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Study Hall: Arkansas-Pine Bluff

In summary: Hooray, 30(ish)-point wins!  Boo, slow starts!

YOUR TRIFECTA: Bowers-Dixon-English. We came really close on this one, but alas ... no winner.

Mizzou 91, UAPB 63

Pace (No. of Possessions)
Points Per Minute
2.28 1.58
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.20 0.83
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.57 1.24
2-PT FG% 53.2% 38.5%
3-PT FG% 63.6% 50.0%
FT% 76.9% 60.0%
True Shooting % 65.5% 50.8%
Mizzou UAPB
Assists 16 14
Steals 13 12
Turnovers 17 26
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.71 1.00
Mizzou UAPB
Expected Offensive Rebounds 10 13
Offensive Rebounds 10 13
Difference +0 +0

For the Game, It Was All Good.

After previewing UAPB, I was a bit concerned that Mizzou carelessness would result in a few too many turnovers; it did.  That, and the fact that Mizzou only broke even against a terrible defensive rebounding team, were the only real glitches in an otherwise pretty full-game box score.  Mizzou shot wonderfully, dished 16 assists, forced 26 turnovers, averaged 1.20 points per possession despite the turnovers ... it was all good. As long as you look at the 40 minutes as a whole.


Ugh, What an Awful First Half

First of all, I'm not going to blame Mizzou much for coming out a little flat.  With a Cancun title in the bank and a busy week ahead, almost any team was going to be bringing something less than its A-game at the start against an 0-5 team.  It happens.  And considering Mizzou's only played five games, it would be unwise to call, really, anything a 'trend' of sorts.  All that said ... it was still a brutal first half for Missouri against a team that lost by 43 to Nebraska.

First-Half BCI: UAPB 1.27, Mizzou 1.11
First-Half Expected Off. Reb.: UAPB +2, Mizzou -1

That's just plain hustle right there, and Mizzou had none.  Again, UAPB is a brutal defensive rebounding team, and Mizzou failed to break even.

There's also this:

First Half: Mizzou 45% pass, 12% turnover
Second Half: Mizzou 50% pass, 9% turnover

Only 50% shooting kept Mizzou afloat, even if UAPB was winning the hustle battle and shooting 47% themselves (55% from 3-point range).

Now ... as I said, no harm, no foul.  Mizzou won the second half by 26 and moves on undefeated.  Anybody who wasn't paying close attention (in other words, 99.4% of the country) will glance at this game and see that Mizzou won in a blowout.  But ... I've spent a good portion of football season pushing the idea that the first half is more important than the second.  Being a second-half team is great ... except when you run into a first-half buzzsaw.  Like I said, we won't think any more about this because it's early and sleep-walking through cupcake games is not tremendously telling; besides, if Mizzou comes out and leads Georgetown by 15 at halftime or something, then we won't remember a damn thing about the first-half struggles against teams like UAPB and Western Illinois.  But it's a red flag.  We'll see if it means anything soon enough.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Laurence Bowers 20.4 0.89 23 Min, 18 Pts (6-10 FG, 6-8 FT), 5 Reb (4 Off), 2 Stl, 4 PF
Mike Dixon 17.2 0.66 26 Min, 11 Pts (3-6 FG, 3-4 3PT), 5 Ast, 4 Stl
Kim English 14.9 0.75 20 Min, 18 Pts (6-10 FG, 5-8 FT), 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 TO
Marcus Denmon 13.9 0.77 18 Min, 12 Pts (3-7 FG, 2-4 3PT, 4-4 FT), 3 Stl
Ricardo Ratliffe 13.2 0.51 26 Min, 10 Pts (4-7 FG, 2-2 FT), 10 Reb (4 Off), 3 Ast, 2 TO
Matt Pressey 8.5 0.39 22 Min, 8 Pts (4-5 FG), 2 Stl
Steve Moore 7.2 0.52 14 Min, 7 Pts (3-6 FG), 2 Reb, 3 Blk
John Underwood 2.7 0.89 3 Min, 2 Pts (1-1 FG)
Jarrett Sutton 0.0 0.00 2 Min of Walk-On Goodness
Phil Pressey -2.1 -0.11 19 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG), 2 Ast, 2 TO
Justin Safford -3.1 -0.22 14 Min, 4 Pts (2-4 FG), 5 Reb, 5 TO
Ricky Kreklow -3.4 -0.26 13 Min, 1 Pt (0-1 FG, 1-2 FT), 2 Reb, 3 TO

Why is it so hard to nail the Trifecta?  Because a) we've been conditioned enough to expect the unexpected, that even a reasonably customary Trifecta like Bowers-Dixon-English doesn't get hit, and b) just look at the season averages.  Five games into the season, we've got Bowers averaging 12.7, Denmon 12.6, Dixon 12.2, and Ratliffe 10.9.  The supposed team leader (English) is averaging only 8.5.  Knowing who's going to thrive the most on a game-by-game basis is damn near impossible.

Other thoughts:

  • Mike Dixon is having a helluva season so far.  And thank goodness, as Phil Pressey is ... well, he's playing like a freshman.  He's got a ways to go.  But back to Dixon: he's got nice splits for a point guard -- 69% pass, 19% shoot, 8% fouled, 4% turnover, 20% usage -- and his funky, always-looks-like-it's-falling-short shot has only fallen short in a couple of games.  He's shooting 39% from 3-point range for the season, and thanks to the fact that he gets to the line a decent amount and shoots 83% from the line, his True Shooting% is a robust 57%.  His line of 10 PPG, 4 APG and 3 SPG (in just 21 MPG) is almost exactly what you would want to see from a Mizzou point guard.
  • There we go, Kimmeh.
  • Ho hum, another double-double from Ricardo, who is now averaging 11 PPG and 10 RPG.  I said a while ago that I'd be thrilled with 12&8 from him.  It does appear that is within range if he adapts well to better competition.
  • More per-minute greatness from John Underwood.  Like I've said before, I want him to play more minutes, but I'm not sure whose minutes I want him to steal.  Steve Moore and Ratliffe are doing nothing to earn less time, so ... Safford?  At 0.24 AdjGS/Min for the season, he has yet to really catch fire (La Salle game aside).  But he's a steady senior, so I'm doubting Mike Anderson is going to cut his minutes too far ... especially since he's already under 20 MPG.  (And this says nothing of the whole "Tony Mitchell might be here in January" issue. No idea what happens then.)
  • Another forgettable game for Lil' Pressey.  He just needs to further figure out what he can and cannot get away with; as long as he gets that figured out by conference play, nobody will remember him struggling early on.
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Laurence Bowers 27% 54% 2.5 28% 47% 26% 0%
Mike Dixon 14% 53% 3.8 78% 16% 4% 2%
Kim English 38% 45% 4.0 39% 33% 18% 10%
Marcus Denmon 23% 46% 2.3 37% 45% 18% 0%
Ricardo Ratliffe 18% 49% 2.8 63% 25% 5% 7%
Matt Pressey 13% 65% 1.4 50% 42% 0% 8%
Steve Moore 20% 49% 2.2 50% 50% 0% 0%
John Underwood 15% 100% 0.9 0% 100% 0% 0%
Jarrett Sutton 0% N/A 0.0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Phil Pressey 7% 20% 2.1 80% 7% 0% 13%
Justin Safford 30% 19% 1.7 0% 44% 0% 56%
Ricky Kreklow 17% 9% 1.1 0% 19% 26% 55%
  • From an offensive identity standpoint, I was wanting to see more variety in the Usage rates, and I got it.  English dominated the offensive flow when he was in the game (which is great if he's shooting well and staying under 10% on %TO, and Bowers and Denmon had their moments in charge.  Meanwhile, most others stepped back and let the offense flow.  Safford had a turnover-heavy Usage% (his 19% Floor% is terrible), but the rest of the Usage% looked like what I wanted to see.
  • Again, Dixon has been great.  Double-digit points on just 14% Usage is perfect for a point guard.  And that pass to Bowers for the monster dunk was pretty, pretty, pretty.

Three Keys Revisited

From Saturday's Preview.

Show Up

Again, they did ... eventually.  No reason to elaborate on this any further; if they don't show up until the second half against Georgetown, they'll be likely to stay within single digits.

Protect the Ball

Mizzou really did not.  It was more of a problem in the first half, and the issues were focused pretty heavily on Justin Safford and Ricky Kreklow (eight turnovers in 27 combined minutes), but still ... turnovers have randomly been an issue this year.  (In case you're wondering, Georgetown's defense ranks just 214th in Turnover%.  So ... yay to that?)

Kim English

He showed up.  Now do it again.


I'm doing a lot of nit-picking for a 28-point win, but it is what it is.  Mizzou has only been sporadically great this year.  If it's true that they're suffering from "Play To The Level Of Competition"-itis, then we should see them play pretty well tomorrow ... as Georgetown is a damn fine team.



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.  As you would expect, someone like Kim English has a high Usage%, while Steve Moore has an extremely low one.

Floor%: Via 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 Steve Moore, 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.