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Study Hall: Mizzou vs Colorado -- The Bounceback

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Image via KC Star. STEEEEEEEEEVE.

Your trifecta: Denmon-English-Ramsey.  Your winner: nobody.  We've had one winner in four games.  Try harder, people!

Mizzou 84, Colorado 66

Mizzou
CU
Points Per Minute
2.10 1.65
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.16 0.91
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.53 1.18
2-PT FG% 51.4% 35.7%
3-PT FG% 44.4% 35.7%
FT% 81.5% 77.8%
True Shooting % 62.8% 48.6%
Mizzou CU
Assists 20 11
Steals 11 11
Turnovers 16 16
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.94 1.38
Mizzou CU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 11 14
Offensive Rebounds 9 11
Difference -2 -3

Let's just say...

...that anytime Mizzou shoots over 40% from 3-point range, over 50% on 2-pointers, and over 80% from the line, AND outrebounds their opponent ... and puts up double-digit steals to boot ... yeah, they're going to win, and probably by double digits.  Colorado kept things inside 20 points by racking up the steals and making free throws as they tend to do, but this was Good Mizzou, and it was a welcome sight.

Mizzou Player Stats

Player AdjGS* GmSc/Min Line
Marcus Denmon 23.0 0.77 30 Min, 22 Pts (6-for-9 FG, 4-for-6 3PT, 6-for-6 FT), 6 Reb (2 Off), 3 Ast, 2 TO
Kim English 19.6 0.60 33 Min, 21 Pts (5-for-11 FG, 4-for-5 3PT, 7-for-8 FT), 5 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 TO
Keith Ramsey 11.0 0.44 25 Min, 10 Pts (4-for-6 FG), 7 Reb (2 Off), 4 Blk, 2 Stl, 5 TO
J.T. Tiller 7.6 0.34 22 Min, 4 Pts (2-for-4 FG), 6 Ast, 2 Reb, 2 Stl
Justin Safford 7.4 0.49 15 Min, 10 Pts (4-for-6 FG), 4 Reb, 2 TO
Laurence Bowers 5.3 0.48 11 Min, 9 Pts (3-for-5 FG, 3-for-6 FT)
Zaire Taylor 3.9 0.12 33 Min, 0 Pts (0-for-5 FG), 5 Ast, 4 Reb, 4 Stl
Steve Moore 2.5 0.17 15 Min, 4 Pts (2-for-3 FG), 3 Reb, 2 TO
Mike Dixon 1.4 0.09 16 Min, 4 Pts (1-for-6 FG, 0-for-4 3PT), 2 Stl


* 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.

  • Marcus Denmon seems to have a lot of both Zaire Taylor and J.T. Tiller in him.  Like Tiller, he's a potentially great defender and, when he wants to be, a strong penetrator.  Like Taylor, he lets the offense come to him.  We sometimes want him to assert himself more offensively, like he did at the end of the Kansas State game.  Well ... against CU, Denmon both let the game come to him and dominated.  Not only did he make four of six 3-pointers, but he was also aggressive enough to earn six free throws, something we haven't seen enough of recently.  And the six rebounds were a nice bonus.
  • Speaking of bonus rebounds ... I would love to be able to count on five boards a game from Kimmeh.  He is a bit one-dimensional -- if his shot isn't falling, he isn't really contributing just a whole let else to the statsheet, and he turns the ball over a bit too much -- but five boards and three assists were a nice addition to the 4-for-5 shooting from 3-point land.
  • We got all the good and bad of Keith Ramsey's game in one neat package.  The five turnovers were about 3-4 too many, but he made up for it with 4 blocks, 7 rebounds, and nice touch around the basket.  Mizzou wouldn't have been nearly as dominant without Ramsey, though the turnovers were obviously an issue.
  • I like the idea someone proposed in the live thread ... J.T. Tiller is officially in Willie Mays Hays territory.  Anytime he shoots a 3-pointer, he has to drop and do some push-ups.  Actually, I realize you kind of have to shoot if you're wide open, so I'll allow him one a game.  But starting on the second 3 (and granted, he only took one today), he owes me 20 push-ups.
  • I think I am more torn on Justin Safford than any other Mizzou player.  He has been wonderful offensively in each of the last two games ... but with the more time that passes, the more I start to suspect that he simply isn't a very good defensive player, and aside from the occasional game, he is not good enough on the boards.  He grabbed four boards in 15 minutes today, certainly not a bad total, but his defense was lacking considering the subpar opponent.  A couple of times, either Keith Ramsey or Laurence Bowers would cut their interior man off, but Safford's man would break free underneath for an easy bucket.  Again, it was only a couple of times, but I do think Safford still thinks like a guard in a big man's body, and ... well, he's a junior.  He needs to be getting over that.  Clearly he brings things to the table offensively (even though his FG% is WAY too low for a power forward), but he takes things off too.
  • Not a good shooting week for Zaire Taylor: 2-for-13 shooting, 1-for-7 on 3-pointers.  But he did still manage 8 assists, 7 rebounds, and 5 steals in two games.  If only he hadn't half-assed that one rebound against ATM...
  • If Steve Moore is ever consistently able to give Mizzou exactly what he gave today on a regular basis -- 15 minutes, solid defense, solid rebounding, and a couple of lovely post moves -- I will be thrilled.  He's still only an average rebounder for his size, but he's getting there.  He'll never be a star, but ... I liked what he did today.
  • No Miguel Paul today.  After his atrocious, relatively brainless performance against Texas A&M, I can't really imagine that's a coincidence.

Three Keys Revisited

From Friday's preview.

R-E-B-O-U-N-D

Mizzou won the expected rebound battle by 1, and when combined with good shooting and steals, that was a pretty good equation, no?

Free Throws

Yeah, this didn't quite turn out like I expected.  Colorado went 20-for-23 from the line after a 1-for-4 start and finished the game shooting 78%.  But Mizzou not only matched them, but exceeded them at 82%.

Patience

Colorado did manage 11 steals, and because of that the BCI battle was a lot closer than normal, but Mizzou's ball movement was nice, and they got the shots they needed.  Nobody took too many out-of-character shots (aside from a small span in the first half where everybody fell in love with 17-footers ... the worst, least effective shot in basketball ... it's as hard to make as a 3, only people don't practice it as much, and it's only worth 2 points), and ... well, they just played well.

Mizzou Stats - Conference Play

Mizzou
Opp.
Points Per Minute
1.90 1.79
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.08 1.02
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.26 1.30
2-PT FG% 41.9% 45.9%
3-PT FG% 37.1% 36.1%
FT% 73.9% 69.0%
True Shooting % 53.0% 53.8%
Mizzou Opp.
Assists/Gm 12.8 11.4
Steals/Gm 10.0 6.8
Turnovers/Gm 12.6 18.9
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.80 0.96
Mizzou Opp.
Expected Offensive Rebounds/Gm 28.0 25.5
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 26.3 29.3
Difference -1.7 +3.8


Mizzou is now 5-3 in conference, one game worse than they were last year.  At this point in conference play last year, Mizzou was -1.3 rebounds per game, held a 2.13 to 1.05 BCI advantage, and outshot opponents to the tune of 57.8%-52.3% in terms of True Shooting %.  So they're about four boards worse, their BCI advantage is about 0.2 worse (their BCI defense is actually better), and while opponents are shooting about 1.5% better, Mizzou is shooting almost 5% worse.  That is leading to a severe drop in assists (17.4 per game at this point last year, 12.8 this year), and a subsequent drop in BCI and PPP (from 1.13 to 1.08).  I actually think this team's defense might be better than last year's (or at least as good), but the offense and rebounding are clearly worse, and ... well, that's just the way it's going to be this year, I guess.  The reinforcements are coming soon enough.

Player AdjGS* GmSc/Min Line
Laurence Bowers 13.5 0.65 20.9 MPG, 10.8 PPG (61.0% TS%), 6.3 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 1.1 APG, 1.3 TOPG
Marcus Denmon 12.3 0.52 23.5 MPG, 11.5 PPG (67.0% TS%), 2.5 RPG, 1.5 APG
Zaire Taylor 10.8 0.35 30.6 MPG, 9.3 PPG (53.2% TS%), 3.4 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.5 SPG
Kim English 10.2 0.41 24.9 MPG, 13.5 PPG (47.4% TS%), 4.6 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.9 TOPG
Justin Safford 9.6 0.42 22.5 MPG, 10.5 PPG (50.1% TS%), 4.6 RPG, 1.1 TOPG
Keith Ramsey 7.4 0.28 26.6 MPG, 5.9 PPG (67.9% TS%), 4.4 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 1.3 APG, 2.6 TOPG
Mike Dixon 4.5 0.30 14.9 MPG, 5.9 PPG (51.0% TS%), 1.1 SPG
J.T. Tiller 4.1 0.17 23.8 MPG, 6.6 PPG (38.3% TS%), 2.9 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.4 SPG, 2.3 TOPG
Steve Moore 1.7 0.21 8.1 MPG, 1.4 PPG (51.7% TS%), 1.9 RPG
Miguel Paul 0.5 0.05 8.4 MPG, 2.1 PPG (50.8% TS%)


I used True Shooting % here instead of FG% just to see if it tells us anything in particular.  Here's what I'm seeing: 1) Justin Safford's TS% is FAR too low for a big man, 2) Marcus Denmon's TS% is INSANELY high for a guard, and 3) J.T. Tiller just can't shoot this season.  Holy moly.  Nevermind that he's 1-for-13 (7.7%) from 3-point range in conference play, but he's also only 18-for-47 (38.3%) on 2-pointers.  And potentially most alarming: he's only shot 21 free throws.  His FTA/FGA is at 0.35, which certainly isn't terrible, but Tiller's game is at its best if he is more in the 0.45-0.55 range.  Even if they're leaving him wide open from 3-point range, he should still be attacking the basket and not just settling for 10-foot runners that aren't going in.

Summary

Colorado's obviously not a great team, but they have been EXTREMELY competitive at home ... beating Baylor, taking Kansas to OT, almost beating K-State ... and Mizzou took them to the woodshed.  CU actually did some things well to keep things inside 20 points -- their steals were good and their rebounding wasn't bad, though they did miss some open shots that could have kept things closer -- but this was a very good Mizzou team we saw today.  They bounced back as they tend to do after losses, and ... well, you know what that means...


Four more wins to NCAA Tournament eligibility.