Tennessee 73, Ole Miss 71: four-factors review

The Tennessee Vols added another Quadrant 1 win to their resume last night with a 73-71 win over the Ole Miss Rebels in a hotly-contested game. Neither team really made the most of their opportunities, and the game came down to the wire. In the end, a Grant Williams power-drive to the rim from the free throw line sealed the deal for the Vols.

Effective Field Goal Percentage

We noted in our four-factors preview of this game that the Vols had an advantage on both sides of the ball in effective field goal percentage and said that they needed to make the most of it.

They did that, but only sort of. The overall percentages for both teams were 46.3% for the Vols and 40.7% for Ole Miss, and Tennessee shot 51.8% from the field. But they were also a miserable 3-13 (23.1%) from the arc. Admiral Schofield did his part from three, but the guards were cold. Lamonte Turner (who otherwise had a good night) was 1-4 from three, and the Jordans were a combined 0-6.

The Vols did outshoot Ole Miss, and they remain at No. 15 in EFG% per KenPom, but it’s hard to say they made the most of their advantage in this area. The guards, especially Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner, need to regain their form from three.

Turnover Percentage

Here’s what we said about turnovers in our game preview:

On paper in the offensive and defensive turnover categories, Ole Miss looks essentially the same as LSU. The turnover box score in the Vols game against the Tigers was 14 turnovers for Tennessee to 7 for LSU. If form holds, we should expect the Vols to once again have trouble protecting the ball, but they need to do better than that.

If the standard is “better than that,” then mission accomplished. Tennessee turned the ball over 9 times, but forced Ole Miss into 10 turnovers. It’s basically nothing more than what you’d want to see, but it’s a very good thing that they did not repeat one of the things that went wrong at LSU.

Offensive Rebounding Percentage

We noted in the preview that both teams had distinct advantages on the offensive glass and that being able to make the most of this while mitigating the other’s advantage on the other side of the ball would be key.

Well, it turns out that neither team was really able to do that, although Ole Miss did a marginally better job. Both teams are averaging just a shade over 10 offensive rebounds per game, and last night, the Vols limited Ole Miss to 7 but grabbed only 4 of their own.

Tennessee ORB% took a major hit last night, falling from No. 65 to No. 87. The defensive numbers improved from No. 261 to No. 251, but that’s not much comfort.

Free Throw Rate

Here’s what we said in our preview about Free Throw Rate:

Shrug. Neither team is especially good at getting to the line, but both defenses are pretty good at sending their opponents there anyway. Like the OR%, this is another even matchup where a team doing better than it normally does can secure for itself an important surprise advantage. The good news for Tennessee is that, although they were done in by both Kentucky and LSU in this category, they were able to keep it from happening against Vanderbilt despite the fact that Vandy usually does this well.

Shrug indeed, as this was another stalemate. The Vols went to the line 16 times while putting Ole Miss on the line 15 times. Neither team hit their average trips in this game. It should be said that Ole Miss did hit a really impressive 93.3% of its free throw attempts.

The Vols squandered some opportunities to make this game more comfortable, but they mostly shot and protected the ball well enough and made sure that Ole Miss didn’t take advantage of opportunities, either. And most importantly, the Vols added an extremely important Quadrant 1 win to their resume.

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