybe ORU gets a second wind at halftime, but a team that is basically four-deep should not be able to hang in Mizzou Arena for too long.
Man-Up Morrison. I said it above, and I'll say it again: if ORU pulls a second straight upset of Missouri, Dominique Morrison will be the reason why. He shoots 55% on two-pointers, gets to the line, and can even make the occasional 3-pointer if he has to. The Kansas City product might be even more on his game this close to home (or, he could be tight and ineffective ... could go either way). If he is able to get to the rim and score some points, the game will open up for great 3-point shooters like Warren Niles and Hunter McClintock. But if he is ineffective, there is simply no way ORU can hang with Mizzou.
Kim English. Good Kimmie made an extended appearance last Saturday against Presbyterian, showing signs that whatever nagging injuries he's been fighting might soon be behind him. Great, now do it again. Even if Morrison is canceling out any positive impact Marcus Denmon might have, ORU shouldn't have an answer for both Denmon and English.
I really do see this being a potentially close game for 10-12 minutes, at least. ORU's got a nice offense, and they're a good enough rebounding team to take advantage if Mizzou is a bit lackadaisical. But they are just too young and too thin to compete for too long. Mizzou pulls away eventually, winning 78-61, and moves to 9-1.