Said sugar make it slow/And we'll come together fine/All we need is just a little patience, yeeeeeeeeah.
Don't forget to post your trifecta picks!
Colorado: 11-11, 2-6
|Points Per Minute
|Points Per Possession (PPP)
|Points Per Shot (PPS)
|True Shooting %||59.0%||55.5%|
|Ball Control Index
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Offensive Rebounds/Gm||10.9||11.7|
Ken Pomeroy Stats
|CU Offense vs MU Defense Ranks
|CU Offense||MU Defense||Advantage|
|Off. Reb. %||337||331||Push|
|MU Offense vs CU Defense Ranks
|MU Offense||CU Defense||Advantage|
|Effective FG%||64||249||MU Big|
|Off. Reb. %||129||329||MU Big|
Colorado actually plays a rather average pace instead of the super-slow pace I was expecting. They are very patient on offense, but they don't necessarily milk the clock. They are excellent movers of the ball, generating a ton of open shots (32nd in 2PT%, 81st in 3PT%), creating lanes to get to the line (29th in FTA/FGA), and making their free throws better than almost anybody in the country (they rank 7th in the nation). They do not have the backcourt athleticism that Mizzou has, but if Mizzou gets impatient, CU will make them pay.
Defensively, however, they are weak. Despite Mizzou's own offensive struggles, they still far outrank Colorado in the major categories listed above. CU ranks 297th in 2PT% defense and don't block shots (293rd in Blocks %). They are good ball thieves (50th in Steals %), but if Mizzou takes care of the ball, and, most importantly, stays patient, they will get good shots. And you know the equation from there. They make shots, then they press better, then they force more turnovers, then they get even easier shots, et cetera. If Mizzou gets the game going at their pace, CU could very well fold -- they have a small bench and rank near the bottom of the country in terms of experience. But if Mizzou grows impatient on offense, as they have been prone to do sometimes, they could very easily find themselves at 4-4 in conference by tomorrow night.
Where the Buffs are strongest
Where they are weakest
Of course, ATM wasn't ranking great on the glass either before Wednesday night. Mizzou HAS to focus on the boards, but I'm actually optimistic that they will do just that tomorrow. Safford and ramsey both got reamed pretty good for their pathetic rebounding performances against ATM, and I think the team will at least see a temporary upswing in their rebounding intensity. At least that's what I'm telling myself.
Regardless, obviously one of Mizzou's biggest weaknesses this year has been rebounding, and it's hard to imagine teams beating Missouri without at least breaking even on the glass. If Mizzou is forcing 20+ turnovers and winning the battle on the boards, they might have to shoot 30% or worse to lose ... that certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility, but still.
CU's Season to Date
Wins vs KenPom's Top 200
#14 Baylor (78-71)
#92 Nebraska (72-60)
#144 Miami-OH (67-65)
#1 Kansas (66-72, OT)
#7 Texas (86-103)
#9 Kansas State (81-87)
at #41 Texas A&M (63-67)
at #55 Oklahoma State (78-90)
vs #60 Gonzaga (72-76)
at #66 Tulsa (59-84)
vs #70 Arizona (87-91)
at #89 Iowa State (63-64)
at #132 Colorado State (62-77)
at #172 Oregon State (69-74)
Despite the fact that they have raised their game in recent weeks, they are still just 3-11 versus the Top 200. If Mizzou plays well, they will win this game. It's up to them. However, as with Texas A&M, CU is used to playing in tight games, as nine of the above 14 games were decided by single digits. So it would behoove Mizzou to play well in the first half and build a cushion.
CU Player Stats
|Cory Higgins (6'5, 190, Jr.)||17.9||0.54||33.1 MPG, 18.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.8 SPG, 2.2 TOPG|
|Alec Burks (6'6, 185, Fr.)||17.4||0.60||29.0 MPG, 16.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.7 TOPG|
|Dwight Thorne II (6'3, 185, Sr.)||8.6||0.40||21.3 MPG, 8.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.8 APG|
|Marcus Relphorde (6'7, 220, Jr.)||8.5||0.32||26.4 MPG, 10.8 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.1 SPG, 2.0 TOPG|
|Nate Tomlinson (6'3, 185, So.)||7.8||0.29||27.1 MPG, 5.7 PPG, 4.3 APG, 2.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 2.0 TOPG|
|Austin Dufault (6'9, 230, So.)||7.0||0.29||23.8 MPG, 6.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG|
|Levi Knutson (6'4, 200, Jr.)||3.9||0.32||12.4 MPG, 3.6 PPG, 1.7 RPG|
|Casey Crawford (6'9, 245, Jr.)||3.3||0.25||12.9 MPG, 4.2 PPG, 2.1 RPG|
|Keegan Hornbuckle (6'7, 205, Fr.)||2.8||0.24||11.9 MPG, 2.5 PPG, 1.8 RPG|
|Shane Harris-Tunks (6'11, 225, Fr.)||0.8||0.07||11.8 MPG, 2.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG|
|Trey Eckloff (6'10, 235, So.)||-0.3||-0.06||5.3 MPG, 1.0 PPG|
|Trent Beckley (6'10, 250, Jr.)||-1.0||-0.50||4 minutes|
|Javon Coney (6'3, 210, Jr.)||-0.1||-0.03||9 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.
- Typically, this is a two-man team with a bunch of role players. Cory Higgins and Alec Burks have been The Man #1 and #1a for the Buffs this year, but Burks sat out the Kansas game with a sprained knee. He is still questionable for MU-CU. In Burks' absence, Levi Knutson stepped up against KU with 13 points and dead-eye shooting (3-for-4 from 3-point range).
- In Missouri's losses this year, unsung players have played key roles. John Jenkins for Vanderbilt, Cade Davis for Oklahoma, Brady Morningstar for Kansas, Khris Middleton for ATM. Middleton averages less than 6 points per game, but his free throws and two dagger 3's were an absolute necessity for ATM to end Mizzou's home win streak. If CU wins, chances are either Knutson or Dwight Thorne went off, scoring well above their average and likely making a killer 3-ball or two.
- Relphorde? Harris-Tunks? Hornbuckle? I guess when your coach's last name is Bzedelik, you're likely to have some great names, but holy crap. Suddenly Taylor, English, Ramsey, Stone, Underwood, etc., just aren't getting it done in the names department.
Keys to the Game
As we've discussed this week, Mizzou basically needs five more conference wins to make the NCAA tourney. Home wins over Colorado and Iowa State are likely, and they can avoid some nervousness down the line by taking care of business this weekend. If they don't, it's not the end of the world, but it would be very nice to get one win closer.
If CU wins ... I think we'll see a pretty low-scoring first half, with the leading team ending up between about 28 and 34. But Mizzou can't make its move, and with between about 10 and 15 minutes left in the game (not unlike the ATM game), CU gets hot and suddenly finds themselves up about 12-14. Mizzou makes a final charge, of course, but CU's free throws (and Mizzou's poor shooting) makes the difference in a 79-71 win.
If Mizzou wins ... Kim English and/or Marcus Denmon get hot, Justin Safford and Keith Ramsey rebound like men possessed a few days after getting humiliated against Texas A&M, Mizzou starts zipping the ball around confidently, and a young Colorado team that has not handled Mike Anderson's Tigers very well just can't keep up. Things are close for 25-30 minutes, but Mizzou finally creates the space they need, and they close out a relatively easy 81-68 win. The closer, the better for Colorado.
I probably shouldn't, but I feel pretty confident with this one. It won't even remotely surprise me if Mizzou loses this game, but I think they bounce back at least momentarily after the ATM loss and get the job done. Mizzou 81, Colorado 68.