Study Hall: Mizzou 104, Kennesaw State 67

COLUMBIA, MO - DECEMBER 15: Phil Pressey #1 of the Missouri Tigers is fouled during the game against the Kennesaw State Owls on December 15, 2011 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Your Trifecta: Dixon-Ratliffe-Denmon. Your winner: nobody. That's more like it!

This was an oddly grueling, physical, 37-point win. Matt Pressey got clotheslined. Mike Dixon tweaked something (leg? hip?) in the first half and had to be stretched out behind the bench after halftime. Steve Moore jammed his finger, then got bloodied up. Kim English and Marcus Denmon both hit the ground multiple times. Considering all I knew about Kennesaw State beforehand was that they never foul, this was certainly not the type of game I was expecting.

Kudos, by the way, to KSU's Markeith Cummings for doing an A+ job of playing the villain. First, you upended Matt Pressey on a fast break and almost inadvertently leg-dropped him at the end. Then, you caught fire from the field. Then, you (more inadvertently) bumped the other Pressey into the bench. By the end of the game, you were getting lustily booed. You made as big an impression as an opponent can make in a 37-point loss.

Mizzou 104, Kennesaw State 67


Mizzou
KSU
Pace (No. of Possessions) 70.1
Points Per Minute 2.60
1.68
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.48
0.96
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.60
1.16
2-PT FG% 70.2%
47.1%
3-PT FG% 33.3%
37.5%
FT% 80.0%
66.7%
True Shooting % 68.4%
52.9%




Mizzou KSU
Assists 20
14
Steals 14
6
Turnovers 9
19
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
3.78
1.05




Mizzou KSU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 10
12
Offensive Rebounds 13
12
Difference +3
+0

Some Cracks

Whether it is because of actual, structural flaws or boredom, Mizzou's defense has shown some cracks the last two games. Navy missed quite a few open shots, and for a while in the first half, Kennesaw State got the same open shots and didn't miss them. We won't really know if this is a problem until Braggin' Rights, but some nice hustle and ball movement got KSU plenty of nice looks, and ... well, the Owls had not previously displayed a major level of offensive competence.

Eventually, of course, KSU wilted. It was 70-52 during a timeout when I told my father that, while Mizzou certainly wasn't playing very well, I still didn't really understand how this team lost to Belmont by 46 and Lipscomb by 23. Then Mizzou went on a 34-15 run the rest of the way. KSU seemed well-coached, semi-athletic and intense, but they couldn't keep it up all game.

Efficiency

Last season, in 34 games, Mizzou averaged over 1.20 points per possession ten times. They averaged over 1.30 once.

This season, in 10 games, Mizzou has averaged over 1.20 points per possession ten times. They have averaged over 1.30 four times.

Yesterday was the most efficient game of the season for the Tigers, which a bit startling considering they played poorly for a couple of rounds in the first half and shot only 6-for-18 on 3-pointers. But they were relentless in transition (especially after made baskets), and once they got rolling in the second half, things got ridiculous.

  • Mizzou Offense, First Half: 17-for-30 FG (57%), 3-for-10 3PT (30%), 6 offensive rebounds, 6 assists
  • Mizzou Offense, Second Half: 22-for-35 FG (63%), 3-for-8 3PT (38%), 7 offensive rebounds, 14 assists

Mizzou rebounded the ball on over half their second-half misses ... and didn't miss many to begin with. The ball moved ridiculously well, and after an often lackluster first half, Mizzou was back to playing really, really fun basketball.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Mike Dixon
19.0
0.76
25 Min, 18 Pts (5-7 FG, 2-4 3PT, 6-6 FT), 4 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Reb, 2 TO
Ricardo Ratliffe
18.4
0.84
22 Min, 18 Pts (8-10 FG, 2-2 FT), 7 Reb (3 Off)
Marcus Denmon
17.3
0.58
30 Min, 17 Pts (8-11 FG, 1-2 3PT), 6 Reb, 4 Stl
Matt Pressey
14.1
0.49
29 Min, 15 Pts (5-9 FG, 1-3 3PT, 4-4 FT), 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl
Kim English
9.9
0.35
28 Min, 13 Pts (4-11 FG, 1-4 3PT, 4-7 FT), 3 Reb, 3 Stl, 2 Ast, 2 TO
Phil Pressey
9.7
0.32
30 Min, 9 Pts (3-9 FG, 1-4 3PT, 2-4 FT), 10 Ast, 4 Reb, 2 TO
Kadeem Green
8.4
0.65
13 Min, 8 Pts (3-4 FG, 2-2 FT), 6 Reb
Steve Moore
4.9
0.35
14 Min, 4 Pts (2-2 FG), 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk
Andy Rosburg
2.0
0.65
3 Min, 2 Pts (1-1 FG), 1 Reb
Andrew Jones
0.0
0.00
3 Min
Jarrett Sutton
-0.4
-0.13
3 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 3PT), 1 Reb
  • I spend a lot of time talking about how fast and entertaining Phil Pressey is. Well if Mike Dixon is slower, it is by about half a step. And with Flip dishing the ball so well (his 6.1 assists per game would be a Mizzou single-season record), Dixon has mastered the role of the 1.5 guard -- half point (3.3 assists, 3.2 BCI, 59% Pass), half shooting guard (23% Usage Rate, 11 PPG). And the two are combining for a ridiculous 4.6 steals per game. While Mizzou is going to lose a hefty amount of production next season, they will still have the Dixon-Flip backcourt. (And Laurence Bowers, Earnest Ross, etc.)
  • Ricardo Ratliffe is shooting 77% from the field this season. Seventy-seven percent! It is actually jarring every time he misses one. He is the Marcus Denmon of post men, letting the game come to him, never forcing anything, and taking only good, makeable shots. And he and Flip Pressey have incredible chemistry right now. When Flip drives, he knows where Ratliffe is going to be, and Ratliffe knows where Flip is going with the ball. Peas and carrots.
  • Speaking of Denmon, it seemed as if the coaching staff made an effort to emphasize slashing and penetrating yesterday. Denmon and Kim English combined for only six 3-point attempts; while it seemed English stopped taking them because his jumper was off, Denmon never lingered on the 3-point line long enough to think about taking one. He was too busy slashing, slashing, slashing.
  • Heading into 2011-12, Steve Moore had dished two assists in a game seven times in his career. He has done so four times this season, and he did so in one minute of action in the second half last night. First, he took an entry pass and fed Denmon for a layup, then he passed a good shot to dish to a wide-open Kadeem Green for a dunk. The Big Man is finding ways to contribute.
  • Speaking of finding ways to contribute ... Kimmeh. The shot wasn't falling, so he attacked the rim, hit the offensive glass hard, and stole the ball three times. Let's put it this way: in previous seasons, English shooting 4-for-11 from the field would have resulted in a very low AdjGS figure (i.e. an empty box score). Not this year.
  • Hello, Kadeem Green! He got turned around on defense a couple of times, but he is slowly but surely looking less overwhelmed by the speed of the college game. If Mizzou can get 6-8 minutes per game out of him in conference play, their post depth looks so much more appealing.
  • ANDY ROSBURG SCORED!!! It's your turn next, Andrew Jones.
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Dixon
22%
58%
4.2
63%
19%
13%
5%
Ratliffe
23%
73%
1.5
0%
86%
14%
0%
Denmon
19%
62%
1.1
0%
92%
0%
8%
M. Pressey
19%
51%
2.4
47%
36%
13%
4%
English
27%
34%
3.1
39%
36%
18%
7%
P. Pressey
20%
44%
6.9
81%
12%
4%
3%
Green
18%
66%
1.2
0%
71%
29%
0%
Moore
10%
71%
3.0
80%
14%
0%
7%

To the checklist!

Marcus Denmon's Usage% needs to be 23% or higher. (No.)
Kim English's %T/O needs to be at 10% or lower. (Yes!)
Kim English's Floor% should be at 35% or higher. (No.)
Ricardo Ratliffe's %Fouled should be at least 10%. (Yes!)
Phil Pressey's Touches/Possession need to be 3.5 or better. (To say the least.)
Mike Dixon's %Pass should be 55% or higher. (Yes!)
Steve Moore's Touches/Possession should be at least 1.0. (Yes!)

Both Denmon and English played odd roles last night, but Mizzou still went 5-for-7 here and won by 37. And it really is amazing to watch Denmon score 17 points while using almost no possessions.

Summary

10-0! As mentioned above, Mizzou isn't looking quite as murderous as they were a couple of weeks ago (their defense has slipped to 40th in Ken Pomeroy's rankings), but there's no reason to be concerned about that just yet, not until the next two real tests -- vs Illinois, at Old Dominion -- take place. Incredibly, conference play begins in less than three weeks (hello, 18-game conference schedules). The tests are on the horizon, but for now Mizzou has looked about as good as anybody in the country.

---

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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