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Know Your Quarterfinal Rival: Oklahoma State

UPDATE: Just saw that Philip Jurick is out tonight. Updated to account for that.


Hopefully I have three games to preview over the next three days; for each, I'm going to flip the format around a little bit considering this will be Preview No. 3 for each opponent. Instead of looking at their season or "since last time" stats, let's focus just on the two times these two teams played.

Missouri Vs. Oklahoma State (1-1)

Pace (No. of Possessions)
Points Per Minute
Points Per Possession (PPP)
Points Per Shot (PPS)
2-PT FG% 52.8%
3-PT FG% 29.7%
FT% 84.8%
True Shooting % 55.2%

Assists/Gm 11.5
Steals/Gm 8.0
Turnovers/Gm 8.0
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO

Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm 12.5
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 12.0
Difference -0.5

Where Mizzou Has Enjoyed The Biggest Matchup Advantages

Rebounding. In both games, Oklahoma State was prevented from deriving any sort of advantage on the offensive glass. Granted, it didn't matter in Stillwater, since the Cowboys chose not to miss many shots; still, Mizzou has done well here. We know rebounding is rather effort- and matchups-driven -- considering the teams against whom Mizzou has done well (and not so well) against, these are the only factors that make sense. OSU has some size in Michael Cobbins and Marek Soucek, but while that size has translated pretty well on defense, it hasn't helped the 'Pokes on the offensive glass. And without Philip Jurick or Le'Bryan Nash ... yeah, it doesn't look good for OSU.

Ball Control. Mizzou hasn't shot amazingly well (mostly because of the game at Gallagher-Iba) and therefore hasn't had great assist totals, but they haven't suffered many turnovers either, and the turnovers they force are mostly of the steals (i.e. turnovers that stay in play!) variety.

Fouls. OSU beat Missouri in Stillwater via jumpers, mostly from Nash and Brian Williams. They did not necessarily play a physical brand of offense, and accordingly, they drew only 20 fouls in two games. Mizzou, meanwhile, drew 26 and shot 37 free throws to OSU's 27.

Where OSU Has Enjoyed The Biggest Matchup Advantages

The Long Ball. Granted, two hot streaks (only one of which mattered) cloud this data a bit. Le'Bryan Nash made three in a row late in the game in Stillwater, while Keiton Page made four in a row against Missouri's walk-ons after Mizzou had taken a 30-point lead in Columbia. Of the other 20 3-pointers the Cowboys took in the two games, they only made four of them (25.0%). Still, if nothing else this does prove that OSU can be an incredibly streaky team, and if they find a good streak, they can stick around a while.

Interior Defense. OSU blocked 10 shots in two games, including seven in Stillwater. Michael Cobbins is an excellent defender in that regard, and Phillip Jurick proved capable of muscling Ricardo Ratliffe around at times. Then again, Ratliffe still averaged 20 points and 12 boards in the two contests, and Jurick is out anyway, so ... what was my point again?

Common Opponents

Game Missouri OSU
Baylor W (+15) L (-4)
at Baylor W (+1) L (-41)
Iowa State W (+6) W (+2)
at Iowa State W (+7) L (-3)
Kansas W (+3) L (-12)
at Kansas L (-1) L (-15)
Kansas State L (-10) L (-8)
at Kansas State L (-16) L (-19)
Oklahoma W (+38) W (+7)
at Oklahoma W (+3) L (-13)
Texas W (+9) W (+12)
at Texas W (+1) L (-9)
Texas A&M W (+19) W (+18)
at Texas A&M W (+9) L (-15)
Texas Tech W (+13) W (+8)
at Texas Tech W (+22) W (+17)

No real point to this. Just thought it was fun. And on average, per matchup, it shows a Missouri advantage of about 11.9 points, for whatever that's worth to you.

Mizzou Player Stats Vs. OSU

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Ricardo Ratliffe 22.4 0.73 30.5 MPG, 20.0 PPG (62% 2PT, 89% FT), 12.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 2.0 TOPG
Phil Pressey 15.1 0.47 32.0 MPG, 11.5 PPG (56% 2PT, 40% 3PT, 88% FT), 6.0 RPG, 4.5 APG, 2.5 SPG, 2.0 TOPG
Marcus Denmon 13.6 0.41 33.0 MPG, 17.0 PPG (46% 2PT, 33% 3PT, 90% FT), 3.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 1.0 APG, 1.5 TOPG
Kim English 8.5 0.25 33.5 MPG, 10.5 PPG (60% 2PT, 14% 3PT), 3.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.0 SPG
Mike Dixon 7.4 0.32 23.5 MPG, 9.5 PPG (67% 2PT, 25% 3PT), 2.5 APG, 1.0 RPG, 1.5 TOPG
Matt Pressey 5.0 0.17 28.5 MPG, 5.5 PPG (11% 2PT, 40% 3PT, 60% FT), 2.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.5 SPG
Steve Moore 4.2 0.31 13.5 MPG, 3.5 PPG (60% 2PT, 100% FT), 2.0 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%: Williams (25%), Brown (24%), Page (21%), Guerrero (14%)
  • Highest Floor%: Jurick (67%), Cobbins (60%), Page (47%), Williams (43%)
  • Highest %Pass: Guerrero (85%), Jurick (66%), Brown (60%), Page (50%)
  • Highest %Shoot: Page (50%), Cobbins (43%), Williams (32%), Brown (28%)
  • Highest %Fouled: Williams (26%), Cobbins (10%), Everybody Else (0%)
  • Highest %T/O: Cobbins (16%), Brown (12%), Jurick (11%), Williams (3%)

OSU Player Stats Vs. Mizzou

Notice: there is no Le'Bryan Nash or Philip Jurick in the table below. Nash fractured his hand at Oklahoma and will miss the rest of the season, while Jurick tore his Achilles. Without them (and Jean-Paul Olukemi, who was lost for the season a while back), Oklahoma State is painfully, amazingly thin, with only five remaining role players from the first two OSU-Mizzou games. Almost by default, we will see quite a bit more of Cezar Guerrero (who had a lovely game against Texas Tech last night -- 30 minutes, 16 points on 6-11 shooting, two assists and two steals), Marek Soucek (7'0, 235, Fr.) and Christien Sager (6'3, 200, Fr.) tonight; Soucek and Sager combined to play just three minutes against Missouri this season.

Nash's absence will not only impact OSU's offensive upside; it will also completely change Kim English's role. English's primary job in Columbia was to kill himself guarding Nash, and for long periods of the game it worked. Now, English is more likely to be paired with somebody like Michael Cobbins, who is mostly nonexistent offensively (he scores mostly on putbacks and dunks) but active on the glass. English will have quite the quickness advantage over Cobbins on offense as well.

(And yes, the stats below do count Keiton Page's late barrage of 3-pointers against Mizzou's walk-ons at Mizzou Arena.)

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Keiton Page (5'9, 165, Sr.)
37.5 MPG, 17.5 PPG (54% 2PT, 44% 3PT), 2.5 APG, 2.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG
Michael Cobbins (6'8, 220, RSFr.)
33.0 MPG, 8.0 PPG (88% 2PT, 100% FT), 8.5 RPG, 2.5 BPG, 2.0 SPG, 1.5 TOPG
Brian Williams (6'5, 205, RSFr.)
32.5 MPG, 15.0 PPG (56% 2PT, 0% 3PT, 71% FT), 2.0 RPG, 2.0 APG
Markel Brown (6'3, 190, So.)
31.0 MPG, 8.5 PPG (41% 2PT, 50% 3PT), 3.5 APG, 2.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 4.0 TOPG
Cezar Guerrero (6'0, 175, Fr.)
10.0 MPG, 0.0 PPG, 2.5 APG, 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%: Williams (25%), Brown (24%), Page (21%)
  • Highest Floor%: Cobbins (60%), Page (47%), Williams (43%)
  • Highest %Pass: Guerrero (85%), Brown (60%), Page (50%)
  • Highest %Shoot: Page (50%), Cobbins (43%), Williams (32%)
  • Highest %Fouled: Williams (26%), Cobbins (10%), Everybody Else (0%)
  • Highest %T/O: Cobbins (16%), Brown (12%), Williams (3%)

Keys to the Game

  1. Don't Let Page Get Hot. If Keiton Page has a bad game tonight, the only way OSU can win is if either a) Mizzou hits an amazingly cold, and sustained, offensive rough patch or b) Brian Williams, Markel Brown or Cezar Guerrero get incredibly hot. Granted, (b) isn't out of the realm of possibility (Williams did have a fantastic game against Missouri in Stillwater, Brown is occasionally scary, and Guerrero is improving quickly), but you still have to like Mizzou's chances very much if Page is held to, say, fewer than 15 points.

  2. 'Cardo. We've been debating for a few weeks how much defense plays a role in poor 3-point shooting. All I know for sure is that Oklahoma State's defensive 3PT% for the season is pretty damn good, and that Missouri has only made 30 percent of its 3-pointers in two games against the 'Pokes. No need to get sucked into some "bombs away" game if you don't have to. Move the ball, dump it inside to Ricardo Ratliffe, and take as many shorter shots as possible. Force the inexperienced Soucek to defend without fouling. Cobbins and company will block some shots ... but not all of them. Ratliffe scored 40 points in 61 minutes versus the 'Pokes this year, and that was with Jurick involved. Make that about 60 points in 90 minutes, and Mizzou's in excellent shape.

  3. Road Neutral Court Things. There will almost certainly be quite a few more Mizzou fans in attendance tonight than OSU fans (call it a hunch), but for this game, the effort stats will mean quite a bit. So we'll break out the Road Things™ template again: offensive rebounds, fouls and Phil Pressey. If these three things go in Mizzou's favor, odds are very good that the Tigers are playing again on Friday night.


Ken Pomeroy's projections say Mizzou wins by a 79-67 margin. With no Nash or Jurick, I'll go with more like 81-64. I honestly feel bad for Travis Ford -- he has had horrid injury luck this year (I feel nauseous even saying this, but imagine if Mizzou had lost not only Laurence Bowers but also Steve Moore and Kim English this season?); that said ... show no mercy.