Study Hall: Mizzou vs UA-Pine Bluff

Congrats to UAPB for the late surge that allowed their "No losses by 20+" streak to continue.  Joking aside, UAPB really does look like a pretty good SWAC team despite the record.

Mizzou 88, UAPB 70

Mizzou
UAPB
Points Per Minute
2.20 1.75
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.19 0.94
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.24 1.15
2-PT FG% 45.1% 39.6%
3-PT FG% 40.0% 30.8%
FT% 81.9% 80.0%
True Shooting % 54.5% 48.6%
Mizzou UAPB
Assists 13 10
Steals 13 5
Turnovers 12 20
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.17 0.75
Mizzou UAPB
Expected Offensive Rebounds 15 15
Offensive Rebounds 18 17
Difference +3 +2


Hey, hey! Rebounds!

Against cupcake opponents, you want to dominate on the glass, not just win the rebounding battle by one.  But against a Golden Lions team that is subpar at just about everything but great at rebounding, I'll take a 1-board margin as a nice victory.  Thanks to Keith Ramsey, Mizzou grabbed three more offensive caroms than expected.

Beyond that, I can't glean too much from this game.  As we'll see in the per-player section, I was really happy with the aggressiveness I saw from Justin Safford, but Mizzou was missing a starter and gave up a couple of runs without some other starters on the court, so I'll just say I was happy with the rebounding and move on.

Player stats after the jump.

Player Stats

Player AdjGS* GmSc/Min Line
Kim English 15.5 0.62 25 Min, 18 Pts (6-for-14 FG, 3-for-5 3PT), 4 Reb, 3 Stl, 2 Ast, 3 TO
Keith Ramsey 15.5 0.57 27 Min, 10 Pts (4-for-6 FG), 5 Reb (5 Off), 3 Stl
Mike Dixon 15.1 0.63 24 Min, 13 Pts (5-for-9 FG, 1-for-4 3PT), 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl
Laurence Bowers 12.7 0.70 18 Min, 12 Pts (4-for-7 FG), 6 Reb, 2 Blk
Zaire Taylor 8.8 0.33 27 Min, 9 Pts (3-for-4 FG), 2 Ast
Marcus Denmon 7.6 0.35 22 Min, 7 Pts (3-for-11 FG, 1-for-5 3PT), 9 Reb (3 Off), 4 Ast
Justin Safford 7.3 0.43 17 Min, 9 Pts (4-for-11 FG), 9 Reb
Miguel Paul 6.7 0.37 18 Min, 8 Pts (2-for-4 FG)
Steve Moore 1.4 0.11 13 Min, 2 Pts (0-for-1 FG), 2 Blk
Jarrett Sutton -0.5 -0.16 3 Min, 0 Pts (0-for-1 FG)
John Underwood -0.9 -0.31 3 Min
Tyler Stone -2.8 -0.94 3 Min, 0 Pts (0-for-3 FG)


* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds.  It does the same thing my previous measure of choice did (it takes points, assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls into account to determine an individual's "score" for a given game), only the formula is more used and accepted.  The "adjustment" in Adjusted Game Score is simply matching the total game scores to the total points scored in the game, thereby redistributing the game's points scored to those who had the biggest impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.

  • Some people just know how to fill up the stat sheet.  Laurence Bowers looked underwhelming for a good portion of the game, but when all was said and done, his per-minute rates were still quite healthy, and he had managed a 12-6 with two blocks.
  • The stats don't really do justice to how encouragingly hard Justin Safford was playing Saturday night.  He was aggressive and threw his body around for rebounds (and it worked), and that's exactly what we're going to need from him Wednesday night.
  • Marcus Denmon & Mike Dixon: 12 rebounds
    Keith Ramsey & Laurence Bowers: 11 rebounds

    Ehh??
  • I can honestly say I don't remember eight misses from Denmon...thought he shot much better than that.

The Challenge

Once again we revisit the challenges I made for each player after the loss to Oral Roberts...

Zaire Taylor: Shots Per Minute

Versus UAPB: 0.15 ShPM

Zaire was not at all offensively aggressive against the Golden Lions, and while he can get away with that (Kimmeh getting hot helped) against UAPB, Mizzou needs him to take more shots against Illinois.

J.T. Tiller: Steals Per Minute

Versus UAPB: Unpaid Speeding Ticket.

Jesus Tyrannosaurus has had a nothing senior season so far.  Wednesday would be a good time to change that.

Kim English: Defensive Rebounds Per Minute

Versus UAPB: 0.08 DRPM

His three steals make up for the lack of rebounding a bit, but this is something else that needs to improve quickly.

Justin Safford: Rebounds Per Minute

Versus UAPB: 0.41 RPM

Of course, maybe English and (on the defensive end) Ramsey just didn't grab many rebounds because Safford was grabbing them all?  As a reminder, anything above 0.20 per minute is pretty decent...0.41 per minute is insanely good.  We must see this version of Saffy more often.

Keith Ramsey: Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt

Versus UAPB: 0.33 FT/FGA

Meh.  I prefer 0.40 or above, but that only means he was off by about one free throw.

Laurence Bowers: Shots Per Minute

Versus UAPB: 0.39 ShPM

Yes.  Bowers is a pro at finding open space for a pass when a guard is driving, and at rebounds/putbacks.  He took a very high rate of shots mostly independent of offensive flow, but that's fine by me.  If Taylor and Bowers are shooting more, I'm happy.

Marcus Denmon: Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt

Versus UAPB: 0.00 FT/FGA

Marcus was settling for the jumper a bit too much on Saturday, especially since he missed a lot more than I remembered.  His physicality did shine through, however, in the fact that he grabbed nine rebounds against a relatively big team.  Gotta love seeing that.

Mike Dixon: Adjusted Game Score Per Minute

Versus UAPB: 0.63 AdjGS/Min

This kid is coming along very nicely.  At his current rate of improvement, he could be a solution to at least a small chunk of our offensive problems.  And hey, he grabbed three more defensive rebounds than Keith Ramsey!

Miguel Paul: Team Possessions Per Game

Versus UAPB: 74 Possessions

I still don't see Paul ever being a major, counted-upon contributor, and I think he was on the court for most of UAPB's end-of-first-half run, but he still deserves some credit for putting together some decent numbers and penetration.

Steve Moore: Shots Per Minute

Versus UAPB: 0.08 ShPM

I've got quite the love-hate relationship with Stevie right now.  He travels for no reason, then he uncorks one of the greatest outlet passes I've ever seen.  He swishes two sweet lefty free throws, then commits a stupid foul.  He blocks two shots, but grabs only one rebound in 13 minutes.  He is not nearly enough of a reliable contributor yet, but he's going to have plenty of chances to prove himself versus Illinois and Georgia.

Tyler Stone and John Underwood: Minutes

Versus UAPB: 6 combined minutes

Really wanted to see a LOT more out of these two, but Coach didn't put them in until the Jarrett Sutton shift with three minutes left.  Boo to that.  Neither did anything of interest, but...it was only three minutes!

Jarrett Sutton: Wins

Versus UAPB: 1 win!

He plays, we win.  Simple as that.

Three Keys Revisited

From Friday's preview.

Show Up

Mizzou did...and then they didn't...but then they did again.

The Rims

Mizzou went up 33-7, and everything clicked--Mizzou's rims were friendly and UAPB's were not.  And then UAPB went on a 22-7 run to end the first half; they suddenly couldn't miss and Mizzou grew cold.  The point of my naming the rims as a key was that hot shooting early would put the game out of reach, and that's exactly what happened, but the cold streak almost made things interesting again.

Justin Safford

Pardon me while I pat myself on the back for this one.  Saffy was the biggest source of energy for this team Saturday night, and if he plays that aggressive for the rest of the season, we just became a much better squad.  But now he's got to prove that he can do that against major conference competition.  Or else Mizzou is going to get completely wiped off the boards against both Illinois and Georgia.

Summary

The point of "The Challenge" was to try to gauge improvement during the cupcake games in advance of conference play.  Wednesday night's game is neither a cupcake nor a conference game.  I'm going into Wednesday night a) expecting to lose (that way, anything's a nice surprise) and b) hoping for continued improvement.  If Mizzou looks no better in halfcourt sets, or if they're getting outrebounded by 15, then they're really no further along than they were a week or two ago.  But if Zaire Taylor or Laurence Bowers (or maybe even Mike Dixon) are asserting themselves more offensively (or Kim English is bombing Illinois out of the arena), or if Justin Safford is crashing the boards hard and providing a bit of an answer in the rebounding category, then win or lose, things are advancing nicely.  We'll see what happens.  Either way, I saw plenty of things to be encouraged about (Safford, Dixon) and plenty of blah-it's-Saturday-night-against-a-cupcake-in-a-half-empty-arena doldrums.

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