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Study Hall: Presbyterian

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Greetings from the Starbucks on the northwest side of Columbia.  Judging by the crowd here, I'm assuming mine is not the only internet connection that has yet to be restored after last night's snow.  (Side note: really, Columbia?  Two inches of snow shuts down the Internets?)  I almost said "Expect this to be a pretty short post, since I need to get home," but ... even my abbreviated posts end up pretty long, so nevermind.

Your Trifecta: Phil Pressey, Marcus Denmon, Justin Safford.  Your winner: nobody!  Now that's more like it!  This is exactly the randomness I look for in a trifecta.  Going by BigMOman's point system, the closest Trifecta attempt was that of Wooderson (Bowers-Denmon-Safford).

Well that was easy.  I had to verify on three different websites that the final was actually only a 15-point margin -- I apparently stopped paying attention to the score when the lead was 26.

Mizzou 70, Presbyterian 55

Mizzou
Hose
Pace (No. of Possessions)
64.4
Points Per Minute
1.75 1.38
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.09 0.85
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.21 1.20
2-PT FG% 50.0% 45.2%
3-PT FG% 41.7% 33.3%
FT% 75.0% 80.0%
True Shooting % 56.9% 52.3%
Mizzou Hose
Assists 23 12
Steals 9 3
Turnovers 12 19
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.67 0.79
Mizzou Hose
Expected Offensive Rebounds 11 10
Offensive Rebounds 9 6
Difference -2 -4

Patient and Relaxed

This was one of the most confident, patient efforts I've seen from Missouri in a long time.  They easily took care of Presbyterian's strengths, they shared the ball, they swarmed, they shared the ball some more ... they let Presbyterian play the game at their pace, and they whipped them anyway.

(Of course, "relaxed" isn't really a good quality on the glass.  Mizzou shut down Presbyterian on the defensive side of the ball, but they didn't really light the world aflame on the offensive glass.)

Did I mention they shared the ball?  Mizzou had 23 assists on 27 made field goals, just an incredible total.  Mizzou's point guards -- Mike Dixon and Phil Pressey -- combined for 15 assists, two steals and just three turnovers in 42 minutes; plus, they made four of eight field goal attempts and scored 10 points.  They wore pass-first point guard jerseys last night and looked good doing so.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Phil Pressey 14.4 0.63 23 Min, 5 Pts (2-4 FG), 9 Ast, 3 Reb (2 Off), 2 Stl
Marcus Denmon 14.2 0.62 23 Min, 12 Pts (4-8 FG, 2-5 3PT, 2-2 FT), 4 Ast, 3 Reb
Justin Safford 11.6 0.61 19 Min, 14 Pts (6-9 FG), 6 Reb
Kim English 9.7 0.44 22 Min, 14 Pts (5-11 FG, 4-9 3PT), 3 Stl, 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 4 TO
Laurence Bowers 9.2 0.42 22 Min, 8 Pts (3-8 FG, 2-4 FT), 6 Reb (2 Off), 2 Stl, 2 Blk
Ricardo Ratliffe 5.0 0.25 20 Min, 6 Pts (3-5 FG), 3 Reb, 2 Blk
Matt Pressey 4.9 0.25 20 Min, 6 Pts (2-3 3PT), 2 Reb
Mike Dixon 4.2 0.22 19 Min, 5 Pts (2-4 FG), 6 Ast, 3 TO
Jarrett Sutton 0.0 0.00 2 Minutes of ... nothing
Ricky Kreklow -0.8 -0.07 11 Min, 0 Pts (0-2 3PT)
Steve Moore -1.5 -0.10 15 Min, 0 Pts (0-3 FG), 4 Reb
John Underwood -2.5 -0.63 4 Min, 3 PF
  • Welcome to the season, Phil Pressey!  Here's to hoping this isn't the last time you top the AdjGS list this season.  Lil' Pressey looked absolutely outstanding yesterday, with a BCI of infinity (9 assists, 2 steals, no turnovers) and a FG% of 50.0%.  He was opportunistic on defense and completely in control on the offensive end.  If he wanted to play at the same level in another week and a half against Illinois, I won't complain.
  • Lil' Pressey had four assists on Justin Safford's six made field goals.  Just found that interesting.  The assist on the early dunk was pretty (even if Safford took about 11 steps before dunking), and in general, these two led the charge for an extremely effective second line (Pressey-Pressey-Kreklow-Safford-Moore).
  • Ho hum, another 50% shooting, 5.0 BCI, decent-versatility, fully-in-control afternoon from Marcus Denmon.
  • Kim English's overall line ended up only good, not great, but he was confident, assertive, and mostly in control in the first half.  His first-half line was as follows: 4-for-8 shooting, 4-for-7 on 3-pointers, 12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 turnovers.  He was just 1-for-4 with another two turnovers in eight second-half minutes, but I'll let that slide.  The first half was outstanding.
  • It's still too early for extreme concern, but Laurence Bowers just isn't dialed in right now.  He still averaged 0.42 AdjGS/min -- a nice total -- but he just doesn't have a lot of offensive confidence right now, and he continues to be a little careless with the ball.  He was given credit for zero turnovers yesterday, but it felt he was close to about seven.  Maybe that's unfair -- it's certainly completely anecdotal -- but I hope to see better things from him soon.
  • The go-to Trifecta of Denmon, Ratliffe, and Dixon almost willfully took a backseat to other players yesterday, and honestly, if it was indeed intentional, I approve.  Ratliffe and Dixon, in particular, took just nine shots in a combined 39 minutes and gave others an opportunity at the spotlight.  And for the most part, those others took advantage.
  • I think it's safe to say that regression to the mean just walloped John Underwood last night.  In seven minutes of action before yesterday, Underwood had three blocks and one foul and was 2-for-2 from the field.  In four minutes yesterday: three fouls and a turnover.  He was responsible for Presbyterian's after-the-fact charge in the final minutes.  The Blue Hose outscored Mizzou 13-2 in the final 4:47, chiefly because of three Mizzou fouls and three turnovers.
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Phil Pressey 9% 71% 7.8 93% 7% 0% 0%
Marcus Denmon 23% 48% 4.7 68% 23% 6% 3%
Justin Safford 30% 51% 1.8 0% 82% 9% 9%
Kim English 37% 30% 3.8 44% 41% 0% 15%
Laurence Bowers 24% 32% 1.7 0% 67% 33% 0%
Ricardo Ratliffe 16% 41% 0.9 0% 83% 0% 17%
Matt Pressey 14% 37% 1.7 54% 37% 0% 9%
Mike Dixon 21% 44% 7.1 81% 9% 2% 7%
Jarrett Sutton 0% N/A 0.0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ricky Kreklow 10% 16% 2.2 75% 25% 0% 0%
Steve Moore 11% 0% 0.6 0% 100% 0% 0%
John Underwood 14% 0% 0.8 0% 0% 0% 100%
  • If you had no background information on Mizzou heading into yesterday's game, you'd quickly have reached the conclusion that this team is one of the most point-guard dependent in the country.  Phil Pressey and Dixon dominated the ball distribution, barely shot, and got the ball to playmakers like Safford, Ratliffe and English.  That hasn't been the case all season, and even in a best-case scenario I don't see the distribution numbers staying at this level.
  • Against a team that never fouls, Mizzou ... didn't draw any fouls.  Eight for the entire game.  Presbyterian goes out of its way to avoid contact -- they proved that plenty of times -- but still ... eight.  Huh.
  • There was a bit of carelessness going on with the ball-handling (12 turnovers was a bit much against the Blue Hose), but this is really picking nits.  As mentioned, three of those turnovers came in the game's final five minutes.

Three Keys Revisited

From Friday's preview.

Good God, Guard the Perimeter

For the game, Presbyterian shot 5-for-15 from long range, 4-for-14 in the game's first 39:40.  I'll take it.  Mizzou didn't reflexively double-team the post guys too much (good, because nobody earned it, not even Al'Lonzo Coleman), and the less-than-athletic members of Presbyterian's backcourt rarely found open opportunities.  No complaints here.

Stay Patient

I would say "23 assists in 27 made field goals" is a good way of saying "Mizzou was very, very, very patient."  As mentioned, Mizzou didn't necessarily try to push the tempo much -- they just played at Presbyterian's tempo and did so very, very well.

Get 'em, Ricardo.

Okay, so I nailed two of three.  Justin Safford played the role of Ricardo Ratliffe in this game, and I'm completely okay with that.

Summary

I'm comfortable in saying this was one of the most dominant 15-point wins in the history of 15-point wins.  Mizzou seized control immediately, and if I were executing my boxing analogies, I'd have been tempted to call it a TKO in the third round.  Credit Presbyterian for staying tuned in enough to make a nice run at the end when Mizzou stopped paying attention.  I do wish we'd seen a slightly deeper effort -- only five of Mizzou's 12 players averaged 0.40 AdjGS or higher -- but again, this is picking nits.  Mizzou put this one out of reach early, and now it's time to move on to Finals Week and, Thursday night, Oral Roberts.

 

---

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 Basketball-Reference.com: 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.