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Study Hall: Mizzou vs Oklahoma -- Can't Shoot, Can't Win

Oklahoma 66, Mizzou 61

Points Per Minute
1.53 1.65
Points Per Possession (PPP)
0.89 0.96
Points Per Shot (PPS)
0.95 1.22
2-PT FG% 41.9% 48.3%
3-PT FG% 23.8% 32.0%
FT% 71.4% 82.4%
True Shooting % 43.5% 53.7%
Mizzou OU
Assists 14 10
Steals 10 3
Turnovers 11 20
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.18 0.65
Mizzou OU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 15 12
Offensive Rebounds 12 12
Difference -3 0

Can't Shoot, Can't Win

First things first: two close calls both went against Mizzou in the last 90 seconds, and both appeared to be the incorrect call.  Bad calls suck, especially in the last 90 seconds.  If either call goes in Mizzou's favor, they have the ball with either a chance to tie or take the lead/win the game.  It's true.

It's also true that Mizzou shot 5-for-21 from 3-point range, and if you take Laurence Bowers out of the equation, the team as a whole shot only 16-for-52 (30.8%) for the game.  That is horrid, and if Mizzou shoots even 40%, they win the game, probably going away.  Nobody gets more worked up over bad calls than I do (okay, some do ... ahem), but Mizzou made the last 90 seconds important by missing a ridiculous amount of shots ... both good shots and bad.

Who were the main culprits?

  • Kim English: 4-for-12 (0-for-5 3PT).  We'll talk about him in a moment.
  • Zaire Taylor: 1-for-7 (1-for-5 3PT).  Dude just didn't have it today.  He was actually taking decent shots within the flow of the offense (as if he knew how to take any other shots!), and they just didn't go in.
  • Marcus Denmon: 2-for-7 (0-for-2 2PT).
  • Mike Dixon: 1-for-5 (0-for-1 3PT).

In other words, this was a guard-play issue.  Mizzou's got a ton of backcourt depth ... and their backcourt shot 10-for-35.  A lot of the shots were too quick within the flow of the offense, but sometimes the shots don't fall, and if you have a perimeter-based offense (as Mizzou apparently does), this is the drawback.  Nebraska is up next, and they tend to defend Mizzou better than just about anybody, so hopefully the 3's will fall next weekend.

Wherein I Call Out Kimmie English

I love Kim English, and no matter what I'm about to say, I'm pretty sure he's going to come through in March when we need him.  But where we find ourselves in March (NCAA high seed vs NCAA low seed vs NIT) might depend on him snapping out of his current malaise ... and quickly.  He is without doubt the face of this team, and here is his current line during conference play:

Kim English (Big 12 play): 25.3 MPG, 12.3 PPG (31.6% FG, 18.8% 3PT, 62.5% FT), 5.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 3.7 TOPG, 1.3 SPG

One assist, 11 turnovers.  3-for-16 from 3-point range.  40.9% from inside 3-point range.  Now ... Kimmeh has an interesting role right now, in that he's the face of the team, but he's not the most important player.  It was made clear once again today that this team will go as far as Zaire Taylor and Laurence Bowers will take them.  Zaire couldn't get dialed in, and Mizzou would have probably won if he had.  But Kimmeh takes this team to a different level, and he has been plainly awful in conference play, even with the 20 points he scored against Tech.

And it's not even the shooting (though that's clearly important ... and awful) -- it's the ball-handling.  Mizzou doesn't have a wonderful half-court offense, but they've got enough shooters that they can still (more often than not) get enough reasonably decent looks to win games as long as they're not turning the ball over.  But they are turning the ball over, and Kimmeh's one of the primary reasons why.  Mizzou has averaged 16.3 turnovers per game in conference play, and two players have been responsible for almost half of them -- Kimmeh (11) and J.T. Tiller (11).  (Keith Ramsey also has 10, but I never held any illusions of him being a great ball-handler.)

Now ... we're talking about a sample size of three games and eight days here.  I don't want to go overboard about anything, good or bad, but Kimmeh has had himself a poor eight days, and Mizzou's ceiling is not nearly as high without him playing at a higher level.  He's a streaky guy, and I'm sure a good streak will start soon enough, but ... the sooner, the better.  Mizzou's schedule was really quite well-setup for an 8-1 conference start, and even if 7-2 is the best they can do now, it's still well within their reach if everybody, specifically #24, gets going.

Good News, Bad News

Bad News: Mizzou has now played 125 minutes in conference play, and they've played well on offense and defense at the same time for about 15 of those minutes.

Good News: Mizzou has now played 125 minutes in conference play, and they've played well on offense and defense at the same time for about 15 of those minutes, and they're 2-1 ... and they almost certainly feel they should be 3-0.

Still, though, at some point this goes from "They haven't played (or, specifically, shot) their best in conference play so far" to "Maybe their best isn't quite what we think it is."  We're not there yet -- as I said, I don't want to go overboard about anything -- but at some point conference play becomes reality, and we start seeing Mizzou as a pretty poor shooting team.  39.3% on 2-pointers and 33.3% on 3-pointers isn't going to cut it too much longer.

Screw You, Cade Davis

I talk smack about Elk City, and you score 11 second half points.  My jinxing power on this site is truly unbelievable (I personally screwed Mizzou against OSU in 2008 and my own BTBS picks a few weeks ago), and I'm getting sick of it.

Player Stats

Player AdjGS* GmSc/Min Line
Laurence Bowers 25.4 1.11 23 Min, 15 Pts (7-for-12 FG), 10 Reb (4 Off), 3 Blk, 2 Ast, 2 Stl
Keith Ramsey 12.6 0.42 30 Min, 8 Pts (3-for-4 FG), 4 Reb (3 Off), 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 TO
Justin Safford 9.4 0.67 14 Min, 9 Pts (3-for-8 FG), 5 Reb (3 Off)
Zaire Taylor 6.4 0.21 31 Min, 3 Pts (1-for-7 FG, 1-for-5 3PT), 8 Ast, 3 Reb
Marcus Denmon 4.3 0.17 26 Min, 7 Pts (2-for-7 FG, 2-for-5 3PT), 2 Reb
Mike Dixon 2.9 0.17 17 Min, 4 Pts (1-for-5 FG), 2 Stl
Steve Moore 2.1 0.21 10 Min, 2 Pts (0-for-2 FG), 3 Reb
J.T. Tiller 1.8 0.09 20 Min, 4 Pts (2-for-5 FG), 4 Reb, 3 Stl, 3 TO
Kim English 0.0 0.00 21 Min, 9 Pts (4-for-12 FG, 0-for-5 3PT, 1-for-3 FT), 3 Reb, 4 TO
Miguel Paul -4.4 -0.56 8 Min, 0 Pts (0-for-2 FG)

* 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.

  • God bless you, Laurence Bowers, for starting to live up to the far-too-lofty expectations I unfairly set for you a while back.  If the guards had even shot poorly instead of horribly, Mizzou would have won this game because of what you brought to the table.
  • Denmon made a couple of super-aggressive drives today, and I love seeing that, but he just couldn't get the ball in the hoop today.  He was a decent 2-for-5 from 3-point range, but he was 0-for-2 inside it and only 1-for-2 from the line.  Obviously he wasn't the main reason Mizzou shot poorly, but he just didn't have it today.
  • Good to see three steals from J.T. Tiller today.  But when combined with 0 assists and 3 turnovers, it is negated.  Granted, one of those turnovers was the iffy travel late, but still.  J.T. the Distributor probably needs to make another appearance soon -- he has 5 assists to 11 turnovers in conference play.
  • Three rebounds in 10 minutes.  I'll take that from Steeeeeeve Moore.  And ... the guy really does have some super-soft hands and a really pretty free throw stroke.  He's got potential, but a) I still don't want to see him EVER shooting unless it's an emergency, and b) with his size, he needs to be averaging at least 0.25-0.30 rebounds per minute, and today was a nice step forward in that regard.
  • I know he had a nice dish to Moore today, which should have counted as an assist (why doesn't that count as an assist, by the way? If you make a pass to a guy, who gets fouled and makes two free throws ... shouldn't that be an assist?), but I just do not trust Miguel Paul.  Sorry.  He is averaging -0.42 Adj. GS/min. in conference play, meaning he takes almost half a point off the board for every minute he is in the game.  Stats do not tell the whole story, but still ... I don't feel he's ready for conference play yet, and even if that means more minutes for Mike Dixon, so be it.
  • Speaking of Dixon ... clearly he's still getting his footing in conference play (0.26 AdjGS/min, 3-for-12 shooting, one assist in three games), but you've GOT to love the fact that he is 10-for-10 from the line in that time.  Most of those ten were in crunch time too.  I love where this guy is headed.

Three Keys Revisited

From last night's preview.

Neutralize Gallon

Tiny Gallon: 14 minutes, 0 points (0-for-3 FG), 7 rebounds, 3 turnovers
Keith Ramsey: 30 minutes, 8 points (3-for-4 FG), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers

Tiny was neutralized.

The 3-pointer

Mizzou (3-point FG): 5-for-21 (23.8%)
Oklahoma (3-point FG): 8-for-25 (32.0%)

If Mizzou makes even 30% of their 3's, they probably win, bad calls or no bad calls.


Pace: roughly 69 possessions.  The game was absolutely played at Mizzou's pace in the first half, though part of the reason for that was Mizzou's shoot-too-quick possessions.  I don't mind the occasional quick look from this team just because it keeps things moving at a high pace.  But there were too many quick looks, the most egregious of which came from Paul and English at a time when Mizzou was struggling to score.  It really was almost like Mizzou knew OU wasn't a very good defensive team, and they started yanking shots up because they thought they were open or something.  Mizzou's lack of patience wasted a near-perfect 10-0 start, and obviously that became a bigger deal later on, when Mizzou started playing a little smarter in the second half but still couldn't buy a bucket ... and without buckets to start the press, OU was able to almost play stall ball for most of the end stretch.


From my preview:

it's pretty easy to make "If Mizzou wins..." and "If OU wins..." predictions here.  If OU wins, it's a slow-down game in which Crocker, Warren or somebody gets hot, and OU makes free throws down the stretch (they're a very good FT shooting team, but then again, so was Tech) to win something like 74-66.  If Mizzou wins, it's going to be more like 86-71.

OU successfully slowed things down in the second half, Warren took over, OU shot 82% from the line.  The game was a bit more low-scoring than I figured in the "If OU wins..." scenario, but it did play out reasonably similar.  I have to point this out because it's just about the only thing I've gotten right in my last two previews.

Anyway, it's a good time for a week off before NU comes to town on Saturday.  Home court advantage should obviously prevail in that one, but hopefully Mike Anderson gets to jar the team around a bit in practice and wring out a bit more offensive focus.  it's the main thing standing between Mizzou and an outstanding Big 12 season.