Mizzou 78, Stanford 70: Study Hall

Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Mizzou faces Louisville tonight at 8:30 p.m. CT on NBC Sports. Leave your Trifecta picks here!

Your (Very Obvious, For Once) Trifecta: Bowers-Pressey-Oriakhi.

First things first: I was pretty damn impressed with Stanford. Clearly this is a team that depends on outside shooting for offense (which probably isn't a good thing), but the Cardinal are really long and interesting, and Dwight Powell is a nice player (and good actor, ahem). If Stanford can find any semblance of 3-point rhythm, that will be a pretty successful team. And lord knows the 3-point shots look pretty nice leaving the hands of shooters. They just aren't going in. And yesterday, that was good for Missouri.

Mizzou 78, Stanford 70

Mizzou
Stanford
Pace (No. of Possessions) 71.5
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.09 0.98
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.10 1.25
2-PT FG% 42.3% 50.0%
3-PT FG% 21.1% 23.1%
FT% 88.0% 84.6%
True Shooting % 47.6% 51.9%
Mizzou Stanford
Assists 13 10
Steals 8 7
Turnovers 10 18
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.10 0.94
Mizzou Stanford
Expected Offensive Rebounds 16 13
Offensive Rebounds 19 12
Difference +3 -1

Ball Control, Rebounds and Laurence Bowers

Near as I can tell, those are the three reasons Mizzou won this game. Phil Pressey was occasionally brilliant (eight assists to three turnovers, and 18 points on 13 field goal attempts), Stanford turned the ball over a lot (Powell had five turnovers, Chasson Randle four), and Laurence Bowers is so freaking calm and cool. Stanford cuts the Mizzou lead to 68-66, misses a 3-pointer that would put the Tigers down by 1, and Bowers calmly knocks down a gorgeous 15-footer. Mizzou is up four with 45 seconds left, and Phil Pressey misses a driving layup, but Bowers is right there to tip the ball in. Bowers was 6-for-8 for 13 points in the second half (yet another second-half surge), and it made the difference.

Fits and Starts

Wow, does this team have some upside. The 10-2 run that turned a 16-14 lead into a 28-16 lead was 3.5 minutes of nearly perfect basketball, and while the 10-4 run to end the game was not perfect, it was steady and sure. Mizzou made its open shots, dominated on the glass, and made its free throws.

Of course, the 10-2 run in the first half was followed immediately by a 12-0 Stanford run. And Mizzou needed the 10-4 finish to close out the game because the Tigers had managed to score only four points in the previous four minutes and had seen a seven-point lead dwindle to two. This team's upside is found partially in freshmen (Negus Webster-Chan, Stefan Jankovic, Ryan Rosburg) and streak shooters (Earnest Ross, Keion Bell, Phil Pressey). That means there will be some droughts to match the brilliance. That also makes Bowers and Flip The Point Guard (not the Shooter) the most important players on the team. Bowers and Flip the Point Guard are steadying forces, players on whom you can lean on when you absolutely need a bucket. Bowers seems to do a nice job of staying out of the way when everybody else is hot, then stepping up when others cool off. That role is going to be absolutely vital for Missouri this year. Upside is great, but it is also sometimes fleeting. Steadiness is less sexy and more important.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Laurence Bowers 26.5 0.88 30 Min, 19 Pts (9-15 FG, 1-4 3PT), 10 Reb (4 Off), 2 Ast, 2 Blk
Phil Pressey 24.5 0.70 35 Min, 18 Pts (5-13 FG, 2-4 3PT, 6-6 FT), 8 Ast, 5 Reb, 4 Stl, 3 TO
Alex Oriakhi 15.3 0.57 27 Min, 13 Pts (3-5 FG, 7-8 FT), 4 Reb
Earnest Ross 7.8 0.22 35 Min, 10 Pts (3-19 FG, 0-5 3PT, 4-5 FT), 11 Reb (7 Off), 2 Ast, 2 Stl
Ryan Rosburg 3.2 0.32 10 Min, 5 Pts (2-4 FG, 1-2 FT), 2 Reb, 4 PF
Keion Bell 2.8 0.15 19 Min, 8 Pts (2-4 FG, 4-4 FT), 4 Reb, 5 TO
Tony Criswell 0.3 0.02 12 Min, 2 Pts (1-3 FG, 0-1 3PT)
Stefan Jankovic -2.0 -0.25 8 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG)
Negus Webster-Chan -3.5 -0.15 24 Min, 3 Pts (1-7 FG, 1-5 3PT)
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Bowers 22% 58% 2.5 44% 56% 0% 0%
Pressey 23% 44% 5.5 68% 19% 8% 4%
Oriakhi 15% 49% 1.4 0% 37% 56% 7%
Ross 26% 23% 2.9 33% 53% 13% 0%
Rosburg 21% 43% 1.7 0% 68% 32% 0%
Bell 25% 32% 2.8 31% 21% 21% 27%
Criswell 11% 29% 0.7 0% 100% 0% 0%
Jankovic 5% 0% 0.4 0% 100% 0% 0%
Webster-Chan 14% 10% 0.9 0% 88% 0% 12%
  • It's early, but thus far Alex Oriakhi is proving to be the exact, perfect complement to Laurence Bowers that we hoped. Oriakhi is a contact magnet, and his presence is nearly perpetual thanks to Ryan Rosburg, who is still ridiculously raw but equally physical. Bowers can play physical ball when he needs to, but he is best served as a floater, a guy who fills the void next to a scrum whenever a scrum forms near the paint. Combine that with his adept filling of the "Phil Pressey's muse" role that Ricardo Ratliffe abandoned, and ... well ... you've got a potentially lovely season ahead for Party Starter.
  • As long as Missouri doesn't have to count on Ryan Rosburg to play more than 10-12 minutes in a game, he's got a lovely, well-defined role here: come in and bang until you reach four fouls.
  • Mizzou won because of the reasons I mentioned above, but we shouldn't underestimate the roles that both Ross and Bell played. Ross couldn't make a shot to save his life but still snagged seven offensive rebounds, dished a couple of assists and logged a couple of steals. Bell, meanwhile, couldn't hold onto the damn ball, but he had a nice putback at the end of the first half, and he was once again automatic from the free throw line. Senior leaders figure out ways to contribute when their bread-and-butter (scoring for Ross, driving for Bell) abandon them. Both Ross and Bell were senior leaders yesterday. (And lord knows they'll need to be that again tonight.)

Summary

Mission: accomplished. Mizzou won its Atlantis opener and gets to face Louisville and, possibly, Duke today and tomorrow. This is good for strength of schedule, but it's also good for "Where do we stand right now?" purposes. Louisville is the clear, justifiable favorite tonight, but we get to see how Mizzou stacks up against one of the nation's best teams, knowing that, as we've been saying in the preseason, this Tiger team is built to be better in February and March than it is right now. How does Mizzou's physicality match up against an elite team? Who steps up? How does Phil Pressey match up with Louisville guard Peyton Siva? Honestly, I don't expect Mizzou to win tonight, but we'll see some questions answered. Right now, that is almost as important as actually winning. Almost. A win would still be pretty cool, though, no?

---

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.

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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