Mizzou 83, SIU-Edwardsville 69: Study Hall

Dak Dillon-US PRESSWIRE

In which I make an ambitious, terrifying comparison for Negus Webster-Chan...

Your Trifecta: Flip-NWC-Bowers

Mizzou 83, SIUE 69

Mizzou
SIUE
Pace (No. of Possessions) 71.0
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.17 0.97
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.22 1.00
2-PT FG% 48.1% 27.9%
3-PT FG% 43.8% 42.3%
FT% 63.2% 66.7%
True Shooting % 54.3% 44.9%
Mizzou SIUE
Assists 20 11
Steals 7 5
Turnovers 12 8
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.25 2.00
Mizzou SIUE
Expected Offensive Rebounds 14 17
Offensive Rebounds 16 15
Difference +2 -2

Three Games

First 17 Minutes: SIUE 33, Mizzou 29
Next 12 Minutes: Mizzou 37, SIUE 11
Last 11 Minutes: SIUE 25, Mizzou 17

In the first half, SIU-Edwardsville hit seven 3-pointers (four from Jerome Jones, two from Maurice Wiltz) and very clearly called back memories of what was most likely Mizzou's biggest weakness last season: perimeter defense. And they did it without our go-to rationale from last year: Mizzou's lack of perimeter size. For most of the first half, Mizzou played Phil Pressey, Keion Bell (three inches taller than Mike Dixon) and Negus Webster-Chan (four taller than Marcus Denmon) in the backcourt, but there were Jones and Wiltz, making 55 percent of their long balls, and there was SIUE, leading Missouri by four with about three minutes left in the first half. There was never any sort of "Oh crap, we're going to lose this game" dread involved by any means, but ... let's put it this way: I've had more fun watching Mizzou play basketball. And I could have done without the flashbacks.

Yadda yadda yadda, then Mizzou calmly flipped into fifth gear and put the Eagles away. Laurence Bowers caught fire from the field, Mizzou ran a bit, Alex Oriakhi did Oriakhi things, and Mizzou opened up a 22-point lead before once again easing back into third gear and cruising home. The positive spin would simply be the old, go-to "Mizzou won comfortably, and Haith has plenty to yell about, so hooray!" line I've delivered many times about cupcake basketball games through the years. The negative spin would be that, while Mizzou seems to have alleviated one of last year's biggest flaws (rebounding), we don't know that they've fixed the other one. Doesn't mean they haven't fixed it, of course, but the jury is not yet in.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Phil Pressey 23.1 0.66 35 Min, 19 Pts (7-12 FG, 2-2 3PT, 3-4 FT), 9 Ast, 5 Reb, 2 TO
Negus Webster-Chan 16.5 0.48 34 Min, 11 Pts (4-7 FG, 3-5 3PT), 4 Ast, 2 Reb, 3 Stl
Laurence Bowers 14.9 0.60 25 Min, 20 Pts (9-14 FG, 2-3 FT), 7 Reb (2 Off), 3 TO
Alex Oriakhi 10.4 0.34 31 Min, 8 Pts (4-9 FG, 0-3 FT), 15 Reb (4 Off), 3 Blk
Keion Bell 8.9 0.33 27 Min, 8 pts (3-8 FG, 0-3 3PT, 2-2 FT), 4 Ast, 4 Reb
Stefan Jankovic 6.8 0.75 9 Min, 7 Pts (2-2 FG, 2-2 3PT, 1-1 FT), 5 PF
Tony Criswell 2.2 0.12 18 Min, 3 Pts (1-5 FG, 1-2 FT), 10 Reb (5 Off), 2 TO, 4 PF
Earnest Ross -0.1 -0.01 20 Min, 7 Pts (2-10 FG, 0-4 3PT, 3-4 3PT), 4 Reb, 3 TO
Ryan Rosburg -1.3 -1.28 1 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG)
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Pressey 20% 55% 5.6 75% 17% 6% 3%
Webster-Chan 9% 61% 2.5 77% 23% 0% 0%
Bowers 33% 48% 2.9 23% 54% 12% 12%
Oriakhi 17% 30% 1.2 0% 69% 23% 8%
Bell 17% 42% 3.5 68% 23% 6% 3%
Jankovic 12% 86% 2.7 66% 23% 11% 0%
Criswell 20% 16% 1.4 0% 56% 22% 22%
Ross 33% 21% 3.2 26% 44% 17% 13%
  • As a freshman, Marcus Denmon redefined the phrase, "lets the game come to him." He shot when he was open, made a solid pass when he was not, didn't necessarily attack a lot, and didn't do many things wrong. He was not yet ready to be a star by any means, but when called upon, he held the fort for a very good team, played his role, and helped Mizzou advance to the Elite Eight.
  • Now ... I'm not saying Negus Webster-Chan is the next Marcus Denmon. Really, I'm not. I hold No. 12 too highly in regard to compare him to some skinny freshman who just played the first official game of his career. BUT ... NWC had an incredibly Denmon-esque game against SIUE: Make your open shots, don't draw fouls, don't commit turnovers, and pass reasonably effectively. I'm not sure what to think about his defense just yet (SIUE made some 3's on his watch, but he did have three steals), but he made four of seven shots, grabbed two defensive boards, dished four assists, stole the ball three times and managed to play 34 minutes in an occasionally close game without drawing any negative attention to himself whatsoever. With Mike Dixon still on the bench, with Keion Bell and Earnest Ross combining to shoot just 5-for-18 (0-for-7 from 3-point range), and with the defense coming and going, Mizzou needed NWC's contributions to maintain a healthy distance. And he delivered.
  • Stefan Jankovic: nine minutes, seven points, five fouls. I'm going to enjoy him.
  • I've always thought that the Game Score formula I use is a little unfriendly to point guards. I've seen Flip Pressey play many, many games in which I'd have given him an A or A+, but in which he only ended up with like 6.0 Adj. GS points. This was not one of those games. I feared he was on the brink of "Screw it, I'm going to start shooting" mode quite a bit, but in the end his stats were impeccable, and it showed.
  • I'd forgotten how pretty Laurence Bowers' 16-foot jumper is.
  • Consider Tony Criswell the anti-NWC: he seemed to bring a lot of positives to the table and a lot of negatives. He grabbed five offensive boards and five defensive boards in just 18 minutes ... and scored three points on five shots. He dove for a loose ball and once again proved himself a solid "little things" guy ... and he committed two turnovers and four fouls. I'll say this: Mizzou should get unique, energetic bench contributions from Criswell and Jankovic this year.
  • In the first exhibition, we saw the upside of a streak shooter like Earnest Ross (8-for-13 FG, 6-for-10 3PT). On Saturday, we saw the downside (2-for-10 FG, 0-for-4 3PT).

Summary

If you were in the mood to look for some red flags on Saturday, you found them. If you just wanted to win by double digits and move on, you got that, too. I'm not going to get worked up about any of the negatives I found, nor am I going to overstate the positives (I did love NWC's game, though). But Mizzou is 1-0, and there's always something to like about that.

---

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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