These numbers illustrate the early season struggles for Mizzou Tigers men’s basketball

·4 min read

The Missouri Tigers men’s basketball team entered the season with an almost entirely new roster and plenty of unknowns. Eight games in, seven against Division I opponents, Mizzou is 4-4 and it’s clear that there are a plethora of issues, especially on offense.

Let’s take a deep dive into some statistics to explore where the program stands and what can be expected. Because the schedule gets a lot tougher.

Some things to keep in mind with these numbers: These stats, which apply to games through Thursday, were gathered through analysis of Synergy and KenPom (which doesn’t factor non Division I opponents like Paul Quinn), along with some historic data from Stat Reference. When referring to high major schools or the top six conferences, this means the Power Five plus the Big East. It’s also worth remembering that this is a small sample size for a team that has for the most part never played together before.


The Tigers are ranked No. 142 out of 358 Division I teams by KenPom, the lowest ranking for the program since 2016-17. That was Kim Anderson’s last season, in which Mizzou went 8-24 and only won two SEC games. This 2021-22 Missouri squad started the season at No. 95 and has dropped 47 spots. Only one other SEC team ranks lower, No. 161 Georgia, which just managed to knock off Memphis. And only two other high-major schools, Washington (146) and Pittsburgh (201), are lower.


Mizzou is scoring a mere 0.808 points per possession, which ranks 306th in the country. For context, this number is calculated by dividing a team’s number of possessions by the amount of points scored on those possessions, essentially examining how effectively a team is able to score each trip down the floor. To be this dramatically below a point per possession is a huge concern. This is by far the lowest scoring rate for the Tigers as far back as Synergy data goes to the 2005-06 season. Arizona State (.806) and Pittsburgh (.800) are the only other high major teams with a worse scoring rate this year. That number dips even lower for half court offense, in which the Tigers only score 0.782 points per possession, which ranks 308th nationally with only South Carolina, Louisville and Oklahoma State worse among the high majors.


The Tigers have made 35 of 135 shots from three-point range this season against Division I competition. That ranks 341st out of 358 Division I teams and is the worst three-point percentage of any high major team. Though it is of course a small sample size and it’s important to also remember that the three-point line has been moved back twice, no Mizzou team has finished a season shooting under 29.7% from deep since the three-point line was introduced in the 1986-87 season. That 29.7% mark from 2019-20, right after the line was moved back a second time, is the only instance in which a Tigers team has shot below 30% from long range.


Conversely, the Tigers’ Division I opponents have made 58 of 159 three-pointers. This defensive statistic ranks 284th in the country. The only other high majors that have allowed their competition to shoot this well from long range are Syracuse (304), Miami (331) and Notre Dame (356). Given Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martin’s focus on defense, this is an area that should get better.


Against Division I competition, Mizzou has an effective field goal percentage of 43.1%, which is the worst of any high major team and ranks 325th in the country. The effective field goal percentage is different from a team’s overall field goal percentage — which is 38.75% for the Tigers against Division I opponents — because it factors in the extra made value of a three-pointer. This is the lowest recorded effective field goal percentage for Mizzou as far back as KenPom data goes to the 2001-02 season, but again, it’s a small sample size.


The Tigers have turned the ball over on 22.5% of their possessions against Division I competition this season. This ranks 300th in the country, with Michigan State, Illinois and Pittsburgh as the other high major teams who have coughed up the ball more. In terms of the number of actual turnovers, Mizzou is averaging 15.4 per game against D-I opponents, which has led to 17.7 points per game for its opponents. Many of these turnovers are self-inflicted, as the Tigers commit a non-steal turnover on 12.5% of their possessions, which ranks 329th in the nation.


Let’s end things with one area where the Tigers have done decently this year and will need to continue emphasizing: the boards. A third (33.3%) of Mizzou’s rebounds against Division I competition have come on the offensive glass, a rate which ranks 65th in the country. And the team is only allowing a percentage of 23.5% for its opponents, which is 50th in the country. Missouri will need to do better on capitalizing on these though. In those seven games, it averaged 12.6 offensive rebounds but only 13.1 second chance points.

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