Study Hall: Mizzou (So Far)

Coming off of a crucial three-game stretch, I figured now was a pretty good time to reflect on the season as a whole.  Below are the stats I use for the Study Hall pieces, used for all eight games of the season thus far.

Mizzou Stats - Season


Mizzou
Opp.
Pace (No. of Possessions)
75.1
Points Per Minute
2.05
1.78
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.13
0.98
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.28
1.32
2-PT FG% 50.0%
50.3%
3-PT FG% 37.1%
38.5%
FT% 70.5%
67.4%
True Shooting % 55.4%
56.4%




Mizzou Opp.
Assists/Gm 16.8
13.6
Steals/Gm 10.4
7.0
Turnovers/Gm 14.1
20.6
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.92
1.00




Mizzou Opp.
Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm 13.8
11.8
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 14.4
10.6
Difference +0.6
-1.2

Good

Rebounding.  I mentioned this yesterday, but Ricardo Ratliffe has had an absolutely wonderful effect on this team's rebounding.  He is everything that we hoped he would be in that regard.  In terms of expected rebounds, Mizzou is currently +1.8 per game, an almost drastic improvement over last season.

Pace.  In theory, as Mizzou succeeds at a higher, more sustained level, opponents will gear for them a little bit more.  Last year, that meant doing whatever it took to slow Missouri down.  And with a Mizzou lineup that included average offensive players in Zaire Taylor, J.T. Tiller and Keith Ramsey, plus streaky shooters like Kim English and Marcus Denmon, that approach succeeded to some degree. But Mizzou was good enough defensively that it didn't cost them as much as it could have.  This season, Mizzou is scoring more and speeding their opponents up more successfully.  Of course, they are also playing worse defense, but that goes on a different list.

Shooting.  The first half of the Vanderbilt game was rather painful to watch, as Mizzou crashed the offensive glass as well as we'd ever seen, yet had little to show for it because the ball kept rimming out of the basket.  But despite that and the offensive malaise that struck the Tigers in the opening game or two, shooting has been a strength for this team.  Despite the Vandy game, they shoot 2-pointers well.  Despite the Western Illinois and La Salle games (and Kim English's ongoing funk), they shoot at a decent level from long range (thank you, Marcus Denmon).  And despite the Western Illinois game, they actually aren't terrible from the free throw line.

Passing.  The ability to shoot better helps in this regard, but Mizzou's assist numbers are back up this season.  They were outstanding in 2008-09, then plummeted in 2009-10.  As we'll see below, they're closer to 2008-09 than 2009-10 this season.

Needs Improvement

Defense.  This one probably went without saying.  Before the Georgetown team, I foolishly wondered if this might be Mike Anderson's best defensive team.  Then they actually played some teams who could shoot the ball.  Whoops.  Though Vanderbilt cooled off considerably in the second half Wednesday night, Mizzou is still allowing a 3-point % of 38.9%, which currently ranks 290th in the country.  Unacceptable.

Defense.  Mizzou is also allowing 50.3% of 2-pointers to go in, good for 254th in the country.  Yikes.

Defense.  Mizzou is still very good at turning their opponents over, but they have slipped a bit in that regard.  They do rank 12th in T/O%, but ... well, if you're going to allow opponents to shoot this well, you need to be in the top ten.  As we'll see below (TEASE!), Mizzou is forcing about two fewer turnovers per game against 'real' teams, and while they are making up for that on the glass ... still.  And not surprisingly, steals have dropped too.  Mizzou still ranks 22nd in Steals%, but regression is regression.

Mizzou vs "Real" Opponents

Last year, after the loss to Oral Roberts, I compared Mizzou's mid-December stats versus "real" opponents to what they had produced the year before.  Since we're at approximately the same point in the season, let's do that again.  This is obviously an imperfect comparison, as not every "real" opponent is equal, and "real" is very much open to interpretation, but it still gives us a jumping-off point for comparing previous years to this season.  In general, I define "real" as any BCS conference opponent, any decent mid-major, and any opponent Mizzou faced on the opponent's home court.  For this season, I counted La Salle, but not Wyoming.

(Side note: at this point last year, Mizzou was 5-3.  I had completely forgotten that.  The doom & gloom talk is semi-heavy right now, and we have found ourselves often thinking wistfully back to last season -- especially as it pertains to defense -- but thanks to the offense, this team is still possibly a step ahead of where they were last season.  I mean ... they were supposed to be, so this isn't a huge victory, but still.)

'Real' Opponents (2008-09): 4 (vs Xavier, vs USC, California, vs Illinois).

'Real' Opponents (2009-10): 6 (vs Old Dominion, vs Richmond, at Vandy, Oregon, at Oral Roberts)

'Real' Opponents (2010-11): 4 (vs La Salle, vs Georgetown, at Oregon, Vanderbilt)

The "best" of each category are in bold below.

2010-11 2009-10 2008-09
Mizzou Opp. Mizzou Opp. Mizzou Opp.
Points Per Minute
2.08 2.02 1.83 1.69 1.91 1.80
Points Per Poss. 1.17 1.14 1.06 0.98 1.09 1.02
Points Per Shot 1.26 1.43 1.22 1.24 1.22 1.36
2-PT FG% 50.0% 56.8% 44.8% 46.0% 52.6% 46.7%
3-PT FG% 35.7% 42.6% 38.5% 29.7% 25.0% 43.2%
FT% 73.6% 71.6% 72.3% 77.6% 65.5% 63.9%
True Shooting % 55.1% 62.4% 53.3% 52.3% N/A N/A
Mizzou Opp. Mizzou Opp. Mizzou Opp.
Assists/Gm 16.5 16.3 14.6 11.2 17.8 14.0
Steals/Gm 9.3 5.8 9.6 6.8 12.0 5.0
Turnovers/Gm 11.8 17.5 13.0 19.8 12.0 19.5
BCI 2.19 1.26 1.86 0.91 2.48 0.97
Mizzou Opp. Mizzou Opp. Mizzou Opp.
Exp. Off. Reb./Gm 14.5 11.3 13.0 12.2 13.3 12.0
Off. Reb./Gm 14.8 11.0 12.0 14.0 13.8 13.8
Difference +0.3 -0.3 -1.0 +1.8 +0.5 +1.8

So basically...

  • Even with Kim English's and Phil Pressey's ineffectiveness, Mizzou has a better offensive team right now than they did at this point in either of the last two seasons.  Denmon and Mike Dixon have helped out tremendously, but I almost think getting a small handful of easy buckets from Ratliffe each game has helped the most.  Mizzou is much better on 2-pointers than they were last year, and they are close to where they were in 2008-09.  Meanwhile, they are slightly worse at 3-pointers than last year, but they are infinitely better than they were in 2008-09.  And they are basically the same at the free throw line as they were last year ... and again, infinitely better than two years ago.  (It really is amazing to think of where that team started two years ago, and where it finished.)
  • Meanwhile, Mizzou has a much worse defensive team right now than they did at this point in either of the last two seasons.  Virtually everybody on the team has shown flashes of defensive greatness -- Denmon, Dixon and Pressey with the steals ... Bowers, Ratliffe and especially Moore with the blocked shots.  But opponents are simply getting many, many more open shots right now.  As Michael Atchison has been saying, part of this is the result of who Mizzou has been recruiting; when you look at the strengths and weaknesses of the current players, you would expect them to be better on offense and worse on defense, and they are.  But I still think there is improvement to be made here.  Dixon and Pressey are still quite young.  English and Denmon still have to get used to life without Tiller and Taylor helping them on the perimeter.  They can improve, but I do think it's safe to say that no matter what improvement takes place, this will be the best offensive and worst defensive team Mizzou has had in the last three seasons.
  • Also: Mizzou has a much better rebounding team right now than they did at this point in either of the last two seasons.  It bears mentioning.  Obviously Denmon has been this team's most valuable player, but let's just say that I don't really want to think about where Mizzou would be without Ricardo Ratliffe.
  • As I mentioned above, from a passing and distribution perspective, Mizzou is much closer to where they were in 2008-09 than in 2009-10, though a lot of that has to do with being a better shooting team.
  • Honestly, the biggest difference between this year's team and other years' might be in the fact that they have struggled more with the non-"real" opponents.  Whether that is a red flag or a simple sign that Mizzou is taking teams' best shots now, we'll see soon enough.

Mizzou Player Stats

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Marcus Denmon
17.5
0.57
30.8 MPG, 17.0 PPG (51.1% FG, 52.2% 3PT, 88.0% FT), 3.9 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, 1.1 TOPG
Mike Dixon
13.6
0.55
24.8 MPG, 11.4 PPG (39.7% FG, 82.1% FT), 4.1 APG, 2.8 SPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.5 TOPG
Ricardo Ratliffe
13.3
0.49
27.0 MPG, 12.6 PPG (55.4% FG, 64.3% FT), 8.4 RPG, 1.1 APG
Laurence Bowers
11.5
0.43
26.6 MPG, 10.8 PPG (48.5% FG, 68.8% FT), 6.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 2.1 TOPG
Kim English
8.0
0.31
26.1 MPG, 10.6 PPG (41.1% FG, 32.1% 3PT), 3.1 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.6 SPG, 2.4 TOPG
Matt Pressey
5.2
0.29
17.8 MPG, 6.3 PPG (44.2% FG, 27.8% 3PT), 2.0 APG, 1.3 TOPG
Steve Moore
4.7
0.43
10.9 MPG, 3.0 PPG (58.8% FG), 2.4 RPG, 1.6 BPG
Justin Safford
4.6
0.27
17.0 MPG, 6.5 PPG (42.6% FG), 4.0 RPG, 1.5 TOPG
John Underwood
3.7
1.06
7 minutes
Phil Pressey
2.4
0.14
17.0 MPG, 3.6 PPG (27.8% FG, 12.5% 3PT, 58.3% FT), 2.3 APG, 2.3 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 2.1 TOPG
Jarrett Sutton
1.4
0.95
3 minutes
Ricky Kreklow
1.1
0.11
9.5 MPG, 2.7 PPG (50.0% 3PT), 1.2 RPG, 1.2 TOPG

When I preview opponents, I like to think of anybody over 0.50 AdjGS/min. as a very good player and anybody over 0.40 as good.  If you're in the 0.30-0.40 range, you're fine, and anything below 0.30 is pretty ineffective.  So basically, Mizzou has two very good players (Denmon and Dixon) and almost a third (Ratliffe).  They've got two more good players (Bowers and Moore), one decent one (English) ... and a whole bunch of replacement-level players.  Thinking about players who recently left, Phil Pressey has been, thus far, a step down from Miguel Paul, and Justin Safford really hasn't done any more than Tyler Stone or John Underwood (who obviously hasn't left) would have done with the same minutes.

I'm not necessarily worried about the bench long-term.  Pressey's upside is still very clearly enormous, and Safford is still potentially not back to 100% (Mike Anderson said as much recently); plus, both Safford and English (obviously not a "bench" player) have proven they can contribute at a higher level than they currently are, and I expect that they will soon.  If they play back to just their average potential, then the team gets much deeper.

And for those wondering why Ricky Kreklow isn't seeing much of the court right now, the simple answer is that he can't stop turning the ball over.  He hustles and makes open 3-pointers, but he's wasting too many possessions right now for Anderson to trust him.  Yes, Kim English turns the ball over a lot too, but he still does so half as much as Ricky does.

Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Marcus Denmon
20%
46%
2.2
41%
44%
11%
4%
Mike Dixon
21%
43%
4.2
64%
21%
11%
4%
Ricardo Ratliffe
20%
48%
2.0
34%
54%
8%
4%
Laurence Bowers
21%
40%
2.5
43%
34%
14%
9%
Kim English
23%
34%
2.7
45%
35%
11%
9%
Matt Pressey
19%
39%
3.0
60%
27%
7%
6%
Steve Moore
11%
52%
1.6
58%
33%
5%
4%
Justin Safford
22%
34%
2.1
34%
45%
10%
12%
John Underwood
19%
72%
1.4
0%
54%
46%
0%
Phil Pressey
20%
28%
3.4
63%
21%
6%
10%
Jarrett Sutton
30%
44%
1.8
0%
100%
0%
0%
Ricky Kreklow
16%
30%
1.9
45%
28%
9%
18%

Despite occasional hesitance, English still dominates more possessions than anybody else this season.  That's a bit of a shame, as his Floor% shows that those possessions don't typically go very well.  At least they haven't yet, anyway.  It's still early.  (Against "real" opponents, Dixon's, Safford's and Ratliffe's Usage rates all creep over 20%, while English falls to 20%, Bowers to 17%.  Odd.)

Mizzou Players vs Projections

At the end of last season, I was maintaining 2010-11 Big 12 projections based on the data I have.  Below are the players who have exceeded, met, or fallen short of those per-minute projections.

(By the way, I still maintain that Oklahoma might win minus-1 conference games this year.)

Better Than Expected

Steve Moore (+0.18/minute).  Steeeeeeeeeeeeeve has added just enough putbacks and easy buckets to his game to make him a much more valuable overall player.  I assume his per-minute value would diminish if he began registering major minutes, and Mike Anderson clearly doesn't trust him to be on the court in crunch time, but he has still exceeded expectations so far.

Mike Dixon (+0.17).  He still has some very poor shooting games, but he has a much higher feel for the game this year on the offensive side of the ball, and that has powered his per-minute averages.  Of course, the AdjGS idea does not take "Your man ended up with an open 3-pointer" into account, which helps.

Marcus Denmon (+0.11).  Don't even know what else to say about Marcus.  He's been ridiculous.  He's drawing comparisons to Melvin Booker, and it's not really hyperbole.

About Right

Ricardo Ratliffe (+0.05).  A four-star JUCO recruit is expected to step in and know what he's doing to some degree, and Ratliffe has done that.  His contribution has been both welcome and necessary.

Worse Than Expected

Phil Pressey (-0.14).  Pressey seemed to lose his mojo when he missed the free throws at the end of the Western Illinois game.  Since then, he has struggled in both areas that we should have expected (game management, knowing what he can and cannot get away with at this level) and ones we didn't (shooting, fouls, turnovers).  He's eight games into his college career, so I'm not going to spend too much time gnashing my teeth here.  My overall optimism for the Pressey Era has not really diminished; my optimism for his immediate contribution has, obviously.

Kim English (-0.12).  I've written hundreds or thousands of words about Kimmeh already.  Either his thumb is bothering him, or he has pulled an '04 Brad Smith, adding to his game to the point where his instincts are now letting him down, and he doesn't know what to do.  Regardless, it's early, and we'll see what happens.  I assume his scoring will pick up; we'll see about his overall efficiency.

Laurence Bowers (-0.09).  Maybe he's struggling with his new role outside of Ratliffe's game, maybe he just overachieved a bit last year.  We'll see.

Justin Safford (-0.09).  See above.

Matt Pressey (-0.09).  Old Pressey has given us plenty of good minutes and plenty of bad ones.  He plays solid defense and passes well, but his decision-making is lacking at times.  He is not quite playing to the level of the typical 3-star JUCO transfer, but as I've said for everybody else too, it's early.

Summary

We have seen plenty of shakiness at times this year, but in the end, Mizzou is basically a single 3-pointer away from an undefeated record.  There is no guarantee for improvement -- as far as we know, Ken Pomeroy's current 21-10, 9-7 projection will be right on the money (and a bit disappointing) -- but when we look at the players most responsible for Mizzou's underachieving, two are newcomers and three are upperclassmen who have played a much higher level than they are currently reaching.  At least three or four of the five players are likely to improve, and as long as they improve more than the overachievers possibly regress, Mizzou will be in good shape.  The Tigers have not been amazingly fast starters in recent years, and yet the seasons have worked out alright.  I'm a bit less optimistic than I was at the beginning of the season, but I'm not too worried about that.  Plenty of basketball still to be played.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Rock M Nation

You must be a member of Rock M Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rock M Nation. You should read them.

Join Rock M Nation

You must be a member of Rock M Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rock M Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker