Missouri 83, Nevada 70: Study Hall

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

Your Trifecta: Ross-Brown-Clarkson.

Some links:

MUtigers.com: Missouri Moves to 7-0 with 83-70 Win Over Nevada
The Trib: Tigers withstand Nevada rally in Las Vegas
The Missourian: Missouri men's basketball tops Nevada to improve to 7-0
Post-Dispatch: Tigers roll to big lead and hang on to beat Nevada
KC Star: Mizzou holds off Nevada second-half surge to win 83-70 in Las Vegas tourney
PowerMizzou: Big three leads Tigers to victory
The Trib (Courtside View): Second thoughts from Las Vegas Invitational

Despite its relatively low assist totals, Coach Frank Haith’s team is still averaging 80.6 points and shooting 50.4 percent from the field while opening the season 7-0 for the third time since the 2006-07 season.

They’ve had success because of their ability to score off the dribble. NCAA rules changes to cut out hand-checking and make it more difficult for defenders to slide in late to draw charges has made junior point guard Jordan Clarkson, a Tulsa transfer, almost impossible to guard through the first seven games. He’s averaging 19.4 points and shooting 53 percent from the field.

Earnest Ross can also be dangerous slashing to the basket, never more so than in Friday night’s victory over the Wolfpack when he scored a Missouri career-high 28 points. Ross did make a pair of 3-pointers, but he was 7 for 14 from the field and also made 12 of 13 free throws.

“I love to see him do that,” Haith said. “That’s what we’ve been harping on with Earnest, to play that way."

So ... just like the UCM exhibition, I saw not one second of this game. My ESPN3 login stopped working a while back, so I just followed along on Twitter. As I did with UCM, I'll just make some notes and ask some questions for those who watched.

Mizzou 83, Nevada 70

Mizzou
UNR
Pace (No. of Possessions) 66.7
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.24 1.05
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.69 1.21
2-PT FG% 58.6% 37.8%
3-PT FG% 30.0% 28.6%
FT% 93.9% 82.8%
True Shooting % 65.3% 49.5%
Mizzou UNR
Assists 8 5
Steals 3 5
Turnovers 9 8
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1,22 1.25
Mizzou UNR
Expected Offensive Rebounds 9.3 14.2
Offensive Rebounds 6 10
Difference -3.3 -4.2
  • We've seen a couple of regression-toward-the-mean games in terms of Missouri's 3-point shooting -- it was too good in the first couple of games and came crashing down in the next few -- but it's good to see the same thing happening with Mizzou's free-throw shooting. It was too poor to be real at times, and this game helped rectify those averages a bit. (It also helped Missouri to win the game, obviously.)
  • As Johnathan Williams III goes, so goes Missouri's offensive rebounding. JW3 (J3, JWIII, or whatever variation you prefer) has his first truly bad game (and I mean bad, according to the stats below), and Missouri's presence on the offensive glass was limited. The Tigers kept this from hurting them with their own dominance of the defensive glass (Jabari Brown has turned himself into one of the better rebounding guards in the country), but he's a really, really important piece of this team. It took a truly awesome performance from Missouri's Big Three to keep this from turning out poorly, especially as Nevada got hot in the second half.
  • Question No. 1: How did Nevada get hot in the second half? Obviously Mizzou cooled off after some ridiculous first-half shooting, but what else changed to the naked eye?

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Earnest Ross 33.6 1.20 28 Min, 28 Pts (7-14 FG, 2-5 3PT, 12-13 FT), 9 Reb (2 Off), 2 Stl
Jabari Brown 29.5 0.80 37 Min, 24 Pts (7-11 FG, 4-7 3PT, 6-6 FT), 9 Reb, 2 Ast
Jordan Clarkson 20.2 0.56 36 Min, 21 Pts (7-14 FG, 0-4 3PT, 7-7 FT), 4 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 TO, 3 PF
Ryan Rosburg 3.3 0.14 23 Min, 4 Pts (0-0 FG, 4-4 FT), 4 Reb, 4 PF
Tony Criswell 1.8 0.12 15 Min, 2 Pts (1-3 FG, 0-1 3PT), 5 Reb
Shane Rector 0.4 0.08 5 Min
Torren Jones 0.0 0.00 1 Min
Wes Clark -0.8 -0.03 27 Min, 4 Pts (1-4 FG, 0-2 3PT, 2-2 FT), 3 TO, 3 PF
Keanau Post -1.1 -0.11 10 Min, 3 PF
Johnathan Williams III -5.6 -0.31 18 Min, 0 Pts (0-3 FG, 0-1 3PT, 0-1 FT), 4 Reb, 3 TO, 3 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Ross 39% 50% 2.5 0% 61% 39% 0%
Brown 20% 61% 2.2 44% 41% 16% 0%
Clarkson 29% 49% 3.8 53% 32% 11% 5%
Rosburg 7% 43% 0.5 0% 0% 74% 26%
Criswell 11% 30% 0.6 0% 100% 0% 0%
Clark 16% 25% 1.6 41% 28% 10% 21%
JW3 20% 0% 1.1 0% 45% 10% 45%
  • Rosburg/Criswell/Jones/Post/JW3: -1.6 Adj. GS points. That's wretched. It won't work out well for Missouri against better teams than Nevada.
  • At the same time, when Ross/Brown/Clarkson not only combine for 73 points, but also combine for 73 points on just 39 field goal attempts and also bring 22 rebounds, four assists, and two steals to the table? Missouri's going to be really, really, really tough to beat. So yeah. Good and bad here. I do love that these three have all begun to figure out a) just how good they are at slashing/driving into the paint, and b) how much you are rewarded for doing so by college basketball's current rules. Very good thing.
  • Question No. 2: How much of JW3's struggles were because of Nevada, and how much were him just having a "he's still just a freshman" off-night? Because wow, was this an off night.
  • Question No. 3: If it's up to you, who starts at the five spot (assuming JW3 starts at the 4)? Do you go with Rosburg? Criswell, a guy with more upside and downside? See if Torren Jones can play bull-in-china-shop with the more inside-outside threat in JW3?

Summary

Question No. 4: Are you more or less optimistic about this team than you were before it left for Las Vegas? In sum, I really liked what I saw from the Tigers against Northwestern, but again, I saw nothing of this game. What do you think?

---

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 an offensively limited center, 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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