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Mizzou-ATM: Statistical Oh Well

Well...if you're going to lose by 10 to a team you're supposed to beat, and you're going to (momentarily) lose any chance you have of sharing the Big 12 title, this is the way you want it to happen--with the other team's bench playing unsustainably well (unsustainable = good, since Mizzou and ATM will quite likely be meeting again next week), with a few important guys (Goose, Taylor, and Safford from long DeMarre from the FT line) finding their shooting rhythm in the second half, and with the whole team almost making an unbelievable second-half comeback.  One or two more buckets, and the last two minutes might have unfolded in a completely different way.  ATM deserved to win, but Mizzou never quit.  Moral Victories R Us!

Let's take a look at the stats...from a "what happens when we (probably) play them Thursday night" perspective.

Mizzou ATM
Points Per Minute
2.13 2.40
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.17 1.32
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.47 1.92
2-PT FG% 52.6% 69.7%
3-PT FG% 55.0% 47.1%
FT% 59.1% 74.3%
True Shooting % 62.8% 73.4%
Mizzou ATM
Assists 17 15
Steals 8 7
Turnovers 14 14
Ball Control Index
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.79 1.57
Mizzou ATM
Expected Offensive Rebounds 11 8
Offensive Rebounds 9 7
Difference -2 -1
  • After the hot second half, Mizzou finished the game having shot 7.6% above their conference true shooting % (55.2%).  ATM, 21.7% above (51.7%).  They were almost automatic from inside the 3-point line and, in the first half, almost automatic from outside it too.
  • Meanwhile, Mizzou got nowhere near their conference average BCI of 2.31, actually even falling below ATM's 1.85 allowed.  A 1.79 BCI for Missouri against a weak defense is like a Tom Osborne's Nebraska teams rushing for 175 yards against somebody like Missouri or Iowa State a decade or two ago--it's a decent number, but it shouldn't have happened.
  • A&M's own 1.57 was well above their conference average (1.15) as well.  When it's your night (or afternoon), it's your night (or afternoon).  Mizzou just couldn't force enough turnovers, and whether that's because they weren't making enough shots to set up the press, or if ATM was just in a great rhythm and had a great gameplan, I'm not sure.  Guess we'll see if these two teams play again.
  • Mizzou got just close enough to mourn that their poor FT% could have made a difference.  While DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons went a solid 7-for-10 from the line, the rest of the team (i.e. the backcourt, for the most part) went a stunning 4-for-10.  Normally when MU's struggled from the line, it's been because of DeMarre, or maybe Keith Ramsey, laying some bricks.  But if you take out JT Tiller's 3-for-4, the combination of Kimmie English, Marcus Denmon, Matt Lawrence and Justin Safford went 1-for-6.  That can't happen.
  • One positive for Mizzou--rebounding was even.  If you'd have told me that before the game, I'd have been convinced that Mizzou won by 15.  Whoops.

Player Stats

Player AdjGS* GmSc/Min Line
Zaire Taylor 22.44 0.75 17 Pts, 4 Ast
DeMarre Carroll 20.71 0.74 18 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Ast
Justin Safford 15.53 0.74 15 Pts, 3 Reb
Leo Lyons 10.21 0.64 11 Pts, 4 Reb
Matt Lawrence 10.07 0.37 13 Pts, 2 Reb
Keith Ramsey 5.32 0.41 2 Pts, 2 Ast
Marcus Denmon 1.15 0.07 1 Pt, 2 Stl
Michael Anderson Jr. 1.01 0.20 0 Pts, 1 Ast
J.T. Tiller 0.43 0.02 5 Pts, 3 Ast, 4 TO
Laurence Bowers 0.00 0.00 2 Pts
Miguel Paul -1.01 -0.34 0 Pts
Kim English -2.73 -0.23 2 Pts, 2 Reb

* 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.

  • Seriously, if you think of every hot shooting streak Zaire Taylor has had, it's almost completely been when Mizzou was down big.  He's an interesting combination of a stat-padder and...well, Mr. Coffee.
  • DeMarre looked completely harmless for about the first 32 minutes of the game, and then when ATM started guarding the 3-point line, DeMarre went to town and took the reins on the comeback attempt.
  • The 'backup bigs' hierarchy from the last seven days: 1) Justin Safford, 2) Laurence Bowers, 3) Keith Ramsey.  Yeah, I wouldn't have guessed that either.  Safford has either turned the corner and become a viable weapon for Missouri, or he's hit a hot streak, but either was well-timed.  Especially since Ramsey's confidence hasn't been lower all season.
  • For those wondering why Leo Lyons barely touched the floor in the second half, here's a small explanation.

    Lyons hobbled off the court with 14:26 to play in the first half. A trainer appeared to briefly examine his right knee, and Lyons went back in for an eight-minute stretch.

    But the senior forward, who finished with 11 points on 4 for 12 shooting, played only two minutes in the second half.

    “We just had some other guys,” Anderson said. “He’s probably banged up, but we had some other guys. I thought they gave us the energy, and that’s what we were looking for.”

    So there you go.

  • Last time JT Tiller had a game this bad (at K-State), he followed it up with a month of almost flawless play.  Just sayin'.
  • I once again will have trouble complaining about Laurence Bowers' three minutes of P.T., especially since DeMarre was great and even Leo Lyons took a backseat to Unstoppable Force Justin Safford (and Matt Lawrence was playing very well at SF to boot), but're attempting a 25-point comeback, and your best overall athlete is sitting fresh on the bench.  Not saying I'd have been able to do much differently, but being that I'm the president of the Bowers Needs More Floor Time Committee (or, BNMFTC), I had to mention it.

And since neither Mizzou's nor ATM's sites provided 1st half vs 2nd half data, we'll at least take a look at ATM's player stats to see who played okay and who played at a much, much higher level than normal.

A&M Player Stats

Player AdjGS* GmSc/Min Avg/Gm (Conf)
B.J. Holmes 16.59 0.64 8.74 (+7.85)
Bryan Davis 14.38 0.51 9.28 (+5.10)
Josh Carter 12.66 0.47 15.46 (-2.80)
Donald Sloan 12.41 0.40 8.45 (+3.96)
Nathan Walkup 12.17 0.61 1.69 (+10.48)
Derrick Roland 9.83 0.35 6.27 (+3.56)
Dash Harris 6.51 0.47 1.05 (+5.46)
David Loubeau 6.39 0.40 3.82 (+2.57)
Chinemelu Elonu 5.04 0.50 13.67 (-8.63)
  • So ATM's two best players (Carter, Elonu) played well below their average (a combined -11.43), and that probably won't happen next week if Mizzou and ATM play again--they'll probably be worth at least another 6-8 points.  But...
  • The ATM bench (Holmes, Loubeau, Harris, Walkup) was worth 26.36 points more than in the normal game.  Some of that can be attributed to the fact that Carter spent part of the first half hurt, and Elonu spent most of the game in foul trouble.  Plus, you always have to figure that matchups will account for some of the skews from average.  But come on...26.36 points?  Also, look at the per-minute averages.  If you've been reading these posts for the last couple of months, you've seen that bench numbers are usually pretty scattered--a couple of guys are probably going to put up per-minute averages of higher than 0.30 or 0.40, and a couple are probably going to do almost nothing (0.00 or a negative number).  Only one ATM player averaged less than 0.40 AdjGS per minute.  That's almost certainly not going to happen again next week, no matter how hot ATM is right now.
  • If Mizzou and ATM play next week and ATM wins again (always possible), it's likely going to be because they played well in the typical way ATM plays well--with Davis and Elonu grabbing a ton of rebounds and Carter and Sloan making big shots.  Walkup and Holmes, at the very least, probably won't do nearly as much, win or lose.
  • I should also mention, by the way, that the last time a team played that well against Mizzou in the first half (KU), they turned around and laid a big, fat midweek egg against Texas Tech.  So all of this talk about what might happen when Mizzou and ATM play again could be made moot Wednesday night.

Keys to the Game Revisited

(From Friday's Preview)

  1. Pace. Swing and a miss by me.  Each team had about 72 possessions in this game...which is EXACTLY where Mizzou wanted this game to be played (ATM games are usually around 64 possessions).

  2. The 3-pointer.  ATM couldn't miss in the first half, but it wasn't Josh Carter who did them in.  It was Nathan Walkup (3-for-4), Donald Sloan (2-for-3), and B.J. Holmes (2-for-5).  In the second half, Mizzou almost pulled off a miraculous comeback because they couldn't miss, but the damage of the first half was clearly costly, and it was the 3-pointer that did the most damage.

    If Mizzou is to play ATM again in a week, odds say they won't have to worry about being killed by Walkup...but Josh Carter really didn't have to do much yesterday--he could do more damage later on.

  3. Turnovers.  Mizzou had 14 turnovers, which isn't too bad for them--they had a ton in the first half when ATM was making its move, but for 40 minutes, 14's not bad.  Problem was, ATM also had only 14...which was a killer.  ATM was much better handling the ball than they could normally be expected, and whether that's because of their great play, or Mizzou's poor play, or bad calls, or whatever, it was what it was.

vs Big 12
Mizzou: 12-4

Mizzou Opp.
Points Per Minute
1.96 1.75
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.08 0.97
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.30 1.24
2-PT FG% 50.4% 48.3%
3-PT FG% 37.8% 34.5%
FT% 68.5% 68.7%
True Shooting %
55.6% 53.0%
Mizzou Opp.
Assists 281 206
Steals 159 102
Turnovers 194 299
Ball Control Index
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.27 1.03
Mizzou Opp.
Expected Offensive Rebounds 203 198
Offensive Rebounds 168 197
Difference -35 -1


Player AdjGS/Gm* GS/Min Line
DeMarre Carroll 18.43 0.62 17.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.4 APG
Leo Lyons 13.20 0.59 14.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.7 APG
J.T. Tiller 9.42 0.38 8.6 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 3.7 APG
Zaire Taylor 9.20 0.33 6.8 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 3.8 APG
Matt Lawrence 6.52 0.32 7.5 PPG, 1.9 RPG
Marcus Denmon 5.94 0.32 6.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.3 APG
Laurence Bowers 4.49 0.68 3.7 PPG, 1.9 RPG
Keith Ramsey 4.43 0.29 3.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG
Kim English 4.09 0.25 6.0 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.2 APG
Justin Safford 2.95 0.40 3.0 PPG, 1.6 RPG
Miguel Paul 0.84 0.10 1.6 PPG
Michael Anderson Jr. 0.39 0.09 0.0 PPG
Jarrett Sutton 0.21 0.10 1 walk-on
Steve Moore -0.37 -0.13 1 Truman Patriot
  • So Mizzou finishes the BIg 12 season having basically broken even on defensive rebounds, but coming up short on the offensive boards.  You'd have thought with this system it may have been the obvious.
  • The shooting success of KU and ATM at the end of the season have hurt Mizzou's true shooting % defense.  At this point they're a team that allows an average shooting % but still forces enough turnovers to win most games easily.
  • DeMarre Carroll: first-team all-conference.

And even though we lost, there's a prime opportunity for a photoshop job that shouldn't go to waste...

Do your worst.