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Know Your Cancun Rival: La Salle

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Strictly the basics today.

La Salle: 4-1

La Salle
Pace (No. of Possessions)
Points Per Minute
Points Per Possession (PPP)
Points Per Shot (PPS)
2-PT FG% 52.7%
3-PT FG% 36.9%
FT% 62.4%
True Shooting % 55.8%

La Salle
Assists/Gm 15.2
Steals/Gm 9.4
Turnovers/Gm 16.2
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO

La Salle
Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm 12.6
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 13.6
Difference +1.0

La Salle plays fast, they rarely pass (213th in A/FGM), they don't shoot 3's, they don't shoot free throws very well, they get their shots blocked a lot (STEEEEEEEEEEEEVE) ... it seems pretty clear to me that they drive-and-dish, drive-and-dish, drive-and-dish, and they crash the boards.  On-the-ball defense will be very important; simply by stopping the drive and/or take longer jumpers, you'll be taking them out of their comfort zone.

On defense, they seem to play pretty good on-the-ball defense themselves, limiting opponents to very poor shooting percentages ... and giving up quite a few second-chance opportunities.  It's a mixed bag, but this is still possibly the best overall defensive team Mizzou has faced this season despite their own weaknesses.  (And since Mizzou only scored 1.0 points per possession against Wyoming, this isn't amazingly encouraging.)

Ken Pomeroy Stats

La Salle Offense vs MU Defense Ranks

La Salle Off.
MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 111
Effective FG% 167
Turnover % 188
MU Big
Off. Reb. % 87
La Salle
MU Offense vs La Salle Defense Ranks

MU Offense La Salle Def.
Efficiency 35
Effective FG% 139
La Salle
Turnover % 174
Off. Reb. % 79
MU Big
La Salle

Where the Explorers are weakest

As mentioned above, they don't make their lives easy on the defensive side of the ball -- they don't force turnovers and they give up far too many offensive rebounds.  On offense, they don't draw a ton of fouls (interesting considering how much it seems they drive), and they probably turn the ball over a bit much ... which is, of course, encouraging.

Where they are best

They crash the boards hard on offense (strange, considering how much they don't on defense), and they force bad shots on defense.  They're not going to be cowed by Mizzou's fast pace, but honestly, that might work to Mizzou's advantage -- if they turn the ball over a lot and don't mind going fast, Mizzou might get them going too fast.

La Salle's Season to Date

  • Wins (Team Rank is from
    vs #84 Providence (84-73)
    #218 Morgan State (79-74)
    #238 Columbia (82-71)
    #333 Prairie View A&M (88-74)
  • Losses
    at #17 Baylor (64-74)

Like Mizzou, La Salle seems to have played to their level of competition this season.  They beat Providence by as much or more than they beat Morgan State and Columbia, and they played Baylor tough.  This is a solid Atlantic 10 team, and if they survive the next month (Mizzou, Oklahoma State, Villanova in the next three weeks), they could end up doing pretty well this season.

La Salle Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Aaric Murray (6'10, 250, So.)
23.3 0.86 27.0 MPG, 19.0 PPG (56.7% FG, 90.0% FT!), 9.0 RPG, 3.4 BPG, 2.0 SPG, 2.4 TOPG
Ruben Guillandeaux (6'6, 205, Sr.)
15.6 0.48 32.6 MPG, 17.2 PPG (55.6% FG), 3.0 APG, 2.4 RPG, 1.6 TOPG
Jerrell Williams (6'8, 215, Sr.)
9.3 0.36 25.6 MPG, 12.6 PPG (47.3% FG, 45.8% FT), 9.4 RPG, 1.6 APG, 3.6 TOPG
Devon White (6'8, 245, So.)
9.0 0.60 15.0 MPG, 7.2 PPG (68.0% FG), 3.6 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 1.2 SPG
Earl Pettis (6'5, 215, Jr.)
7.8 0.27 29.2 MPG, 8.6 PPG (69.6% 2PT), 4.0 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 3.2 TOPG
Sam Mills (6'2, 180, Fr.)
4.5 0.17 26.0 MPG, 5.6 PPG (40.0% FG), 3.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.2 TOPG
Tyreek Duren (6'0, 180, Fr.)
4.3 0.14 30.4 MPG, 5.8 PPG (28.6% FG), 4.6 APG, 1.8 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 3.0 TOPG
Steve Weingarten (6'8, 225, Sr.)
3.4 0.31 10.8 MPG, 3.4 PPG, 3.0 RPG
Cole Stefan (6'3, 185, Fr.)
-0.8 -0.17 4.3 MPG, 0.0 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.

  • Like Wyoming, La Salle is very big-man heavy.  Aaric Murray is an absolute beast -- he gets to the line a ton (30 FT's to 60 FG's), and he makes his free throws.  He stockpiles points left and right, and he's well-rounded to boot -- great rebounder, shotblocker, thief and passer.  He does turn the ball over quite a bit, but at 27 minutes per game in a high-pace offense, of course he will.
  • This team's weakness appears to be in the backcourt.  They drive a lot, but when they can't drive-and-dish, the guards don't seem to shoot very well.  Freshmen Tyreek Duren and Sam Mills combine for 55 minutes per game and just 11 points on sub-40% shooting.  While there is reason to be concerned about La Salle's big men (Murray is great, but Devon White and Jerrell Williams are also solid), there is reason to be confident about guard play.

Keys to the Game

  1. Deny, Deny, Deny.  This offense rolls through Murray and Williams.  The Usage% for both is around 30%, and nobody else on the team is higher than 20%. Nobody outside of the bigs can shoot very well, so the key to this game could come down to how well Mizzou simply prevents Murray and Williams from getting the ball around the basket.

  2. Crash the Boards.  Mizzou has not yet had one of those "Everybody suddenly shoots well at the same time" games, but that's alright if they take advantage of La Salle's problems on the glass.  I'm guessing the Explorers like to run a decent amount considering their high pace and vulnerability to offensive rebounds (that sounds a wee bit familiar to this Mizzou fan), and if Mizzou can make them pay for that tendency, they'll be in good shape.  Win the Expected Rebounds battle, and you probably win the game.

  3. Use Your Head.  Mizzou turned the ball over 20 times against Wyoming yesterday, and that shouldn't happen.  La Salle does not force turnovers, but they do seem to like to run.  That means they probably take some chances defensively, and if Mizzou is smart with the ball (I'm looking at you, Pressey Brothers and Mike Dixon), then they should be alright.


Honestly, I'm not amazingly confident about this game.  Mizzou will need a better overall performance than they have given this year.  I think they win, but I don't think they do so in a manner that instills confidence in the fanbase.  But on the bright side, it should be a fun one.  I say the pace is set around 80 possessions, and Mizzou wins 84-78.