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Study Hall: NC Central 62, Missouri 52

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NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Missouri Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Your trifecta: Phillips-Geist-Woods. Though really, it was Phillips-Phillips-Phillips.

Sometimes you can’t shoot. And when you’re not a very good shooting team to begin with, sometimes you really can’t shoot.

I’m struggling to figure out what else to say about Missouri’s loss to NCCU, but it’s hard. Mizzou’s ball handling was good to great. Offensive rebounding was bad, but defensive rebounding was fine. Fouls were basically even until late in the game. In terms of the Four Factors, Mizzou was decent to good in four of them.

But the Tigers couldn’t shoot. Not even a little bit.

Mizzou-NCCU stats

Terrence Phillips: 6-for-10 from the field, 5-for-7 on 3s. The rest of the team: 11-for-58 and 2-for-20, respectively. It’s really, really hard to take that many shots and make that few. NCCU had something to do with that — the Eagles are 95th in FG% defense — but ... yeah.

If we think of things in terms of averages and standard deviations, this was at the low end of the bell curve. (And if you think of young teams as ones with larger standard deviations, you can reach pretty far out there on the bell curve.)

Missouri isn’t going to be a great shooting team this year, but no one is this bad on the regular, so there was an element of randomness to it. It would have been fine for this randomness to happen against Alabama A&M or probably Northwestern State. Instead, it happened against the best team in the MEAC, one that gave Ohio State hell a couple of weeks ago.

Mizzou-NCCU stats

It wasn’t just shooting. After grabbing a bunch of offensive rebounds on the first possession of the game, Mizzou grabbed almost none thereafter. And NCCU isn’t a good enough defensive rebounding team for that to be excusable.

Despite approximately 3,000 missed shots (give or take), Russell Woods had two offensive rebounds in 25 minutes. Mitchell Smith had zero rebounds of any kind. K.J. Walton had four in 17 minutes but was absolutely snakebitten when it came to putting the ball in the basket.

Mizzou-NCCU stats

Mizzou did do a decent job of attacking and trying to get to the line. It’s the smartest thing to do when you can’t buy a bucket. But if you can’t make free throws either, then it’s only so effective. Jordan Geist and Cullen VanLeer were 6-for-8 from the line; everybody else: 5-for-12. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

A result like this doesn’t portend imminent doom — everybody has bad shooting games. And when you’re going to be shaky in the shooting department anyway, the bad games are going to be really bad. We’ll just have to see how frequent they are.

One thing is certain, though: Mizzou is allergic to a happy KenPom rating. The Tigers crept higher than 130th for the first time in two years, then immediately put a lid on their own basket. Maybe now that they’re back in the 150s, they’ll take the lid off. Guh.