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Jordan Barnett and 3-point randomness powered Mizzou’s best win in a looooong time

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Study Halling wins is so much more fun than Study Halling losses.

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Barnett-Puryear-VanLeer.

It’s like cleaning off old grease and grime in a kitchen. Here’s the layer we were on a month ago! Now we’ve cleaned back to where we were the month before that!

Mizzou began the season projected 163rd in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings. The Tigers immediately surged to 130th and had crept to 128th when NC Central came to town. From there, they fell to 157th, then 167th, then 178th, then 192nd. They wobbled back into the 180s, then plummeted to 197th in the “this team quit” game against Florida.

Since then:

  • Rose to 190th by beating Arkansas
  • Rose to 182nd by nearly beating Texas A&M
  • Rose to 165th by beating Vanderbilt.

We’re finding old layers! Mizzou’s now back to where it was in mid-December, and the Tigers are now almost exactly where they were projected to be at the beginning of the season. Only, with about four or five fewer wins.

What to make of this? I have absolutely no idea. But Mizzou proved yesterday that when a decent opponent (Vandy was 51st heading into the game and is 60th now) can’t do one of the things it is typically good at (42nd in 3PT%), the Tigers are able to take advantage. That wasn’t the case last month.

Take advantage, they did. Can you imagine how cathartic a 20-point win must have felt for this team?

Missouri 72, Vanderbilt 52

Mizzou Vandy
Pace (No. of Possessions) 64.5
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.12 0.81
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.29 1.02
2-PT FG% 37.8% 47.8%
3-PT FG% 47.4% 21.4%
FT% 77.3% 80.0%
True Shooting % 54.8% 45.1%
FTA/FGA 39.3% 29.4%
Mizzou Vandy
Assists 12 7
Steals 5 4
Turnovers 14 14
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.21 0.79
Mizzou Vandy
Expected Offensive Rebounds 12.6 12.0
Offensive Rebounds 16 6
Difference +3.4 -6.0

It’s like things played out mostly according to plan, but the teams exchanged 3-point percentages. Vandy’s now shooting 38.3% on 3s for the season, and Mizzou has surged to 29.4%. And on Saturday, Vandy went 6-for-28 while Mizzou went 9-for-19. Season averages would have suggested Vandy would make five more and Mizzou would make three fewer, a 24-point swing. Season averages can kiss Kim Anderson’s butt.

Of course, this result wasn’t all about randomness. Check out those ridiculous rebounding numbers and tell me who wanted this win more. Mizzou came into the game with a defined advantage on the defensive glass, but Vandy’s been a pretty decent team on the defensive glass this year. The Tigers ate the Commodores’ lunch. When you’re making more shots and outdoing your opponent by nearly 10 in terms of expected rebounds ... well ... you’re winning by a lot. The only reason Mizzou didn’t win by more was that the Tigers didn’t shoot 2s very well. Oh well.

Mizzou Player Stats

Player AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Jordan Barnett 30.3 1.04 29 Min, 23 Pts (6-10 FG, 5-8 3PT, 6-6 FT), 9 Reb (5 Off), 1 Blk, 1 PF
Kevin Puryear 12.0 0.38 32 Min, 13 Pts (5-12 FG, 3-3 3PT), 8 Reb (2 Off), 1 Blk, 3 PF
Cullen VanLeer 7.8 0.26 30 Min, 5 Pts (1-3 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-2 FT), 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 1 TO, 2 PF
Terrence Phillips 6.6 0.20 33 Min, 12 Pts (5-11 FG, 0-3 3PT, 2-2 FT), 6 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 6 TO, 2 PF
Jordan Geist 5.2 0.26 20 Min, 4 Pts (1-3 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-2 FT), 3 Ast, 1 PF
Russell Woods 4.5 0.21 22 Min, 10 Pts (4-8 FG, 2-2 FT), 5 Reb (3 Off), 4 TO, 3 PF
K.J. Walton 4.1 0.17 25 Min, 4 Pts (1-6 FG, 2-6 FT), 9 Reb (4 Off), 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO, 1 PF
Frankie Hughes 1.0 0.12 9 Min, 1 Pts (0-3 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1-2 FT), 5 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 1 TO
Reed Nikko 0.0 N/A 0+ Min
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Jordan Barnett 22% 55% 1.7 0% 64% 36% 0%
Kevin Puryear 19% 37% 1.2 0% 100% 0% 0%
Cullen VanLeer 8% 47% 3.1 80% 10% 6% 3%
Terrence Phillips 27% 31% 3.0 38% 36% 6% 20%
Jordan Geist 10% 52% 3.6 78% 13% 8% 0%
Russell Woods 29% 32% 2.0 0% 58% 14% 29%
K.J. Walton 21% 19% 2.5 30% 31% 29% 10%
Frankie Hughes 27% 21% 6.3 67% 17% 11% 6%

Hoo boy, Jordan Barnett, you had yourself a week.

As I’ve written before, I’ve come to define the following ranges when it comes to those per-minutes Adj. GS figures above:

  • Negative — bad (duh)
  • Between 0.00 and 0.20 — iffy at best
  • Between 0.20 and 0.30 — distinctly mediocre
  • Between 0.30 and 0.40 — decent to solid
  • Between 0.40 and 0.60 — good
  • Over about 0.60 — great

As we saw for a couple of games, that scale can get skewed when the team plays horribly, but on a general level, those ranges tend to be where my stats and eyeballs agree.

Based on that range, Mizzou had one great player, one decent player, and a whole bunch of mediocre on Saturday. That doesn’t feel quite right. But it was Mizzou’s best game of the year — basically the best SEC game in Kim Anderson’s tenure — not because of what Tiger players did do but because of what they didn’t do. (And because of 3-point randomness. But we’ve already covered that.)

Nobody produced a game score in the negatives. Not including Reed Nikko, who barely played, the three lowest-”scoring” Tigers in this game still combined for 9.6 Adj. GS points. Typically there are at least one or two players dragging down the point totals.

That Mizzou’s top two combined for 42.3 Adj. GS points isn’t all that abnormal, but the supporting cast was somewhere between decent and good. That hasn’t happened enough this year.

Well, I guess there’s one more reason why Mizzou did well yesterday:

Kickstarter to fund season tickets (and gas) for Sam Snelling.

Enjoy this one, Mizzou. We’ll talk about what it means for Kim Anderson’s future later. The present tense feels legitimately good again for now, and we haven’t had enough chances to soak that in over the last couple of years. The future tense is a little strange and uncertain. The present tense features three pretty good performances in a row, plus a head coach who just got his 300th career win.

There’s another winnable home game on Wednesday. Get it.

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports