UPDATE, 2/14: YouTube link added at the bottom.
Time to introduce a new feature. I want to think that people here are getting used to the way we use stats to look at basketball and football games. It has been a lovely learning process for me over the last few seasons -- I honestly think it has changed the way I watch games, and for the better -- and at some point I came to an exciting realization: for basketball in particular, there are hundreds of interesting games that have not received the Study Hall treatment. So what we're going to attempt to do the rest of the season is introduce a Classic Study Hall feature, first based on current Mizzou opponents, then, as the calendar turns to March, based on classic postseason games.
Though Mizzou has obviously fared better against Oklahoma in recent seasons, the most classic Mizzou-Oklahoma games of the last 15 years or so resulted in Mizzou losses. There was, of course, the Elite Eight loss of 2002, but for one reason or another, I was not as shaken up by that one as I was by the 2000 Big 12 Tournament loss. Here's what I said a while back in my Worst Moments of the Decade post.
I've never seen a shot go further in before rimming out than Clarence's 3-pointer with about two seconds left in overtime. This game was so tough and intense that I charged out of Hatch Hall and walked around campus for an hour after it ended. I was in a T-shirt. It was snowing. Didn't matter. One of the best games I've ever watched, and one of the toughest losses to take.
It is one of the most memorable games of my time in Columbia, but in looking back, I didn't truly 'remember' that much. I remember Clarence's missed 3, obviously. (Ugh. Makes me sick just thinking about it.) I remember Kelly Newton making a wide-open 3-pointer because nobody actually thought he would take it. And I remember about two and a half hours of pure tension and rage. This was not pretty basketball, but it was so, so intense.
What I don't remember: anything else. Stats, specific plays from the first 44 minutes, nothing. So I felt this would be a good game to kick off what will hopefully be an interesting series. Below is a poll for which 'classic' (relatively speaking) Texas Tech game I should examine -- Mizzou and Tech haven't played too many classic, intense, meaningful games, but I'll give it a shot anyway -- but for now, let's pick the scab and take a look at one of the most grueling, intense, great games in Mizzou's recent history. The game had the wrong result, but it was classic nonetheless.
Oklahoma 84, Mizzou 80 (OT)
|Pace (No. of Possessions)
|Points Per Minute
|Points Per Possession (PPP)
|Points Per Shot (PPS)
|True Shooting %||50.0%||54.1%|
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Offensive Rebounds||15||15|
Kelvin Sampson's Teams Could Rebound
Let's get this out of the way right off the bat: Kelvin Sampson was, for all intents and purposes, scum. He yelled "REBOUND" as an opposing player was taking free throws. He had his players play as close to the line between "intense" and "dirty" as any Mizzou opponent in the last 20 years. (His teams did it even better than some of Norm's.) It made me dislike Oklahoma severely (and because of his scumminess, Oklahoma fans also more-or-less hate him now), but it also made for some super-intense battles.
What Sampson's teams did better than almost anybody else, was rebound. They crashed the offensive glass hard. I still remember an ESPN feature on Oklahoma from around this time, where he would literally put a lid on the rim. Shot goes up, everybody flies at the rim. It meant for a ton of fouls, but it made for even more second-chance opportunities. Oklahoma had beaten Missouri at Hearnes the year before, based primarily on two events: 1) Eduardo Najera slamming Keyon Dooling into the basket support on a fast break, and 2) Oklahoma scoring, I believe, seven points on one back-breaking possession (basket and the foul, missed free throw and offensive rebound, another basket and foul, another missed free throw and offensive rebound, three-pointer). It was the quintessential Oklahoma game. Oklahoma massacred Mizzou in Norman two weeks before the Big 12 Tournament, but in this game, Mizzou was ready. They matched Oklahoma's intensity at least enough to break even on the offensive glass. But Oklahoma still secured more second chances, enough to bring home the win.
Sloppy, Sloppy, Sloppy
Extreme intensity typically makes for sloppy basketball, and this game was not aesthetically pleasing in any possible way. Missouri shot 36.4% for the game, Oklahoma 36.8%. Nobody got open looks, and the teams combined for 34 turnovers. Oh yeah, and there were 55 fouls and 79 free throw attempts. (Non-surprising tidbit of the day: this game was officiated by Tom O'Neil and Bill Kennedy.) 55! 79!!! Four players fouled out. Both teams drew a technical foul. You know how I like to make boxing analogies based on the flow of the game? Well this was almost literally a boxing match on hardwood. It was played at Oklahoma's chosen style, but Mizzou almost won anyway.
Mizzou Player Stats
(Definitions at the bottom of the post. Starters in bold below.)
|Keyon Dooling (So.)||25.9||0.60||43 Min, 21 Pts (6-18 FG, 0-5 3PT, 9-9 FT), 5 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Blk|
|Clarence Gilbert (So.)||18.5||0.50||37 Min, 21 Pts (5-18 FG, 2-11 3PT, 9-9 FT), 4 Reb, 4 PF|
|Brian Grawer (Jr.)||14.9||0.68||22 Min, 10 Pts (2-3 FG, 1-2 3PT, 5-6 FT)|
|Johnnie Parker (Jr.)||10.7||0.56||19 Min, 5 Pts (2-6 FG, 1-1 3PT), 5 Reb (4 Off), 2 Stl|
|Kareem Rush (Fr.)||8.3||0.28||30 Min, 13 Pts (5-13 FG, 0-4 3PT, 3-4 FT), 9 Reb (3 Off), 5 TO, 5 PF|
|T.J. Soyoye (Jr.)||3.5||0.16||22 Min, 3 Pts (1-1 FG, 1-2 FT), 3 Reb, 4 PF|
|Justin Gage (Fr.)||1.7||0.13||13 Min, 3 Pts (1-1 FG, 1-2 FT), 3 Reb (2 Off), 2 TO, 5 PF|
|Jeff Hafer (Sr.)||0.7||0.03||24 Min, 4 Pts (2-5 FG, 0-2 3PT), 2 Reb (2 Off), 5 PF
|Kenge Stevenson (So.)||0.5||0.09||6 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG), 2 Reb|
|Pat Schumacher (So.)||-1.2||-0.30||4 Min, 0 Pts|
|Josh Kroenke (Fr.)||-1.7||-0.35||5 Min, 0 Pts|
- I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this probably wasn't the only Dooling-Gilbert-Grawer trifecta of the 1999-00 season.
- It's funny -- I have almost no recollection of Keyon Dooling in this game, but this was quite possibly his best game in a Missouri uniform (it was also his second-to-last). In a game with almost no assists (that's what happens when there are no open shots), Dooling did not really serve as a distributor here -- he just drove and drove and drove, drawing contact and making his free throws. One of his primary weaknesses was on display (0-for-5 from long range), but all of his strengths were too. And in 43 minutes, he managed to only commit three fouls, which was incredibly important in a game where Mizzou had five players committing at least four.
- No team stifled Clarence Gilbert more than Oklahoma. We remember his horrible shooting performance in the 2002 Elite Eight, but this one was almost as bad. OU defended him incredibly well, but I still say only the Sports God could have prevented that last-second three-ball from falling. With four rebounds, a block and a 9-for-9 performance from the line, Clarence had what could be considered a good 5-for-18 shooting night, but still ... no matter how much Keyon and Clarence contributed in this game, they still combined to go just 11-for-36. It's hard to win when that's the case. Luckily, Oklahoma's Nolan Johnson and Najera combined to just go 11-for-34 themselves, giving Mizzou a chance. (Johnson and Najera also combined for nine offensive rebounds.)
(Fun fact: Hollis Price went 1-for-3 shooting in this game. If you'd have asked me before I looked at the box score, I'd have guessed he was their leading scorer. Your memory plays tricks on you sometimes.)
- I feel guilty. This was also perhaps Johnnie Parker's finest performance ... and I have no recollection of him either. He grabbed four offensive rebounds, allowing Mizzou to almost break even against a great rebounding team; with Mizzou lacking in size (remember, small forward Jeff Hafer was a "power forward" this season, while power forward Dr. T.J. Soyoye was a makeshift center -- Mizzou would get obliterated by North Carolina's Brendan Haywood the next weekend in the NCAA Tournament) and Soyoye in foul trouble, Parker gave Mizzou 19 incredibly vital minutes.
- Mizzou also got strong minutes from Justin Gage and walk-on Kenge Stevenson. To say the least, neither Gage nor Stevenson was offensively inclined, but in this brutally physical affair, they were extremely important. (Gage also fouled out in 13 minutes, which is impressive in and of itself.)
- Not the best game for Kareem Rush. His 5-for-13 performance was actually not terrible in this game, but his five turnovers (and five fouls) limited him, to say the least.
- Again, not a lot of passing success in this game. That skewed the %Pass numbers rather consistently.
- Ah, Justin Gage. A whopping 78% of his individual possessions ended in a foul or a turnover. Even on the basketball court, he was an excellent football player.
This team's lack of size was its downfall; they managed a 9-seed in the NCAA Tournament, though they were one of those "dangerous 9-seeds the 1-seed does not want to play in the second round." Unfortunately, they got the worst possible draw -- they played Brendan Haywood and North Carolina in the first round. Haywood posted an incredible 28 & 15 (with nine offensive rebounds and 11-for-15 shooting), and thousands of Mizzou fans hopped on the "Wait, this team's an 8-seed???" bandwagon. A couple of days later, UNC knocked off 1-seed Stanford, and a week later they were in the Final Four. Oklahoma, meanwhile, thumped Texas in the semifinals the next day before falling, exhausted, to Marcus Fizer, Jamaal Tinsley and Iowa State. They would bow out to Purdue in the second round of the NCAA Tournament the next weekend.
This was a fun, if small and inconsistent, team, and Mizzou's best and worst tendencies were on display that Friday night in Kansas City.
UPDATE: So ... this also happened. Somehow I didn't remember this even though it was, um, pretty awesome.
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.