Missouri 80, West Virginia 71: Study Hall

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Clarkson-Ross-Brown.

Some links:

MUtigers.com: Missouri Tops West Virginia in Big 12/SEC Challenge, 80-71
MUtigers.com: Mizzou vs. West Virginia Post Game Quotes
MUtigers.com: Mizzou vs. West Virginia Post Game Notes
The Trib: Tigers shut West Virginia down early, hang on late
The Missourian: Improved Missouri men's basketball defense stifles West Virginia to remain undefeated
KC Star: Mizzou defends, then holds off West Virginia 80-71
KC Star: Missouri notes: MU 80, West Virginia 71
PowerMizzou: Clarkson leads Tigers to victory
Hank's Sports Blog: Mizzou escapes with 80-71 victory against West Virginia
ESPN.com: Video: Missouri Tigers roll past West Virginia Mountaineers
Mizzou Network: Highlights: Mizzou Defeats West Virginia
Mizzou Network: POSTGAME INTERVIEW: Frank Haith WVU Post-Game 1 on 1
Mizzou Network: POSTGAME INTERVIEW: Jordan Clarkson after win over WVU

Because of travel, this will be a bit abbreviated. For me, at least.

Mizzou 80, WVU 71

Mizzou
WVU
Pace (No. of Possessions) 69.4
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.15 1.02
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.57 1.09
2-PT FG% 62.9% 50.0%
3-PT FG% 31.3% 21.1%
FT% 67.7% 61.9%
True Shooting % 61.9% 47.8%
Mizzou WVU
Assists 13 8
Steals 5 5
Turnovers 15 10
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.20 1.30
Mizzou WVU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 10.1 14.7
Offensive Rebounds 11 14
Difference +0.9 -0.7

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Jordan Clarkson 26.8 0.74 36 Min, 25 Pts (9-17 FG, 0-2 3PT, 7-10 FT), 6 Reb (2 Off), 4 Ast, 3 Stl, 3 TO
Earnest Ross 18.3 0.55 33 Min, 16 Pts (5-8 FG, 2-5 3PT, 4-7 FT), 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 TO
Jabari Brown 15.1 0.40 38. Min, 18 Pts (6-11 FG, 2-7 3PT, 4-7 FT), 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 TO
Wes Clark 13.7 0.65 21 Min, 9 Pts (2-3 FG, 0-1 3PT, 5-5 FT), 5 Ast, 3 Reb, 3 PF
Tony Criswell 8.8 0.34 26 Min, 8 Pts (3-4 FG, 1-1 3PT, 1-2 FT), 10 Reb, 2 TO
Johnathan Williams III 0.8 0.03 28 Min, 2 Pts (1-5 FG), 4 Reb (4 Off)
Torren Jones 0.0 0.00 1 Min
Ryan Rosburg -1.2 -0.15 8 Min, 2 Pts (1-1 FG), 4 PF
Keanau Post -2.5 -0.51 5 Min, 3 PF
Shane Rector -2.8 -0.70 4 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG)
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Clarkson 34% 46% 4.2 45% 33% 16% 6%
Ross 21% 44% 2.5 41% 28% 21% 10%
Brown 22% 42% 2.4 37% 35% 19% 9%
Clark 15% 61% 5.2 78% 8% 11% 3%
Criswell 13% 44% 0.9 0% 52% 22% 26%
JW3 11% 14% 0.6 0% 83% 0% 17%
Rosburg 12% 45% 0.7 0% 50% 0% 50%
Post 10% 0% 0.6 0% 100% 0% 0%
Rector 25% 0% 1.4 0% 50% 0% 50%

Five Thoughts

1. Missouri is playing up to its athleticism

More than last year, Jabari Brown is playing like a 6'5 guard with strong athleticism. He's blocking 3-pointers, he's getting down the court in about four steps ... he's looking good. And when you've got three big, strong, fast athletes on the perimeter, not only can you attack the basket (they did) and develop some serious transition opportunities (they did), but you can also play some pretty fierce zone defense. We saw that quite a bit, too, especially in the first half. That's exciting.

Oh yeah, and Jordan Clarkson is really, really good. Wow.

2. If Johnathan Williams III's hands ever catch up to his feet ... yikes

He knows exactly what he wants to do, and his footwork and hops get him into position to do it, but his hands can't quite finish the job yet. It's hard to learn finesse at the college level -- most of the time, your hands and touch have developed by the time you get to school -- but hopefully as the game slows down for him, he gets there. Because wow, could he be a hell of a basketball player.

3. Any day now, I'm going to understand (and hopefully appreciate) the new rules enforcement. Any ... day ... now...

But for now, all I'm seeing is a game with 46 fouls and 52 free throws. I'm all for more free-flowing offense, but on at least 10 of last night's fouls, my first reaction was "What the hell is the defender supposed to do differently??" Keanau Post's third foul might have been the worst; he was standing there with his arms in the air well before the offensive player got there. Proper defense, I guess, would have been to jump backwards and try to block the shot? No idea, really. But yeah ... I know the theory is that teams will adjust, and the games will feature fewer whistles in the future. Sounds great. But that only works if the whistles are teaching moments; on a lot of these, I don't know what the defender could possibly learn from getting whistled.

Oh yeah, and ... Ryan Rosburg and Post: 13 minutes, 2 points, 0 rebounds, 7 fouls. Yuck. Thankfully, Good Criswell showed up.

4. Catering to the Big 3 is fine when they're on

Clarkson, Brown, and Ross took 36 of Mizzou's 51 shots and 24 of the team's 31 free throws. And when they're on like they were yesterday (59 points on 56% shooting), that's fine. Three guys carrying the team is fine as long as the rest of the team can step up when one of these guys is off. But while Wes Clark contributed 13.7 Adj. GS points to the box score, the players who filled the other 43 minutes combined for 3.2 Adj. GS points: 8.8 from Tony Criswell, -5.6 from everybody else.

These last few games have been both intriguing and scary. Clarkson, Brown, and Ross have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will win quite a few games on their own this year; and the rest of the supporting cast has proven it will drag the Tigers down at times.

5. That was like playing a Mike Anderson team

It was jarring seeing West Virginia trying to play up-tempo and taking a lot of 3-pointers. It was like hosting a Mike Anderson team -- they settle for silly jumpers, win the ball control battle, and make a late, futile charge to make the final score closer than it should have been.

In the end, Mizzou won by more than was projected, and Jordan Clarkson in particular looked incredible. This team's strengths are its strengths, and its weaknesses are its weaknesses. We'll get a pretty good idea for how well the former can overcome the latter on Saturday when UCLA comes to town.

---

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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