Study Hall: Mizzou 78, Iowa State 72

February 29, 2012; Columbia, MO, USA; Missouri Tigers guard Michael Dixon (11) raises his hands during the second half against the Iowa State Cyclones at Mizzou Arena. Missouri won 78-72. Mandatory Credit: Dak Dillon-US PRESSWIRE

Your Trifecta: Dixon-Ratliffe-Denmon. Your winner: MUPete!

You're looking liiiiiiive from the St. Louis airport. This one will be pretty succinct ... for me, anyway...

Mizzou 78, Iowa State 72

Mizzou
ISU
Pace (No. of Possessions) 68.1
Points Per Minute 1.95 1.80
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.15 1.06
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.47 1.06
2-PT FG% 61.0% 40.5%
3-PT FG% 33.3% 38.7%
FT% 69.6% 85.7%
True Shooting % 61.8% 50.6%
Mizzou ISU
Assists 14 18
Steals 7 9
Turnovers 12 15
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.75 1.80
Mizzou ISU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 10 14
Offensive Rebounds 4 18
Difference -6 +4

Boards: Woof

Last night saw what was potentially Missouri's worst performance on the boards all season. To an extent, it was matchups-based -- once Royce White got hot in his "point forward" routine, ISU was able to basically play a four-guard lineup (like Mizzou) in which one of the guards is 6'8, 270 (unlike Mizzou). It was a nightmare matchup, but then again, when White is as hot as he was in the first half, that's a nightmare matchup for anybody in the country.

Long Bombs

That's right, Iowa State shot just 38.7% (12-for-31) from 3-point range. It only felt like 85%. The Cyclones made a ton of 3's, in part, because they took a lot of 3's. They missed three of their first four, made three of their next four, missed seven of their next nine, made two in a row, then missed seven of their next nine again before Scott Christopherson made a pair of desperation heaves in the last minute. To be sure, 38.7% is still too high, but for the game as a whole, this wasn't as much of a problem as it felt it was in real time.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Mike Dixon 26.9 0.90 30 Min, 21 Pts (8-10 FG, 0-2 3PT, 5-5 FT), 5 Reb, 4 Ast
Ricardo Ratliffe 15.7 0.54 29 Min, 16 Pts (6-9 FG, 4-4 FT), 3 Blk, 2 Reb, 4 PF, 2 TO
Marcus Denmon 15.3 0.40 38 Min, 14 Pts (5-10 FG, 2-4 3PT, 2-4 FT), 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl
Kim English 11.6 0.30 38 Min, 13 Pts (4-8 FG, 1-3 3PT, 4-6 FT), 8 Reb, 3 Ast, 3TO
Phil Pressey 7.2 0.19 39 Min, 11 Pts (5-14 FG, 1-3 3PT), 4 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Reb, 3 TO
Steve Moore 2.1 0.16 13 Min, 3 Pts (1-1 FG, 1-4 FT)
Matt Pressey -0.9 -0.07 13 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG), 2 TO
Jarrett Sutton 0.0 0.00 1 second
Andrew Jones 0.0 0.00 1 second
Andy Rosburg 0.0 0.00 1 second
  • Mike Dixon is Bizzaro Mizzou. It seems he's infinitely more likely to get hot when everybody else is cold, and he often goes cold when everybody else is hot. (That, and he's simply been mostly hot over the last few weeks.) He is an incredible weapon, and it's actually to the point where I get annoyed that he's still considered a "sixth man." He played 30 minutes last night. "Starter" Matt Pressey played 13. Mizzou's "bench" is Matt Pressey and Steve Moore.
  • Another wonderfully efficient performance from Ricardo Ratliffe. He's had a good week.
  • It was a tough go for Marcus Denmon last night, as he once again spent a good portion of his evening blanketed by Chris Babb. But he had a nice spurt at the beginning of the second half, and ... 14 points on 10 shots (with seven rebounds) is wonderful from a guard.
  • Huge, huge charge drawn by Kim English on Melvin Ejim late yesterday. And I would have to figure that most would assume that, yes, that was indeed a charge.
  • I'm not sure I've ever felt more highs and lows with a point guard than I have with Phil Pressey this year. One moment, he is winning the game with devastating pick and rolls. The next, he loses control and starts attempting 360-degree runners because he can't figure out where to go with the ball. Pretty sure there's a word for that, though: sophomore. He and Dixon are a nearly perfect yin and yang in terms of mentality and skill set.
  • STEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVE.
  • Matt Pressey really looked slowed by his dinged up ankle yesterday. I don't know if he actually was, but that's what it looked like. Hopefully that thing continues to get better. There is a big difference between a seven-man rotation and a 6.5-man rotation.
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Dixon 23% 69% 3.7 61% 26% 10% 3%
Ratliffe 23% 51% 1.4 0% 64% 22% 14%
Denmon 18% 44% 1.9 45% 39% 12% 4%
English 19% 41% 2.5 53% 24% 14% 9%
P. Pressey 23% 32% 3.0 58% 35% 0% 7%
Moore 11% 45% 0.9 0% 24% 76% 0%
M. Pressey 12% 11% 1.9 66% 11% 0% 23%

To the checklist!

Marcus Denmon's Usage% needs to be 23% or higher. (Nope.)
Kim English's %T/O needs to be at 10% or lower. (Yep, just barely!)
Kim English's Floor% should be at 35% or higher. (Yep.)
Ricardo Ratliffe's %Fouled should be at least 10%. (Yep.)
Phil Pressey's Touches/Possession need to be 3.5 or better. (Nope.)
Mike Dixon's %Pass should be 55% or higher. (Yep.)
Steve Moore's Touches/Possession should be at least 1.0. (Nope, just barely.)

That's four-for-seven. Especially with Denmon getting blanketed, Mizzou lost its identity at times ... but still averaged 1.15 points per possession all told. Yesterday's hit-or-miss offensive performance would have been one of its best of the season last year.

Three Keys Revisited

From yesterday's preview.

From Way Downtown

Mizzou beat Iowa State in Ames despite getting doubled up in 3-point percentage (52% to 24%), so maybe this isn't a huge issue ... but if you can beat ISU in this category, they will very much struggle to defeat you. The 3-pointer is a key to both teams' success, but it is actually more important to ISU, and it's rare we say that about a Missouri opponent.

3-Pointers: Iowa State 12-for-31 (38.7%), Mizzou 4-for-12 (33.3%). Mizzou withstood the hot streaks, when Royce White was dialed in and finding an open man each and every moment that a double-team came his eay, and in terms of percentages, they nearly broke even. In the end, offensive rebounds actually cost Mizzou more than open ISU 3-pointers.

Whistles On Bigs

Royce White both fouls a lot and gets fouled a lot. Yes, he is a wretched free throw shooter, but this game could be very much defined by whether he or Ricardo Ratliffe is spending a lot of time on the bench. Steve Moore can body White up relatively well, but we've seen what can happen to the Missouri offense when Ratliffe is on the bench for an extended period of time (especially against a team that plays good perimeter defense). In Ames, foul trouble struck both players; if only one finds the bench, the other's team has quite an advantage.

Ricardo Ratliffe eventually picked up four fouls, but for the most part, neither White nor Ratliffe found themselves in too much trouble in this regard. And both had good games.

The Early Rounds

Mizzou says they have put the Kansas game in their rear view mirror. Here's to hoping. They can beat Iowa State without the benefit of a fast start, but it could be difficult. Come out executing like you did in Lawrence, and you could build a nice lead; let Iowa State hang around and/or jump ahead early, and you're in for a 40-minute dog fight on tired legs.

Mizzou came out firing, jumping to an early 7-0 lead. But as the smoke from the pre-game pyrotechnics began to sink (seriously, we've got to stop doing that ... no matter how obsessed Missourians are with fireworks), so did Mizzou. The Cyclones went on an 18-7 run of their own and, consequently, led for the entire midsection of the game. It wasn't until under 10 minutes remained when Mizzou went on back-to-back mini-runs (11-2 to take a 64-59 lead, then 7-0 after Iowa State tied it at 64-64) to seize control.

Summary

Iowa State is a damn good team, and for about 30 minutes, they played incredible basketball. That Missouri was able to withstand that and win was fantastic. This game hinted further at what might end up being Mizzou's fatal flaws -- allowing open 3-pointers, hit-or-miss rebounding, occasionally pressing on offense -- but as we head into March, the goal is to just win, for as long as possible. Texas Tech, and a chance at Win No. 27, are up next.

---

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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