Vanderbilt at Missouri preview: Commodores will launch the 3s, for better or worse

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

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Last Time

From Study Hall:

As we saw with Georgia, if you let an opponent get hot for a while, it can beat you even if it stops playing so far above its head. Vandy scored a double-knockdown in the first round and milked that advantage for everything it was worth.

First 4 minutes: Vandy 17, Mizzou 5
Last 36 minutes: Mizzou 70, Vandy 61

Mizzou had been much better this year when it came to avoiding brutal starts on the road. But in the last 3-4 games, we've seen a return of basically every bad habit the Tigers have ever had. Good times! [...]

3-point shooting: Vandy 12-for-32 (38%), Mizzou 6-for-23 (26%).

As mentioned above, Vandy couldn't miss in the first half, but that evened out in the second. The fact that only Jabari Brown could make 3s for Mizzou was an equally awful issue; Brown went 4-for-7, and the Clarkson/Ross/Clark trio went 1-for-15 (and the one make came with two seconds left, when the game was all but over). That's ridiculously awful. Yes, Mizzou took too many 3s against the zone defense, but ... even then, you'd expect those three to go at least, say, 3-for-15. Yuck. But yeah, this was quite easily the main key to Vandy's win.

Vanderbilt Commodores (14-10, 6-6)

Since last time...


VU Opp.
Pace (No. of Possessions)
60.7
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.03 1.04
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.26 1.10
2-PT FG% 51% 42%
3-PT FG% 29% 33%
FT% 67% 69%
True Shooting % 52.2% 48.3%




VU Opp.
Assists/Gm 11.7 10.6
Steals/Gm 4.6 7.0
Turnovers/Gm 11.7 1.11
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.39 1.59




VU Opp.
Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm 10.1 12.5
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 10.0 15.5
Difference -0.1 +3.0

In the first half against Mizzou in Nashville, Vandy made eight of 17 3-pointers (47%). Since then, the Commodores have made 57 of 199 (29%). I know I've said "Basketball is dumb" a lot lately, but ... it's dumb!

Ken Pomeroy Stats (Conference Play Only)

VU Offense vs MU Defense Ranks

VU Offense MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 11 14 VU
Effective FG% 6 10 VU
Turnover % 12 12 push
Off. Reb. % 12 10 MU
FTA/FGA 8 11 VU
MU Offense vs VU Defense Ranks

MU Offense VU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 3 7 MU
Effective FG% 3 3 push
Turnover % 5 9 MU
Off. Reb. % 6 14 MU big
FTA/FGA 2 2 push

Where the Commodores have struggled of late

Offense, basically. As you see above, they are 11th in offense in conference play, 12th in TO%, and 12th in OR%. They're also 13th in 3PT% and 12th in FT%. They attempt more 3s than anybody in conference (gulp), and when the 3s are falling, this is a scary team. But they often do not fall. (Against teams not named Missouri, anyway. Yes, I'm bitter.) Rod Odom has made 40% of his 3s in the last 10 games; the rest of the team has shot 21%.

Defensively, VU has been pretty good at leveraging teams into bad shots, but the 'Dores don't collect rebounds with any major frequency, and they don't force turnovers.

Where they have been best

Inside the arc, they shoot well and prevent you from doing the same. Perhaps because you're so stretched out guarding the 3-pointer, they get decent looks from in close; they're second in conference play in 2PT%. They're also second in 2PT% on defense and second in blocks. James Siakam and Damian Jones average four blocks per game, and Odom had four against Missouri. This is a really long team, with three starters 6'7 or taller and two members of the three-man bench at 6'8 or taller. VU has no excuse for rebounding as poorly as it does, even considering it goes for a lot of blocks.

Vandy's Season Since Last Time

  • Wins (Team Rank is from KenPom.com)
    No. 24 Tennessee (64-60)
    No. 47 Missouri (78-75)
    at No. 104 Georgia (59-54)
    at No. 153 Texas A&M (66-55)
    No. 153 Texas A&M (57-54, OT)
    No. 230 Mississippi State (55-49)
  • Losses
    No. 52 Arkansas (75-77)
    at No. 70 LSU (58-81)
    No. 81 Ole Miss (52-63)
    at No. 129 South Carolina (59-65)

Vandy shot 40% on 3-pointers in the wins over Tennessee, Missouri, and Georgia (the three reasonably impressive wins on the list) and is well under 30% in the three lackluster wins and four losses. I think you know what Key #1 to this game is going to be.

Vandy Player Stats Since Last Time

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Rod Odom (6'9, 212, Sr.) 16.1 0.41 39.2 MPG, 16.7 PPG (51% 2PT, 40% 3PT, 73% FT), 5.8 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.6 TOPG, 2.5 PFPG
James Siakam (6'7, 215, Jr.) 13.2 0.47 28.2 MPG, 8.9 PPG (61% 2PT, 73% FT), 6.3 RPG, 2.2 BPG, 1.3 APG, 1.4 TOPG, 3.4 PFPG
Damian Jones (6'10, 235, Fr.) 11.1 0.37 29.7 MPG, 11.1 PPG (54% 2PT, 57% FT), 6.8 RPG, 4.1 PFPG (!)
Kyle Fuller (6'1, 188, Sr.) 10.7 0.28 38.6 MPG, 14.3 PPG (44% 2PT, 23% 3PT, 68% FT), 4.6 APG, 3.4 RPG, 3.7 TOPG (!)
Dai-Jon Parker (6'3, 190, Jr.) 7.0 0.18 38.9 MPG, 7.4 PPG (36% 2PT, 23% 3PT, 71% FT), 4.7 RPG, 3.4 APG, 2.0 TOPG
Luke Kornet (7'0, 216, Fr.) 1.9 0.15 12.9 MPG, 2.5 PPG (80% 2PT, 18% 3PT, 29% FT), 1.4 RPG
Shelby Moats (6'8, 227, Jr.) 1.5 0.14 10.7 MPG, 1.4 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.4 PFPG
Carter Josephs (6'0, 185, So.) -0.4 -0.07 6.0 MPG

* 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%: Fuller (28%), Odom (23%), Jones (22%)
  • Highest Floor%: Siakam (46%), Jones (40%), Odom (38%)
  • Highest %Pass: Parker (63%), Fuller (56%), Moats (49%)
  • Highest %Shoot: Odom (53%), Jones (53%), Kornet (44%)
  • Highest %Fouled: Jones (24%), Siakam (21%), Odom (11%)
  • Highest %T/O: Jones (11%), Kornet (9%), Siakam (8%)
  • Highest OR%: Siakam (13%), Jones (9%), Moats (7%)
  • Highest DR%: Jones (16%), Odom (12%), Siakam (12%)

  • Kyle Fuller dominates the ball but is one of Vandy's least reliable regulars. He gets to the line quite a bit (37 times against Georgia, Arkansas, and A&M the first time), and he's a potentially great passer (10 assists to two turnovers in the win over Tennessee), but since shooting 4-for-11 on 3-pointers against Missouri, he's 8-for-41 (20%), and he gets terribly out of control at times (five turnovers against Georgia, six against Mississippi State). He dictates Vandy's fate to a certain degree, and that hasn't been very good for Vandy of late.

  • Rob Odom is and has been a matchup nightmare for Missouri. He had 24 points (on 8-for-19 shooting, 6-for-13 from 3-point range) and eight rebounds against the Tigers last month, and he had 17 points (on 6-for-12 shooting, 3-for-5 from 3-point range) last year. Hell, he even made two of three 3-pointers and had four steals in 14 minutes back when these teams played in December 2010 (the first "Marcus Denmon Game"). He's scary.

  • Siakam and Jones make for a nice dirty-work pair near the basket. They've combined to average 20 points and 13 rebounds lately, and they had 19 and 11 against Mizzou. Of course, they also had nine fouls against Mizzou, which is almost what they average against everybody. Get some early whistles, and get them on the bench, then attack the rim with no mercy.

Keys to the Game

  1. The 3-pointer. Vandy's going to take them no matter what you do. If this is one of the random games where the Commodores actually make them, this could be a serious test. If not, Mizzou wins. (And hey, if Mizzou wanted to make 40%+ of its own 3s again, that'd be just fine.)

  2. Odom vs. Brown. Odom and Jabari Brown are two of the most efficient, explosive scorers in the SEC. They can score however you let them -- via 3-pointer, via drive, via free throw. If Brown can match Odom's output, that will force shakier scorers like Kyle Fuller to keep up with Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross. He basically did in Nashville, but he won't every time.

  3. The whistles. It isn't pretty, but Mizzou's been once again doing a good job of creating nice angles and opportunities to drive the ball and get to the free throw line. Vanderbilt doesn't foul you much on the perimeter, but Siakam and Jones are more than happy to go for blocks and use the body a bit. They block shots, and they foul a ton. If the whistles are going Mizzou's way on these drives, then Vandy's in trouble.

Prediction

In Nashville, Vandy smoked Missouri with a barrage of early 3s, then held on for dear life. I don't see that happening in Columbia. If Mizzou can avoid any major 3-point surges from the Commodores, I expect the Tigers to eventually pull away. Pomeroy projects a 71-63 Mizzou win (81% win probability), and I'm thinking something a little worse than that. We'll say 74-61, though I don't think anybody would be surprised if Vandy's 3s once again fall, and if this is a game all the way to the buzzer. After all, close games are kind of Missouri's schtick this year.

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