Your Trifecta: Ratliffe-Denmon-English. Your winner: nobody. Getting the season off on the right foot. Leave your Trifecta picks for tonight's game in comments below.
For a semi-easy season opener, this game came with a decent amount of regret.
You get yourself into trouble sometimes when you get starry eyes. Mike Anderson, sensing that recruiting was on the upswing, appeared to get a bit excited about recruiting success following the 2009-10 season. Tony Mitchell was signed and sealed (but not delivered, obviously). Recruitment of Ricardo Ratliffe was looking good. Phil Pressey's brother wanted to come aboard. The 2010-11 team was taking shape beautifully on paper. And at some point after Missouri's loss to West Virginia, Mike Anderson apparently told Tyler Stone that he would probably never play much in black and gold, and he should seriously think about transferring (or some variation of that)*.
At the time, it seemed like a justifiable, if cruel-hearted move. Mitchell, Ratliffe, etc., were on their way to Columbia, John Underwood was showing serious defensive potential and Otto Porter was on the horizon. Mizzou had plenty of bigs, and with Stone still likely a year or two from becoming a serious contributor (if he was ever going to at all), pushing him out the door made sense. Of course, when you go out of your way to talk about how your team is your "family," and you brag about your program's "family environment" as much as Anderson did, it probably isn't a good idea to go against your ideals too much, or else it will come back to bite you.
Now, in 2011-12, it has indeed bitten Missouri. The Tigers enter the season with eight healthy scholarship players, three over 6'6. Laurence Bowers is hurt, Underwood transferred, Tony Mitchell never made it to campus and Otto Porter is suiting up for Georgetown. The Tigers are woefully undersized, and they began the new season by welcoming Stone and his SEMO Redhawks to town. Missouri won, yes, but they barely broke even on the boards ... and Stone scored 18 points and grabbed six boards. Of course, Anderson ducked out the back door before this relative karma could take hold, but it has bitten his former team nonetheless.
There is nothing saying that Stone is any better than Kadeem Green, or that Frank Haith would trust him to play more than about eight minutes per game if he were still in the black and gold this season. But Stone's game was a nice reminder of what might happen if you abandon your core values because you got starry eyes, and what could happen when Missouri plays teams with both size and talent in 2011-12.
* Fun tidbit: the writer of the "Tyler Stone's mother is angry" story is the same AP writer who found the "SEC? Pssh. They're the backup option; we still want the Big Ten" source a few weeks ago. He seems to have no trouble rooting around to find a source willing to embarrass Mizzou at times. (Of course, Mizzou is more than willing to embarrass itself at times, no matter the AP writer.)
Mizzou 83, SEMO 68
|Pace (No. of Possessions)
|Points Per Minute
|Points Per Possession (PPP)
|Points Per Shot (PPS)
|True Shooting %||59.4%
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Offensive Rebounds||12
This game took shape like a lot of Missouri games will this year, I think. Mizzou fought as hard as they could to break even on the glass, keeping as many players as possible back to rebound (Phil Pressey had six) at the expense of some transition opportunities. They attacked the rim and drew enough fouls to get to the free throw line a lot, and they made their free throws. Kim English stepped up with Marcus Denmon in the backcourt, and Ricardo Ratliffe did just enough damage underneath. This was a tighter game than I would have liked, but some of that credit goes to SEMO's own athleticism.
Mizzou Player Stats
(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)
||26 Min, 20 Pts (8-12 FG, 4-4 FT), 8 Reb (3 Off), 2 Blk
||35 Min, 20 Pts (6-14 FG, 1-4 3PT, 7-7 FT), 8 Reb (2 Off), 3 Stl
||34 Min, 19 Pts (6-14 FG, 5-9 3PT, 2-3 FT), 5 Reb (2 Off), 2 TO
||27 Min, 8 Pts (0-3 FG, 0-2 3PT, 8-8 FT), 4 Ast, 3 Reb, 2 Stl, 3 TO
||33 Min, 10 Pts (4-11 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-5 FT), 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 TO
||23 Min, 2 Pts (1-2 FG), 3 Reb, 2 Ast
||8 Min, 2 Pts (1-1 FG), 2 Reb
||12 Min, 2 Pts (1-1 FG), 2 Blk
||1 possession, no touches
||1 possession, no touches|
- The key for Missouri in 2011-12 is going to be a) Ratliffe and Denmon having nice games and b) a third player joining them in the scoring column. In exhibition season, that third player was Mike Dixon; on Friday night it was Kim English. It doesn't really matter who does the damage, so long as somebody does the damage.
- This game saw the most Matt Pressey-esque stat line ever (iffy shooting from the field, lots and lots of free throws and a couple of steals), but it came from Mike Dixon.
- I found it interesting that Moore and Green only combined for 20 minutes. I know Kim English is indeed going to get a lot of time at the 4-spot this year, but I still expected 25-30 minutes per game from Moore/Green.
I have created the above table enough now (since the beginning of last season, I believe) to get a decent understanding of what numbers typically result in quality Mizzou play. For example...
Marcus Denmon's Usage% needs to be 23% or higher. (Against SEMO: Yes!)
Kim English's %T/O needs to be at 10% or lower. (No.)
Kim English's Floor% should be at 35% or higher. (Yes!)
Ricardo Ratliffe's %Fouled should be at least 10%. (Yes!)
Phil Pressey's Touches/Possession need to be 3.5 or better. (No.)
Mike Dixon's %Pass should be 55% or higher. (Yes!)
Steve Moore's Touches/Possession should be at least 1.0. (Yes!)
Mizzou went 5-for-7 in these seven items. Really, I should track these from game-to-game, as I'm pretty sure Mizzou will win most of the time if they nail at least four of these.
This wasn't an amazingly impressive win, and as mentioned above, it came with at least a small twinge of regret, but it was still a 15-point win. It doesn't take too long to survey the country and find a lot of teams that did worse than this in their opener. (Kansas State, Oklahoma and Vanderbilt, to name three. Vanderbilt not only struggled, but got pounded by Cleveland State.) Just survive early on while you're figuring out who you are.
Mizzou gets an incredibly strange test tonight from the Mercer Bears. Mercer's starting line up is as follows:
- Langston Hall (6'4, 180, So.)
- Bud Thomas (6'6, 200, So.)
- Jakob Gollon (6'6, 200, So.)
- Justin Cecil (6'8, 225, Sr.)
- Daniel Coursey (6'11, 220, So.)
That is a loooooooooong starting lineup. They are by no means a great basketball team -- they are quite young, they went 15-18 last year, and they beat Emory by just nine points to start their season on Saturday -- but they are not lacking in size. One would hope that Mizzou will find a way to win, but even if they win easily, this game will still represent a nice test for the undersized Tigers.
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.