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A Game of Numbers: Mississippi State

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Breaking down the numbers, winding down this disappointing season.

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

This game is a case study in why the most basic statistics aren't always a good indicator of how the game went.  Let's look at the numbers:

3 to 1

Three Tigers, Williams, Wright, and Shamburger, in double figures.  Only one Bulldog, Craig Sword.  That suggests some good things happened against Mississippi State.  Unfortunately...

14 and 12

MSU 1st Half Namon 3

Namon Wright took 14 shots.  Keith Shamburger took 12.  That doesn't leave very many shots for guys not named Keith and Namon, which is fine if you're hitting shots.  Unfortunately, they combined to miss 17 of their combined 26 shots.  If you're going to be a high-volume guy, you had better be hitting a decent percentage.

Now, admittedly, in some (potentially, a lot of) cases, these were shots taken at the end of the shot clock after the offense failed to generate a better shot.  But less than half of the shots taken by both players were 3 point shots.  The offense has looked bad this year, but a big part of its problem is that, even when it works, our guys have too often missed the resulting shot.

10 and 12

Johnathan Williams III had himself a pretty nice game, racking up 10 points and 12 rebounds, and, even though 3 for 8 from the field isn't a great percentage, he shot 10 free throws.  He only hit 4 of those free throws...but, it's still better than anyone else managed.  Williams hasn't been the guy Mizzou needed this year (short of Jabari Brown sticking around, nobody was going to be the guy Mizzou needed this year), but it's not hard to see him developing into that guy: a stretch 4 with above-average ball handling skill for the position.  He just needs a little more bulk to finish and rebound through contact, and a little more skill development to develop a consistent counter when teams take away his left hand.  He's probably going to be great, but he isn't quite there yet.

9

Tigers not named Keith, Namon, and Johnathan only contributed 9 points.  It's okay not to have one guy who's going to score a ton of points every night - look at Mike Anderson's Elite Eight Mizzou squad - but it's only okay if you know that one of your guys on the team will score a solid amount.  We have some guys that are capable of scoring in bursts, but not enough of them can do so with anything resembling consistency.  Some of them will likely develop consistency, but it's not there yet.

MSU 1st Half Teki 3

1

We didn't get to double digit wins in the regular season.  But we can still steal one in the tournament, and ruin some other team's day along the way.  Little victories, and then we need to focus on maintaining some continuity in the roster.