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Q: How would Missouri respond to a mid-week heartbreaker? A: Not well!

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NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Phillips-Nikko-VanLeer. Never say never, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s not likely Mizzou will be winning a game when Terrence Phillips, Reed Nikko, and Cullen VanLeer are its three best players. At least, not in 2016-17.

Your Trifecta: x

Tennessee 90, Missouri 70

Mizzou UT
Pace (No. of Possessions) 71.5
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.98 1.26
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.40 1.55
2-PT FG% 44.8% 51.4%
3-PT FG% 33.3% 38.1%
FT% 76.7% 75.7%
True Shooting % 55.4% 60.6%
FTA/FGA 60.0% 63.8%
Mizzou UT
Assists 11 19
Steals 7 3
Turnovers 14 9
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.29 2.44
Mizzou UT
Expected Offensive Rebounds 11.6 12.4
Offensive Rebounds 8 11
Difference -3.6 -1.4

Last Saturday, Mizzou blew out Vanderbilt because the Commodores, a good shooting team, couldn’t shoot. Yesterday, Mizzou got blown out by Tennessee because the Vols, a bad shooting team, shot well. We’ll call it karmic retribution, I guess.

Vanderbilt ranks 47th in the country in 3PT% and shot 6-for-28 on 3s (21%). Since then, in wins over Texas A&M and South Carolina (both teams that beat Mizzou), the Dores have shot 19-for-51 (37%).

Tennessee, meanwhile, ranks 267th in eFG% — 248th on 3s, 246th on 2s. On Saturday, they made 51% of their 2s (3% higher than normal), 38% of their 3s (5% higher). Those aren’t enormous differences, but combined with free throws, it was more than enough.

Ah, those free throws. Nothing like a combined 48 fouls and 67 free throw attempts in a 20-point blowout. From that perspective, yesterday was probably the grossest game of the year. Congrats to everyone involved. Anyway.

I was curious how Mizzou would respond to its mid-week heartbreaker. This team had been putting together some confidence with the two home wins and solid showing in College Station. But it’s still a young team, and it’s still one that hasn’t figured out in detail how to simply win basketball games. And while the offense bounced back at least a hair, the defense was no match for a Tennessee offense that basically does one thing well: get to the line.

(Okay, that’s not completely fair. The Vols also grab offensive rebounds and avoid turnovers at a top-100 level, and at the least, Mizzou did a nice job of keeping them off of the offensive glass, at least, but lost the ball control battle pretty badly. Meanwhile, Tennessee did an even better job of keeping Mizzou off of the offensive glass.)

In the end, no one thing did Mizzou in — Tennessee basically just won almost every category by a little bit (shooting, getting to the line, rebounding) and did one thing quite a bit better (ball handling). That’s almost more frustrating than simply losing a game because of Category X.

Mizzou Player Stats

Player AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Terrence Phillips 22.6 0.67 34 Min, 18 Pts (6-9 FG, 4-6 3PT, 2-3 FT), 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 4 TO, 2 PF
Reed Nikko 9.3 0.52 18 Min, 5 Pts (2-3 FG, 1-3 FT), 6 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 2 PF
Cullen VanLeer 8.8 0.49 18 Min, 4 Pts (1-3 FG, 0-2 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl, 3 PF
K.J. Walton 8.0 0.26 31 Min, 8 Pts (2-7 FG, 1-2 3PT, 3-5 FT), 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO, 2 PF
Jordan Barnett 7.2 0.30 24 Min, 11 Pts (2-6 FG, 1-3 3PT, 6-7 FT), 1 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 TO, 2 PF
Jordan Geist 5.5 0.37 15 Min, 6 Pts (0-2 FG, 6-6 FT), 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 TO, 3 PF
Kevin Puryear 5.4 0.18 30 Min, 10 Pts (4-9 FG, 0-3 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb, 1 TO, 4 PF
Adam Wolf 2.1 0.71 3 Min, 2 Pts (1-3 FG, 0-1 3PT), 2 Reb (2 Off), 1 PF
Frankie Hughes 1.3 0.10 13 Min, 5 Pts (2-4 FG, 1-3 3PT), 1 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 TO, 3 PF
Russell Woods -1.6 -0.13 13 Min, 1 Pts (0-2 FG, 1-2 FT), 2 Reb (2 Off), 4 PF
Trevor Glassman -2.3 -2.28 1 Min, 0 Pts (0-2 FG, 0-1 3PT)
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Terrence Phillips 22% 46% 2.8 54% 27% 6% 12%
Reed Nikko 12% 53% 1.8 54% 27% 19% 0%
Cullen VanLeer 11% 44% 1.7 57% 29% 14% 0%
K.J. Walton 19% 30% 2.3 48% 29% 14% 8%
Jordan Barnett 26% 34% 2.4 30% 30% 25% 15%
Jordan Geist 23% 37% 3.9 59% 10% 21% 10%
Kevin Puryear 19% 38% 1.1 0% 79% 12% 9%
Adam Wolf 52% 28% 2.9 0% 100% 0% 0%
Frankie Hughes 24% 34% 2.7 50% 34% 0% 17%
Russell Woods 11% 15% 0.8 0% 59% 41% 0%
Trevor Glassman 104% 0% 5.8 0% 100% 0% 0%
  • Mizzou also lost, of course, because most of its better players didn’t play well. Jordan Barnett can thrive in a whistle-happy environment, but his six free throws were offset by 2-for-6 shooting and three turnovers. And Barnett, Kevin Puryear, and Russell Woods ended up combining for 22 points (not terrible) on 6-for-17 shooting (terrible), three defensive rebounds (terrible), and 10 fouls (terrible) in 67 minutes. To use a basketball announcer term, Mizzou was outphysicaled.
  • Nice job by Adam Wolf, though. Wouldn’t have minded seeing him get more playing time in the second half. Hell, you were losing by double digits most of the way. Might as well have thrown him back in.
  • Mizzou never does particularly well when Terrence Phillips is asked to carry a massive load, but he did a respectable job of it. (He usually does.) He was 4-for-6 from behind the arc while everybody else was 3-for-15, and despite being the only guy who could shoot, he still led the team in assists as usual. The problem with asking him to do so much isn’t that he can’t — it’s that it simply means nobody else is doing a damn thing.

So! Mizzou is now 7-19. The road losing streak continues apace — per Pomeroy odds, there is now a 67% chance that the streak bleeds over into next season. (I’ll say it one more time: Schedule Longwood on the road to start 2017-18. Don’t let this become an even bigger thing.) And there’s basically one more decent shot at a regular season win of any kind: In a week and a half, A&M comes to Columbia. Pomeroy says Mizzou’s got a 36% chance.

That two-week run of decent play is in the rear view now. We’ll see what Mizzou can do to build some more confidence, but a midweek meeting with Kentucky probably isn’t going to help.

Perhaps the best news, though: Only four regular season games remain. It was a fun couple of weeks, but now we’re back to waiting to see what happens when these four games (plus one more in the SEC Tournament, I guess) are over. It should be pretty eventful.