Mizzou 86, Missouri Southern 60: Study Hall

Jamie Squire

Seniors with illness/suspension? No worries. We've got some fun freshmen.

Your Trifecta: Negus Webster-Chan, Stefan Jankovic, Earnest Ross. Five different players in two trifectas, and none of them wore a Mizzou uniform before this season. Interesting.

Mizzou 86, Missouri Southern 60

Mizzou
MSSU
Pace (No. of Possessions) 67.6
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.27 0.89
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.39 1.00
2-PT FG% 60.5% 33.3%
3-PT FG% 42.1% 38.1%
FT% 58.8% 71.4%
True Shooting % 61.9% 45.3%
Mizzou MSSU
Assists 20 11
Steals 10 5
Turnovers 16 14
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.88 1.14
Mizzou MSSU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 11 15
Offensive Rebounds 17 14
Difference +6 -1

We've Got Ourselves A Red Flag

We start once again with the obvious disclaimer: This was an exhibition game. And while Mizzou didn't go up, 27-3, this time, the Tigers were never in serious danger. It is certainly difficult to maintain your focus in these games, especially if you are an upperclassman ready to play in real games. But one has to at least point out that, in 56 exhibition minutes, Phil Pressey turned the ball over 13 times. Yes, he also had 18 assists and four steals. Yes, he handles the ball a lot and will therefore average a solid number of turnovers. But 13's a lot. So is 28, the number of turnovers other Mizzou players committed in two games. This will improve with both focus and the eventual return of Mike Dixon from suspension. Mizzou is not going to average 20 turnovers per game in the regular season. But at this stage, we're just looking for potentially fatal flaws. Mizzou shoots the ball well, seems to defend well (the first 10 minutes of yesterday's game aside) and has infinitely more size than last year. And Pressey on the break is still an absolutely gorgeous thing. But if we're searching for flaws, ball control has to be at the top of the list.

Negus Webster-Chan Is Smoooooooooth

You never really know what to believe when you're reading about an incoming freshman or watching him dominate inferior high school competition. And when I read that NWC really is a 6'7 guard with decent point skills, I was a little bit skeptical. Sometimes "(Random Big Guy) has guard skills" simply means he can make an open 3-pointer. But NWC looks like a guard, runs like a guard, dribbles like a guard, and acts like a guard. You just don't notice it's weird until you see him standing next to a normally-sized, 6'2 or 6'3 guard.

With the same "Yes, it was an exhibition" disclaimer, I have to gush a little about how good NWC looked. He made his open shots, looked incredibly smooth and confident with the ball in his hands, and gave you the impression that not only will he be the No. 4 guard behind Pressey, Dixon and Keion Bell, but that Jabari Brown might not immediately usurp him when eligible. I liked what I saw from him yesterday. A lot.

Size is good.

Missouri Southern was able to hang around for a while because of some iffy Mizzou ball-handling and hot early shooting. But Mizzou's size advantage was such that it was just a no-brainer that the Tigers would eventually pull away. Mizzou was plus-7 in terms of expected rebounds (plus-13 in raw rebounding margin). Stefan Jankovic pulled down four offensive rebounds in 25 minutes, and six other Tigers grabbed at least one. MSSU outhustled Mizzou early on (eight offensive rebounds in the first half), but it didn't last. That Mizzou made it work last year with two big men was an amazing feat. This year, Mizzou has between four and seven competent big men, depending on a) whether you think of Earnest Ross as a "big man" and b) whether you see Ryan Rosburg and Danny Feldmann showing decent competency this season.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Negus Webster-Chan 19.2 0.69 28 Min, 14 Pts (5-7 FG, 2-3 3PT, 2-2 FT), 7 Reb (2 Off), 3 Ast, 2 Stl
Stefan Jankovic 17.3 0.69 25 Min, 20 Pts (8-13 FG, 3-4 3PT, 1-2 FT), 5 Reb (4 Off), 4 PF
Earnest Ross 12.9 0.42 31 Min, 10 Pts (3-7 FG, 2-5 3PT, 2-3 FT), 6 Ast, 5 Reb (2 Off), 2 Stl, 2 TO
Tony Criswell 12.3 0.65 19 Min, 13 Pts (5-8 FG, 0-1 3PT, 3-4 FT), 3 Reb, 2 Stl, 3 PF
Laurence Bowers 11.3 0.47 24 Min, 11 Pts (5-7 FG, 1-1 3PT, 0-1 FT), 8 Reb (2 Off), 2 Stl, 3 TO
Alex Oriakhi 6.2 0.35 18 Min, 6 Pts (2-4 2PT, 2-3 FT), 5 Reb (2 Off), 2 Blk, 2 TO
Phil Pressey 4.8 0.15 31 Min, 8 Pts (4-10 FG, 0-5 3PT), 7 Ast, 2 Reb, 2 Stl, 5TO
Danny Feldmann 0.3 0.11 3 Min
Dominique Bull 0.3 0.11 3 Min
Corey Haith -0.8 -0.19 4 Min
Ryan Rosburg -1.0 -0.07 14 Min, 4 Pts (2-6 FG, 0-2 FT), 2 Reb, 2 TO
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Webster-Chan 13% 69% 2.7 67% 26% 7% 0%
Jankovic 28% 51% 2.5 27% 60% 9% 5%
Ross 16% 44% 4.4 75% 15% 6% 4%
Criswell 24% 54% 1.8 0% 68% 32% 0%
Bowers 20% 44% 2.0 35% 42% 6% 18%
Oriakhi 19% 36% 2.3 40% 27% 19% 14%
Pressey 23% 35% 5.2 73% 18% 0% 9%
Rosburg 30% 19% 2.0 0% 61% 19% 20%
  • That Pressey's %TO was only 9% despite five turnovers reminds you just how much he handles the ball. And the simple fact that only three players had a %TO over 10% reminds you that, once the rotation has been pared down and there is reason to focus fully, ball handling might not be as much of a problem as part of me fears.
  • This team has a lot of scorers, so it was really nice seeing both NWC and Earnest Ross with a %Pass at 67% or higher.
  • I haven't talked about Stefan Jankovic yet, but he (obviously) intrigues me. I see Jankovic playing a role a lot like what Laurence Bowers played as a freshman. He's a little stiff and, potentially, limited defensively, but he could be a nice momentum guy for three or four minutes in each half. Bowers didn't even play 10 minutes per game as a freshman, but his minutes were both valuable and memorable. That Jankovic was a total non-factor in one exhibition and dominant in another kind of tells us what to expect from him.
  • I enjoy Tony Criswell's "little things" ability -- he pokes passes away on defense, he has his hands up and ready for Flip's passes on offense, and he figures out how to contribute to the box score while not drawing attention to himself. In 34 exhibition minutes, he scored 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting (5-for-6 from the line) with eight rebounds and three steals. He's going to annoy me by hoisting up one Daryl Butterfield-esque 3-pointer per game, and he hasn't proven to be much of a passer thus far, but role players don't have to be perfect; they just have to contribute more positives than negatives. I think both Criswell and Jankovic can do that in 2012-13. (Ryan Rosburg? I'll politely say the jury's still out. He did not have a good couple of exhibitions.)
  • I will be absolutely shocked if Dominique Bull doesn't redshirt this year. It's probably not a good sign when you play fewer minutes (3) than the walk-on at your position (Corey Haith, 4).

Summary

We got to see Mizzou handle a little bit of adversity with MSSU's early, quality play. But 10 minutes after MSSU cut Mizzou's lead to 38-33 late in the first half, Mizzou was up 26 after a 25-4 run. A couple of interesting freshmen got some quality minutes, Mizzou wasn't seriously threatened, nobody got hurt ... sounds like another successful exhibition to me.

---

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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