Study Hall: Oklahoma State 79, Mizzou 72

Your Trifecta: Ratliffe-PPressey-Denmon, strangely enough. Though really, it was Ratliffe-Ratliffe-Ratliffe. Regardless, your winners: mizzou2396, K2theT, and leeaustex.

It appears that the Ghost of Iba is hard at work.
Jan 26 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

Dear #Mizzou fans - last year's 4 Final Four teams were a combined 23-24 in true road games. Point is, these things happen. Go Tigers!
Jan 26 via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Between these two tweets and a text from a friend last night, rationalizing that he would rather have the Baylor win and the OSU loss, and not the other way around, I didn't feel too bad about this loss for too long. Things happen, and your team loses sometimes. As long as the response is strong, then you just move on. Of course, certain things are trending in the wrong direction with this team, so we'll still need to talk about that.

Oklahoma State 79, Mizzou 72

Mizzou
OSU
Pace (No. of Possessions) 68.7
Points Per Minute 1.80 1.98
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.05 1.15
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.11 1.52
2-PT FG% 47.8% 66.7%
3-PT FG% 21.1% 38.5%
FT% 88.9% 85.7%
True Shooting % 49.4% 67.9%
Mizzou OSU
Assists 8 14
Steals 11 7
Turnovers 10 17
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.90 1.31
Mizzou OSU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 14 8
Offensive Rebounds 13 5
Difference -1 -3

Expectations And Reality Disagree Sometimes

For Missouri last night, Ricardo Ratliffe took 17 shots, Marcus Denmon took 16, Kim English and Phil Pressey took nine, Matt Pressey took seven, Mike Dixon took five, and Steve Moore took two. Using season-long per-shot averages for each player, that combination should have resulted in 96.2 points for Missouri.

For Oklahoma State, Le'Bryan Nash took 18 shots, Keiton Page took 12, Brian Williams took 11, Markel Brown took seven, Philip Jurick took three and Michael Cobbins took one. Using the same season-long per-shot averages, that combination should have resulted in 62.6 points for Oklahoma State.

Needless to say, that's not how things played out.

But on the bright side, there are no more miserable trips to Gallagher-Iba on the horizon. And yes, I will use that line for every road loss the rest of the year. (Not that there will be any more road losses, ahem...)

The Supporting Components Are In Place...

Earlier this season, we thought we had a pretty good read on things. Marcus Denmon and Kim English were going to score points, Phil Pressey was going to run the show, and the Mizzou defense was going to harass opponents mercilessly on the perimeter. Meanwhile, Mizzou was going to have a serious size disadvantage, and if opponents keyed on stopping Denmon and English, Matt Pressey would need to pick up some of the scoring load (and we were clearly unsure if that would happen). Lately, however, the supporting components we felt Mizzou needed have come ... and the constants we expected have faltered.

Expected Offensive Rebounds, Last Six Games: Mizzou -0.3/game, Opponents -0.7/game.
Ricardo Ratliffe: 17.3 PPG (73% FG, 82% FT)
Matt Pressey: 7.8 PPG (53% 3PT, 88% FT)

Mizzou is breaking even (or better) on the boards, they are winning the battle of the bigs for the most part, and Matt Pressey is making opponents pay dearly for leaving him open. Meanwhile, on 3-pointers, Marcus Denmon is shooting 26%, Kim English is shooting 22%, and opponents are shooting 46%. Mizzou is still making plenty of steals (8.3 per game in that span) and forcing turnovers (15.2 per game), but when they don't, opponents are getting really good looks; opponents' True Shooting % is 59.9% in this span, and they are averaging 1.11 points per possession.

Yes, there is some luck involved here. That 46% mark on 3-pointers includes Scott Christopherson's 60-footer, and it includes Baylor's final-minute hot streak (which came despite decent defense and included a 20-foot runner), and it includes Le'Bryan Nash's turn as Clarence Gilbert last night, in which he made three 3-pointers in a row, all of which were either pretty well-covered, stupid-long, or both. Still, if you were to take out seven 3-pointers from the total, opponents are still shooting 41 percent. It's still an issue.

The defensive glitches are most alarming, as we just have to assume Marcus Denmon will emerge from his slump at some point. But his jumper is absolutely off-kilter, and even though he's figuring out other ways to score (he's shooting 6.3 free throws per game in this six-game span), Mizzou's ceiling is lower when he's missing open 3-pointers. And he missed some open looks last night.

(Also alarming: Mike Dixon is shooting 18 percent on 3-pointers on the road. The basket is still the same height, guys.)

Four Pretty Awful Minutes

With 6:57 remaining, Markel Brown drew his second technical after his second monster dunk of the game. (I felt the second tech was probably a good call; I cannot say the same about the first one.) For upwards of ten minutes, Mizzou had squandered an opportunity to put the game away by falling into an offensive funk, but their defense had kept them ahead. Marcus Denmon made the two tech free throws, and after two misses and offensive rebounds, Ricardo Ratliffe went to the line and made two free throws to give Mizzou a 60-53 lead. Oklahoma State then scored 17 points in seven possessions.

  • Le'Bryan Nash jumper. 60-55.
  • Kim English missed jumper.
  • Nash 3-pointer. 60-58, timeout Mizzou.
  • Phil Pressey two free throws. 62-58.
  • Brian Williams two free throws. 62-60.
  • P. Pressey missed 3-pointer.
  • Nash jumper. 62-62.
  • P. Pressey tough layup. 64-62.
  • Nash stupid-long 3-pointer. 64-65.
  • M. Pressey missed tough layup.
  • Nash stupider-longer 3-pointer, with no one underneath to rebound. 64-68, timeout Mizzou.
  • English missed 3-pointer.
  • Page jumper, 64-70.

That's a 17-4 run in 4:13, with 13 points from Nash (all on jumpers that he has spent a good portion of the year missing). Mizzou missed their opportunity with 10-15 minutes left, and OSU seized theirs with 2-6 left (while doing quite a few things you're not actually supposed to do). Stupid things happen on the road, and there were a lot of stupid things involved here, but that doesn't change the fact that Mizzou still had a chance to put the game away and forgot how to score.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Ricardo Ratliffe 31.8 0.86 37 Min, 25 Pts (10-17 FG, 5-5 FT), 12 Reb (6 Off)
Phil Pressey 10.9 0.31 35 Min, 10 Pts (4-9 FG, 0-3 3PT, 2-2 FT), 5 Reb, 4 Stl, 2 Ast, 3 TO
Marcus Denmon 10.7 0.29 37 Min, 17 Pts (4-16 FG, 2-8 3PT, 7-8 FT), 4 Reb, 2 Stl, 3 TO
Matt Pressey 10.6 0.39 27 Min, 8 Pts (2-7 FG, 2-4 3PT, 2-3 FT), 3 Stl, 2 Ast
Kim English 5.2 0.15 35 Min, 8 Pts (4-9 FG, 0-3 3PT), 4 Reb (2 Off)
Steve Moore 1.2 0.14 9 Min, 0 Pts (0-2 FG), 2 Reb
Mike Dixon 0.7 0.03 20 Min, 4 Pts (2-5 FG, 0-1 3PT), 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 TO
  • Ricardo Ratliffe in conference play: 51-for-66 from the field (77.3%), 19-for-22 from the line (86.4%). That he 'only' went 10-for-17 (59%) yesterday was a bit jarring. But he still did his part, especially on the offensive glass.
  • Phil Pressey made quite a few poor plays down the stretch, but I just cannot blame him for much. For the last ten minutes, he had gotten next to nothing from the rest of the Mizzou offense, and when that happens, he tries to make things happen himself. Sometimes it works, and often it doesn't.
  • I said yesterday that we would know a lot about the game by what kind of contribution OSU's Philip Jurick was able to make. If Mizzou was running him off the court, they were probably in good shape. But if he had a good game, Mizzou was probably in trouble. I would call "24 minutes, six points (3-for-3 shooting) and eight rebounds" good, especially for Jurick.
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Ratliffe 26% 53% 1.7 0% 80% 16% 5%
P. Pressey 18% 38% 2.1 47% 36% 5% 12%
Denmon 29% 29% 2.4 19% 53% 18% 10%
M. Pressey 15% 37% 2.2 57% 34% 10% 0%
English 14% 40% 1.3 37% 57% 0% 6%
Moore 11% 0% 0.6 0% 100% 0% 0%
Dixon 17% 34% 2.7 63% 27% 0% 11%

To the checklist!

Marcus Denmon's Usage% needs to be 23% or higher. (Yes, a little too much higher perhaps.)
Kim English's %T/O needs to be at 10% or lower. (Yes.)
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. (No.)

Three Keys Revisited

From yesterday's preview.

Road Things

As with every road game. Offensive rebounds, fouls and Phil Pressey. If those three things go in Mizzou's favor (or at least don't go against Mizzou), they are probably going to win.

Expected Offensive Rebounds: Mizzou -1, Oklahoma State -3
Fouls: Mizzou 14, Oklahoma State 12.
Phil Pressey: 10 points on nine shots, two assists, three turnovers, four steals.

Honestly, none of these went dramatically against Missouri. Like I said above, the minor details are trending nicely toward Mizzou ... and the major ones aren't necessarily moving in the right direction.

Manage Page

Nash takes more shots, but Keiton Page is the scariest player, simply because of what can happen when he is dialed in. He killed Mizzou last year, not with 3-point shooting (1-for-3), but with his ability to junk the game up and draw cheap fouls. He attempted nine free throws in last year's game, and both Phil Pressey and Mike Dixon ended up with four fouls; Dixon only played 15 minutes. If Page is controlling the game, OSU will stay in it.

Page scored only 12 points on 12 shots, but a) he had five assists and two steals with no turnovers, and b) he made the two biggest shots he took -- the "of course that went in" buzzer beater at the end of the first half, and the pull-up jumper with 2:18 left that gave OSU a six-point lead. He played well.

But as we know, actual play does not necessarily measure the impact Page can have on a game, especially at home. He is a Jason Sutherland- or Jarrod Haase-type, a player who will use every trick in the book to get in his opponent's head. Of course, Sutherland would actually get in someone's face at times; Page, on the other hand, uses more junior high techniques. On the play that, I believe, ended up in Nash's second 3-pointer, Page literally put his fingers in Matt Pressey's face in an attempt to draw him into reacting. Like, hand in face, move the fingers around. I almost rewound to record a GIF of it, but I was too mad. Forgive the language, but it was one of the bigger bitch moves I've ever seen during a competitive basketball game. (And, since he actually didn't really react, it proved that Matt Pressey is much more mature than I am.) I was almost embarrassed watching it. You've officially made me hate what has always been my second-favorite team, in my second-favorite venue, Keiton. Well done. Enjoy the CBE Classic.

Opening Rounds

In the opening minutes of Mizzou's win over Baylor, the Tigers were incredibly poised and under control. They came right out and perfectly picked apart Baylor's zone in the first couple of possessions, while the Bears started out with a couple of sloppy turnovers. Granted, it didn't make much of a difference on the scoreboard, but the Tigers proved immediately that they were prepared, calm and under control. If they do so again in the opening minutes tonight, I'll feel pretty good, even if OSU keeps up for a while.

Mizzou's offense was under control early on, but there were virtually immediate warning signs on the defensive side of the ball. Oklahoma State experienced quite a bit of success splitting the double-team when Ricardo Ratliffe was flashing out on the perimeter, and the 18-footers were falling. OSU was, for the most part, taking exactly the shots I wanted them to take, and they were going in. They would cool off, but clearly those early jumpers gave Nash some confidence for what he would do later on.

Summary

Here's where I remind myself that Missouri is 18-2 ... and road losses happen to almost everybody ... and Marcus Denmon won't always shoot like this ... and neither will opponents. And I'll be right on all cases. But let's still hope for an epic blood-letting against Texas Tech on Saturday to get rid of this general annoyance. I hate quite a bit about basketball (in a loving way, of course), but one thing you have to like is that you almost always get a chance to rebound in just a few days.

---

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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