Mizzou at Arkansas preview: Hogs have size, ball-handling and home-court advantages in their favor

A foul on the road, totally cool in Fayetteville. - Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

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"YOU get 10 minutes ... and YOU get 10 minutes ... and YOU get 10 minutes..."

Arkansas Razorbacks (13-6, 2-4)


Hogs Opp.
Pace (No. of Possessions)
72.7
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.14 0.95
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.32 1.20
2-PT FG% 50% 42%
3-PT FG% 36% 34%
FT% 70% 68%
True Shooting % 56% 50%




Hogs Opp.
Assists/Gm 17.1 11.1
Steals/Gm 8.8 5.8
Turnovers/Gm 12.4 18.2
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.08 0.93




Hogs Opp.
Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm 12.0 12.5
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 12.7 13.9
Difference +0.7 +1.4

Ken Pomeroy Stats

UA Offense vs MU Defense Ranks

UA Offense MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 70 102 UA
Effective FG% 88 25 MU
Turnover % 40 293 UA big
Off. Reb. % 105 105 push
FTA/FGA 167 85 MU
MU Offense vs UA Defense Ranks

MU Offense UA Defense Advantage
Efficiency 41 45 push
Effective FG% 64 36 UA
Turnover % 168 3 UA big
Off. Reb. % 48 313 MU big
FTA/FGA 25 245 MU big

Where the Hogs are weakest

Despite an influx of freshman size, this is still a Mike Anderson team. Arkansas fouls like crazy (245th in FTA/FGA), allows open 3-pointers at times (153rd in 3PA/FGA, 174th in 3PT% allowed), and in going for steals and blocks, leaves the backdoor open when it comes to defensive rebounding (313th). This isn't an incredibly experienced squad (190th), but it has certainly taken on the traits Fastest 40 Minutes teams tend to take on, for better and for worse.

Where they are best

This is indeed a Mike Anderson team with an influx of freshman size. The Hogs do the things you expect -- force turnovers (3rd in TO%, 32nd in Steal%), avoid turnovers (40th in TO% on offense, 50th in Steal%), utilize a clown car of a bench (third in Bench Minutes, with 12 players averaging at least nine minutes, and somehow this isn't first in Bench Minutes) -- but they are also long as hell near the basket on both offense (25th in Block%, 94th in 2PT%) and defense (27th in Block%, 12th in 2PT%).

Seriously, though, somehow Savannah State and Southern Utah (two incredibly awful teams) have used the bench more than Anderson has this season. I assume it has something to do with desperation for both of those teams. But for Anderson, it's an egalitarian dream. Only three players average more than 20.3 minutes, four average between 17.8 and 20.3, and five average between 9.4 and 13.3. Granted, only about six of these players are actually any good, but Arkansas wears you out with wave after wave of warm bodies, each of which has five fresh fouls to give. (Four of the six between 9 and 13 minutes average at least 1.5 fouls per game.)

Arkansas' Season to Date

  • Wins (Team Rank is from KenPom.com)
    No. 16 Kentucky (87-85, OT)
    No. 24 SMU (89-78)
    vs. No. 29 Minnesota (87-73)
    No. 51 Clemson (74-68)
    No. 125 UL-Lafayette (76-63)
    No. 165 Auburn (86-67)
    vs. No. 222 South Alabama (72-60)
    No. 294 SIU-Edwardsville (99-65)
    No. 275 SE Louisiana (111-65)
    No. 282 High Point (89-48)
    No. 293 Savannah State (72-43)
    No. 312 UT-Martin (102-56)
    No. 319 UTSA (104-71)
  • Losses
    No. 10 Florida (82-84, OT)
    vs. No. 26 Gonzaga (81-91)
    at No. 28 Tennessee (74-81)
    vs. No. 38 California (77-85)
    at No. 116 Georgia (61-66, OT)
    at No. 134 Texas A&M (53-69)

Beat Kentucky and SMU at home, lose to Georgia and Texas A&M (by 16) on the road. Sometimes stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.

Arkansas Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Bobby Portis (6'10, 242, Fr.) 13.7 0.52 26.1 MPG, 11.9 PPG (57% 2PT, 16% 3PT, 74% FT), 6.6 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.3 TOPG
Rashad Madden (6'5, 180, Jr.) 11.5 0.49 23.6 MPG, 12.6 PPG (59% 2PT, 47% 3PT, 79% FT), 2.7 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.8 TOPG, 2.4 PFPG
Michael Qualls (6'6, 210, So.) 11.4 0.45 25.4 MPG, 11.4 PPG (48% 2PT, 32% 3PT, 71% FT), 4.8 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.5 TOPG
Coty Clarke (6'7, 232, Sr.) 10.3 0.51 20.3 MPG, 8.7 PPG (50% 2PT, 40% 3PT, 78% FT), 5.7 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.4 TOPG, 2.9 PFPG
Alandise Harris (6'6, 237, Jr.) 8.4 0.42 19.7 MPG, 9.5 PPG (49% 2PT, 32% 3PT, 65% FT), 3.7 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.1 BPG, 1.0 SPG, 1.9 TOPG, 2.4 PFPG
Moses Kingsley (6'10, 230, Fr.) 7.2 0.64 11.3 MPG, 4.9 PPG (57% 2PT, 64% FT), 3.7 RPG, 1.7 BPG
Fred Gulley (6'2, 182, Sr.) 5.1 0.29 17.8 MPG, 5.1 PPG (48% 2PT, 44% 3PT, 61% FT), 1.8 APG, 1.6 RPG, 2.2 PFPG
Anthlon Bell (6'3, 188, So.) 3.8 0.21 18.1 MPG, 7.0 PPG (44% 2PT, 31% 3PT, 83% FT), 1.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.8 PFPG
Kikko Haydar (5'10, 170, Sr.) 3.4 0.25 13.3 MPG, 3.6 PPG (13% 2PT, 49% 3PT, 69% FT), 1.3 RPG, 2.0 PFPG
Rickey Scott (6'3, 209, Sr.) 3.1 0.33 9.4 MPG, 3.6 PPG (49% 2PT, 11% 3PT, 52% FT), 1.4 APG, 1.3 RPG
Jacorey Willimas (6'8, 218, So.) 2.8 0.27 10.5 MPG, 3.7 PPG (43% 2PT, 64% FT), 2.4 RPG
Mardracus Wade (6'2, 178, Sr.) 2.5 0.21 12.1 MPG, 2.6 PPG (27% 2PT, 43% 3PT, 71% FT)

* 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%: Harris (25%), Qualls (23%), Madden (22%)
  • Highest Floor%: Kingsley (46%), Portis (45%), Madden (44%)
  • Highest %Pass: Gulley (66%), Scott (60%), Wade (59%)
  • Highest %Shoot: Bell (49%), Kingsley (44%), Williams (41%)
  • Highest %Fouled: Kingsley (26%), Wade (14%), Scott (13%)
  • Highest %T/O: Harris (9%), Madden (8%), Williams (8%)

  • This team is looooooong. The top six players according to Adj. GS go 6'10, 6'5, 6'6, 6'7, 6'6, and 6'10. And five of the six are at least 210 pounds. Big team.

  • Five-star Little Rock freshman Bobby Portis -- Yes, Mike Anderson landed a local blue-chipper. Yes, you're allowed to be hilariously bitter about that. I'll wait. -- is wonderfully efficient for a freshman, but you can tell he has room to grow. He roams the perimeter too much (3-for-19 from 3-point range), and while too much physical play is a bad thing, he still probably needs to become more physical; he neither draws nor commits fouls, and honestly, at 6'10 (with arms that basically reach the floor) in this system, he should be averaging far more than 6.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. I have no idea about his pro ambitions (meaning, I have no idea if he's a "Jump to the NBA as quickly as humanly possible" guy or not), but he would be absolutely terrifying in two years if he's still in Fayetteville. And regardless, Moses Kingsley could be scary enough by himself in two years.

    Coty Clarke and Alandise Harris are the engines that drive the Fastest 40 Minutes. They are quintessential Anderson players -- long as hell with nine rebounds, four assists, three steals, two blocks, and five fouls per game -- and if one gets into foul trouble, the other's still around to serve as a hub for the press. If Arkansas beats you, it's probably as much because of them as Portis, Madden, or Qualls.

Keys to the Game

  1. BCI! BCI! Of course. This is a Mike Anderson game. Missouri doesn't have to win the ball control battle -- which is good because Missouri won't win the ball control battle -- but we'll say the Tigers need to stay within half of Arkansas' BCI score. When Arkansas rode home cooking to a win in Fayetteville last year, Missouri's BCI was 1.12 to Arkansas' 2.09. When Missouri won by 30 at Mizzou Arena, it was 1.33 to 1.91. So yeah, half sounds good.

  2. The whistles. Of course. This is a Mike Anderson game. Anderson is proof that home cooking exists, whether officials want to admit it or not. Anderson teams get all the calls at home and none on the road, as evidenced by (don't click if you don't want to get really pissed off again) last year's game at Walton Arena. Mizzou needs some breaks tonight and isn't going to get a single one of them. (At Mizzou Arena, on the other hand...) Prepare yourself now. We have years of evidence that the Fastest 40 Minutes puts as much pressure on the refs as it does on opponents, and we have years of evidence that refs don't handle it well.

  3. The 3-ball. Jabari Brown is 19-for-32 (59%) from 3-point range in the last five games and is 30-for-59 (51%) in the last 10. He's likely due a bit of regression at some point, but if he could fend off the regression for a few more games, that'd be great. If Missouri can get another strong performance from him and at least, say, 35% 3-point shooting from the others (far from a certainty), it will give the Tigers a chance to stick around for a while. Mizzou will probably need to win this category by quite
    a bit to steal a win.

Prediction

Honestly, this Arkansas team should be better than it actually is. Anderson indeed added two big, exciting freshmen to a team that already featured more length than he could ever ask for, and Arkansas blocks shots better than Mizzou ever did when Anderson was in charge. This team is his utopia ... at least, until you realize it doesn't quite have enough star power yet. Bobby Portis is not yet at a DeMarre Carroll level, and there's no J.T. Tiller in the backcourt. Arkansas fouls far too much and is inexcusably awful on the defensive glass, even with great size, and it's still got a lot of work to do to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time under Anderson. (Year 3 in Fayetteville isn't going quite as well as Year 3 in Columbia.)

These are reasons why I'll be picking Mizzou to win comfortably at home in a few weeks. But between Mizzou's slow starts, Mizzou's regressing defense, Arkansas' length, and the fact that Arkansas really is going to get every single 50-50 call tonight, I just don't see any way the Tigers win tonight. And unless Brown indeed goes for 25+ again (with Jordan Clarkson going for at least 20), I struggle to see Mizzou reaching its Pomeroy projection (Arkansas 79, Mizzou 74). I very much see this game following the "Home team starts hot, Mizzou reels the lead in a bit, home team pulls away at the end" script, and I see Arkansas winning somewhere in the 84-68 range. Prove me wrong, guys.

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