Missouri 75, Tennessee 70: Study Hall

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Brown-Ross-Williams. A change!

That was ... odd. Mizzou missed nearly every benchmark I set and won anyway. The Tigers beat the No. 26 team in the country (according to Pomeroy) and fell from 44th to 46th.

None of that matters, of course. There's no such thing as an ugly win when you're paying rent on the NCAA Tournament bubble. As referenced in yesterday's broadcast, 17 of Mizzou's last 18 games have been decided by 10 or fewer points, win or lose. All but one game since November. That's nuts, and it's a sign that Mizzou is good enough to never get blown out and flawed enough to never blow anybody out. (Giving up garbage-time runs against West Virginia and South Carolina helped to continue that streak even though neither one of those games was particularly close, of course.) That is, in essence, ugly. Live it, love it, etc.

Missouri 75, Tennessee 70

Mizzou Tennessee
Pace (No. of Possessions) 61.9
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.21 1.13
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.63 1.27
2-PT FG% 56.1% 52.9%
3-PT FG% 60.0% 19.0%
FT% 76.9% 75.9%
True Shooting % 65.3% 51.7%
Mizzou Tennessee
Assists 8 9
Steals 6 3
Turnovers 11 11
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.27 1.09
Mizzou Tennessee
Expected Offensive Rebounds 8.4 12.6
Offensive Rebounds 7 16
Difference -1.4 +3.4
  • If you had told me that Tennessee was going to be almost +5 in terms of expected rebounds, and that Jordan Clarkson was going to have a mostly terrible (by his standards) game, I'd have assumed Tennessee won by 13. Instead, Mizzou won the ball-handling battle (!!!) and simply shot its way to victory.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Jabari Brown 24.0 0.63 38 Min, 24 Pts (8-12 FG, 2-2 3PT, 6-7 FT), 5 Reb, 2 Stl, 3 TO, 2 PF
Earnest Ross 20.5 0.56 37 Min, 15 Pts (4-8 FG, 7-9 FT), 4 Reb (1 Off), 3 Ast, 4 Stl, 2 TO, 1 PF
Johnathan Williams III 12.3 0.56 22 Min, 10 Pts (3-3 FG, 4-6 FT), 5 Reb (1 Off), 1 Blk, 4 PF
Torren Jones 11.0 0.79 14 Min, 8 Pts (4-5 FG), 5 Reb (4 Off), 1 Blk, 4 PF
Keanau Post 4.8 0.32 15 Min, 4 Pts (2-3 FG, 0-1 FT), 3 Reb (1 Off)
Jordan Clarkson 3.2 0.09 34 Min, 7 Pts (3-11 FG, 1-1 FT), 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Blk, 3 TO, 2 PF
Tony Criswell 1.5 0.09 16 Min, 5 Pts (2-3 FG, 1-2 3PT), 1 Reb, 1 Blk, 2 TO, 4 PF
Ryan Rosburg 0.5 0.04 13 Min, 2 Pts (2-2 FT), 4 PF
Shane Rector -0.5 N/A 0 Min, 1 PF
Wes Clark -2.3 -0.20 11 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG, 0-1 3PT), 1 TO
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Brown 28% 51% 1.8 0% 57% 28% 14%
Ross 22% 46% 3.1 50% 23% 22% 6%
J3 15% 66% 1.2 0% 37% 63% 0%
Jones 21% 78% 1.2 0% 100% 0% 0%
Post 13% 56% 0.8 0% 78% 22% 0%
Clarkson 25% 31% 4.2 66% 25% 2% 7%
Criswell 18% 37% 1.0 0% 60% 0% 40%
Rosburg 4% 56% 0.4 0% 0% 100% 0%
Clark 11% 0% 0.6 0% 50% 0% 50%

  • With Josh Richardson guarding him, Jabari Brown actually seemed to disappear for a while. He scored 11 points in the game's first seven minutes, then went 0-for-3 with three turnovers over the next 23 minutes. He even missed the front end of a one-and-one! But then he drew a Richardson foul and made two free throws with 10:29 left. Then he converted a tough and-one with 9:21 left. Then he made a jumper with 8:08 left. In the last 10 minutes and change, he scored 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting, made five of five free throws, grabbed a rebound, and made two steals, including the game clincher with four seconds left. Up, down, and then really up. (And you know you've got a high ceiling when you play listless ball for more than half the game and end up with 24 points.)

  • Earnest Ross has done some serious box-score glory-hogging the last two games. Against Arkansas, he posted the quietest 15 & 11 imaginable. And yesterday, despite Tennessee doing some serious work on the offensive glass, he grabbed three defensive rebounds, shot 4-for-8 from the field (and 7-for-9 from the line), and nabbed four steals and three assists.

  • Midway through the first half, I sent a text to The Beef that said "J3 is OUTMANNED." Jeronne Maymon and Jarnell Stokes (combined: eight offensive rebounds) were eating his lunch on the interior. He was getting nudged out of position, and in attempt to make any type of play, he was going for some desperate (and futile) blocked shots. Even as Mizzou's offense clicked and clicked early on, Tennessee's advantage on the interior was so strong that the 40-minute prospects in this game didn't look too great. But while J3 really needs to add about 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason, he battled hard yesterday. He still grabbed four defensive rebounds and blocked a shot on one end of the court, and he went 3-for-3 from the field and 4-for-6 from the line (2-for-2 in the final seconds) on the other. He managed to play 22 minutes despite four fouls. If his body catches up to his brain, he's going to be absolutely tremendous.

  • Damn, would it have been a shame to lose this game when getting a "WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL YEAR???" level of production from Torren Jones and Keanau Post. J3 was able to recover and play better late, in part because these two softened Tennessee up, and if they deliver something close to this production moving forward, Mizzou's ceiling just got much, much higher.

And by the way, kudos to dcrockett17 for my favorite tweet of the game.

And speaking of dcrockett17, he probably should have made this comment its own post, so I'm sharing it here in full.

That was an enjoyable game because of the intensity. I haven’t watched much college hoops since January (hence, no post-game thoughts). But I watched U of A at ASU last night and UT at Mizzou today. I am more convinced now than EVER that college hoops has to shorten the shot clock.

Something like 28 seconds would, I strongly believe, encourage the kinds of changes college hoops wants to see. But it would do so organically, by encouraging teams to attack defenses early before they’re completely set. Calling more fouls isn’t doing it, and can’t. The fact is, it’s hard to get good looks against good defenses once they are set.

Unfortunately, so many coaches demand senseless, time-wasting passing on the perimeter. The offenses don’t really start doing anything until after the defense is completely set.

Put it this way. Just like me, you probably thought Mizzou’s bigs were completely worthless (not J3). In the first half, when Missouri pushed even off of makes they looked worthy of Division 1 scholarships. In the second half, when Missouri stopped pushing the ball, they were foul magnets. The game is better when it flows. It’s the coaches who are killing that flow. The refs are just piling on.

Thoughts?

Three Keys Revisited

From Friday's preview.

The Glass

For all the reasons I stated above. Mizzou's 3-1 in conference play when it wins the rebounding battle and 2-5 when it doesn't, and if Tennessee isn't rebounding, the Vols aren't scoring much. It's unlikely that Mizzou wins this battle, but the Tigers will still have a chance if they don't get absolutely trounced here.

Expected Rebounds: Tennessee +4.8

A five-rebound advantage is just on the borderline of getting trounced. But to Mizzou's credit, the Tigers did a lot better in the second half. Tennessee's offensive rebounding rate was 47% in the first half but only 40% in the second. Still too high, but better.

The 3-Ball

As always. Arkansas game aside, both Mizzou and its opponents have bombed away recently, and for all the reasons we've discussed before -- randomness, etc. -- the 3-pointer has the tendency to decide Mizzou's fate to a large degree. Hopefully Jabari Brown's 1-for-6 performance against Arkansas was a momentary regression.

3-pointers: Mizzou 60% (3-for-5), Tennessee 19% (4-for-19).

That Mizzou attempted only five 3-pointers was both stunning and impressive. The Tigers saw the way the officials were calling the game -- it was like a late-November game the way they were rewarding driving and drawing contact -- and said "Screw the jumpers, let's get some free points!" The way the officiating has changed from week-to-week and month-to-month has been maddening, but credit Mizzou for figuring it out and taking advantage. (And credit Mizzou for making almost as many 3s in 14 fewer attempts. It helped that Tennessee missed some wide open looks, but we'll take it.)

McRae vs. Clarkson

For pure entertainment value. These are two big guards who spend a lot of time a) with the ball in their hands, b) drawing contact, and c) putting the ball in the basket.

Jordan McRae: 38 minutes, 31 points (10-for-23 FG), 2 assists, 4 turnovers
Jordan Clarkson: 34 minutes, 7 points (3-for-11 FG), 5 assists, 3 turnovers

Yeah, McRae vs. Brown was the battle, I guess. This was a swing and miss on my part. Judging by this, again, Mizzou should have gotten drubbed.

Summary

A month ago, Mizzou wouldn't have been able to survive a poor game from Jordan Clarkson against a good team. That the Tigers won this game because of contributions from Jones, Post, and Williams is a wonderfully encouraging sign, and even if they probably can't expect this much contribution from them moving forward, Mizzou went 2-0 in a week in which they absolutely had to go 2-0, and the bench helped a lot. That's enough for now.

---

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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