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Study Hall: Mizzou-NW Missouri State

Guess it was good to get a bit more of a challenge before the season started.  NW Missouri State's shooting kept them close for a while in the first half, and Mizzou's overall shooting kept them from winning by 40.  Let's take a look.  And yes, the "Start Bowers" movement will not stay quiet for very much longer.

Mizzou 83, NW Missouri State 60

Via The Trib's Nick King

Points Per Minute
1.50 2.08
Points Per Possession (PPP)
0.69 0.96
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.18 1.17
2-PT FG% 43.2% 42.6%
3-PT FG% 42.9% 23.5%
FT% 58.8% 65.8%
True Shooting % 51.3% 47.3%
NW MO St. Mizzou
Assists 10 9
Steals 4 12
Turnovers 32 18
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
0.44 1.17
NW MO St. Mizzou
Expected Offensive Rebounds 12 18
Offensive Rebounds 7 16
Difference -5 -2

First, the good:

  • NW MO St. did make some early 3's, but there was little to complain about regarding the defense.  Northwest did a solid job of breaking the press, but they would continuously make mistakes in the halfcourt.  J.T. Tiller wasn't at his best, but that's fine--we know what he can do.
  • As we'll see below, Michael Dixon once again looked great, as did Laurence Bowers.  Plus, as would be expected against lesser competition, Tiller and Zaire Taylor were able to penetrate at will, and they made some tough finishes.
  • With other teams being challenged considerably in exhibition games, it's nice to see that a stinker for Mizzou is "only" a 23-point win.

Now, the Red Flag Watch.

  1. Shooting, shooting, shooting.  At the end of last season, we mentioned that shooting would potentially be the biggest weakness for Mizzou in '09-'10.  And not that we want to draw much from exhibition games, but let's just say that through 80 minutes of exhibition play, that has been initially reaffirmed.  Mizzou went a combined 7-for-33 from 3-point range against Truman State and Northwest, and while a lot of those misses were from guys for whom much potential exists (Kimmeh went 3-for-10, Marcus Denmon went 1-for-5), it would have been nicely reassuring to see somebody getting hot there.  Zaire Taylor went 1-for-1, and I really do like his stroke, but he's made it pretty clear that he's never going to be a steady, long-distance threat, and even if he could be a threat, he's a distributor first.

    In all, Mizzou's got a roster full of guys who can penetrate and finish, but if they offer no consistent outside threat, defenses will bunch together inside and force them to shoot...and when Mizzou's cold, they could get really cold.

  2. Rebounding.  Northwest had the smallest team Mizzou will ever see, and taking expected rebounds into account, Mizzou only out-rebounded them by three.  Ouch.  Against a Truman State team that actually had some size, Mizzou was dominant on the boards, so really those two games cancel each other out, but still ... Mizzou allowed too many opportunities on the boards.

  3. 18 Turnovers? Really?  Again, not a real concern here yet, but J.T. Tiller had four TO's against Northwest, and overall Mizzou had four players averaging at least 0.10 turnovers per minute, which is unacceptably high: Kim English (0.14), Justin Safford (0.12), J.T. Tiller (0.11), and Steve Moore (0.13).  Last year, Leo Lyons led (I guess you'd say "led") the Tigers at 0.10 per minute.  It's early in the season, and I'm sure they will shore that up, but ... they really need to shore that up.

Player stats after the jump.

Player Stats

Player AdjGS* GmSc/Min Line
Laurence Bowers 19.0 0.70 27 Min, 13 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Blk, 2 TO
Marcus Denmon 14.8 0.70 21 Min, 13 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 TO
J.T. Tiller 11.2 0.51 22 Min, 12 Pts, 5 Ast, 2 Reb, 4 TO
Michael Dixon 9.8 0.75 13 Min, 7 Pts, 3 Reb
Zaire Taylor 8.1 0.32 25 Min, 7 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 TO
Kim English 5.6 0.37 15 Min, 11 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 TO
Keith Ramsey 5.1 0.24 21 Min, 3 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Stl
Justin Safford 5.0 0.28 18 Min, 8 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Stl, 3 TO
Miguel Paul 2.8 0.14 20 Min, 5 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Stl
Steve Moore 1.4 0.13 11 Min, 4 Pts, 2 TO
Jarrett Sutton -0.2 -0.16 1 Min
Tyler Stone -1.9 -0.31 6 Min

* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds.  It does the same thing my previous measure of choice did (it takes points, assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls into account to determine an individual's "score" for a given game), only the formula is more used and accepted.  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.

  • Must tamp down the "Bowers Must Start" movement...must tamp down the "Bowers Must Start" movement...must tamp down the "Bowers Must Start" movement...
  • Nice game by Denmon, getting to the line consistently when his outside shot wasn't falling, but again, he won't get away with that against better teams.
  • Justin Safford really didn't have a game to remember (2-for-6 shooting, 3 turnovers), but his defense still made him a contributor.
  • Miguel Paul has done nothing to alleviate concerns about his shooting.

Keys to the Game Revisited

From Friday's preview.

  1. Show Up.  Mizzou did show up...somewhat.  They looked confident and in control, even if they let Northwest hang around a bit too long in the first half.  There was never the worry that we were watching a gigantic egg being laid.

  2. Don't Foul.  I was reaching for keys in Friday's preview, and predictably this was not much of a concern.  Granted, it's nice to see Big 12 refs in mid-season form, calling FIFTY-TWO FOULS in an exhibition game.  But only 20 of those were on Mizzou, so I can't say there's much to worry about here.  Seriously, though, fifty-two.  In an exhibition game.

  3. Tyler Stone.  Right after I posted the preview, I read a quote from Mike Anderson saying that the starters were going to get extra playing time to get them ready for Tuesday.  Boo to that.  John Underwood missed the game due to a death in the family, and Tyler Stone played only six minutes, so ... I whiffed terribly on my "key" player in both exhibition games (Denmon did next to nothing against Truman State).  What can I say, I needed the exhibition season too.

Combined Exhibition Stats

Points Per Minute
1.16 2.24
Points Per Possession (PPP)
0.59 1.13
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.24 1.00
2-PT FG% 37.7% 50.5%
3-PT FG% 28.1% 21.2%
FT% 57.1% 68.7%
True Shooting % 42.9% 51.6%
Opp. Mizzou
Assists/Gm 7.5 11.5
Steals/Gm 5.0 16.0
Turnovers/Gm 30.5 15.0
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
0.41 1.83
Opp. Mizzou
Expected Offensive Rebounds 24 32
Offensive Rebounds 15 40
Difference -9 +8

Thanks to the Truman game, there was nothing that was going to make these stats look anything less than impressive.

Player AdjGS* GmSc/Min Line
Laurence Bowers 16.9 0.75 22.5 MPG, 13.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.5 BPG, 1.5 SPG
J.T. Tiller 10.1 0.53 19.0 MPG, 12.5 PPG, 3.0 APG, 2.0 TOPG
Zaire Taylor 9.3 0.41 22.5 MPG, 7.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.0 SPG
Keith Ramsey 8.6 0.47 1.5 MPG, 6.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.5 SPG, 1.5 APG
Michael Dixon 8.0 0.53 15.0 MPG, 8.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.5 SPG
Kim English 8.0 0.46 17.5 MPG, 10.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.0 SPG, 2.5 TOPG
Justin Safford 5.9 0.35 17.0 MPG, 9.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.0 TOPG
John Underwood 5.8 0.48 12.0 MPG, 4.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG
Marcus Denmon 5.8 0.31 19.0 MPG, 7.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG
Tyler Stone 4.8 0.61 8.0 MPG, 3.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG
Miguel Paul 3.1 0.16 19.0 MPG, 4.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.5 SPG
Steve Moore 2.9 0.24 12.0 MPG, 3.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.5 TOPG
Jarrett Sutton 1.7 0.43 4.0 MPG, 2.5 PPG
  • Must tamp down the "Bowers Must Start" movement...must tamp down the "Bowers Must Start" movement...must tamp down the "Bowers Must Start" movement...


Thus far, my end-of-season proclamation that Mizzou would be more extreme in 2009-10 -- strengths getting stronger, weaknesses getting weaker -- seems potentially true.  Mizzou has the potential to play some insanely good defense, even with the loss of Demarre Carroll.  Meanwhile, as strange as it may sound, they may miss Matt Lawrence as much or more than Carroll or Leo Lyons when all is said and done, as shooting could be a major weakness this year.

Or, you know, not.  We'll see what English, Denmon, etc., do when the lights are on for real.  And we don't have to wait too much longer for those lights to come on.