Florida 68, Missouri 58: Study Hall

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Brown-Clarkson-Williams. But really Brown-Brown-Brown.

Hmm ... one of those factors seems to stand out a bit...

Tuesday night proved beyond a shadow of a doubt (in my mind) that the "We're going to call things tight and open up the game a bit" experiment is dead. Florida hand-checks and rubs and does a lot of the things that exemplify a) sound, physical defense, and b) new fouls. They held Mizzou to its worst per-possession offensive totals since the Georgia nightmare, and they got called for just 16 fouls in the process. Mizzou, meanwhile, which spent much of the game in a matchup zone, got called for 26, only two of which came in the last two minutes, when the Tigers were down and desperate.

Either the new rules enforcement has been abandoned, or college refs are just too chicken to call ticky-tack fouls against good teams in important games. Regardless, basketball now looks a lot like basketball did 12 months ago. Maybe that's not actually a problem, but it means the first couple of months of foulfests were a waste of everybody's time.

(And just for the record, while there is plenty of bitterness here, it mostly comes from a bitter basketball fan instead of a bitter Mizzou fan. I'm all for a more fun, opened-up brand of basketball, and I'm not seeing it at all.)

Florida 68, Missouri 58

Mizzou Florida
Pace (No. of Possessions) 56.5
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.03 1.20
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.09 1.58
2-PT FG% 40.6% 56.5%
3-PT FG% 38.1% 30.0%
FT% 66.7% 72.7%
True Shooting % 49.8% 59.1%
Mizzou Florida
Assists 10 15
Steals 4 2
Turnovers 12 10
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.17 1.70
Mizzou Florida
Expected Offensive Rebounds 11.9 9.8
Offensive Rebounds 13 12
Difference +1.1 +2.2
  • Round-by-round scoring:

    Round 1: 10-9 UF
    Round 2: 10-9 MU
    Round 3: 10-10
    Round 4: 10-9 MU
    Round 5: 10-10
    Round 6: 10-9 UF
    Round 7: 10-10
    Round 8: 10-9 UF
    Round 9: 10-9 UF
    Round 10: 10-10

  • GAWWWWWWWWD, Florida plays slow. Well under 60 possessions? Impressive.

  • Florida's passing ended up being the difference in the ball control battle. The Gators were relatively sloppy early on and committed almost as many turnovers as Missouri, but the 15 assists were huge. (They usually are.)

  • Ryan Rosburg and Torren Jones went 6-for-8, and Mizzou was still terrible on 2-pointers. Just no such thing as an easy basket for this team ... other than Jabari Brown 3-pointers, anyway.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Jabari Brown 27.4 0.72 38 Min, 15 Pts (5-13 FG, 3-7 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb (1 Off), 6 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 PF
Jordan Clarkson 9.1 0.25 36 Min, 14 Pts (5-14 FG, 2-5 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 TO, 4 PF
Johnathan Williams III 9.0 0.41 22 Min, 6 Pts (2-3 FG, 2-4 FT), 5 Reb (5 Off), 1 TO, 4 PF
Ryan Rosburg 7.5 0.23 32 Min, 8 Pts (4-5 FG, 0-2 FT), 7 Reb (2 Off), 3 TO, 3 PF
Wes Clark 6.9 0.38 18 Min, 6 Pts (2-6 FG, 2-4 3PT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO, 4 PF
Torren Jones 3.0 0.21 14 Min, 4 Pts (2-3 FG), 3 Reb (2 Off), 2 TO, 2 PF
Tony Criswell 0.0 0.00 11 Min, 2 Pts (0-1 FG, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 TO, 5 PF
Shane Rector -1.5 -0.50 3 Min, 0 Pts, 2 PF
Earnest Ross -6.3 -0.24 26 Min, 3 Pts (1-8 FG, 1-5 3PT), 4 Reb, 2 TO, 1 PF
Corey Haith N/A N/A 0+ Min
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Brown 21% 47% 4.7 69% 26% 5% 0%
Clarkson 25% 34% 2.3 25% 59% 11% 4%
Williams 15% 42% 1.5 0% 32% 57% 11%
Rosburg 16% 41% 1.2 0% 47% 25% 28%
Clark 25% 29% 3.9 60% 30% 0% 10%
Jones 20% 35% 1.3 0% 60% 0% 40%
Criswell 15% 33% 3.4 56% 9% 25% 9%
Ross 22% 8% 1.4 0% 80% 0% 20%
  • Jabari Brown took the next step on Tuesday, I think. He's been so hot from 3-point range, and he's been creating good looks rather easy, but in facing double-teams from a really good defense, he still made three of seven 3-pointers, and he dished to open men. Six assists, two steals, and zero turnovers? From Jabari Brown? That Mizzou has lost the last two games with him playing the way he has -- 76 minutes, 48 points (15-30 FG, 6-13 3PT, 12-14 FT), 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 turnovers -- is heart-breaking.

  • Clarkson and Ross: 3-for-12 on 2-pointers. The whistles aren't bailing them out anymore, and they're getting caught in no-man's land a lot more.

  • Ross' last two games: 51 minutes, 11 points (3-15 FG, 1-11 3PT, 3-4 FT). He's still doing okay on the glass, and really, I don't have much of a problem with the shots he's taking. But they're suddenly not falling. We witnessed his long hot and cold spells last year, but this is the first really cold spell he's faced this season. And it's a reeeeally cold spell.

  • This was the second time in three games that Ryan Rosburg posted at least eight points and at least seven rebounds. Trends!

  • If Torren Jones' abilities ever catch up to his hustle, he's going to be a magnificent player. He runs back down the court on defense faster than any big man I've ever seen. He really wants to be a good basketball player. Hopefully he becomes one. He's still raw as hell right now.

Three Keys Revisited

From Tuesday's preview.

The glass

Overall, Florida's only good on the glass, not great, and if Missouri has any chance, the Tigers have to win this battle, plain and simple. Mizzou has been all over the map when it comes to rebounding effectiveness, but in terms of Expected Rebounds, there is no choice but to end up on the positive side.

Expected Rebounds: Florida +1.1.

Mizzou held its own here for the most part, especially considering that Florida added Chris Walker to the mix on Tuesday. But the defensive glass was still an issue, and it was costly. This category wasn't a huge loss, but it really needed to be a win.

The 3-pointer

Jabari Brown is just absurdly hot at this point (26-for-43 from 3-point range in his last seven games), and considering both a) how poorly Mizzou's bigs tend to (not) finish around the basket and b) how good UF's 2-point defense is, Brown, Jordan Clarkson, and Earnest Ross (and probably Wes Clark) are all going to have to shoot really, really well from long-range. Oh yeah, and Mizzou has to keep Wilbekin and Frazier from getting hot as well. Good luck with that.

3-pointers: Mizzou 8-for-21 (38%), Florida 6-for-20 (30%).

That Clarkson, Brown, and Clark combined to make seven of 16 3-pointers kept Mizzou in the game for quite a while. (That Ross made one of five helped to take them out of it.)

Meanwhile, after missing a lot of pretty great-looking 3-pointers, Wes Clark is making some questionable ones. Progression to the mean is a fun thing.

Prather vs. Clarkson

I was going to go with ball-handling here, but I just don't have much hope in that battle at this point. Missouri is going to turn the ball over more than we wish, and it's going to eliminate virtually all margin for error. So instead, I'll focus on the battle between two guys who probably won't actually be battling one-on-one very much. Casey Prather and Jordan Clarkson produce similar stat lines despite playing different positions -- Prather grabs more rebounds, and Clarkson dishes more assists, but they're both 6'5ish, and both are much better near the rim than behind the arc; if Mizzou is to pull the upset, not only will the Tigers need to win in both rebounding and 3-point shooting, but Clarkson is probably going to need to match Prather's efficiency and scoring.

Clarkson: 36 minutes, 14 points (5-14 FG, 2-2 FT), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover
Prather: 21 minutes, 5 points (2-4 FG, 1-2 FT), 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, 0 turnover

Yeah, swing and a miss on my part. Prather is dinged up and wasn't much of a factor. Clarkson was alright, but Florida won because an "alright" Clarkson was still Mizzou's second-best option.

Summary

When I'm wearing my college football data hat, I talk about the concept of Covariance from time to time. Within the football realm, I use this measure to look at which teams play their best against good teams and which play their best against bad teams. We always assume that being best-against-best is preferable, and I guess it probably is for teams looking to make a run at the national title. But every year, I see a case for both sides of the argument. Among the teams on the most extreme end of the "best against best" scale are programs going both 10-2 and 1-11. If you play your best against the best, you might pull an upset that prompts a great run, but you might also come up short against great teams while suffering letdowns against bad ones. "Best against worst" at least means you're beating the teams you're supposed to beat.

Thus far, it appears Mizzou is a "best against best" team, as evidenced by the wins over UCLA, Arkansas, and N.C. State and the solid games against Kentucky and Florida ... and the eggs against Georgia, Gardner-Webb, Western Michigan, and Long Beach State and the loss to Vanderbilt. Right now, that isn't paying off.

As I mentioned in Wednesday's links post, this was the fourth straight game that Mizzou's looked like an NCAA Tournament team. And to be sure, the win over Arkansas in particular is probably keeping the Tigers on the right side of the bubble for now. But it's barely keeping the Tigers there, and the poor games against Georgia and Vandy are threatening to knock them off.

The challenge moving forward: Keep it up. According to Pomeroy, Mizzou has a greater than 50% chance of winning in seven of its last nine games, and the Ole Miss game on Saturday is a virtual tossup. If the version of Mizzou that has played the last two weeks continues to show up against lesser opponents, the Tigers will be just fine despite their flaws. But if we see the Georgia version of this team again when the schedule lets up, the NIT becomes all but certain. There's minimal margin for error left for this team, but if the recent team continues to show, that's alright.

---

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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