This series wasn't intended to just replay the 1999-00 season, so we'll try to avoid 2000 games the rest of the way. That said, while there haven't been too many notably great games in the Mizzou-Tech series, the 2000 game in Lubbock had the most unique individual effort.
In February 2000, Mizzou was a likely tourney team that was hitting a bit of a slump. They were 13-9, having lost back-to-back games to Iowa State and Texas. With huge games against Oklahoma State, Oklahoma (in Norman) and Kansas (in Lawrence) on the horizon (Mizzou would lose all three), the Tigers couldn't afford to slip up on road trips to lowly Texas Tech and Kansas State, but they almost did just that. With six minutes remaining, Mizzou trailed 76-69 to a Red Raiders squad that had recently lost eight straight games.
And then they scored the final 17 points of the game. Kareem Rush nailed back-to-back 3-pointers ... then T.J. Soyoye pulled off a dunk-and-one (Dr. T.J. dunked!) and Mizzou coasted.
Mizzou 86, Texas Tech 76
|Pace (No. of Possessions)
|Points Per Minute
|Points Per Possession (PPP)
|Points Per Shot (PPS)
|True Shooting %||55.9%||65.2%|
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Offensive Rebounds||15||9|
Defense Almost Loses, Then Defense Wins
For 35 minutes, Mizzou's defense was downright terrible at United Spirit Arena. Even after holding Tech scoreless for the final five minutes, the Tigers still allowed a 65.2% True Shooting Percentage. Rayford Young and James Ware combined to go 8-for-14 from the 3-point range, and Young had a rather crazy-good line for the entire game: 37 minutes, 26 points (11-for-18 FG), seven rebounds (four offensive rebounds), four assists, and a steal. Luckily for Mizzou ... a) he also had five turnovers, and b) Kareem Rush was even better.
Effective Height Not Mizzou's Friend
It's amazing that Mizzou was only minus-1.80 per game in terms of Expected Rebounds in 1999-00. I'm not completely sure how Ken Pomeroy calculates his Effective Height measure, but let's just say that a team featuring 6'9, 236-pound T.J. Soyoye at center (6'11, 242-pound Pat Schumacher averaged six minutes per game) and 6'5, 212-pound Jeff Hafer splitting time with 6'6, 221-pound Johnnie Parker at power forward, wouldn't have ranked particularly high.
How much did Mizzou's lack of size hurt them in 1999-00? Opponents shot 49.3% on 2-pointers that season, the third-highest percentage Mizzou has allowed since 1980. (Worst: 51.3% in 2005-06, second-worst: 50.5% in 2007-08.) That alone does not suggest size problems, but when combined with Mizzou's measly 2.0 blocks per game (I have blocks stats back to 1979, and this was easily the lowest), it probably means something, eh?
Obviously Mizzou was not a very good rebounding team that year either, but despite losing Albert White and Monte Hardge from the 1998-99 squad, Mizzou's rebounding actually improved from -2.0/game to -1.8/game (expected rebounds, not overall). As we'll see in the below table, Johnnie Parker was an extremely underrated reason for this. He came to Mizzou with the reputation of something of a poor man's Larry Hughes, and he clearly was not that ... but I think I have not appreciated his rebounding abilities enough over the years. He grabbed one-third of Mizzou's offensive rebounds in this game, and his 11% offensive rebounding rate was the best of any regular on this team. Considering he was probably grabbing rebounds over (or around) bigger power forwards, that's pretty impressive.
For this game, Mizzou broke even on the glass -- neither team snagged many offensive rebounds.
Mizzou Player Stats
(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)
|Kareem Rush (Fr.)||34.3||1.11||31 Min, 31 Pts (10-14 FG, 7-9 3PT, 4-4 FT), 4 Reb (2 Off), 3 Stl, 2 Ast, 3 PF|
|Keyon Dooling (So.)||20.0||0.56||36 Min, 19 Pts (4-13 FG, 2-6 3PT, 9-10 FT), 7 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Reb, 2 TO|
|Clarence Gilbert (So.)||13.1||0.37||35 Min, 16 Pts (4-15 FG, 4-11 3PT, 4-5 FT), 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl|
|T.J. Soyoye (Jr.)||9.4||0.35||27 Min, 12 Pts (4-11 FG, 4-5 FT), 6 Reb (2 Off)|
|Brian Grawer (Jr.)||8.5||0.27||32 Min, 2 Pts (1-2 FG, 0-1 3PT, 0-1 FT), 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl|
|Johnnie Parker (Jr.)||2.4||0.19||13 Min, 3 Pts (1-6 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1-1 FT), 6 Reb (4 Off)|
|Pat Schumacher (So.)||0.8||0.16||5 Min, 0 Pts|
|Josh Kroenke (Fr.)||-0.2||-0.02||11 Min, 3 Pts (1-4 3PT)|
|Justin Gage (Fr.)||-2.3||-0.23||10 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FT), 2 Reb, 3 PF|
Also Underrated: Keyon Dooling
It's odd. I know Keyon was a good player, and I know that he was this team's best overall player (14.1 AdjGS/game, 0.44/minute), but I think I still underrate him in terms of his overall contributions. He averaged 1.4 steals per game, and when combined with his solid passing abilities, I don't think it's a coincidence that Mizzou's team BCI (1.73) was higher this year than at any time between 1990 and 2008. Mizzou would not have survived in this game if not for their 13 steals, and Dooling, Grawer, Rush and Gilbert each had three. If only Mizzou had one more big ... they did alright on the glass, but their interior defense was just not up to snuff, and it cost them in this season. They were as dangerous/pesky on the perimeter as anybody in the country.
By This Point in the Season...
...we clearly knew we had something special in Kareem Rush. He had averaged 16.2 points per game since returning form a nine-game, eligibility-related suspension ("taking gifts from a summer league coach"), and he was improving by leaps and bounds. In his first game back from suspension (against A&M), he scored what was then a career-high 16 points. By the end of the season, his 1999-00 average was up to 14.7 PPG. Shooting 7-for-9 from long-range in this one certainly didn't hurt.
Brian Grawer: Stabilizer
As a sophomore in 1998-99, Brian Grawer averaged 9.6 points per game, powered primarily by 49.6% 3-point shooting. As a junior, he misplaced his stroke. He shot only 32.8% from long range, and his scoring average fell to 7.4 PPG. But amid the instability and chaos that Dooling, Gilbert, Rush and Jeff Hafer created (for better and for worse), Grawer was the stabilizing force. He had quick hands (1.5 SPG) and had the highest %Pass (64%) on the team. His %Shoot (21%) was lowest on the team, but he drew fouls, didn't turn the ball over, and made sure that Mizzou settled down when the action got a little too crazy (and with Rush, Dooling and Gilbert on the court at the same time, another high-volume shooter would have caused the need for a second ball to be rolled out on the court).
How Small Was This Team?
Of the 200 minutes played, Rush, Grawer, Dooling and Gilbert combined for 134 of them ... and Josh Kroenke still got on the court for 11 minutes. That means Mizzou spent half the game with a legitimate four-guard lineup on the floor. And considering T.J. Soyoye played only 27 minutes and Pat Schumacher only five, that means that there were at least eight minutes when either Hafer, Parker or Justin Gage was playing center. I guess it's starting to make sense how Tech shot 54.5% on 2-pointers, eh? If they didn't turn the ball over, they were probably taking a shot over a smaller defender.
- Grawer stepped up at times, but in this game, with Rush going off, Grawer took just two shots and assumed the role of primary (okay, only) distributor.
- The funniest part about Rush's game: just imagine how much he could have scored if Dooling and Gilbert hadn't still attempted 28 shots (and made just eight)!
- Ah, Justin Gage. No shots, no assists ... all fouls and turnovers. His game was like the cartoonish version of Steve Moore's.
This weekend, Mizzou plays Iowa State, and ... to say the least, there have been more classic games in that series than in the Mizzou-Tech series. I assumed I'd go with the 2001 four-overtime game, and I'll probably still do that game at some point, but to vary the seasons we examine (what more can I say about Gilbert and Rush that I didn't in the first two Classic Study Halls?), I'm going further back in time. Which game will I be doing? Guess you'll have to just wait and see, eh?
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.