Missouri 68, Alabama 47: Study Hall

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Brown-Clarkson-JW3.

Safe to say, whatever message Frank Haith tried to send about perimeter defense after the disaster in the first half of the Vandy game ... it was received. That was an absolutely awesome 40 minutes of defense.

Missouri 68, Alabama 47

Mizzou Alabama
Pace (No. of Possessions) 57.9
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.17 0.81
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.45 0.98
2-PT FG% 45.9% 32.1%
3-PT FG% 30.0% 25.0%
FT% 73.5% 63.6%
True Shooting % 54.9% 40.7%
Mizzou Alabama
Assists 4 9
Steals 9 2
Turnovers 7 15
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.86 0.73
Mizzou Alabama
Expected Offensive Rebounds 11.2 13.3
Offensive Rebounds 11 15
Difference -0.2 +1.7
  • Points Per Possession: Georgia 1.03, Auburn 1.06, Vandy 1.16 ... Alabama 0.81. That was a pretty awful trend, but Mizzou nipped it in the bud. And while LSU (Mizzou's next opponent) might have the best defense Mizzou has faced, those Tigers aren't amazing offensively, either. Missouri will have a chance to put together another strong defensive performance.

  • 3-point shooting by guys not named Jabari Brown: 0-for-5. It was 2-for-16 against Vandy and 2-for-7 against Auburn. So ... 4-for-28 the last three games. Beware, LSU: There's some serious progression-toward-the-mean coming your way. Maybe. But yeah, at least the rest of the team only took five 3s on Saturday.

  • Role reversal! Mizzou dominated in BCI, and Alabama won on the glass. Just as I predicted. (I didn't predict it.)

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Jabari Brown 25.5 0.67 38 Min, 24 Pts (7-9 FG, 3-5 3PT, 7-8 FT), 1 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 TO
Jordan Clarkson 17.9 0.66 27 Min, 16 Pts (6-11 FG, 0-1 3PT, 4-6 FT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 5 Stl, 2 TO, 2 PF
Johnathan Williams III 13.8 0.40 35 Min, 9 Pts (4-6 FG, 1-2 FT), 14 Reb (2 Off), 1 Blk, 2 PF
Earnest Ross 12.1 0.38 32 Min, 12 Pts (1-6 FG, 0-2 3PT, 10-12 FT), 7 Reb (2 Off), 1 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF
Tony Criswell 3.8 0.25 15 Min, 4 Pts (1-4 FG, 2-2 FT), 4 Reb (3 Off), 1 Stl, 5 PF
Ryan Rosburg 1.9 0.08 23 Min, 3 Pts (1-2 FG, 1-4 FT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 2 Blk, 5 PF
Danny Feldmann 0.0 0.0 1 Min
Corey Haith 0.0 0.0 1 Min
Shane Rector -0.9 -0.89 1 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG)
Wes Clark -1.0 -0.05 21 Min, 0 Pts (0-4 FG, 0-2 3Pt), 2 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO, 1 PF
Keanau Post -2.7 -1.33 2 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG), 1 TO, 1 PF
Torren Jones -3.7 -0.92 4 Min, 0 Pts (0-3 FG), 2 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Jabari Brown 21% 63% 2.0 27% 42% 26% 5%
Jordan Clarkson 34% 46% 3.0 25% 48% 18% 9%
Johnathan Williams III 11% 60% 0.7 0% 81% 19% 0%
Earnest Ross 22% 35% 1.7 0% 39% 55% 6%
Tony Criswell 19% 34% 1.3 0% 74% 26% 0%
Ryan Rosburg 9% 35% 0.7 0% 41% 59% 0%
Shane Rector 58% 0% 3.5 0% 100% 0% 0
Wes Clark 17% 11% 2.9 66% 23% 0% 11%
Keanau Post 58% 0% 3.5 0% 50% 0% 50%
Torren Jones 44% 0% 2.6 0% 100% 0% 0%
  • Earlier this season, Jabari Brown was making surprising contributions to the box score outside of scoring. He's regressed a bit in that regard of late, but when you're scoring 24 points on nine field goal attempts, you can just sit down on the corner of the court the rest of the time for all I care. There's efficient, and there's absurdly efficient. Jabari was the latter on Saturday.

  • I really need to just find my rant from last year about sitting any and every starter for the rest of the first half when he picks up his second foul. A copy-paste job would be a lot easier than summoning the rant again. Just know that Jordan Clarkson sat for the final 12 minutes of the first half because he had two fouls. He played virtually the entire second half ... and finished with two fouls. Sitting him for 12 minutes didn't backfire on Missouri, but it could have.

  • Earnest Ross: 12 free throw attempts to two 3-point attempts. Hooray! Ross' 3-point percentage has sunk from 34% to 30% in just the last week, and he'll bounce back, but he's so effectively physical that it's a little disappointing watching him hoist up a 3-pointer even when the 3s are falling.

  • Jordan Clarkson has five assists in four SEC games, and his %Pass was lower than Jabari's on Saturday. He is no longer Missouri's point guard. And speaking of passing ... three guys had assists? That's it? Wes Clark led the way with ... two? For this team, the offensive flow chart seems to be...

    Is Jabari open for 3?
    If yes: pass it to him.
    If no: throw yourself at the rim.

    Not really complaining, mind you. There's really no other option when you've got Ross and Clarkson missing their 3s and the Post/Rosburg/Criswell/Jones combination going 2-for-10 from the field. But hoping to draw fouls seems to have diminishing returns overall now that refs are going back to how they used to call games. It worked on Saturday, though, against a physical Alabama team that tends to get whistled a lot on the road. Mizzou averaged nearly 1.2 points per possession despite shooting 30% from 3-point range and getting awful production from the bigs (not named JW3).

  • Wes Clark in conference play: 2-for-16 FG, 1-for-7 3PT. A prime progression-to-the-mean candidate, I'd say. Those are Randy Pulley-esque numbers, and I'm assuming he's a better shooter than that.

Three Keys Revisited

From Friday's preview:

The whistles

Alabama guards are pretty easily the most aggressive defenders Missouri has faced this year. If that means steals and sloppy turnovers for Mizzou, the Tigers are in trouble. But it could just as likely mean fouls and fouls and free throws for Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross (not to mention foul trouble for Bama's best scorers). How fouls are called will be incredibly important here ... as always.

Bama's best scorers had nine fouls, and Clarkson and Ross went 17-for-20 from the line. This worked out as Mizzou hoped despite Rosburg and Criswell each fouling out in 38 combined minutes (and Jones and Post combining for three fouls in six minutes).

The 3-Ball

This one doesn't need much explanation. Bama really only has one good 3-point shooter (Releford) and one decent one (Hale), but Vandy's general lack of overall 3-point success didn't prevent the Commodores from destroying Mizzou in this regard in the first half on Thursday. Mizzou needs to keep Alabama under about 35%, and on the other end, Mizzou needs to avoid forcing 3s. Alabama doesn't give you good looks, and the Tigers might be able to draw contact while driving; if Mizzou is settling for long 3s, the outlook gets pretty shaky.

Jabari Brown: 3-for-5 on 3-pointers.
Everybody Else in the Game: 5-for-25.

Jabari Brown plays for Missouri, therefore this was a win.

The glass

Mizzou has a huge advantage here, at least on paper. The Tigers had an advantage against Georgia, too, and it didn't really do much for them. But if Mizzou is getting shots off and avoiding a plethora of turnovers, the second-chance opportunities will be there. Regardless, with Mizzou's extensive ball-handling disadvantages -- I'm not even making that a key to the game because it's simply going to be a Mizzou disadvantage, no two ways around it -- it is imperative that the Tigers win the rebounding battle by a solid margin.

Expected Rebounds: Alabama +1.9.

Unexpected, especially considering JW3 grabbed 12 defensive rebounds by himself and Post and Criswell combined for five offensive rebounds. Still, Mizzou got away with it because of fouls and infinitely better play in the turnovers department.

Summary

This was a fun game to watch, especially in the second half. Missouri started well (starting up 7-0 is better than starting down 7-0 in my humble opinion), handled a couple of poor first-half stretches, handled unneeded adversity when Clarkson sat with two fouls, and put together a nearly perfect second half when Clarkson was back on the court. The Tigers had nine steals and played inspired ball for the first time in 2014. It was a nice reminder of the ceiling this team still has; now Mizzou just has to go out and remind us of its ceiling more often. Once every five games is, to put it conservatively, not quite enough.

---

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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