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Study Hall: Mizzou vs UT-Martin

J.T. Tiller injury aside, this was just about a perfect cupcake game, right?  Mizzou got an easy win that was never in question, and they had plenty of those "teachable" moments that coaches like to have.  They're 1-0 with plenty to work on.

Mizzou 83, UT-Martin 68

Points Per Minute
2.08 1.70
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.06 0.87
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.19 1.10
2-PT FG% 55.1% 39.6%
3-PT FG% 19.0% 35.7%
FT% 70.8% 71.4%
True Shooting % 51.5% 47.7%
Mizzou UTM
Assists 14 11
Steals 14 9
Turnovers 21 23
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.33 0.87
Mizzou UTM
Expected Offensive Rebounds 15 15
Offensive Rebounds 23 15
Difference +8 0


  • Why was this only a 15-point game?  Look at the shooting stats.  That explains it all.  Anything below about 1.25 points per shot is poor for this team, and anything below about a 53-54% True Shooting % is the same.  While you can't ask for more than a 55% rate on two-point shots, the three-pointers continue to destroy Mizzou's shooting numbers.  We'll talk more about this after the jump.
  • It's early, and it will improve, but 21 turnovers is simply way too many.  I like the 14 assists (you typically want more than 14, but considering the number of missed open 3's that would have raised the assist total, I'm okay with it), and obviously 14 steals is lovely, but BCI is dictated by turnovers, and instead of the 2.0 BCI you'd like to see against a mid-major team, Mizzou came nowhere close.  Credit UTM for some of this--they really did play pretty solid, active defense--but still.  This will improve, but...well, it realy needs to improve.

    /brilliant analysis
  • Taking a look at the Expected Rebounds figures made me feel a lot better about the rebounding situation.  Again, the Expected figure comes from the fact that, on average, you will pull down an offensive rebound on 37% of missed 2-pointers, 32% of missed 3-pointers, and 15% of missed free throws.  Taking the types of missed shots into account, you can project the number of offensive boards an average team would have pulled.  Since UTM missed so many shots, they were bound to grab quite a few offensive boards, and the 15 they grabbed ended up being exactly what was expected.  You would hope Mizzou could hold them to under the expected amount, and there were certainly some breakdowns as guys like Steve Moore and Laurence Bowers went for blocks and left their man unattended, but knowing that Mizzou only allowed an average amount (while grabbing a wonderful amount themselves) made me feel better about the rebounding situation.

Player stats after the jump.

Player Stats

Player AdjGS* GmSc/Min Line
Laurence Bowers 25.7 1.12 23 Min, 16 Pts (6-for-8 FG), 8 Reb (4 Off), 4 Blk, 3 Ast, 2 Stl
Keith Ramsey 17.0 0.77 22 Min, 15 Pts (7-for-11 FG), 7 Reb (3 Off), 2 Ast, 2 Stl
Steve Moore 7.8 0.44 18 Min, 8 Pts, 3 Reb
Marcus Denmon 6.4 0.30 21 MIn, 10 Pts, 6 Reb
Michael Dixon 6.0 0.30 20 Min, 7 Pts
J.T. Tiller 5.9 0.39 15 Min, 6 Pts, 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 TO
Justin Safford 3.9 0.23 17 Min, 5 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk
Miguel Paul 2.4 0.14 17 Min, 2 Pts, 3 Ast, 2 Stl
John Underwood 1.9 0.97 2 Min, 2 Pts
Zaire Taylor 1.7 0.06 26 Min, 6 Pts, 4 Reb (3 Off), 3 TO
Kim English -0.4 -0.02 19 Min, 6 Pts (1-for-9 FG), 5 Reb, 2 Stl, 5 TO

* 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.

  • I just cannot say enough about how well-rounded Laurence Bowers looked Tuesday night.  He showed a smooth shot and the ability to score from anywhere on the court, he showed outstanding hands, passing ability, a good sense for where caroms are going to go on missed shots, and quick, explosive hops, the kind that good shot-blockers have.  If you have to crouch down to jump high enough to block shots, you can fall victim to pump fakes.  Bowers waits until his man commits to shooting, then explodes up to block the shot.  At this point, Bowers has shown hints of being the player we hoped Leo Lyons would be when Leo was a freshman and sophomore, and if he is able to show the same type of potential against some of the bigger names on the non-conference schedule -- Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Illinois -- then this team's ceiling just got a lot higher.

    (Meanwhile, at this point I honestly don't care if he starts or not.  He got far more minutes than Justin Safford Tuesday night, and I assume he will continue to do so as long as he's playing well, so that's what really matters, more than the token opportunity to play the first 3-4 minutes of the game.)
  • Leading Adj. GS scorers: Bowers, Ramsey, Moore.  We knew this was going to be a bigs-dominated team, right?  Ri...right?
  • Nobody was pressing more than Kim English, but J.T. Tiller was not exactly in control on the offensive end.  Meanwhile, Mr. Coffee Zaire Taylor was far from impressive, actually getting outplayed by not only Michael Dixon, but Miguel Paul.  Kimmeh had company in the backcourt in terms of underachieving.

    (I'll stop there, as I don't want to sound too harsh about what was basically a glorified exhibition game.  We know what these guys are capable of, and they'll prove it soon enough.)
  • To end this section on a positive note, Michael Dixon is already starting to look more in control than he did in the Black & Gold game or the first exhibition game.  Remember last year, when Mizzou would inevitably make a huge run with their backups in the last 4-5 minutes of the first half?  With Dixon and Paul running the "last 4-5 minutes" lineup, I'm thinking that will be a strength of Mizzou's yet again.  And with Tiller out for at least one game, Dixon will get an even larger opportunity to prove what he can do against first-stringers as well.

Keys to the Game Revisited

From Yesterday's preview.

  1. Make some 3's.  Fail.  Kim English and Marcus Denmon combined to go 2-for-11 from 3-point range, and that was only slightly worse than the rest of the team, which went 2-for-10.

  2. Kim English.  If you look up "Pressing" in the dictionary, there's a picture of Kimmeh's face.  I have an ongoing theory (I guess it's still in "postulate" stage, actually) that nobody is going to benefit from the South Padre trip more than The Former Mr. Courvoissier.  He's trying too hard to get it going, and I think at least part of it has to do with the fact that he's trying to live up to the reputation of him that has formed over the last eight months or so.  Get him out of Columbia, in front of a neutral (and probably sparse) crowd, in a new gym, and he might just relax, play ball, heat up.  That's what I'm hoping anyway.  I'm clearly not worried about how he'll do long-term, but there's no question that he's started 2009-10 in at least a mini-slump.

  3. Rebound.  Again, Mizzou didn't rebound well on defense, but they didn't rebound as poorly as it seemed.  And with guys like Bowers and Ramsey showing great anticipation skill, this looks like a potentially excellent offensive rebounding squad...

    ...which is good, considering how many 3-pointers we might be likely to miss this year.

    DAMN...meant to end that on a positive.  Oh well.


The positive (and factual) spin on a game like this is simple: we know the guards will show up when it matters, so it was very nice to see Bowers, Ramsey, and Moore playing as well as they did.  If Mizzou has a better-than-anticipated inside presence, and if Bowers ends up being Good Leo Squared, then this really is going to be a fun season.  Well, it was going to be fun anyway, but it could be really fun.  I was going to end this with a "Mancrush: Engage" reference in regard to Bowers, but...well, I think everybody knows where I stand.