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The Verdict: Seton Hall Pre-Game Data Scout

Mizzou will look to get back in the win column on Sunday. What are the most important areas to watch for in order for them to do so?

Syndication: Columbia Daily Tribune Abigail Landwehr/Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

Welcome to The Verdict series. You may have become acquainted with these pieces in the past, and in efforts to improve them, we’ve made a few changes. Prior to each game receiving the full treatment, we’re going to release a series of pre-game keys to watch for in each matchup. After the results are in, we’ll return to those keys and analyze the performance with data and film. Credits for statistics to Ken Pomeroy, Synergy, Pivot Analysis and Matt Watkins. Film has been graciously provided by Matt Harris.

Note: Pre-Game keys are in standard font. Post-Game analysis and data are in bold and italics.

On Sunday afternoon Mizzou Basketball will return to the court to face the Seton Hall Pirates in Kansas City. Mizzou will look to bounce back from a tough loss in Lawrence and will visit the fine metropolis of Kansas City in order to do so.

Sunday’s contest carries a fair amount of weight. Mizzou owns quality wins at Pittsburgh and Minnesota, and a perfectly adequate decision over Wichita State at home. But there’s no doubting the elephant in the room: the home loss to Jackson State. For Mizzou to be well-positioned entering conference play, Sunday’s game is a must.

And speaking of this non-conference slate, it has been something of an assortment of firsts:

  • The first meeting with Pittsburgh since at least the 1949-50 season (first ever, I believe.)
  • The first meeting with Minnesota since 1960.
  • The first meeting with Seton Hall since 1992.
  • The first game in Kansas City since November 26, 2019.

Mizzou’s one and only meeting with Seton Hall came in the second round of the 1992 NCAA Tournament. After defeating 12th-seeded West Virginia, Mizzou fell to 4th-seeded Seton Hall 88-71 in the only matchup between the programs. And we thought last Saturday was about ending droughts!

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Seton Hall Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s Seton Hall program is led by Shaheen Holloway — who you may recall guided 15th-seeded St. Peter’s to the Elite 8 just two years back. Holloway’s Pirates sport a 6-4 record on the young season and have yet to nab a win vs. a top 100 opponent. Both the Tigers and Pirates will be searching for that important win to boost the resume` of their second-year head coach.

Let’s take a look at the matchup keys.

Win the Open Court Battle

Mizzou and Seton Hall are something of a mirror image stylistically in terms of turnover creation and open-court scoring. Led by Al-Amir Dawes, Kadary Richmond and Isaiah Coleman, the Pirates boast a fairly prodigious attack in the open court. As the numbers below show, a major function of Seton Hall’s offense is attacking defenses before they can get set. Much like the Pirates, Mizzou also utilizes the transition game to boost their scoring output, though at times the sledding has been a little tougher than they’d like. While Mizzou chooses to bring pressure more often, both squads will seek to jumpstart their offense with defensive swipes. Whoever can pull off a win in this area will have a big step up in the eventual outcome.

NCAA Basketball: Northeastern at Seton Hall Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
  • Mizzou Transition Offense: 20.4% Usage — 0.975 PPP
  • Seton Hall Transition Defense: 15.7% Usage — 1.083 PPP

  • Seton Hall Transition Offense: 19.6% Usage — 1.110 PPP
  • Mizzou Transition Defense: 16.7% Usage — 0.918 PPP

  • Mizzou Defensive Steal Rate: 13.2%
  • Seton Hall Offensive Steal Rate: 11.0%

  • Seton Hall Defensive Steal Rate: 12.2%
  • Mizzou Offensive Steal Rate: 9.2%

Build a Wall Around the Restricted Arc

One of our keys last week was similar. For Sunday’s contest, this is absolutely paramount. Seton Hall’s entire offensive identity is predicated on scoring at close range. In the Year of our Lord, 2023, scoring at the rim is not exactly a foreign concept. Yet the Pirates take this to an entirely different level. We’ve already discussed the transition component of this attack. Seton Hall also seeks to attack the paint via ball screen actions helmed by Kadary Richmond. They also pound the offensive glass with Jaden Bediako — who rates 5th nationally in offensive rebound rate. Dre Davis, Richmond and Bediako also seek to impose their will on the block, leading a fairly potent post-up game. They’ll seek to pressure the interior in different ways as well, but these two (three) areas are what I’ll have my eye on specifically. And let it be known, “Don’t get killed on the glass” has made its first appearance of the year!

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Seton Hall Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
  • Seton Hall Rim Offense: 48.5% Usage* — 1.16 PPS
  • Mizzou Rim Defense: 39.2% Usage — 1.09 PPS

  • Seton Hall PnR Ballhandler Offense: 11.4% Usage — 0.833 PPP
  • Mizzou PnR Ballhandler Defense: 11.1% Usage — 0.798 PPP

  • Seton Hall Post-Up Offense: 8.2% Usage — 0.938 PPP
  • Mizzou Post-Up Defense: 3.9% Usage — 0.710 PPP

  • Seton Hall Offensive Rebound Put-Back Offense: 9.1% Usage** — 1.111 PPP
  • Mizzou Offensive Rebound Put-Back Defense: 7.1% Usage — 1.281 PPP

*For context, 48.5% is the third highest among high-major programs.

**15th Highest in D-I

Take (and Make) What the Defense Gives You

Last week a key for the Kansas affair was to excel in jump shooting. Mizzou didn’t perform poorly, but I do question whether their offensive strategy skewed too much away from taking those attempts. Once again, Mizzou will be facing a team that suppresses rim attempts in exchange for allowing jump shots — Seton Hall ranks top 40 in defensive rim rate allowed. Mizzou will still be without Caleb Grill, but sports THREE players shooting over 40% from behind the arc on the year: Sean East II, Tamar Bates and Nick Honor. Combined, those three players have hit 52-107 (48.5%) on their attempts this season. If you add in Noah Carter to round out Mizzou’s top four volume options, the group has made good on 66-151 (43.7%). Let them rain, I say.

Missouri guard Tamar Bates motions to his teammate Jordan Butler as Butler enters a game against Wichita State on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, at Mizzou Arena. Missouri took the lead early and never trailed in the 82-72 win. (Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation)

No, Mizzou shouldn’t entirely neglect attacking the paint. In fact, the opposite. Mizzou should be advantageous in doing so. If the driving lane is open, pressure the rim. If it’s not, have the off-ball players be active, cutting or spotting up, and find them on dribble penetrations into the paint in lieu of forcing contested short-range attempts. Seton Hall is going to make life difficult in the trees. Mizzou would do well to attack it with intelligence. Mizzou will assuredly put Sean East in more pick and roll options to fuel the offense, which I fully endorse. But again, opportunities will most often present themselves a pass away from the ball.

  • Mizzou PnR Derived Offense: 30.8% Usage — 0.962 PPP (Includes Passes)
  • Seton Hall PnR Derived Defense: 26.4% Usage — 0.721 PPP

  • Mizzou Spot-Up Offense: 25.9% Usage — 1.005 PPP
  • Seton Hall Spot-Up Defense: 28.7% Usage — 0.817 PPP

  • Mizzou Jumper Offense: 53.3% Usage — 1.01 PPS
  • Seton Hall Jumper Defense: 54.1% Usage — 0.92 PPS

  • Mizzou Catch and Shoot Offense: 67.4% Usage — 1.01 PPS
  • Seton Hall Catch and Shoot Defense: 70.1% Usage — 1.05 PPS