First Look: Missouri Tigers

As discussed this morning, Texas' Wednesday night showdown with Mike Anderson's up and coming (arrived?) Missouri Tigers takes on added importance following the 'Horns home loss to Kansas State. The full game preview will run tomorrow, but let's set the stage with an introductory look at Missouri.

For that we turn to the exceptional Tigers blog Rock M Nation -- perhaps the college blogosphere's finest execution of team coverage through comprehensive statistical analysis. A look at RMN's Baylor wrap is chalk full of illuminating number nuggets:

  • The points per minute (2.23), points per possession (1.18), and points per shot (1.53) stats comport with what we thought we knew about both Missouri and Baylor: The Tigers can score; the Bears don't defend.
  • I love the Ball Control Index stat (Assists + Steals / Turnovers) in general, and especially for a team that flies up and down the floor like the Tigers. Sobering perspective: the Tigers managed an impressive BCI of 2.00 against Baylor, twice Texas' subpar 1.00 BCI against Kansas State. This morning I advocated Texas' amping up the pace and the pressure -- if they allow Missouri that kind of BCI on Wednesday, trouble is likely.
  • More sobering news: the Tigers on the season are averaging a BCI of 2.07. Their opponents? A mere 1.02. Yikes.
  • As Bill notes, if the Tigers win the BCI and the rebounding battle, the team's going to win every time. There's our second key to the game: Missouri's allowing 33% of opponent misses to be rebounded for second chances, while the 'Horns are picking up nearly 39% of their misses on the year.
  • This Missouri team plays loose and fast, but they not only take great care of the basketball, they can absolutely shoot it. Missouri's sitting at over 40% from three point range on the season. Texas, by comparison, is shooting an awful 31% from downtown.
  • Bottom line? If Texas isn't effectively imposing defensive pressure to disrupt Missouri, the Longhorns are basically hanging their victory chances on blind hope that the Tigers have an off night shooting. Not only is there no question at all which team has the superior offense... it's not even close.
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