Study Hall: Oregon

Your Trifecta: Denmon-Ratliffe-Dixon.  Your winner: Somebody!  Again! It's suddenly become easy!  This time, Ausgiano and leeaustex take home the prize.

This is one game I do not regret recording and watching (sometimes in fast-forward) the next morning.  It's also another game where full-game and per-half stats tell completely different stories.

First-Half FG%: Mizzou 64.3%, Oregon 23.3%
Second-Half FG%: Oregon 62.1%, Mizzou 44.0%

First-Half BCI: Mizzou 1.45, Oregon 0.67
Second-Half BCI: Oregon 3.00, Mizzou 1.00

I typically try to tut-tut claims of fatigue when it comes to college basketball.  I mean, a) these guys are college students -- their bodies should be able to handle travel and back-to-backs just fine, and b) they play basketball and practice hard even on their days off.  Fatigue should rarely be an issue.

But in the case of playing (and losing) a heartbreaker on Tuesday, then having to hop two time zones and play two nights later?  Against a team that hasn't played since Saturday and has yet to leave the state?  Fatigue would be pretty justifiable ... and fatigue is rather clearly what we saw last night.  Mizzou straight-up ran out of gas with 15:00 left in the game.

That said, they recovered.  In a six-and-a-half-minute span from the 15:48 mark to the 9:15 mark, Oregon went on a 15-4 run to cut Mizzou's lead to five points, but in the game's most crucial stretch, the Tigers managed to tread water.  They outscored Oregon 22-19 and led by eight with under two minutes remaining.  They passed (three assists on four buckets at one point) and rebounded very well in this stretch.  As the defense began to fade, the offense executed well, and though Jonathan Loyd put on a show in the final 20 seconds, Mizzou's ability to maintain their legs for just a little while longer bought them just enough time to run out the clock before Oregon could complete the comeback.

Mizzou 83, Oregon 80

Mizzou
Oregon
Pace (No. of Possessions)
72.1
Points Per Minute
2.08 2.00
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.15 1.11
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.57 1.36
2-PT FG% 62.2% 42.9%
3-PT FG% 37.5% 41.7%
FT% 79.2% 80.0%
True Shooting % 65.3% 57.1%
Mizzou Oregon
Assists 19 13
Steals 5 7
Turnovers 19 16
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.26 1.25
Mizzou Oregon
Expected Offensive Rebounds 9 13
Offensive Rebounds 8 14
Difference -1 +1

Worry No. 1: Turnovers

Last season, Mizzou's three primary guards were two seniors (Zaire Taylor and J.T. Tiller) and a sophomore (Marcus Denmon).  This season, it is a junior (Denmon), a sophomore (Mike Dixon) and a freshman (Phil Pressey).  At times, the difference has been noticeable.  For the season, Mizzou's Turnover% is 7.3%, barely increased from last season's 7.0%.  But when the turnovers start, they don't stop.  It was 9.3% last night against a defense that is admittedly strong from a turnover-forcing perspective.  If charges were called, um, a little better, maybe turnovers wouldn't have seemed like as much of a problem.  But with younger ball-handlers (and Justin Safford and Laurence Bowers struggling to make smart decisions with the ball), this could cost Mizzou a win or two by season's end.

Worry No. 2: Holy Crap, Are Opponents Making a Ton of 3-Pointers

As of Tuesday morning, Missouri's defense ranked 34th overall according to Ken Pomeroy's efficiency ratings.  They ranked 158th in Effective FG% allowed.  Now?  They rank 63rd overall and 259th in Effective FG% allowed.  Obviously it's early, so a couple of big games can skew the numbers quite a bit, but opponents are now shooting 39% from three-point range, placing Mizzou at 288th in the country in that category.  Yes, they're still forcing turnovers, and yes, they still just won a tough, poorly-timed road game after almost beating a strong, Top 10-level team.  And yes, a lot of the 3-pointers both Georgetown and Oregon made had an extremely high degree of difficulty.  But at some point, you move from mourning your bad luck to blaming your defense.  I'm not quite there yet, but I'm getting close.

Mizzou's vulnerable three-point defense could be a concern moving forward too; all of Mizzou's next five opponents rank in the Top 100 for 3-point%.  Vanderbilt shoots 37% (85th), Presbyterian 41% (31st), Oral Roberts 42% (17th), Central Arkansas 39% (55th) and Illinois 40% (39th).  The rotations and team defense are not yet where they need to be, and again, this should not be a surprise given the loss of Taylor and Tiller.  But this deficiency (to the extent that it is indeed a deficiency and not a problem of small sample size) could be costly over the next three weeks.

We Should Have Known The Whistles Would Blow

There were a ridiculous 45 fouls called last night; it is difficult to make a regular old 40-minute game cross the two-hour, 15-minute mark, but the whistles allowed that to happen.  But it shouldn't have been a surprise.

Yeah, this crew is whistle-happy.  No word on whether they typically call approximately 26 charges like they did last night.  Mike Reed, if you never again do another Missouri game, it will be too soon.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Marcus Denmon 26.9 0.73 37 Min, 19 Pts (5-7 FG, 3-4 3PT, 6-7 FT), 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 TO
Ricardo Ratliffe 13.2 0.57 23 Min, 11 Pts (5-6 FG), 4 Blk, 3 Reb, 2 TO
Mike Dixon 12.5 0.78 16 Min, 11 Pts (1-4 FG, 9-10 FT), 4 Ast, 2 TO
Kim English 6.7 0.25 27 Min, 12 Pts (5-11 FG, 1-4 3PT), 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 TO
Steve Moore 6.1 0.47 13 Min, 4 Pts (2-2 FG), 2 Blk
Matt Pressey 5.9 0.27 22 Min, 10 Pts (4-6 FG, 1-3 3PT), 2 Ast, 3 TO
Laurence Bowers 5.3 0.18 29 Min, 7 Pts (3-7 FG), 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk, 5 TO
Justin Safford 2.5 0.18 14 Min, 4 Pts (2-6 FG), 4 Reb (2 Off)
Phil Pressey 2.1 0.15 14 Min, 2 Pts (1-2 FG), 2 Reb, 2 Ast
Ricky Kreklow 0.0 0.00 5 Min, 3 Pts (1-2 3PT), 2 TO

For the season, Marcus Denmon is currently playing almost 30 minutes per game in Mike Anderson's system, scoring 16.4 points, shooting 56.4% from 3-point range, 53.3% on 2-pointers and 89.5% from the line.  He is also averaging 3.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.4 assists on only 1.3 turnovers per game.  Wow.

Other tidbits:

  • The biggest two of Mizzou's bigs (Ratliffe and Moore) combined for a rather efficient offensive night -- 15 points on just eight field goal attempts.  However, they somehow managed to grab only four rebounds (one offensive) in 36 combined minutes.  I'm not sure how that happens.  It seems they should accidentally grab more than that.  I'll give Ratliffe a pass on this one, being that he has been a rebounding fiend in recent games, but that's not something I would like to see happen again.
  • Not the best week of Laurence Bowers' career.  He scored 17 points in 64 minutes, which isn't terrible considering he did it on just 12 shots ... but he should probably be taking more than 12 shots.  Aside from a bout with turnoveritis last night, he has more or less disappeared offensively.  And only six defensive rebounds in 64 minutes probably isn't going to cut it either (though with the way opponents have been shooting, the opportunities have been limited).
  • Mizzou is currently averaging 5.4 blocks per game -- 1.9 coming from Steeeeeeeeeeve Moore (in just 11 minutes per game), 1.7 coming from Bowers, and 0.7 coming from Ratliffe.  The most blocks they've average for an entire season since 1980: last year's 4.7.  Something to watch as we move forward.
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Marcus Denmon 13% 62% 2.3 57% 23% 20% 0%
Ricardo Ratliffe 18% 58% 1.7 40% 41% 6% 13%
Mike Dixon 31% 43% 6.5 62% 10% 23% 5%
Kim English 27% 34% 2.8 43% 40% 6% 11%
Steve Moore 7% 100% 1.7 75% 25% 0% 0%
Matt Pressey 22% 43% 2.8 52% 27% 8% 13%
Laurence Bowers 22% 29% 3.0 56% 22% 6% 16%
Justin Safford 24% 28% 2.5 46% 46% 0% 8%
Phil Pressey 10% 43% 2.9 80% 13% 0% 7%
Ricky Kreklow 39% 20% 2.2 0% 50% 0% 50%
  • Some crazy usage stats here.  Marcus Denmon scored 19 points despite really not falling into the flow of the offense, while Dixon dominated the Usage stats, mostly because of his trips to the line.  Mizzou's best two offensive players right now are Denmon and Ratliffe, and both fell below the average of 20%.  Looking at Floor%, however, they were efficient as hell.

Three Keys Revisited

From yesterday's preview.

Corral Catron

Joevan Catron: 33 Minutes, 15 Points (4-9 FG, 7-11 FT), 6 Rebounds (5 offensive), 2 Assists, 3 Turnovers.  Catron had a nice game, but he wouldn't have been the primary reason Oregon won, had they come all the way back.  The 3-pointers were falling for the Ducks, but Catron's five offensive rebounds certainly helped.

Beat Them At Your/Their Game

Well, Mizzou won the BCI battle.  Juuuuuuuuuuuuust barely.  A 1.26 BCI is just too damn low for this team, and though their overall per-possession offensive figures were rock solid, low BCI means fewer transition opportunities and easy buckets and fewer opportunities to wear down the opponent.

Kim English

He showed up early and helped Mizzou build their large halftime lead, but in 12 second-half minutes, he missed all three field goal attempts and scored just one point.  Considering he played all 45 minutes on Tuesday, nobody had a better excuse for tired legs than Kimmeh, so we'll take it easy on him.  But in seven games, he has scored over 13 points just once and is shooting 26.1% from 3-point range.  He's apparently experiencing some trouble with a thumb ligament, which is worrisome, as that doesn't really go away during a season.  As long as Marcus Denmon continues to play with extreme efficiency and explosiveness, it's not as big a deal.  But Denmon will still have bad games sometimes, and if Mizzou can't count on Kimmeh to pick up the slack, they will be a reasonably offensively challenged team.

Summary

There are plenty of things to be concerned about -- ball control, 3-point defense, etc. -- but you know what?  I told myself I was going to be happy with any win of any amount considering the awkward road trip, weary legs, etc., in this one, and I'm sticking to that.  Mizzou got out to a hot start, lost their legs, and won anyway.  Now they get to rest up before taking on yet another tough opponent, Vanderbilt, on Wednesday.  The Tigers are one stupid possession (Georgetown's final one in regulation Tuesday night) from a 7-0 record; their KenPom numbers are slipping, but we'll worry about that later.  For now, a win is a win is a win is a win is a win.

 

---

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.

Usage%: This "estimates the % of team possessions a player consumes while on the floor" (via).  The usage of those possessions is determined via a formula using field goal and free throw attempts, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers.  The higher the number, the more prevalent a player is (good or bad) in a team's offensive outcome.  As you would expect, someone like Kim English has a high Usage%, while Steve Moore has an extremely low one.

Floor%: Via Basketball-Reference.com: Floor % answers the question, "when Player X uses a possession, what is the probability that his team scores at least 1 point?".  The higher the Floor%, the more frequently the team probably scores when the given player is involved.

Touches/Possession: Using field goal attempts, free throw attempts, assists and turnovers, Touches attempt to estimate "the number of times a player touched the ball in an attacking position on the floor."  Take the estimated touches and divide it by the estimated number of possessions for which a player was on the court, and you get a rough idea of how many times a player touched the ball in a given possession.  For point guards, you'll see the number in the 3-4 range.  For shooting guards and wings, 2-3.  For Steve Moore, 1.30.  You get the idea.

Anyway, using the Touches figure, we can estimate the percentage of time a player "in an attacking position" passes, shoots, turns the ball over, or gets fouled.

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