Study Hall: Mizzou 89, LSU 76

USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Oriakhi-Bowers-Pressey. Your winner: switzy227. Must've been all that insight he got during the Boston watch party...

So I didn't get to see one second of this game (other than the highlights, anyway). For this recap, then, I'll do what I've done before and ask some questions for the peanut gallery.

This was an absolutely crazy game to follow on my phone, by the way. Mizzou's up 6-0, down 25-12, and up 41-33, all in the first half? Silliness.

Mizzou 89, LSU 76

Mizzou
LSU
Pace (No. of Possessions) 65.4
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.36 1.16
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.44 1.23
2-PT FG% 67.4% 41.2%
3-PT FG% 31.3% 42.9%
FT% 70.6% 75.0%
True Shooting % 64.0% 55.0%
Mizzou LSU
Assists 17 11
Steals 3 5
Turnovers 11 10
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.82 1.60
Mizzou LSU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 10 13
Offensive Rebounds 13 14
Difference +3 +1

Question No. 1: Did Mizzou's defense stink for most of the game, or did it just really, really stink for seven minutes?

You just can't make it far in March if you're letting South Carolina and LSU take an absurd 54 3-pointers and make 41 percent of them. I know that a lot of the 3's against South Carolina were pretty well-guarded, but ... yuck. Whether you regard 3-point attempts allowed or 3-point percentage allowed as the best way to measure 3-point defense, Mizzou has begun to absolutely stink at this again.

LSU went on a 25-6 run from the 17:39 mark of the first half to the 10:31 mark. LSU's possession in that span: 3-pointer (3 pts), putback (2 pts), missed layup, 3-pointer (3 pts), free throws (1 pt), 3-pointer (3 pts), putback (2 pts), free throws (2 pts), 3-pointer (3 pts), 3-pointer (3 pts), 3-pointer (3 pts). During this run: 2.27 points per possession. Rest of game: 0.93. During this run: 6-for-7 on 3-pointers (86%). Rest of game: 6-for-21 (29%). Were the rest-of-game 3's more well-guarded than the seven during LSU's run, or did the Bayou Bengals just regress toward the mean?

Mizzou's possessions in that span, by the way? Turnover, missed layup, missed 3-pointer, missed 3-pointer, turnover, putback (2 pts), missed jumper, layup (2 pts), layup (2 pts), missed jumper, turnover. During this run: 0.55 points per possession. Rest of game: 1.54 points per possession.

Question No. 2: How much did LSU press?

LSU had won nine of its last 11 games heading into this one and had won four games (all at home, mind you) against Top 100 teams, including Missouri. They had done this while slowing their pace down from about 71 possessions per game to about 68. I was wondering if Johnny Jones was realizing his personnel wasn't quite capable of playing the style he wanted and scaled back the pressing (successfully) to fit the personnel. Since Mizzou won the BCI battle and committed only 11 turnovers at just a 65-possession pace, that either means that LSU didn't press much, or that Mizzou beat the press pretty calmly and easily. I'm assuming the former.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Alex Oriakhi 22.7 0.73 31 Min, 18 Pts (9-11 FG, 0-2 FT), 10 Reb (5 Off), 4 Blk, 2 TO, 4 PF
Laurence Bowers 21.9 0.66 33 Min, 23 Pts (10-17 FG, 0-3 3PT, 3-3 FT), 10 Reb (4 Off), 2 Ast, 2 TO
Phil Pressey 17.7 0.49 36 Min, 15 Pts (5-11 FG, 2-5 3PT, 3-5 FT), 8 Ast, 5 Reb, 2 Stl, 2 TO
Keion Bell 13.3 0.41 32 Min, 11 Pts (4-6 FG, 3-3 FT), 6 Reb (3 Off), 3 Ast, 2 TO
Earnest Ross 9.9 0.41 24 Min, 13 Pts (4-7 FG, 2-4 3PT, 3-3 FT), 2 TO
Jabari Brown 2.0 0.08 26 Min, 4 Pts (2-5 FG, 0-2 3PT, 0-1 FT), 2 Reb, 2 Ast
Negus Webster-Chan 1.4 0.21 7 Min, 3 Pts (1-2 3PT)
Tony Criswell -0.8 -0.08 11 Min, 2 Pts (1-3 FG)
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Oriakhi 22% 62% 2.0 28% 53% 10% 10%
Bowers 31% 51% 3.0 35% 50% 9% 6%
Pressey 21% 47% 5.4 72% 17% 8% 3%
Bell 14% 54% 2.7 62% 21% 10% 7%
Ross 21% 46% 2.2 33% 39% 17% 11%
Brown 10% 42% 2.0 66% 28% 6% 0%
NWC 14% 45% 0.8 0% 100% 0% 0%
Criswell 18% 22% 1.1 0% 75% 0% 25%

The point totals of the last two games have been hilarious.

Laurence Bowers: 6 points vs. South Carolina, 23 points vs. LSU (+17)
Phil Pressey: 0 points vs. South Carolina, 15 points vs. LSU (+15)
Keion Bell: 24 points vs. South Carolina, 11 points vs. LSU (-13)
Jabari Brown: 23 points vs. South Carolina, 4 vs. LSU (-19)

The constant, of course? Alex Oriakhi, who scored 18 in each.

In Mizzou's wins versus "real" opponents, the Tigers have five guys pitching in double-digit Adj. GS totals (Oriakhi 17.1, Bowers 14.5, Brown 12.8, Pressey 12.0, Bell 11.8), with a sixth coming really close (Ross 9.8). In losses, the Tigers have just three (Bell 15.8, Pressey 12.6, Oriakhi 11.5). Mizzou has so many weapons; when a few of them show up at the same time, the Tigers win. When they don't, the Tigers don't. Defense is still the biggest issue for this team, but Mizzou has enough weapons to survive its occasionally bad defense for at least a while.

Question No. 3: How did the offense flow?

I know a lot of us are hammering away at the "The offense needs to flow from the inside, out" narrative right now, and I can't necessarily say I disagree. But I noticed that 10 of Oriakhi's points came on five offensive rebounds, meaning that he only scored nine points on 4-for-6 shooting when he wasn't pulling down someone else's miss. And I'm assuming Bowers didn't post up much either; he made two of three putback attempts himself, but considering that he took three 3-pointers, I'm assuming quite a few of his other 14 FG attempts were of longer distances.

At the same time, though, Mizzou only attempted 16 3-pointers, three fewer than their 19.0 average versus "real" opponents, and Bowers and Oriakhi did combine for three assists. So ... what's the story here?

Three Keys Revisited

From Friday's preview.

Limit Turnovers

We cannot turn the ball over against this team. They like to score in transition, and giveaways will allow them to do that. Good Phil along with another solid performance from our guards would go a long way in this one.

Turnovers: Missouri 11, LSU 10
BCI: Mizzou 1.82, LSU 1.60

You'd always prefer single-digit turnovers, but this isn't bad.

Contain Johnny O'Bryant III

What is it with big guys whose last names start with "O" having success against this team? (Too soon?) This man is an absolute beast, almost averaging a double double and putting up about 17 points a game. If Oriakhi can handle him, LSU loses their most valuable piece on offense.

O'Bryant: 36 minutes, 18 points (7-14 FG), 8 rebounds (5 offensive), 0 blocks, 3 turnovers
Oriakhi: 31 minutes, 18 points (9-11 FG), 10 rebounds (5 offensive), 4 blocks, 2 turnovers

O'Bryant did pretty well, but Oriakhi did better.

DEFENSE

An awful defensive showing in the first half against South Carolina kept them in the game, and a pretty great defensive showing in the second half took them right back out of it. Mizzou has proven they can and will score, especially at home. It's time we show some consistency on defense too. Three combined halves of bad defense (and one OT period) against Kentucky and South Carolina vs. three combined halves of good defense against Florida and South Carolina are a good enough sample for me to say that this team will go as far as the defense takes them.

LSU: 1.16 points per possession.

After three games of stellar to great defense, Mizzou has now allowed 1.19, 1.12 and 1.16 points per possession in their last three games. It hasn't hurt them much, at least in the last week, because the Tigers' offense was ridiculous: 1.48 PPP versus South Carolina, 1.36 versus LSU. But it will hurt them soon if it doesn't start to trend back in the other direction.

Summary

Question No. 4: After Mizzou's performance (on both sides of the court) versus an athletic, aggressive team like LSU, are you more or less confident about Mizzou handling Arkansas tomorrow night at Mizzou Arena?

---

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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