clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Study Hall: Mizzou 66, Texas A&M 43

Defense travels, and Martin and the Tigers brought their defense to College Station to capture a much needed win.

2019 study hall tamu team stats

It’s never easy starting off league play taking that many L’s in a row. For a man like Cuonzo Martin, who’s competitive fire burns at all times, it eats him up. After a tough few days of practice, Martin took his team to College Station and his team played what was perhaps its best 40 minutes of defense in the last couple years.

I don’t want to overreact to one game because it’s a long season and Missouri has proven they’re just as likely to play ugly next game as they are turn in a performance like this one. When the team is relying upon a host of younger players there are going to be bumps, yet it was certainly nice to get a win in a place that’s been tough to get wins in over the years.

Texas A&M isn’t the team they’ve been in those years either, I picked them preseason to be the worst team in the league and they just got run off their home court by a team who hadn’t yet won a league game. I look at the Aggies as a team in a real danger zone right now because of how the Tigers squeezed the fight right out of them in the first half. There’s a very good chance A&M is looking at 7-14 and 1-8 in the league when they make the trip to Columbia for a rematch on February 9th.

Regardless, going on the road in conference play and winning by 20+ points no matter the opponent is a good thing. And this is certainly something Missouri can build upon.

Team Stats

2019 study hall tamu team stats
  • What stands out to me the most is Missouri was mostly average offensively: Their 1.07 ppp is basically equal to their KenPom AdjustedORtg of 106.9. For those unaware, Offensive Rating is how many points a team would score in 100 possessions, so a 1.07 points per possession would be 107 ORtg. That they were so average offensively and won going away speaks to the way they played defensively.
  • I found this interesting statistic following the game:

The last part was important because that Mississippi State team was awful. Texas A&M is bad, but they aren’t even Kim Anderson years bad, and nowhere close to Rick Ray Mississippi State bad. So having a defensive performance like that against a team with at least a little bit of a pulse is good for the growth of this program.

  • Getting back to the averageness of the offensive performance: because things always look better when you’re making some shots while your opponent isn’t making any... but the Tigers still can’t figure out a way to get to the Free Throw line. I attribute some of this to youth, some of it to a little lack of overall team athleticism, and some of it to offensive sets.
  • But you can’t stop the FT Defense: After taking a few games off the Tigers FTD% is back in full effect.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: Jordan Geist, Jeremiah Tilmon, Mark Smith

2019 study hall tamu gamesc

On the season: Jordan Geist 26 points, Mark Smith 22 points, Jeremiah Tilmon 15 points, Javon Pickett 11 points, Kevin Puryear 8 points, Xavier Pinson 6 points, Torrence Watson 5 points, Reed Nikko 1 point.

The return of Jordan Geist and Kevin Puryear, coupled with Jeremiah Tilmon staying on the floor is going to make good Mizzou a thing more often than not. At this point Mark Smith seems to be pretty consistent. In conference play he’s scored 8, 14, 13, and 13 points on 8, 7, 11, and 9 shots. My hope is to eventually figure out how I can factor defense into this piece because A&M thrives off two players: T.J. Starks and Savion Flagg. And it was Mark Smith who virtually took Flagg out of everything he’s used to doing.

Flagg is a strong physical wing, who usually over powers smaller guards on the glass and around the rim. But Smith is 6’5 and 225 lbs, he’s incredibly sturdy and Flagg couldn’t move him around. Flaggs line? An ORtg of 59 and 1-of-7 from the field.

2019 study hall tamu player%

I’d be lying if I said I knew what we can expect from K.J. Santos. He looks the part, and maybe he’s still knocking some rust off but Santos wasn’t good, and was the only one who wasn’t good yesterday. Mitchell Smith played a minute and was +2 while he was on the floor, Geist was +24, Puryear was +29.... Santos was -10. He was the only player who played in the minus. I’ll add the caveat that +/- is a difficult stat to truly gauge, but on a day when Mizzou won by 23 and every player was in the positive column that does make me pause.

I often like to mention the Floor% here because it’s a good indicator of good offense and holy crap Jordan Geist had a 63% Floor%! That’s very good.

I’m also weirdly fascinated by how high usage Javon Pickett is. He’s only about 20% on the season but it does seem like he’s gotten a lot more confident lately and when the ball hits his hands he’s either looking to shoot or drive and he’s been far more effective of a driver since the Bragging Rights game. That’s only a good thing for the Tigers, even if he isn’t having his best game simply having someone willing to attack the rim with regularity stresses the defense.

On Xavier Pinson: it’s clear at this point Martin is trying to send the young man a message. The good news is, according to much of Pinson’s social media accounts, he’s bought in on the program. Martin has been preaching effort and intensity on defense, and more focus on simplicity on offense. There’s no question Pinson has talent, and he’s capable of making a healthy amount of wow plays. But like a lot of freshmen point guards he occasionally falls in love with the excitement and the oohs and aahs from the crowd. But Pinson is going to make himself a stalwart in the rotation for years to come by taking care of the ball, being efficient offensively, and defending with effort. It’s good to see him staying positive through a little down time on the bench.

So positives abound, Mizzou took care of business and now they’re 1-3 instead of being 0-4 in league play. To continue the momentum they need to win another road game against another struggling team in the Arkansas Razorbacks on Wednesday at 8pm.