Study Hall: North Alabama

Your Trifecta: English-Safford-Bowers.  Your winner: nobody!  Because everybody always forgets about Saffy...

Mizzou 98, North Alabama 58

Mizzou
UNA
Pace (No. of Possessions)
84.0
Points Per Minute
2.45 1.45
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.17 0.69
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.27 0.84
2-PT FG% 45.1% 30.0%
3-PT FG% 46.2% 31.0%
FT% 88.9% 58.3%
True Shooting % 57.7% 39.0%
Mizzou UNA
Assists 23 13
Steals 11 11
Turnovers 21 22
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.62 1.09
Mizzou UNA
Expected Offensive Rebounds 15 18
Offensive Rebounds 21 11
Difference +6 -7

Credit North Alabama for One Thing:

They made Mizzou fight.  Since I love me some boxing analogies, let's just say that Mizzou scored two first-round knockdowns, then eased up and didn't finish the job.  UNA recovered and actually won a round or two before Mizzou got it together and scored the fifth-round knockdown.  Mizzou was not sharp at the start, but they built a 16-3 lead anyway ... and then North Alabama went on a 19-14 run (if that's a "run") to cut the lead to eight.  Mizzou went on a 29-9 run of their own to open the game up, but ... again, UNA landed a few shots, and they should be proud of that.  They made Mizzou knock them out instead of doing it for them.

Pounding the Glass

UNA threw themselves in the passing lanes with reckless abandon, coming up with steals every time Mizzou's attention lapsed for a second.  Unfortunately, Mizzou was much, much bigger than them.  The +13 margin is about as large as you will see in terms of expected rebounds, a feat made even more impressive by the fact that Ricardo Ratliffe only had five rebounds.  But Laurence Bowers and Justin Safford combined for 19 rebounds (seven offensive), and NUKE, a.k.a. Ricky Kreklow, grabbed ten of his own.  Great game from Nuke, by the way.

A Box Score of Extremes

Two guys had double-doubles, Mike Dixon had nine assists, Kim English had six 3-pointers, Ratliffe had six blocks, Matt Pressey had six turnovers ... nobody did anything halfway last night.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Kim English 21.7 0.90 24 Min, 20 Pts (7-13 FG, 6-9 3PT), 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl
Justin Safford 15.1 0.69 22 Min, 16 Pts (4-11 FG, 8-10 FT), 8 Reb (3 Off), 3 Ast
Laurence Bowers 14.1 0.61 23 Min, 16 Pts (8-14 FG), 11 Reb (4 Off), 3 Ast, 3 PF
Ricky Kreklow 12.7 0.64 20 Min, 10 Pts (3-6 FG, 1-4 3PT, 3-3 FT), 10 Reb (4 Off), 2 Stl, 2 TO
Mike Dixon 10.2 0.38 27 Min, 10 Pts (4-9 FG, 2-5 3PT), 9 Ast, 3 TO
Marcus Denmon 8.9 0.30 30 Min, 12 Pts (3-10 FG, 2-5 3PT, 4-4 FT), 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 TO
Steve Moore 6.2 0.37 17 Min, 4 Pts (2-2 FG), 7 Reb (2 Off), 3 PF
Matt Pressey 5.9 0.37 16 Min, 10 Pts (4-6 FG, 4 Reb (4 Off), 6 TO
Ricardo Ratliffe 1.8 0.11 17 Min, 0 Pts (0-4 FG), 5 Reb (2 Off), 6 Blk
Jarrett Sutton -0.4 -0.11 4 Min, 0 Pts (0-2 3PT)

So who had the "Kreklow will outdo Ratliffe by 10.9 points" prop bet?

From an 'overall contribution to the box score' perspective, Mizzou did not have seven double-digit contributors -- they had to settle for five, one of whom wasn't Marcus Denmon.

  • That was Good Kimmeh, to say the least.  He was the primary reason Mizzou went on the put-the-game-away run, and Mizzou did a great job of finding him once he got hot.  Even more encouraging: his overall AdjGS contribution was higher than his point total.  One interesting thing about using AdjGS is you can quickly spot the guys who possibly shoot too much or add nothing to the box score besides points.  English scored a very efficient 20 points on 13 shots, and he added a very impressive six rebounds, four assists and three steals.  Needless to say, let's bottle up this version of Kimmeh and serve it steadily over the next 16 games.  As was mentioned in the live thread last night ... if Denmon and this Kimmeh show up for most of conference play?  Yikes.
  • Let's face it: Justin Safford just isn't a pretty player.  He's the closest thing to a rough-and-tumble finesse player you'll ever see.  He shot just 36% from the field but still managed 16 points because he spotted the opponents' weakness -- pure size -- and exploited the hell out of it.  Like I've said before, Safford seems to come into every game with an individual game plan.  Mizzou needs an offensive boost tonight?  Done.  Offensive rebounding?  Done.  Exploit a rare size advantage?  Done.
  • Nice to see more of an overall offensive game from Party Starter Bowers last night.  He wasn't all that physical, but Safford was, so that's fine.
  • Ricky Kreklow is nearly the perfect Mizzou second-stringer, especially combined with Safford.  As it is currently constituted, Mizzou's "second team" features an offensive dynamo in Mike Dixon, an enforcer (and the Human Personal Foul) in Steve Moore, and two "little things" guys in Kreklow and Safford.  It is perfect for softening up the opponent, even if the offense sometimes becomes stagnant.  They are the body blows to the uppercut of Marcus Denmon. (Just ... can't ... stop ... with the boxing analogies.)
  • Nine more assists for Mike Dixon.  He's now averaging 11 PPG, 5 APG and 2 SPG.  That's, um, pretty good.
  • One huge qualm from last night: I did not like Ricardo Ratliffe's body language at all.  He brought the goods on the defensive end of the court (six blocks) but wasn't at all ready for any kind of resistance from UNA.  He had his shoulders slumped a couple of times leaving the court, and ... just wasn't impressed.  As long as he's ready for Colorado on Saturday, however, he gets a mulligan.
  • I was really happy to see Steve Moore playing most of the second half and committing just one foul.  He once again committed a very quick two in the first half ... a disconcerting trend.  His role is as the physical second-teamer, and that's fine ... but he still has to find a better balance between physical and foul.
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Kim English 22% 50% 3.8 63% 34% 0% 3%
Justin Safford 28% 41% 4.2 46% 28% 23% 3%
Laurence Bowers 26% 48% 3.5 52% 42% 0% 6%
Ricky Kreklow 18% 40% 2.0 36% 36% 16% 12%
Mike Dixon 17% 45% 5.8 81% 14% 0% 5%
Marcus Denmon 19% 30% 2.3 41% 35% 13% 11%
Steve Moore 7% 60% 0.4 0% 67% 0% 33%
Matt Pressey 29% 32% 2.8 31% 32% 5% 32%
Ricardo Ratliffe 13% 0% 0.8 0% 67% 0% 33%
Jarrett Sutton 19% 0% 1.2 0% 100% 0% 0%
  • This really is a weird team.  Once again, Mizzou's best offensive players (as we typically perceive them, anyway) -- Denmon and English -- had a usage rate much lower than that of Justin Safford and Matt Pressey.  And strangely, it works.
  • Aside from a bit of inefficient shooting, Mike Dixon really did have pretty much the perfect point guard game last night.  Double-digit points, nine assists, 80% pass, 5% turnover.
  • There was certainly some sloppiness from the secondary ball-handlers.  Ratliffe, Pressey and Moore were all over 30% Turnover, and Kreklow was 12%.  I believe Denmon committed all three (or at least two) of his turnovers in about a two-minute span early in the second half, and he was otherwise fine, but still ... you don't want half of your team over 10% Turnover.  This hasn't been a trend by any means, but it was still unwelcome.  UNA took a little more fight to Mizzou than they expected.

Three Keys Revisited

From Tuesday's Preview.

Show Up

This goes in the books as a fifth-round knockout.  Mizzou eventually showed up, but this wasn't the cruel, merciless Mizzou that we saw in the first half against Central Arkansas or Northern Illinois.

Don't Get Hurt

Nobody got hurt!

KC Prep Pride

Marcus Denmon: 30 minutes, 12 points (3-10 FG, 2-5 3PT, 4-4 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers.
Beaumont Beasley: 35 minutes, 13 points (5-15 FG, 3-8 3PT), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 4 turnovers
.

Beasley is a scrapper, and he held his own for the most part.  I obviously don't watch a lot of D2 basketball, but both Beasley and Marcus Landry seemed like they should be able to hold their own quite a bit at that level.

Summary

Nobody got hurt, Mizzou got tested just enough to break out their A-game for a bit, and by the end of the game, they looked more than ready for conference play.  Ratliffe concerned me a bit, but ... no complaints!

 

---

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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