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Kim Anderson leaves a tough but playable hand for his Missouri successor

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A lot like the one he inherited, ahem. For the final time for a few months ... let’s Study Hall.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Mississippi vs Missouri Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Phillips-Barnett-Puryear. A pretty fitting triumvirate to finish the season.

First, your game summaries: MUtigers.com, The Trib, Post-Dispatch, KC Star, Missourian, PowerMizzou.

Ole Miss 86, Missouri 74

Mizzou Ole Miss
Pace (No. of Possessions) 66.0
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.12 1.30
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.21 1.56
2-PT FG% 43.8% 41.2%
3-PT FG% 41.4% 42.9%
FT% 76.9% 66.0%
True Shooting % 55.5% 56.8%
FTA/FGA 21.3% 85.5%
Mizzou Ole Miss
Assists 14 11
Steals 3 4
Turnovers 9 7
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.89 2.14
Mizzou Ole Miss
Expected Offensive Rebounds 12.6 14.1
Offensive Rebounds 10 14
Difference -2.6 -0.1

This game was familiar in plenty of ways, mainly in that Mizzou did worse on the offensive glass than its opponent. As the Tigers got further into league play, their rebounding went from neutral (offensive and defensive rebounding rates ranked in the 100s) to bad. Their final rankings: 211th in offensive rebounding and, in a bit of an upset, 226th in defensive. I would have guessed the former would still have ranked quite a bit lower than the latter.

Something else that went from not terrible to terrible down the stretch: fouls. Mizzou continued to do a decent job of drawing them (this final game aside) but committed a metric ton. Final FTA/FGA rankings: 84th on offense, 313th on defense.

Fouls and foul shooting were the single biggest factor in this game: Mizzou committed 29 fouls to Ole Miss’ 14, and the Rebels attempted 47 free throws to Mizzou’s 13. That’s going to happen when one team is trailing the other by a healthy (but not blowout) margin, but ... damn. Even in the first half, the margin was 18 free throws to eight despite both teams taking nearly the same number of 2s (OM 18-16) and 3s (MU 14-13) and grabbing nearly the same number of offensive rebounds (OM 9-7). Alas.

Ball handling was a disappointment, though. Ole Miss isn’t a great BCI team, and that was a relative strength for Mizzou. But the Tigers managed just three steals and forced seven total turnovers. Not enough wasted possessions for the Rebels.

Mizzou Player Stats

Player AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Terrence Phillips 21.1 0.62 34 Min, 15 Pts (3-12 FG, 3-6 3PT, 6-6 FT), 2 Reb (1 Off), 8 Ast, 1 Stl, 5 PF
Jordan Barnett 20.3 0.81 25 Min, 15 Pts (6-9 FG, 3-6 3PT), 6 Reb (3 Off), 1 Stl, 1 TO, 3 PF
Kevin Puryear 12.8 0.40 32 Min, 15 Pts (6-12 FG, 1-1 3PT, 2-2 FT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 2 TO, 4 PF
Cullen VanLeer 8.8 0.38 23 Min, 10 Pts (4-7 FG, 2-5 3PT), 5 Reb, 1 TO, 4 PF
K.J. Walton 8.5 0.77 11 Min, 6 Pts (3-4 FG, 0-2 FT), 3 Reb (3 Off), 1 Ast, 1 TO
Frankie Hughes 4.1 0.19 22 Min, 8 Pts (2-9 FG, 2-8 3PT, 2-3 FT), 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 PF
Reed Nikko 0.9 0.07 13 Min, 0 Pts (0-0 FG), 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 TO, 1 PF
Jordan Geist -0.3 -0.01 26 Min, 3 Pts (1-4 FG, 1-3 3PT), 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO, 5 PF
Russell Woods -4.3 -0.30 14 Min, 2 Pts (1-4 FG, 0-0 3PT), 1 Reb (1 Off), 1 TO, 5 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Terrence Phillips 23% 43% 5.9 72% 18% 10% 0%
Jordan Barnett 21% 55% 1.2 0% 90% 0% 10%
Kevin Puryear 25% 43% 2.7 42% 43% 8% 7%
Cullen VanLeer 18% 44% 1.1 0% 88% 0% 13%
K.J. Walton 28% 50% 3.7 45% 31% 17% 8%
Frankie Hughes 25% 27% 2.5 32% 50% 18% 0%
Reed Nikko 4% 27% 1.6 85% 0% 0% 15%
Jordan Geist 12% 19% 1.4 50% 34% 0% 17%
Russell Woods 19% 17% 1.1 0% 80% 0% 20%

Nice to see Terrence Phillips finishing his season with a nice performance, even though it included the customary five fouls. His defensive aggression is part of what makes him one of Missouri’s best players, but the last four games were rather alarming: 16 fouls, three steals. In all, he finished a game with either four or five fouls 16 times in 2016-17 and finished with more than two steals just three times.

There will need to be more balance there moving forward, though as I’ve written plenty of times, it’s hard to negate a weakness so very tied to your athletic mindset without negating some strengths, too.

It was also nice to see Jordan Barnett finishing strong. After scoring 14 or more points in eight of his first 12 SEC games, he was in a minor slump, hitting that mark in just one of his last seven games. He was 3-for-15 from 3-point range in his last two games and 7-for-33 in his last seven. 3-for-6 is a better way to end things.

Ugh, I feel for Russell Woods. He was a steady, decent contributor at the end of non-conference play and the beginning of SEC play, averaging 9.2 points per game in the 14 contests between Dec. 3 and Jan. 28. But over the final eight games of his career, he scored just 24 total points on 8-for-28 shooting from the field.


Kim Anderson finishes his tenure with a 27-68 mark as Missouri head coach. That’s an average record of 9-23 each year, absolutely horrid. Even during the disastrous end to the Quin Snyder era, Mizzou never won fewer than 16 games; in fact, the Tigers hadn’t won fewer than 16 since going 13-15 in 1978-79, right after Anderson’s playing career in Columbia had ended.

This was a disastrous tenure, definitively awful enough that agendas could be put aside and all could acknowledge that the idea of Kim Anderson as Missouri head coach, for so long batted about in the Mizzou universe, was a bad one. This just wasn’t something that was going to work out.

I’d love for that paragraph to be true, anyway. But like political arguments, intra-fanbase arguments and agendas never, ever, ever die. The facts can never fail the agenda — the agenda just bends the facts.

“Haith left him a dumpster fire” and “You just don’t understand what they had to deal with” will forever be the party lines on this one. Granted, the party is pretty small, and that’s fine. But ... damn, I was hoping we could take an argument off the plate for once.

Kim Anderson was dealt a tough — but not completely unplayable — hand and played it poorly. The end.

It doesn’t negate what he did in a Mizzou uniform, and it doesn’t take away the national title he won In Division II. It doesn’t make him an overall failure as a coach, and it doesn’t make him any less of a human being. If he chooses to continue coaching, and he says he wants to, then then hopefully he finds a landing spot and succeeds. No hard feelings. But on the court, the last three years were a total disaster, and while Haith did him few favors, there was a path forward. Mizzou went backwards.

For now, I’m going to pretend that this is the last I will ever write on the subject. Let me believe that I am finished with it for now. Anderson’s teams were mostly awful on the court, but he is leaving a tough but playable hand for his successor. I’m looking forward to finding out exactly who that successor is.