LEAVE YOUR TRIFECTA PICKS IN COMMENTS.
Sorry this is later than normal -- I wanted to make sure there was actually going to be a game first!
Oklahoma State: 14-7
|Pace (No. of Possessions)
|Points Per Minute
|Points Per Possession (PPP)
|Points Per Shot (PPS)
|True Shooting %||53.4%
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Off. Reb./Gm||12.1
Oklahoma State has played most of the 2010-11 season like a young team -- huge swings in moment and levels of competence, scoring bursts and droughts, etc. In back-to-back games a couple of weeks ago, Jean-Paul Olukemi scored 29 points against Iowa State and four against Baylor. Keiton Page scored 19 against Iowa State, seven against Baylor, zero against Texas and 26 against Texas Tech. Marshall Moses scored 18 against Iowa State and one against Baylor. In a four-game span against BCS conference teams in late-December and early-January, Ray Penn averaged 11.8 points and 4.3 assists per game. In his last four games: three TOTAL points and two TOTAL assists. They are very, very good in some areas (you don't shoot well inside the 3-point line against them, you don't steal the ball from them, and they draw a ton of fouls), and horrid in others (they are terrible from the 3-point line on both sides of the court, they don't block shots, and the foul a ton). They're stout at home and terrible away from home. Again, young teams tend to display all of these characteristics.
The problem is ... they're really not that young. They are led by a senior (Moses) and a junior (Page). There is only one freshman in the rotation. Sure, Olukemi and Darrell Williams are both newcomers (JUCO transfers), and freshman Markel Brown is playing an increased role. But is that enough to play the 'youth' card? You tell me. And I guess it doesn't really matter -- Mizzou's playing them in Stillwater, where they've been strong, so the 'youth' question might not matter.
In all, OSU matches up relatively well against Mizzou -- they do draw fouls, they rebound reasonably well, they don't allow many steals, they are good at slowing games down and banging, and they're likely to have an edge due to both desperation (they've lost five of six and really, really need a win) and a unique home court advantage (free admission for anybody who can get to Gallagher-Iba tonight). Still, this game should be more about Missouri; if Mizzou shoots well and plays smart, they should win and move to 4-3 in conference. If Mizzou doesn't have its A-game, however, this might not be a very fun game to watch.
Ken Pomeroy Stats
|OSU Offense vs MU Defense Ranks
|OSU Offense||MU Defense||Advantage|
|Off. Reb. %||97
|MU Offense vs OSU Defense Ranks
|MU Offense||OSU Defense||Advantage|
|Off. Reb. %||137
Where the Cowboys are weakest
I hinted at it above, obviously, but they have four primary weaknesses, two on each side of the ball:
1. They foul way too much. They rank 307th in Def. FTA/FGA, and not only that, but since they rank 323rd in Def. FT%, we can assume that they foul the wrong people too. You can say that opponents' FT% is based a little on luck, but when opponents are shooting this well against you, you are probably fouling opposing guards a lot. This could be a great game for Mike Dixon, who has the highest FTA/FGA average (0.48) among Mizzou guards. If OSU is vulnerable to giving up free points on drives, then Dixon will have a very good opportunity to score 15+ points.
2. They give up a ton of open 3-pointers. They rank 233rd in the country in Def. 3PT%, so if Mizzou is dialed in from long range (a big 'if' on the road), then Dixon might not be the only Mizzou guard going off.
3. They don't make 3-pointers. Despite Keiton Page's reputation, they rank 307th in Off. 3PT%. Granted, they don't take a lot of 3's (302nd in 3PA/FGA), but still. Page has made just 34.5% of his attempts this season, which isn't terrible ... but it's terrible when you realize that he's the team leader. (Penn shoots 32.9%, Olukemi 32.4%, Markel Brown 26.8%, Nick Sidorakis 20.0%.) He's had his moments, of course -- 4-for-8 versus Texas Tech, 5-for-7 versus Colorado, 5-for-11 versus Stanford -- but if Mizzou's perimeter defense sticks to him, he's not the type that is going to be able to shoot it over the D like a Jordan Hamilton or Austin Freeman.
4. They are not a good passing team. The 'Pokes rank just 333rd in Assists Per Field Goal Made, meaning almost anything they get on offense comes from one-on-one opportunities. This is good for a Missouri defense that has been much more vulnerable to solid ball movement than penetration.
Where they are best
1. They draw a ton of fouls. I like that they are not a heavy-duty passing team, BUT ... if Marshall Moses is drawing contact ... if J.P. Olukemi is driving and getting himself to the line ... if Darrell Williams is pounding the offensive glass ... then Mizzou could be in trouble. Mizzou is vulnerable to a ton of whistles on the road as is, but if Laurence Bowers doesn't play and Mizzou has only three bigs (Ricardo Ratliffe, Justin Safford, Steve Moore) in uniform, AND the fouls pile up? Yikes. "Kim English, power forward" does not have a tremendous ring to it. Expect Missouri to play a lot of zone. It did, after all, work for Baylor against OSU.
2. They don't give up steals. Granted, they do turn the ball over a lot (146th in Off. TO%), but it appears that most of the turnovers come in the form of traveling violations and passes out of bounds. To channel my inner Fran Fraschilla, "steals are turnovers that stay in play." Mizzou thrives off of transition points, and OSU isn't guaranteed to give them up.
3. They shoot free throws well. Moses and Olukemi are their most frequent foul shooters, and they both shoot over 72% from the line. If they are holding onto a lead late, and you are forced to foul Page (91.1%), you are probably going to lose. If you have to foul, aim for Markel Brown (52.8%), Darrell Williams (64.6%) or Matt Pilgrim (48.6%).
4. The closer you get to the rim, the better the OSU defense becomes. They may give up a ridiculous number of open 3's, but they also rank 35th in Def. 2PT%. If the 3's aren't falling and Mizzou isn't penetrating well, there may not be a successful Plan B.
Opp's Season to Date
Wins (Team Rank is from KenPom.com)
vs No. 42 Alabama, 68-60
No. 57 Kansas State, 76-62
No. 70 Missouri State, 84-70
No. 77 Iowa State, 96-87 (OT)
No. 104 Stanford, 79-68
vs No. 111 Tulsa, 71-54
vs No. 149 Murray State, 66-49
at No. 170 La Salle, 92-87 (2OT)
No. 176 Nicholls State, 76-56
vs No. 209 DePaul, 60-56
No. 256 UT-San Antonio, 79-63
No. 311 Texas A&M-CC, 68-58
No. 333 Central Arkansas, 69-57
No. 334 Houston Baptist, 86-73
No. 2 Texas, 46-61
vs No. 31 Virginia Tech, 51-56
at No. 41 Texas A&M, 48-71
at No. 51 Gonzaga, 52-73
at No. 53 Colorado, 71-75
at No. 54 Baylor, 57-76
at No. 142 Texas Tech, 74-75 (OT)
Again, solid at home, half-worthless on the road. OSU is just 1-3 against KenPom Top 50 teams, 4-6 versus the Top 100. But they are 3-1 in such games at Gallagher-Iba. Mizzou is the second-best team OSU has faced, but they hung tough for a while against Texas.
Opp Player Stats
|Marshall Moses (6'7, 255, Sr.)||17.1||0.54||31.5 MPG, 15.5 PPG (55.6% FG, 72.5% FT), 8.1 RPG, 2.1 TOPG|
|Keiton Page (5'9, 160, Jr.)||12.7||0.38||33.3 MPG, 13.7 PPG (47.9% 2PT, 34.5% 3PT, 91.1% FT), 1.9 APG, 1.6 RPG, 1.7 TOPG|
|Jean-Paul Olukemi (6'5, 215, So.)||12.5||0.55||22.9 MPG, 11.6 PPG (53.2% 2PT, 32.4% 3PT, 75.4% FT), 4.0 RPG, 1.3 TOPG|
|Darrell Williams (6'8, 255, Jr.)||7.2||0.35||20.6 MPG, 6.2 PPG (46.3% 2PT, 64.6% FT), 6.8 RPG, 1.5 TOPG|
|Matt Pilgrim (6'8, 255, Sr.)||5.5||0.31||17.6 MPG, 4.7 PPG (51.5% 2PT, 20.0% 3PT, 48.4% FT), 4.5 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 1.6 TOPG|
|Markel Brown (6'3, 190, Fr.)||5.3||0.29||18.2 MPG, 5.8 PPG (46.7% 2PT, 26.8% 3PT, 52.8% FT), 2.0 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.2 TOPG|
|Ray Penn (5'9, 165, So.)||4.6||0.19||24.5 MPG, 7.0 PPG (33.3% 2PT, 32.9% 3PT, 75.0% FT), 2.5 APG, 2.0 TOPG|
|Nick Sidorakis (6'4, 195, Sr.)||1.9||0.11||16.1 MPG, 2.4 PPG (43.3% 2PT, 21.2% 3PT, 75.0% FT), 1.5 RPG|
|Roger Franklin (6'5, 215, So.)||1.4||0.13||10.7 MPG, 1.4 PPG (34.8% 2PT, 50.0% FT), 2.0 RPG|
|Reger Dowell (6'1, 180, So.)||0.3||0.04||6.8 MPG, 1.5 PPG|
|Jarred Shaw (6'10, 235, So.)||0.3||0.05||5.2 MPG, 0.8 PPG, 1.2 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%: Moses (25%), Olukemi (25%), Page (21%), Brown (21%).
- Highest Floor%: Moses (45%), Olukemi (42%), Page (40%).
- Highest %Pass: Penn (59%), Sidorakis (49%), Brown (44%).
- Highest %Shoot: Franklin (57%), Moses (49%), Sidorakis (40%).
- Highest %Fouled: Olukemi (27%!), Moses (16%), Page (14%), Williams (14%).
- Highest %TO: Pilgrim (14%), Williams (11%), Moses (9%).
- This game really might last three hours with the way Moses and Olukemi draw fouls.
- And no, I never thought Marshall Moses would become a player this effective. Honestly, I'm not sure how that happened.
- Darrell Williams could be an underrated key in this game. We know about Mizzou's general schizophrenia in the rebounding department, and all Williams does is rebound. He leads OSU with both a 14% offensive rebounding rate (as means of comparison, Ricardo Ratliffe leads Mizzou at 12%) and 26% defensive rebounding rate (Ratliffe: 17%). He also fouls a ton. How many minutes he is able to play could determine the winner of the rebounding battle.
- Be on the lookout for Markel Brown. His season averages are rather unimpressive, but he has gained steam with Ray Penn's fade. In his last three games, Brown is averaging 34 minutes, 13.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
- Matt Pilgrim has been a shadow of his former self so far this year. He had an, um, interesting offseason to say the least.
Keys to the Game
Mizzou Versus Circumstance. As I mentioned in the roundtable, perhaps my biggest concerns in this game do not come from matchups of any kind. Mizzou has experienced unique travel circumstances, to say the least, in getting to Stillwater. Plus ... well, their shot comes and goes on the road. If their jumpers are a little flat in the early going, like they were in Boulder and Texas, then OSU could build an early lead and a potentially thin-but-raucous crowd could make a huge difference. But if Mizzou is fresh and their jumpers are on the mark, like they were in Eugene (in the first half) and College Station, then this game should have a favorable outcome. So basically, it's Good Mizzou vs Bad Mizzou.
Mizzou Versus the Free Throw Line. If Moses and Olukemi aren't getting free points from the line, it will be difficult for OSU to win this game. Plus, if Dixon and others (Kim English, maybe?) are getting free points from the line, it's even more favorable for Mizzou. This game could be decided by both how the officials blow their whistles and how Mizzou attacks. Assuming Bowers doesn't play, they are going to be incredibly thin on the inside, and foul trouble could be ... well, trouble. Again, I think it's fair to say that Mizzou might be playing a lot more zone than normal tonight.
Play. Your Game. Er ... Mizzou Versus Play Your Game. This was a key in the last game too, and really, it should be so in every game. Again ... in Mizzou wins, opponents average a 50.6% True Shooting %; in losses, 61.0%. In Mizzou wins, opponents shoot 31.1% from 3-point range; in losses, 39.4%. In Mizzou wins, opponents average a 31% offensive rebounding rate; in losses, 42%. In Mizzou wins, opponent BCI is 0.96; in losses, 1.83. Clearly offense matters -- Mizzou proved that in Austin -- but hustle and defense are still the keys to every Missouri game. Play solid on the defensive end, take care of the ball, and hit the glass hard ... and you'll win just about every time.
Because of the whole "Mizzou Versus Circumstance" thing, and OSU's general desperation for a marquee win, I'm much more concerned about this game than I was a week or two ago. If Marcus Denmon and Mike Dixon are knocking down jumpers and/or getting to the rim effectively early, I'll feel pretty good. If Denmon is off, Keiton Page makes a couple of 3's, and Justin Safford and Steve Moore both have two fouls ten minutes into the game ... yikes. I still feel good enough about this game to predict a Mizzou win -- we'll say Mizzou 75, OSU 69 -- but this is a tricky one.