Five stats to describe McMahon’s coaching style

LSU’s new head coach Matt McMahon leaves Murray State after a 31-3 season, marking his fourth losing single-digit season in seven years in charge of the Racers. Many college basketball analysts across the country rave about McMahon as a basketball mind, and now he will be tasked with leading LSU in the ultra-competitive SEC.

But what does LSU get in its new coach? While this won’t be a breakdown of the (coming soon) movie, it will be a look at the numbers that define McMahon’s style on the pitch and how those translate to an increase in competition.

Murray State finished the year as the 36th ranked team in Kenpom, a rating higher than eight SEC teams. Here’s what stands out about his teams during his seven years at Murray State.


will wade was huge for playing fast with the athletes at hand, so LSU has ranked in the top 101 in tempo each of the past four years. At Murray State, however, McMahon played to his team’s strengths. When he had Ja Morant in 2018 they played slow, ranking 222 in tempo, but when Morant took that leap forward in 2019, the Racers ranked 89th in tempo.

Over the past two years, Murray State has ranked 275 and 244 in tempo, emphasizing ball movement and player movement on offense. He generally likes to play a little slower, but we’ll have to see how he adapts to the SEC level. He had no problem giving Morant the go-ahead to push – understandably.

Field goal percentage

While his offenses didn’t happen at a blistering pace, shooting percentages were searing under McMahon. In six of its seven seasons, Murray State has finished in the top 100 in effective field goal percentage (a stat that combines and weighs 2 and 3). Over the past four years, his team’s effective field goal percentages have ranked 27, 23, 42, 27, 62 in the country. In all seven seasons, his teams have also finished in the top 150 with 3-point percentage.

Maintaining that kind of efficiency over a span of seven years says a lot about the quality of shots his offenses were able to build on every possession. All of the offensive stats are impressive, but the field goal percentages really show the work he’s done.

Offensive rebound

The rebound in general is impressive when you look at the numbers, but his teams’ offensive rebound really stands out. Four of its seven years they have ranked in the top 80 in the nation, and last season Murray State ranked No. 11 in the nation in offensive rebound percentage, despite being the 230th-most team high in Division I basketball.

While Wade never quite got the hang of the rebound, McMahon will aim to build a strong team on the glass on both sides.

3 point defense

Without knowing the details of the scheme, it’s harder to project the defense, but he still had three seasons with a top-55 defense in the country and a lot of that starts on the perimeter. Murray State has ranked in the top 60 in 3-point defense percentage four of the past five years and was in the top 20 in three of those years.

They also don’t allow as many 3-pointers as LSU has this year, staying solid much more often. Murray State was average at forcing turnovers and free throw attempt rate from the opposition, but anytime you have the disparity in efficiency and rebounding the Racers had every game, they were tough to beat.

Assist Percentage

For the past four years, Wade’s teams have failed to hit the 50% assist percentage mark. That means less than half of LSU’s field goals have been assisted. For Murray State under McMahon, the Racers have never had a year where their assist percentage fell below 50.2%.

Of course, you could argue that LSU had a lot more individual talent than Murray State and while that was the case, McMahon’s offenses were powerful on their own, finishing in the top 55 in Kenpom’s adjusted offensive efficiency three of five. last years. A huge reason why was their fleeting insight. Of course, the years with Ja Morant make it easier to handle an offense in the Ohio Valley Conference, but the numbers remained relatively high when Morant also left, with the attendance percentage reaching 58.2% in 2021.

We’ll get to attacking styles and patterns in the coming days, but the numbers point to an attack with more ball movements and assists than in years past.

Brown Note: None of this is to say that McMahon is better than Wade or vice versa. Obviously the two coach at different levels over the past five years so it’s unfair to just compare the numbers, however, it does give us a good insight into what McMahon insists on and how his teams have were built at Murray State. By all accounts, he’s a great coach, but roster building will be just as important in the SEC.