clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Missouri at LSU preview: LSU tends to dictate results, for better or worse

LSU is either really good or really bad at most things. Can Missouri handle LSU's pressure and steal a road win? LEAVE YOUR TRIFECTA PICKS IN COMMENTS.

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

LSU Tigers (11-5)

Pace (No. of Possessions)
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.06 0.96
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.22 1.13
2-PT FG% 50% 41%
3-PT FG% 33% 33%
FT% 66% 72%
True Shooting % 52.9% 48.5%

LSU Opp.
Assists/Gm 14.6 11.2
Steals/Gm 9.4 6.9
Turnovers/Gm 14.9 14.4
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.60 1.25

LSU Opp.
Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm 12.2 13.2
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 14.5 13.1
Difference +2.3 -0.1

LSU is a pretty scary team. The Tigers bring a lot to the table (offensive rebounding, blocks, steals) and take a lot off of the table (turnovers, free throw shooting, 3-point shooting, defensive rebounding). They dictate the outcome, for better or worse, and they have a relatively confusing set of results to show for it. They beat decent St. Joe's and Butler teams early and destroyed Vandy right after the Commodores beat Missouri, but they also lost back-to-back home games to Rhode Island (by 4) and Tennessee (by 18) a couple of weeks ago. They destroyed UAB and barely beat South Carolina.They went to overtime at Ole Miss ... and managed to lose by 14.

Relatively speaking, LSU tends to determine whether it wins or loses regardless of input from its opponent. Missouri's goal has to be to weather the storm early on -- something the Tigers did not do last year in Baton Rouge, when they allowed a 17-6 run to start the game -- and force a wild, active LSU team to maintain control for as long as possible.

Ken Pomeroy Stats

LSU Offense vs MU Defense Ranks

LSU Offense MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 171 85 MU
Effective FG% 158 22 MU big
Turnover % 294 291 push
Off. Reb. % 22 75 LSU
FTA/FGA 312 78 MU big
MU Offense vs LSU Defense Ranks

MU Offense LSU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 51 27 LSU
Effective FG% 70 9 LSU
Turnover % 191 92 LSU big
Off. Reb. % 40 217 MU big
FTA/FGA 15 117 MU big

Where the Tigers are weakest

For starters, they are 250th in Experience and 178th in Bench Minutes. Missouri is no better, but at the least LSU is equally thin and inexperienced. Beyond that, most of the weaknesses come on offense. LSU is a sloppy ball-handling team, turning the ball over almost as much as they turn you over. Mizzou showed some promise against Alabama when it comes to forcing turnovers, so that will be interesting to watch.

LSU also rarely gets to the free throw line and, when it does get there, sends the wrong people to the stripe. And by "wrong people," I mean Johnny O'Bryant III; he isn't awful for a big man (62%), but he has been to the line more than any other two LSU players combined. And aside from Andre Stringer, LSU is pretty poor from the 3-point line; then again, Stringer killed Mizzou from the 3-point line in Baton Rouge last year, so maybe that's all LSU needs.

Defensively, LSU shows a few glitches when it comes to fouling guards (275th in FT% Allowed), and the Bayou Bengals go for so many blocks that they are vulnerable to offensive rebounds (217th in OR%).

Where they are best

What they do well, they do really well. Almost as an acknowledgement that they aren't a good offensive team, they collectively hit the glass well on offense (22nd in OR%), and they allow you no easy looks near the rim. They're sixth in 2PT% allowed and 33rd in Block%, and while they're only good (not great) at forcing turnovers, the TOs they do force are steals (11th in Steal%). And like Alabama, they don't offer you many good looks from 3-point range. With the way Mizzou has been shooting 3-pointers recently (Jabari Brown aside), that might be doing MU a favor.

LSU's Season to Date

  • Wins (Team Rank is from
    at No. 75 Texas Tech (71-69)
    vs. No. 76 St. Joseph's (82-65)
    vs. No. 85 Butler (70-68, OT)
    No. 117 Vanderbilt (81-58)
    at No. 132 South Carolina (71-68)
    No. 136 UAB (86-63)
    No. 226 Northwestern State (88-74)
    No. 227 UL-Monroe (61-54)
    No. 286 SE Louisiana (89-66)
    No. 306 McNeese State (79-52)
    No. 313 New Orleans (81-54)
  • Losses
    No. 23 Tennessee (50-68)
    at No. 31 UMass (90-92)
    vs. No. 35 Memphis (69-76)
    No. 92 Ole Miss (74-88, OT)
    No. 137 Rhode Island (70-74)

Average Score (LSU vs. Top 100): Opponent 75.1, LSU 72.2 (-2.9)
Average Score (LSU vs. 101-200): LSU 77.0, Opponent 65.8 (+11.2)
Average Score (LSU vs. 201+): LSU 79.6, Opponent 60.0 (+19.6)

LSU's defense is quite a bit more variable than its offense. Thanks in part to a pretty high pace, LSU's probably going to score between 70 and 80; but lesser teams have struggled mightily to score against this long, aggressive D.

LSU Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Jordan Mickey (6'8, 220, Fr.) 14.9 0.48 31.4 MPG, 13.1 PPG (58% 2PT, 72% FT), 6.9 RPG, 3.6 BPG, 1.1 APG, 2.4 TOPG
Johnny O'Bryant III (6'9, 256, Jr.) 12.2 0.41 29.5 MPG, 14.3 PPG (51% 2PT, 62% FT), 7.6 RPG, 1.8 APG, 3.4 TOPG, 2.9 PFPG
Andre Stringer (5'10, 190, Sr.) 12.1 0.44 27.4 MPG, 12.0 PPG (47% 2PT, 40% 3PT, 86% FT), 3.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.2 TOPG
Anthony Hickey (5'11, 182, Jr.) 9.3 0.33 28.3 MPG, 8.5 PPG (40% 2PT, 33% 3PT, 50% FT), 3.3 APG, 2.9 RPG, 2.3 SPG
Jarell Martin (6'9, 241, Fr.) 7.7 0.35 21.9 MPG, 9.1 PPG (49% 2PT, 35% 3PT, 78% FT), 4.0 RPG, 1.8 TOPG
Shavon Coleman (6'5, 195, Sr.) 7.1 0.35 20.7 MPG, 8.1 PPG (49% 2PT, 33% 3PT, 72% FT), 3.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.7 TOPG
Malik Morgan (6'4, 199, So.) 5.0 0.29 17.1 MPG, 5.1 PPG (49% 2PT, 24% 3PT, 52% FT), 3.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.1 TOPG
Tim Quarterman (6'6, 173, Fr.) 2.6 0.19 13.3 MPG, 3.1 PPG (32% 2PT, 21% 3PT, 52% FT), 2.1 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.3 TOPG
John Odo (6'9, 236, Jr.) 1.8 0.26 6.9 MPG, 1.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG
Darcy Malone (7'0, 229, Fr.) 1.5 0.30 5.2 MPG, 1.9 PPG, 1.3 RPG
Shane Hammink (6'7, 217, So.) 1.2 0.17 6.8 MPG, 1.2 PPG, 1.6 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%: O'Bryant III (26%), Martin (22%), Coleman (21%)
  • Highest Floor%: Mickey (43%), Stringer (42%), O'Bryant III (39%)
  • Highest %Pass: Quarterman (66%), Hickey (64%), Stringer (58%)
  • Highest %Shoot: Martin (51%), Odo (48%), Mickey (46%)
  • Highest %Fouled: Odo (30%), Martin (18%), O'Bryant III (16%)
  • Highest %T/O: Odo (22%), Martin (13%), O'Bryant III (12%)
  • Highest OR%: O'Bryant III (10%), Odo (10%), Morgan (9%)
  • Highest DR%: Odo (22%), O'Bryant III (17%), Mickey (15%)

  • Johnny O'Bryant is the headliner, and Jarell Martin was the five-star recruit, but Jordan Mickey has quite possibly been LSU's most consistently strong player, and it's not hard to see why. He isn't a major piece of the offensive flow -- his usage rate is nothing spectacular -- but he gets a few easy buckets a game, he grabs seven boards, and he blocks more than three and a half shots. Johnathan Williams III is a better rebounder, but Mickey appears to be better offensively (and in the blocks department), and if or when the two of them are matched up, it could be fascinating. (It could also determine the game.)

  • The offense flows through O'Bryant, however. How Mizzou handles him will determine how Mizzou handles LSU's offense as a whole. We know MU will probably try to double him because it's what they tend to do. Against a team with only one good 3-point shooter, maybe that's okay, but I've never really liked the "automatic double-team" thing. One of Mizzou's accidental assets right now is that it has 15-20 fouls to give on the interior without worrying about a dropoff in production. MU's bigs aren't very good this year, but they're big and can foul, and I'd prefer to single O'Bryant as much as possible and hack when necessary. Instead, Mizzou will probably offer LSU a chance from 3-point land and see what happens.

  • Last year in Baton Rouge, Missouri more-or-less accounted for O'Bryant on defense (he did have 14 & 10, but it could have been worse) but got torched by Stringer and Hickey in the backcourt -- Hickey was 8-for-10 on 2-pointers, Stringer 4-for-5 on 3-pointers.

Keys to the Game

  1. The glass. Always, right? At its best, Mizzou has put together a hell of a team rebounding effort on the defensive end, with players like Wes Clark, Jabari Brown, and especially Earnest Ross all showing solid prowess in hanging back and providing an extra set of hands. LSU, meanwhile, is a good offensive rebounding team in the same way; no player has an Offensive Rebounding Rate better than 10%, but five are between 8% and 10%. Missouri must either prevent second chances or generate as many as LSU does. This needs to be a win for MU, but at the very least it probably can't be a loss.

  2. The 3-ball. Always, right? LSU doesn't shoot 3-pointers very well, and it makes sure that you can't either. The Tigers play defense a lot like Alabama (only with more pressing), and the aggression on the perimeter tends to offer few good looks. Meanwhile, of the four LSU players with the most 3-point attempts, only Stringer is hitting more than 33%. If one team or the other gets someone rolling from long range (probably either Stringer or Jabari Brown), it has generated a huge advantage here.

  3. BCI! BCI! In the Mike Anderson days, BCI (Ball Control Index) was generally the most important stat on a game-to-game basis. Johnny Jones and LSU don't play to that level of tempo, but LSU will still press and pressure you and still wants to create as many opportunities as possible off of steals. At the same time, however, LSU tends to get quite sloppy itself on the other end, and despite general struggles in this area, it's possible that Missouri could create some turnovers as well. If Mizzou is able to fight to a draw in the BCI category, that minimizes perhaps LSU's single greatest potential advantage.

    There's another part to BCI, however: Assists. Mizzou sometimes runs a perfectly effective offense with minimal passing thanks to the ability of Jordan Clarkson, Earnest Ross, etc., to drive and draw contact. But with Mickey and O'Bryant averaging nearly five blocks per game on the interior (Mickey doesn't tend to foul much, either), lowering the shoulder and going might not be that effective. Mizzou is going to drive, but kicking to an open man could be key. So do that sometimes.


If you're an optimist, you could pretty easily point to LSU's mediocre offense, Mizzou's strong rebounding, and Mizzou's great defensive performance against Alabama as reasons why MU could easily escape Baton Rouge with a win.

If you're a pessimist, you could pretty easily point to Mizzou's own occasional turnover issues (against a defense that forces a lot of them) and the fact that MU's drive-and-draw offense could get incredibly frustrated (and frustrating) as reasons why LSU could run away with an easy win.

Pomeroy projects this as another virtual tossup: LSU 71, MU 68. If Mizzou's offense can find an effective Plan B -- if Brown or Ross get rolling from 3-point land, if Clarkson's mid-range game finds success, if JW3 or a big can get a few decent post-ups here and there -- then the MU defense should be reasonably equipped to handle the LSU offense (as long as it's not the MU defense that made the trip to Nashville, anyway). But that's a pretty big if. I'll say LSU takes this one by five or six (something like 77-72), but both of these teams are rather unpredictable overall, and this game is quite winnable for Good Mizzou.