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Study Hall: Oral Roberts

Your Trifecta: Bowers-Denmon-PPressey. Your winner: nobody. A few came close -- MULuke and Team both got the Bowers-Denmon part, and poor MULuke had Dixon in the No. 3 spot -- but alas, no winners.  We're back on the winless streak I love!!

Missouri 81, Oral Roberts 62

Pace (No. of Possessions)
Points Per Minute
2.03 1.55
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.25 0.96
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.27 1.27
2-PT FG% 50.0% 27.3%
3-PT FG% 35.7% 25.0%
FT% 84.2% 84.2%
True Shooting % 56.0% 47.2%
Mizzou ORU
Assists 12 9
Steals 7 3
Turnovers 10 19
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.90 0.63
Mizzou ORU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 13 14
Offensive Rebounds 14 20
Difference +1 +6

I Hate Complaining About Officiating...

...really, I do.  But ... 47 fouls?  Really?  14 in the first half ... and 33 in the second, when Mizzou's lead was never less than seven?  Were you getting paid by the hour, Rick Hartzell, Kelly Self and Terry Oglesby?  And while we're at it, nothing drives me crazier than setting a certain standard for fouls in the first half, then setting an entirely new standard the first ten minutes of the second half.  Every crew does it, particularly in the Big 12, and it makes sure that no game has an actually decent flow during crunch time.  It is infuriating.

I said it in the live thread, I said it on Twitter, and I'll say it again now: I pray that this crew does not do the Missouri-Kansas State game in a few weeks. There would be 85 fouls. Jarrett Sutton would play 26 minutes.

A Step Forward for the Defense

Granted, it came with the expense of a million fouls, but Mizzou held Oral Roberts to some god-awful percentages from the field.  That ORU got to shoot 38 free throws (and make 32 of them) kept them in the game longer than would have been perfectly comfortable, but still.  Mizzou's FG% rankings went up considerably for just one game -- they now rank 183rd in 2PT% (up from the 200s) and 251st in 3PT%, which, amazingly, is indeed an improvement.

A Step Backwards on the Glass

Against a solid rebounding team, in front of a lackluster crowd with students on the way out of town, I was a bit concerned about how Mizzou would fare on the glass.  Those concerns were justified.  Mizzou did alright on the offensive side of the court, but they were murdered by Damen Bell-Holter and his ten offensive rebounds.  Granted, Bell-Holter went just 3-for-8 from the field, minimizing the impact of his possible putbacks ... but still, that was a frightening sight.  Mizzou has shown that they can hang well on the glass, or at least better than last year, but rebounding does appear to be an effort-and-motivation game, and Mizzou doesn't always have it.  Hopefully they do when it counts.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Laurence Bowers 19.4 0.59 33 Min, 17 Pts (7-13 FG, 3-3 FT), 6 Reb (2 Off), 5 Blk
Marcus Denmon 16.7 0.51 33 Min, 16 Pts (7-16 FG, 1-3 3PT), 5 Reb (4 Off), 3 Stl
Phil Pressey 11.9 0.44 27 Min, 8 Pts (4-6 FG), 7 Ast, 3 Reb, 2 TO, 4 PF
Ricardo Ratliffe 8.9 0.31 29 Min, 10 Pts (4-8 FG, 2-3 FT), 7 Reb (3 Off), 2 Ast, 2 TO, 4 PF
Ricky Kreklow 7.2 0.42 17 Min, 8 Pts (2-5 FG, 2-4 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Stl
Kim English 5.8 0.21 28 Min, 10 Pts (3-8 FG, 2-4 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb
Justin Safford 4.2 0.30 14 Min, 4 Pts (1-3 FG, 2-2 FT), 3 Reb
Matt Pressey 4.1 0.34 12 Min, 5 Pts (1-4 FG, 3-5 FT), 2 Ast
Steve Moore 1.9 0.31 6 Min, 3 Pts (1-1 FG), 4 PF
Jarrett Sutton 0.0 0.00 1 Min of Walk-On Goodness

Laurence Bowers went back to being Laurence Bowers last night, and it was a welcome sight.  He took a few more shots, made over 50 percent of them, grabbed a couple of offensive rebounds, and used his ridiculous wingspan to great advantage.  He was apparently the only Tiger whose defense passed the officials' test, committing only three fouls somehow.

Speaking of fouls ... once Phil Pressey figures out what he can get away with on the defensive end, look out.  He's begun to figure out everything else.  Granted, it was just Presbyterian and Oral Roberts, but the confidence he showed in running the offense the last two games has been such a significant upgrade than what we had been seeing.  We'll see if that translates well against good teams too -- Illinois is coming up in less than a week -- but to say it has been encouraging is an epic understatement.  In 50 minutes against the Blue Hose and Golden Eagles, Pressey registered 16 assists, 3 steals and just two turnovers.  That's a BCI of 9.50.  That's, um, good.  And some of the passes he was making against the press?  Holy moly.  As good as advertised.  Now he just needs to figure out how not to end up with four fouls in 25 minutes.  It detracted from his overall AdjGS line, and for a short while, it looked like Mizzou might be in a bit of trouble without Pressey or Mike Dixon to turn to at the point.

Not the best game from Ricardo Ratliffe.  Some of his shots were as awkward as those from the first couple games of the season, and he was, at least in part, abused by Bell-Holter.  We'll chalk this one up as a further learning experience.

Nice job from Kreklow.  He only had one turnover in 17 minutes (though that was still good for a 12% TO below) -- as I've mentioned before, that's been his biggest problem this year -- plus he made a couple of 3-pointers, and ... well, Anderson trusted him enough to play him 17 minutes.  Granted, he wouldn't have gotten that much with Dixon playing, but still.  He acquitted himself well and crossed the 0.40 per minute mark.

Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Laurence Bowers 23% 48% 1.6 0% 74% 20% 6%
Marcus Denmon 26% 40% 2.2 24% 67% 5% 4%
Phil Pressey 14% 62% 5.5 84% 12% 0% 4%
Ricardo Ratliffe 19% 42% 2.6 46% 32% 14% 8%
Ricky Kreklow 20% 42% 1.5 0% 60% 28% 12%
Kim English 17% 34% 1.2 0% 71% 20% 9%
Justin Safford 13% 40% 1.1 0% 56% 44% 0%
Matt Pressey 29% 34% 5.6 52% 18% 26% 4%
Steve Moore 12% 77% 1.1 0% 46% 54% 0%
Jarrett Sutton 0% N/A 0.0 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Matt Pressey didn't do much yesterday, but he did a reasonably sufficient job as the makeshift backup point guard, passing over 50% of the time and registering a 3.0 BCI.  Meanwhile, Kim English ... just wasn't even in the flow of the offense.  Damnedest thing.  Anything he did something meaningful, it was probably shooting ... but he only took eight shots in 28 minutes.

Three Keys Revisited

From Wednesday's preview.

Fourth-Round TKO

Credit where it is due: I've missed plenty of "Keys" this season, some by a wide margin.  But ...

If Mizzou is a little slow out of the gates following finals week and the five-day break -- especially in what might be a semi-dead Mizzou Arena (students might be gone, and alums might not be able to make it in droves for an odd Thursday tip) -- then ORU can absolutely hang around a while.  Dominique Morrison could get to the rim, and Steven Roundtree and Damen Bell-Holter will be more than happy to hit the glass and score on putbacks.  But by the 8:00 mark of the first half, Mizzou should be able to make their move.  I love a good boxing analogy, and if the 40-minute game is a 10-round fight, then by the fourth round, Mizzou should be in control.  Maybe ORU gets a second wind at halftime, but a team that is basically four-deep should not be able to hang in Mizzou Arena for too long.

From the 7:20 mark of the first half to the 1:45 mark, Mizzou outscored ORU, 18-2.  That's a 16-point margin in a game they won by 19.  That is the definition of a fourth-round TKO.

Man-Up Morrison

Dominique Morrison: 32 minutes, 18 points (6-12 FG, 3-5 3PT, 3-4 FT), 4 rebounds, 5 turnovers, 5 fouls.  Morrison had only seven points at halftime, then caught fire when ORU was trying desperately to keep up, but he still got his points.  Perhaps most important was what Morrison was doing when he wasn't scoring -- five turnovers, five fouls.  Morrison was good (as I commented only half-jokingly during the game, forget Tony Mitchell for now ... can we get this guy to transfer and be eligible for second semester?), but he wasn't good enough.

Good Kimmie

Kim English: 28 minutes, 10 points (3-8 FG, 2-4 3PT, 2-2 FT), 1 turnover, 2 fouls.  The Kim English that was on the court yesterday was a perfectly competent player who took little off the table, played decent defense and blended into the background.  If it were Ricky Kreklow registering English's minutes, I'd have been very impressed.  But it was Kim English.  Eight shots, two defensive rebounds, one turnover, and two fouls in 28 minutes on the court.  He has faded into the scenery for a good portion of the season, either because of injury, overthinking, or whatever.  Maybe he's saving himself for Illinois?


This game was too long, and Mizzou flirted with disaster for a small portion of the second half.  But they won by 19 without their second- or third-best player (Dixon), they handled their business, and both freshmen looked good.  I'll consider this one another step forward.  We've got a quick turnaround with the Central Arkansas Fightin' Scottie Pippens coming to town tomorrow ... and then it's time for Braggin' Rights.  I'm more confident about this game than I was two weeks ago ... but Illinois is still really, really good.  Should be fun.



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.