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Know Your Royal Rival: Old Dominion


God bless you, Mike Anderson.  Your team is riding high, having knocked off Illinois and embarrassed the last two cupcakes on the schedule.  Conference season is approaching, and nobody would complain if you had just scheduled a couple more games against Tomato Can U. and Southwest Border State and prepared for Colorado on January 8.  Instead, you line up Old Dominion, a landmine team if ever there were one.  Not only are they decent, but their single biggest strength is a Missouri weakness.  It's like he scheduled this game knowing that Mizzou was going to beat Illinois and the Tigers might be full of themselves.

Old Dominion: 9-2

Pace (No. of Possessions)
Points Per Minute
Points Per Possession (PPP)
Points Per Shot (PPS)
2-PT FG% 47.1%
3-PT FG% 36.6%
FT% 64.5%
True Shooting % 52.9%

ODU Opp.
Assists/Gm 14.1
Steals/Gm 7.3
Turnovers/Gm 13.5
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO

ODU Opp.
Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm 12.5
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 17.1
Difference +4.6

Old Dominion is decent in most areas and great in one: rebounding.  Holy moly, do they rebound.  For all we know, Mizzou can run them out of the gym with ball control, pressure and 3-pointers, but ... holy moly, do they rebound.  If Mizzou isn't focused on the glass, ODU is going to get three shots per possession.

Ken Pomeroy Stats

ODU Offense vs MU Defense Ranks

ODU Offense MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 52
Effective FG% 144
Turnover % 172
MU big
Off. Reb. % 2
ODU big
MU Offense vs ODU Defense Ranks

MU Offense ODU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 19
Effective FG% 24
MU big
Turnover % 28
MU big
Off. Reb. % 115
ODU big

Where the Monarchs are weakest

For starters, they really aren't much of a BCI team, which obviously could mean good things for Missouri, especially at home.  Their own ball control is solid -- they rank a decent 104th in Assists Per Field Goal Made (which leads one to believe that when they get one of their eleventy billion rebounds, they are just as likely to pass the ball back out to an open man as they are to go in for the putback), and they do rank 73rd in Def. Steal% -- but they don't force turnovers, and they allow a pretty high Assists Per Field Goal Made figure on defense.

Also: they are not a good free throw shooting team.  They rank 266th in Off. FT% at 64.5%.  They also allow a pretty high 36.3% on 3-pointers, good for 243rd in Def. 3PT%.  They are not particularly deep, with eight guys averaging double-digit minutes (and only a few averaging truly good minutes).  Obviously these are good things against Mizzou.

Where they are best

They are quite possibly the best offensive rebounding team in the country.  Only Pitt can challenge them in this regard.  They have four players with an Offensive Rebounding Rate over 11% -- Chris Cooper (17%), Frank Hassell (16%), Nick Wright (13%), Ben Finney (11%).  They rebound an incredible 47% of their misses.  And they do it despite not being tremendously tall. Of their nine primary players, only four are taller than 6'5.  We saw against Illinois that Missouri can beat teams despite getting pwned on the glass ... but it's not preferable.  ODU is going to grab some boards, but obviously Mizzou's effort level needs to be pretty high.

Also: they rank seventh in the country in Ken Pomeroy's Experience measure, so they will not at all be thrown by Mizzou's press (especially since they faced it last year) and a two-thirds full Mizzou Arena.

One more: they are very, very effective in slowing the game down.  They did it last year against Mizzou, and they will try to do it again tomorrow night.

Opp's Season to Date

  • Wins (Team Rank is from
    No. 46 Richmond, 77-70
    vs No. 58 Clemson, 61-60
    vs No. 77 Xavier, 67-58
    No. 97 Dayton, 74-71
    at No. 151 East Carolina, 81-68
    vs No. 191 St. Peters, 59-52
    No. 251 Presbyterian, 63-54
    No. 293 High Point, 79-57
    No. 338 Maryland-Eastern Shore, 81-39
  • Losses
    No. 8 Georgetown, 59-62
    at No. 150 Delaware, 67-75

This is a pretty battle tested unit, both in terms of overall experience and in challenges faced this year.  Mizzou has faced three Top 100 teams (Georgetown, Vanderbilt, Illinois) and five Top 125 teams (La Salle, Oregon); the Monarchs have faced five Top 100 teams.  Really, without the loss to Delaware, this team would be looking much scarier; that loss could hurt their NCAA at-large hopes.

They're only 1-1 in true road environments, which hopefully helps Mizzou out.  But obviously if any fanbase can respect a tight, gut-wrenching loss to Georgetown, it's Mizzou's.  This is a good team, and they've proven it so far.

Opp Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Frank Hassell (6'9, 255, Sr.) 14.3 0.54 26.4 MPG, 12.4 PPG (56.1% FG), 9.7 RPG, 1.9 BPG, 1.9 TOPG
Kent Bazemore (6'5, 195, Jr.) 13.4 0.46 29.0 MPG, 13.1 PPG (36.0% 3PT), 5.1 RPG, 2.3 SPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 BPG, 2.2 TOPG
Ben Finney (6'5, 215, Sr.) 11.0 0.35 31.6 MPG, 11.0 PPG (37.8% FG), 6.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.8 TOPG
Keyon Carter (6'8, 218, Sr.) 8.0 0.31 25.9 MPG, 9.1 PPG (53.3% 2PT), 6.1 RPG, 1.7 TOPG
Trian Iliadis (6'3, 185, Jr.) 7.5 0.41 18.1 MPG, 8.1 PPG (45.5% 3PT), 2.0 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.2 TOPG
Darius James (6'0, 170, Sr.) 5.2 0.20 26.0 MPG, 6.7 PPG (35.5% 3PT), 3.2 APG, 1.7 RPG, 1.8 TOPG
Chris Cooper (6'9, 230, Jr.) 4.9 0.27 18.1 MPG, 4.6 PPG (44.2% FG), 5.5 RPG, 3.3 PFPG
Marquel De Lancey (6'0, 190, Jr.) 2.2 0.14 15.4 MPG, 1.9 PPG (34.8% FG), 2.3 APG, 1.8 RPG, 1.1 TOPG
Nick Wright (6'8, 208, So.) 0.6 0.07 7.7 MPG, 1.7 PPG (33.3% FG), 1.5 RPG

* 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 (25%), Hassell (24%), Finney (21%), Iliadis (21%).
  • Highest Floor%: Hassell (43%), Iliadis (41%), Bazemore (39%), De Lancey (38%).
  • Highest %Pass: De Lancey (79%), James (66%), Iliadis (57%), Finney (47%).
  • Highest %Shoot: Wright (53%), Hassell (46%), Carter (42%), Cooper (38%).
  • Highest %Fouled: Wright (27%), Hassell (17%), Carter (16%), Finney (16%).
  • Highest %T/O: Wright (20%), Carter (10%), Hassell (10%), Cooper (10%).
  • For all intents and purposes, ODU has two very good players and a handful of nice role players.  Knowing Mizzou's strengths and weaknesses, Frank Hassell might be the biggest concern.  He is averaging nearly a double-double and ranks 23rd in the country in Offensive Rebound %.  He and Chris Cooper (18th in OR%) will be tremendous pests on the glass.  Unlike Illinois' Mike Tisdale, they don't grab boards simply by being much taller than everybody else -- they clearly work and work and work.
  • Kent Bazemore is a really nice overall player.  He is the focal point of the offense (25% Usage), and he rewards the focus with a nice overall game.  He shoots 36% from long-range, but he only shoots about two 3-pointers per game.  The stats suggest he has a really nice mid-range game, and he gets to the line a decent amount (about four free throws per game, not bad for a backcourt player).
  • When ODU does grab an offensive rebound and kick it out to a guy on the perimeter, Ben Finney and Trian Iliadis are the primary beneficiaries.  Iliadis is 20-for-44 on 3-pointers for the season.  He is a nice passer and can nail the open shot.  Finney, meanwhile, crashes the boards a decent amount himself as well.

Last Year

Plain and simple, Mizzou beat ODU in Mexico last year because of turnovers.  The Monarchs outshot them (45% to 37%), got to the line a lot and grabbed a higher percentage of offensive boards ... but they turned the ball over 24 times.  Mizzou led most of the way but could never pull away, primarily because they shot horribly in that damn Cancun ballroom.  It does appear that Mizzou will have some open shots if they are moving the ball well.  If they make them and still force a lovely turnover rate, they should win.  But if they don't?

Keys to the Game

  1. R-E-B-O-U-N-D.  Duh.  Again, Old Dominion is one of the best rebounding teams in the country, and boards have obviously been an issue at times for Missouri.  The Tigers have proven that they can win despite getting outrebounded, but if they can come somewhere close to breaking even in this regard, then it will be hard for them to lose.  Don't allow ODU second chances, and their offense grinds to a halt.

  2. The Bowers & Ratliffe Show.  Really, I guess this should be Key #1A.  If Mizzou rebounds well and neutralizes Hassel, it will likely be because of the work of these two.  Ratliffe has become a lovely presence in Mizzou's offense, and Bowers is back to being the invisible, incredible force in the box score, but neither are great on the defensive glass (they are both decent on the offensive boards).  If Bowers and Ratliffe combine for 25 points and 15 boards, Mizzou wins.

  3. BCI! BCI! BCI!  After struggling a bit at the beginning of the season, Mizzou has become better and better at playing their game over the last few weeks.  They are forcing turnovers and harassing the hell out of solid ball-handling opponents, and they are embarrassing the lesser ones.  ODU has a decent backcourt, but they are vulnerable.  No matter what happens on the glass, Mizzou can put this game out of reach by playing their own game well.


This really is the perfect landmine game for a Mizzou team that is seeing its confidence rise in leaps and bounds.  ODU is solid in most areas and great on the glass, meaning if Mizzou's effort level isn't where it needs to be, there could be trouble.  If the Tigers aren't making their shots and getting into their press, then ODU is going to effectively slow this game down to a slog.  Offensive rebounds could lead to 55-60 second possessions, which could lead to rushed Mizzou offense, et cetera, et cetera.  It all comes down to how dialed-in Mizzou chooses to be.  As the resident optimist, I say Mizzou plays their game well enough to pull away for a 73-64 victory.  But as a fan of boxing analogies, here's one for you: Old Dominion is Ken Norton.  They are scrappers, apparently relatively unorthodox, and they will absolutely knock you out if you let your guard down.