Know Your First Road Rival: The Old Dominion Monarchs

WASHINGTON - MARCH 17: Kent Bazemore #24 of the Old Dominion Monarchs grabs a high pass over Ronald Nored #5 of the Butler Bulldogs during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Verizon Center on March 17, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

LEAVE YOUR TRIFECTA PICKS IN COMMENTS.

It's not a bad life, playing your first true road game on December 30. Sure, Mizzou has played four neutral court games (three of which were within Missouri border), but this is their first true taste of a road environment since their trip to Joplin in mid-October. We are probably making too much of this, honestly -- it's not as if this exact team didn't play plenty of road games last year; but with how poorly this team played on the road last year, this is a hurdle Mizzou has to prove they can overcome. Old Dominion is not last year's Old Dominion; they are quite a bit worse. But Mizzou still has plenty of prove in this one.

Old Dominion: 6-6


ODU
Opp.
Pace (No. of Possessions)
67.4
Points Per Minute
1.53
1.55
Points Per Possession (PPP)
0.94
0.95
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.14
1.28
2-PT FG% 44.0%
47.5%
3-PT FG% 26.7%
34.4%
FT% 63.9%
66.7%
True Shooting % 47.7%
53.5%




ODU Opp.
Assists/Gm 11.3
11.8
Steals/Gm 9.0
8.2
Turnovers/Gm 15.2
17.3
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.34
1.15




ODU Opp.
Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm 13.5
11.3
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 14.2
9.4
Difference +0.7
-1.9

For the most part, ODU is every bit as good on defense this year as they were last season. They foul quite a bit more, but they force a high rate of turnovers, and they crash the defensive glass. If Mizzou is careless with the ball and/or taking bad shots, they could pay. They haven't done much of either one of those things this season, but again, they did plenty of both on the road last year. This is one more opportunity to prove they are a different Mizzou.

Where ODU has regressed, considerably, is on the offensive end of the court. They lost Frank Hassell, Keyon Carter, Darius James and Ben Finney to expired eligibility, and they have struggled to consistently put the ball in the basket. They turn the ball over quite a bit (something they weren't particularly good at last year either), they don't shoot very well (especially from long range), and without Hassell, they are no longer the No. 1 offensive rebounding team in the country. They are still decent in this regard, and they do attack the rim and draw a lot of fouls (something that tends to benefit teams greatly at home), but the shooting and ball control have just been dreadful.

Ken Pomeroy Stats

ODU Offense vs MU Defense Ranks

ODU Off. MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 255
42
MU Big
Effective FG% 318
92
MU Big
Turnover % 245
33
MU Big
Off. Reb. % 69
59
Push
FTA/FGA 55
10
MU
MU Offense vs ODU Defense Ranks

MU Offense ODU Def.
Advantage
Efficiency 2
44
MU
Effective FG% 1
180
MU Big
Turnover % 1
21
Push
Off. Reb. % 148
70
ODU
FTA/FGA 117
299
MU Big

Where the Monarchs are weakest

As mentioned above, they shoot poorly and turn the ball over too much. They are 328th in the country in 3-point percentage, 264th on 2-pointers and 281st on free throws. On the ball-handling side, they are 245th in Turnover Percentage and 312th in Off. Steal Percentage. It's weird that a team this good at forcing turnovers is this awful at preventing them, but that is certainly the case here.

Where they are best

They do force turnovers at a high rate, though they are now taking on the No. 1 anti-turnover team in the country. Mizzou, and Phil Pressey in particular, showed some offensive cracks against Illinois, but it came mostly in the shots they took, not in their ability to hold onto the ball. Still, if ODU can force some wasted possessions before Mizzou can even get a shot off, they will give themselves a chance to stay in the game. Beyond that, ODU still rebounds well (though not quite as well), and they offset their fouling tendencies by drawing plenty of fouls as well. Be prepared for a long, whistle-fueled game.

One other note: ODU plays at a very slow pace. Mike Anderson may no longer be Mizzou's coach, but Missouri is still a fast team, ranking 35th in Adj. Pace. ODU: 266th. The slower, the better for ODU.

ODU's Season to Date

  • Wins Vs. Top 200 Teams (Team Rank is from KenPom.com)
    vs No. 130 South Florida, 68-66 (OT)
    No. 137 East Carolina, 63-58
    No. 174 Long Island, 77-69
  • Losses
    vs No. 3 Kentucky, 52-62
    No. 49 Northern Iowa, 46-63
    at No. 107 Richmond, 82-90 (OT)
    vs No. 112 Fairfield, 51-59
    at No. 131 Central Florida, 53-61
    No. 152 Vermont, 63-65 (OT)

ODU's level of performance has not been particularly impressive this year, of that there is no doubt. Mizzou will probably get their A+ performance tonight, but it's unclear whether that will be enough against anything better than a D-grade Mizzou performance. (Honestly, Mizzou may be due a D-grade performance at some point, but we'll see.) They did give Kentucky a decent run, but they got run out of the gym against their only other Top 100 team.

Opp Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Kent Bazemore (6'5, 195, Sr.)
13.1
0.45
29.4 MPG, 13.2 PPG (46% 2PT, 23% 3PT, 77% FT), 4.8 RPG, 2.7 SPG, 2.3 APG, 3.3 TOPG
Chris Cooper (6'9, 230, Sr.)
12.4
0.42
29.8 MPG, 10.8 PPG (46% 2PT, 56% FT), 9.8 RPG, 1.3 APG, 2.2 TOPG
Nick Wright (6'8, 208, Jr.)
10.6
0.36
29.2 MPG, 9.4 PPG (37% 2PT, 50% 3PT, 65% FT), 5.8 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 1.6 TOPG
Dimitri Batten (6'3, 190, RSFr.)
9.4
0.37
25.7 MPG, 10.0 PPG (46% 2PT, 39% 3PT, 67% FT), 3.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.5 TOPG
Trian Iliadis (6'3, 185, Sr.)
6.5
0.21
31.7 MPG, 7.3 PPG (48% 2PT, 22% 3PT, 55% FT), 3.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.9 TOPG
Richard Ross (6'7, 205, RSFr.)
6.2
0.28
22.3 MPG, 5.7 PPG (62% 2PT, 33% FT), 4.7 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.3 TOPG
Donte Hill (6'4, 205, So.)
4.8
0.25
19.3 MPG, 6.3 PPG (33% 2PT, 25% 3PT, 67% FT), 4.3 RPG
Jason Pimentel (6'8, 230, Fr.)
3.7
0.22
16.4 MPG, 3.8 PPG (38% 2PT, 47% FT), 4.1 RPG, 1.2 TOPG
Breon Key (6'2, 175, Fr.)
3.2
0.33
9.5 MPG, 3.2 PPG (58% 2PT, 20% 3PT, 67% FT), 1.0 RPG
Marquel De Lancey (6'0, 190, Sr.)
3.1
0.11
27.3 MPG, 5.0 PPG (40% 2PT, 20% 3PT, 61% FT), 2.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.3 TOPG
Anton Larsen (7'0, 240, So.)
0.8
0.09
8.1 MPG, 1.6 PPG

* 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.

  • Highest Usage%: Bazemore (28%), Cooper (22%), Key (22%), Batten (21%).
  • Highest Floor%: Ross (42%), Cooper (37%), Batten (36%), Wright (35%).
  • Highest %Pass: De Lancey (57%), Iliadis (56%), Ross (46%), Bazemore (42%).
  • Highest %Shoot: Larsen (47%), Batten (44%), Pimentel (44%), Cooper (40%).
  • Highest %Fouled: Hill (26%), Wright (25%), Key (20%), Pimentel (19%).
  • Highest %T/O: Pimentel (14%), Key (13%), Larsen (13%), De Lancey (11%).
  • You probably recognize the names of Bazemore, Cooper, Iliadis and De Lancey. They logged a combined 87 minutes against Missouri last season.
  • Bazemore struggled to find open looks versus Missouri last year (2-for-8 shooting, 0-for-3 on 3-pointers), and without quite a few of last year's contributors, he's finding it just as difficult this year. If he gets hot, he could be dangerous, but he hasn't been hot for much of 2011-12. Still, he averages three steals and five rebounds per game and is ODU's most valuable all-around player.
  • Cooper's offensive rebound rate was almost as good as Hassell's last year; he has raised his game in that regard this year, averaging over four offensive rebounds per game. He doesn't have as much help down low -- Nick Wright is decent, but he isn't Hassell -- but he will still be a load for Ricardo Ratliffe and company to handle.
  • Batten is possibly ODU's best natural scorer. A three-star recruit who redshirted last year, he is making 39% of his 3-pointers and single-handedly keeping ODU's overall 3-point percentage above 25%. He's also a solid ball-handler and gets to the line a decent amount.
  • De Lancey, a generally terrible point guard, actually had a nice game at Mizzou Arena: 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting. De Lancey's general problem is that he's a pass-first point guard who isn't that good at passing (2.0 assists, 2.3 turnovers per game). When the minutes he plays, you have to figure he is a strong defender, but he offers little on the offensive side of the ball.

Keys to the Game

  1. Which Flip? Phil Pressey lost control a bit against Illinois, attempting 15 field goals after shooting 15 in the previous two games combined. He is an often-brilliant point guard, but he still doesn't quite know how to seize control of a game when others aren't performing well. If he plays in control, doesn't force shots, and keeps penetrating and finding open men, Missouri isn't going to lose much in 2011-12. If he starts forcing shots and wasting possessions, however, tonight's game can be lost.

  2. The Glass. Mizzou has been surprisingly solid in terms of team rebounding this season, but effort can sometimes be an issue on the road. Mizzou was brilliant in the way they matched ODU's effort on the glass last year -- it was a primary reason for their blowout win -- and they will need to do so again. If the Tigers can stay within one or two in terms of expected rebounds, ODU will have to shoot very, very well to win.

  3. Welcome Home, Ricardo. This game is being billed a bit as Ricardo Ratliffe's homecoming. If the extra motivation results in high-quality play from Ratliffe, Mizzou should win easily. Sure, Mizzou needs to do the other typical "avoiding a road upset" things -- guarding the perimeter, etc. -- but if Ratliffe goes off, Mizzou will almost certainly get enough guard play to coast. But if he forces the issue and/or gets into early foul trouble, then ODU has enough depth up front to give Mizzou fits.

Prediction

Ken Pomeroy has Mizzou winning by a 73-62 margin, but really, this is one of those games that will probably be a lot better than that, or a lot worse. Either ODU maximizes their homecourt advantage, hits the glass hard, gets Mizzou into foul trouble, and does general homecourt things to stay close and/or win, or Mizzou blows them out of the water. I'm paranoid, simply because of last year's road woes, but until this team gives me a reason to be truly concerned, I'll assume the best. Mizzou 78, ODU 59.

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