Study Hall: Mizzou vs Nebraska -- Hello, Miguel!

Mizzou 70, Nebraska 53

Mizzou
NU
Points Per Minute
1.75 1.33
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.24 0.94
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.25 1.20
2-PT FG% 50.0% 50.0%
3-PT FG% 28.6% 25.0%
FT% 85.7% 76.5%
True Shooting % 53.6% 51.5%
Mizzou NU
Assists 9 8
Steals 5 4
Turnovers 5 12
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.80 1.00
Mizzou NU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 12 10
Offensive Rebounds 12 6
Difference 0 -4

I Hate Playing Nebraska

Give Doc Sadler credit: I'm pretty sure that, during and after every game Nebraska plays, their opponents fans express frustration with the way their own team is playing, but you have to step back and realize that part of that is Nebraska -- they leverage you into taking specific types of shots, they take you out of your comfort zone, and the more you want to speed the game up, the more they slow it down.  It's what they do, and most of the time your team simply is not going to be able to play the way they want to play against the Huskers.  I'm not sure Sadler will ever recruit well enough to build a consistent tourney contender in Lincoln, but I will always hate the thought of playing Nebraska; they're a tough out, and that's a compliment to Sadler.  Even if I don't think Mizzou is going to win, I still somewhat enjoy the thought of playing teams like K-State, Baylor or Oklahoma State.  Nebraska?  No thanks.

The 3-Point Shooting Isn't Improving

I'm still not pushing the panic button, but Mizzou is now 29-for-91 from 3-point range in conference play.  That's frightening for two reasons: 1) that's just 31.9%, and 2) that's a lot of attempts for making just 31.9%.  I'm willing to overlook quite a few of the attempts today -- it's what Nebraska was allowing, and a lot of them really were wide open (for shooters who have proven they can make open 3's), but some were not.  And even if the 3 was open, so was a driving lane to the basket.  Mizzou is still taking too many one-pass, moderately-contested 3's, and that needs to improve.

But on the plus side ... five turnovers!  Despite a slow pace, that is really damn good, especially against a Nebraska team pretty adept at taking the ball away.

We're Crashing the Boards!!

Mizzou Rebounding (Big 12 Play): 58 expected offensive rebounds, 65 offensive rebounds, +7
Opponents: 53 expected offensive rebounds, 56 offensive rebounds, -1

Mizzou is outrebounding opponents by 2.0 per game in conference play.  That is fantastic.  Granted, neither Texas Tech, Oklahoma, nor Nebraska are big-time rebounding teams, but K-State is, and Mizzou outrebounded them.  This is a welcome development and part of the reason Mizzou is 3-1 right now.

Note to Kim English:

Go straight up when shooting.  Stop fading away or to the left when you don't need to.  Go straight up.  That is all.

 

 

Player Stats

Player AdjGS* GmSc/Min Line
Miguel Paul 18.7 1.17 16 Min, 15 Pts (5-for-6 FG, 2-for-3 3PT), 2 Reb
Zaire Taylor 13.7 0.46 30 Min, 12 Pts (2-for-7 FG, 0-for-4 3PT), 2 Stl
Justin Safford 12.0 0.36 33 Min, 9 Pts (4-for-9 FG, 1-for-3 3PT), 11 Reb (4 Off), 2 Ast
Mike Dixon 7.5 0.36 21 Min, 7 Pts (2-for-4 FG, 1-for-3 3PT), 2 Reb
Laurence Bowers 4.7 0.22 21 Min, 7 Pts (2-for-7 FG, 1-for-4 3PT), 5 Reb (2 Off)
Kim English 2.7 0.18 15 Min, 6 Pts (2-for-9 FG, 1-for-5 3PT), 3 Reb (2 Off)
Marcus Denmon 2.7 0.14 20 Min, 5 Pts (2-for-6 FG, 1-for-3 3PT), 2 Reb
Keith Ramsey 2.6 0.12 22 Min, 2 Pts (1-for-1 FG), 2 Reb
J.T. Tiller 1.8 0.10 19 Min, 7 Pts (2-for-7 FG, 1-for-3 3PT), 3 Ast
Steve Moore 0.0 0.00 3 Min, 0 Pts (0-for-0 FG)


* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds.  It takes points, assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls into account to determine an individual's "score" for a given game.  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.

  • If you nailed the Paul-Taylor-Safford trifecta for today's AdjGS race, you probably won yourself quite a bit of scratch.  Holy crap, Miguel!  When nobody else was consistently scoring, Paul put on his shooting guard hat and saved the day.  With the way some of Mizzou's other guards were playing, this would have been a dogfight till the end without MP3's play.

    (Hmm...am thinking we need to start a "name your trifecta" poll before each game...)
  • Heading into this game, Safford and Laurence Bowers were a combined 14-for-26 (53.8%) from 3-point land.  Today's 2-for-7 performance dropped them to 48.5%.  Still good, but ... well, you know Nebraska is dictating who is taking what shots when Bowers shoots four 3's in one game -- he had just shot seven all year heading into today.
  • One other thing about Safford and Bowers: they've been rebounding their socks off.  Keith Ramsey's rebound rates have stayed pretty close to what they were in non-conference play, but Safford (0.24 rebounds per minute in conference play) and Bowers (0.32) have upped their game.  Their aggressiveness has been both welcome and necessary since, well, we're missing a lot of shots.
  • Speaking of Keith Ramsey ... one shot in 22 minutes.  Unique.

Three Keys Revisited

From Friday's preview.  I ... did not nail these.

J.T. Tiller

I really liked Tiller's defense today, so there's that.  But there's also the 2-for-7 shooting, two turnovers and four fouls.  His defense made him a factor in this game, but he was still much less a factor than Paul, who brought it on both ends of the court.

Pace

Pace: 57 possessions!!  That's a rate of about 15 possessions below what Mizzou wants to play.  Credit to them for pulling away and winning easily despite that, but they simply are not imposing their will on opponents right now, and at least part of that has to do with the poor shooting (39.3% overall today).

MAKE SOME SHOTS

Mizzou made just enough shots, but ... yeah, shooting is still a bit of an issue overall.  Pretty sure Miguel Paul isn't going to shoot 83% the rest of the season (though I wouldn't object if he did).

All three keys I mentioned went Nebraska's way, but Mizzou still won by 17.  Not my finest hour.  I blame Doc Sadler.

Summary

Mizzou is 3-1 in conference play right now; sudden national darling Kansas State is 3-2.  Preseason Top 20 Oklahoma?  2-3.  Mizzou was picked seventh in the conference, and right now they are tied for second with Texas.  In other words, despite the loss to Oklahoma, despite the poor shooting (and sometimes poor shot selection), and despite average-at-best play from Kim English and J.T. Tiller, life is pretty good right now.

All things considered, the schedule maker has been pretty kind to Mizzou early on, and after Big Monday in Lawrence, they've got a key 4-game stretch with three home games (OSU, ATM, ISU) and a winnable road game (Colorado).  Sweep those four games, and they have positioned themselves as a factor in the conference title race, even if the schedule down the stretch gets much harder.

Today's win was ugly, but that is to be expected against Nebraska, and if we pick too many nits about a 17-point home conference win, then ... well, we're getting too picky.  Thirty-one straight home wins, baby!

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