I said a lot yesterday. I know losses like that are never fun to live out, which is why I felt the need to do a little pep talk. Study Hall, however, is NOT a pep talk space. We’re strictly a weird numbers blog post.
From a strictly numbers standpoint what struck me the most about this game is how below average the Missouri offensive attack was.
I suppose it’s to be expected when you lose Mark Smith for a game, the efficiency with which Mizzou was able to capitalize from 3-point range was inhibited.
- On the season Missouri is shooting 38.4% from deep and against LSU that number suffered without Smith: For Mizzou to be ahead at one point of the game while shooting quite poorly from 3-point range is impressive. In fact one LSU fan told me on twitter that LSU was losing to that point because they were shooting poorly. But so was Missouri so...
- What is actually surprising though is how effective Missouri was inside the arc: I mean, Reed Nikko even hit a mid-range jumper! LSU isn’t great defensively but they block a lot of shots and force teams to shoot under 50% from 2FG quite often. Missouri is especially adept at shooting under 50% from 2FG on their own. But a funny thing happens when you get Jeremiah Tilmon on the court and get him eight shots, he tend to make them. There was also K.J. Santos driving the ball against Naz Reid and converting driving layups, a new facet of his game. Perhaps it was a blip but if Mizzou’s already stellar 3FG shooting can be met up with a more efficient two point game, that’s yet another area this team is improving and that alone is exciting.
- Can we talk a minute about the D: I spoke yesterday about the gameplan. And in the half court Mizzou’s defense is downright stingy. Obviously things got sloppy once LSU kicked th tempo up and forced the Tigers out of their comfort zone, but for most of the game it was a slog which is just how Cuonzo Martin wanted to play, and his team executed the game plan until the cupboard was bare and the tank was empty.
The Tigers held LSU to under 60 points over 38 minutes of game play. LSU hadn’t scored less than 70 points in a contest since a contest in November against Charleston. Even with the final two minute blitz and subsequent overtime where they scored 15 points, Mizzou held LSU to his lowest points per possession in SEC play.
Your Trifecta: Jordan Geist, Jeremiah Tilmon, Javon Pickett
EDIT: Apparently left Pinson off the chart :( Here’s his line:
Xavier Pinson 6.7 0.48 14 Min, 8 Pts (2-4 FG, 1-2 3PT, 3-3 FT), 3 Reb, 2 Stl, 3 TO, 5 PF
It was all on Jordan Geist. The fact Mizzou got basically nothing from Kevin Puryear and Torrence Watson likely sealed their fate. We were hoping for a Watson breakout game but he pressed a lot early and it showed. Offensively he’s a mess and often doesn’t even look at the basket when he catches the ball. Watson is searching right now.
And so is Puryear. LSU is a tough matchup because their front court depth is very very good and they’re all long and athletic bigs. Without any real matchups to exploit Puryear was relegated to a non-participant for much of the game.
If you get 35 minutes from Tilmon that is going to be enough most nights to make Mizzou competitive. After Tilmon they need a good game from Geist and solid outside shooting. Two of three left them short.
Mizzou isn’t getting much of anything from the four spot. Mitchell Smith can barely get off the bench, and when he does he struggles defensively and is prone to turnovers. Santos doesn’t defend well on the interior and rarely looks to shoot. His attacking Reid off the dribble was more shocking than anything. And with Puryear struggling there’s a giant hole in the offense the size of Jontay Porter. And really not just Porter but the four spot is important in a lot of ways and right now they’re just not getting enough production from that spot on the floor.
The point guard spots, despite the ball handlings woes, is looking solid. Pinson has been playing confidently and providing steady minutes off the bench. The off guard and wing spots have been good for most of the year with Smith and Pickett. If Watson gets it figured out even better. And when Tilmon is on Mizzou is really tough.
Now just imagine this team with an efficient Kevin Puryear. Since the start of SEC play Puryear’s Offensive Rating is well under 100 with just two games a hair over. During Mizzou’s 6 game win streak Puryear went over 100 in four of them, and in a 5th he was at 97.
I’m just making the case that they need Puryear to snap out of whatever funk he’s in. The matchup against Auburn isn’t a great one for KP, but what better way to get off the slide than by picking up a road win against a top 25 level team in desperate need of a win? Auburn has lost three in a row to Kentucky, South Carolina, and Mississippi State. May this is the beginning of Puryear's last stand?