Your Trifecta: Denmon-PPressey-Ratliffe. Your Winner: Team! Two winners in a row! One more, and I'll have to turn this into a Superfecta competition...
Top Ten Mizzou Performances Since The Elite Eight Run
1. 11/21/2011: Mizzou 87, Notre Dame 58
2. 12/30/2010: Mizzou 81, Old Dominion 58
3. 1/17/2011: Mizzou 75, Kansas State 59
4. 12/5/2009: Mizzou 106, Oregon 69
5. 1/2/2010: Mizzou 89, Georgia 61
6. 12/23/2009: Mizzou 81, Illinois 68
7. 2/17/2010: Mizzou 82, Texas 77
8. 1/30/2010: Mizzou 95, Oklahoma State 80
9. 3/19/2010: Mizzou 86, Clemson 78
10. 11/22/2010: Mizzou 75, Illinois 64
No, we do not know just how good (or not) that Notre Dame is just yet. And no, we don't even know if Mizzou will beat California tonight (losing would cast at least a slight pall on this win, I would think). But in terms of expectations, reality and aesthetics, Mizzou's win last night was probably the most exhilarating of the past 2+ seasons. It was something special. And unlike the rest of the top five above, it took place away from Mizzou Arena.
Mizzou 87, Notre Dame 58
|Pace (No. of Possessions)
|Points Per Minute
|Points Per Possession (PPP)
|Points Per Shot (PPS)
|True Shooting %||67.7%
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Offensive Rebounds||9
This was one of the best full games of on-ball defending I've seen from Mizzou, especially when J.T. Tiller wasn't involved. We'll see how he does against quicker guards in the future, but he gave every Notre Dame point guard nightmares last night. Meanwhile, Mike Dixon and Marcus Denmon were ferocious and fast on the wing as well.
I think it's safe to say that Missouri won't lose much when posting a True Shooting Percentage of 67.7%. Denmon and Ricardo Ratliffe couldn't miss for the game's first 30 minutes, and really, only Dixon and Matt Pressey shot poorly at all. That Mizzou was able to shoot so well despite those two going 5-for-17 is ... wow.
Mizzou Player Stats
(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)
||25 Min, 26 Pts (9-11 FG, 2-3 3PT, 6-7 FT), 4 Reb
||33 Min, 17 Pts (6-10 FG, 1-2 3PT, 4-4 FT), 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl
||21 Min, 12 Pts (6-9 FG), 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl
||34 Min, 10 Pts (4-5 FG, 2-2 3PT), 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk, 3 TO
||16 Min, 4 Pts (1-2 FG, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb, 2 Blk
||23 Min, 7 Pts (2-7 FG, 0-1 3PT, 3-4 FT), 5 Reb
||8 Min, 5 Pts (1-1 FG, 3-4 FT), 2 Reb
||34 Min, 6 Pts (3-10 FG, 0-3 3PT), 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO
- Marcus Denmon is just so good at creating good shots for himself at this point. He still never dominates the ball, and he works within the flow of the offense, but all I can say is, every shot he took, I thought it was going in. And most of them did.
- We know the occasional downside that comes with handing your offense over to a still-young Phil Pressey. Last night, however, we saw the upside. Never mind the ridiculous defense, Pressey also posted two assists with no turnovers and averaged 1.7 points per shot. As a guide, we'll just say that anything over about 1.3 is good for a point guard. He made his free throws, nailed some open shots, and randomly exploded to the rim. This was not Good Flip, this was The Best Flip.
- Other than the fact that he drew no fouls, this was a damn fine version of Ricardo Ratliffe as well. When those little mini-hooks go in, Mizzou is tough to stop. And it was nice to see him return and play well after getting dinged up in the first half and spawning a mini-panic attack in the live thread.
- In terms of pure efficiency, this may have been Kim English's best game in a while too. He took and made open shots, he rebounded with attitude, and he passed about as well as he ever has. He did still have three turnovers, but you're allowed three turnovers when you have four assists, two blocks and two steals, and you shoot well.
- Steve Moore and Kadeem Green: 24 minutes, nine points (2-for-3 FG, 5-for-6 FT), four rebounds, two blocks, one turnover. It probably goes without saying that we would happily take that most nights.
- Dixon and Big Pressey were both liabilities at times on offense (if such a thing can exist on a night in which you average almost 1.3 points per possession), but they contributed to the air of complete chaos on the 3-point line. Fair trade.
To the checklist!
Marcus Denmon's Usage% needs to be 23% or higher. (Yes!)
Kim English's %T/O needs to be at 10% or lower. (Yes!)
Kim English's Floor% should be at 35% or higher. (Yes!)
Ricardo Ratliffe's %Fouled should be at least 10%. (No.)
Phil Pressey's Touches/Possession need to be 3.5 or better. (No.)
Mike Dixon's %Pass should be 55% or higher. (No.)
Steve Moore's Touches/Possession should be at least 1.0. (Yes!)
Mizzou only got four of seven here, which I consider a good thing, as it is proof that Mizzou's upside is even higher than what they showed last night. The Tigers got into a bit of foul trouble (which would have cost them significantly if Notre Dame had a couple of quality bigs), Dixon was a little too shoot-first, and Ratliffe didn't draw contact. And they still won by 29.
Three Keys Revisited
Maybe it's easy enough to say that the team who shoots better on 3-pointers wins. But the other side of that is if one team is able to steal some possessions with offensive rebounds. Cooley is a monster in that regard, with a 42% Offensive Rebounding rate. Unfortunately for the Irish, only one other player is even at 9%. If Mizzou can get a body on Cooley, they should do pretty well, but that's a decent-sized if.
Jack Cooley: zero offensive rebounds. In all, Notre Dame grabbed just five offensive boards, eight fewer than what would have been expected. That is just an incredible job by Missouri. I realize that a) Notre Dame isn't the biggest team in the world, and b) Mizzou only did marginally better on their own offensive glass, but holy moly.
Who The Hell Guards Abromaitis?
Abromaitis' inside-outside presence would be a fascinating matchup with Laurence Bowers, but as we know, Bowers is out. Now, the matchup likely falls quite a bit to Kim English. In all, the perimeter matchups are odd, with Mizzou's smaller, quicker guards going up against a long-armed crew in Grant, Connaughton, Dragicevich, etc.
The short answer is, everybody. We saw English, both Presseys and Dixon on Abromaitis at different points, and they just wore him out. He shot 7-for-10 in the first half, 2-for-8 in the second. He still ended up with 22 points, but it took him 18 field goal attempts to do it, and he was 0-for-4 from long range. Seriously, this was the best perimeter defense Mizzou has shown since Tiller and Zaire Taylor left, and even they didn't have many games like this.
Atkins Versus Flip Pressey
Assuming Eric Atkins is at full-speed tonight after his illness, he and Phil Pressey go at it in a really fun battle. Atkins has managed the rare 20 PPG-5 APG combo thus far, but he has also committed seven turnovers in two games; Flip, meanwhile, has a ridiculous 10 steals in three games. If one player gets the best of this matchup by a distant margin, it is hard to imagine his team losing.
Phil Pressey: 33 minutes, 17 points on 10 FG attempts, 2 assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers
Eric Atkins: 32 minutes, 7 points on 8 FG attempts, 1 assist, 0 steals, 3 turnovers
One way or another, tonight's game versus Cal will color how we look back on the trip to Kansas City as a whole, but in a vacuum, this was simply an incredible performance by Missouri. Maybe their legs don't have quite the same spring tonight, and maybe the jumpers don't fall, but when they do, Mizzou has more than enough fire power to overcome its lack of size. Frank Haith coached one heck of a game last night, and I can't wait to see what he does for an encore.
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.