Heading into the Tournament: 3 Things to Think About

1. According to the S-curve revelations, Mizzou was the 8th overall seed. As jive as that might be, it means we can all (MU fans, KU fans, and media alike) stop thinking that one last Border War game would have meant much to the final standings. OK, a final matchup would have given KU a shot at a 1 seed, but Mizzou was getting screwed anyway. A win over KU wouldn't have had a whole lot more weight than the one against Baylor did. At best, it gets us into St. Louis. But also gives us more difficult (potential) matchups for much of the tournament.

2. The media likes us. They really do. But they are going to repeatedly claim that one cold shooting night could end our season because of our spotty defense. Ignoring the universal-truthiness of that statement, the stats show that we can survive poor shooting nights. Mizzou's average is 50.37%. Here are all of the nights in which the boys shot more than 10% below that average:

34. L, 59-75 @ KSt 32.65% (29.17%)

33. L, 68-78 v. KSt 38.33% (30.77%)

32. W, 63-50 v. TTech 39.58% (28.57%)

31. L, 72-79 @ OKSt 40.00% (21.05%)

30. W, 70-51 v. TAM 40.43% (29.41%)

29. W, 81-71 Nova (NC) 42.42% (40.00%)

28. W, 78-74 Illinois (NC) 44.07% (36.84%)

4-3, with two neutral court victories over major conference, albeit unimpressive, opponents. I'm certainly not claiming that we will survive a down night, but the likelihood of a) having one and b) losing because of it is probably a bit lower than we would be led to believe.

Caveat: the above does contain all but 2 of the games in which Mizzou managed lower than 33.33% from the three-point line. The other two were @Iowa St. and home against Texas Tech. Our only loss when shooting above 1/3 from three was the game in Lawrence. It might well be that three-point percentage, rather than overall percentage, is a better measure of success.

3. Do you want a stat that does seem to affect our likelihood of winning? Try the number of blocked shots our opponent has. Here's another table, showing every game in which Mizzou opponents had 5 or more blocks.

34. L, 72-79 @OKSt 8

33. L, 59-75 @KSt 7

t32. W, 67-66 @Texas 6

t32. L, 68-78 v. KSt 6

t32. L, 86-87 (OT) @KU 6

t29. W 75-68 @ODU 5

t29. W, 76-69 @IASt 5

t29. W, 89-88 @Baylor 5

That's all four losses, our two closest victories, and at least one game that was a struggle (Iowa St.). Arguably, the only tough games we faced when opponents didn't manage at least 5 blocks were the Illinois game (2 blocks), the victory at Oklahoma (1 block), and the victory over KU (2 blocks).

NOTE: I'm not a math guy, so there isn't really any statistical analysis here. Just presenting some ideas alongside some numbers. But I really wanted something basketball related to do, so here it is. If anyone more inclined can lend some heft, that's great.

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