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Study Hall: Kansas State

Your Trifecta: Denmon-Bowers-PPressey.  Your winners: lots of people.  Jack618, Transmogrified Tiger and tigers2020, to be exact.  And I mean ... you had to expect that, right?  Mizzou only has four players who actually show up on the road (maybe five with Matt Pressey), so picking three of them was pretty safe.  Your hard-luck loser: stlcardinalsfang, who HAD the Bowers-Denmon-Pressey Trifecta win all to himself until Denmon made a ton of shots in the final minute.

First, some links.

Kansas State 80, Mizzou 70

Pace (No. of Possessions)
Points Per Minute
1.75 2.00
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.04 1.19
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.30 1.48
2-PT FG% 40.0% 51.2%
3-PT FG% 42.1% 53.8%
FT% 75.0% 70.8%
True Shooting % 54.2% 62.0%
Mizzou KSU
Assists 13 23
Steals 9 3
Turnovers 11 17
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.00 1.53
Mizzou KSU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 12 11
Offensive Rebounds 9 12
Difference -3 +1

Most Direct Reason This Game Was Lost:

Ricardo Ratliffe, Justin Safford and Steve Moore: 11 fouls in 21 minutes.

This isn't a commentary on officiating (that will come later). The bottom line is, you are not beating Kansas State in Manhattan with one big man logging over 12 minutes (and, for that matter, with the three players above combining for a single rebound in those 21 minutes).  You just aren't.  KSU's offense might mostly run through one person, but their depth of bigs is too strong.  We can complain about Kim English, or refs, or "road woes," or whatever else, all we want.  You just simply aren't beating Kansas State in Manhattan playing with four guards -- I guess English played about 19 minutes at PF then? -- for most of the game.  Thanks to foul trouble, this team basically turned into the 1999-00 squad ... and that squad also got eaten alive by teams with depth of size.

All things considered, it really is amazing that this game was tied with six minutes left.  Mizzou's bigs were on the bench, Laurence Bowers was wearing down, Kim English was playing power forward, and the team was shooting under 40% and getting beaten on the glass.  Of course, KSU wasn't exactly playing perfect ball either; Jacob Pullen was battling foul trouble (he still managed 24 points in 'only' 24 minutes), only Pullen and Kelly were really delivering much on offense, and Mizzou was dominating in terms of ball control.  The Tigers had slapped together a pretty scrappy effort, but they gave in after 34 minutes.  Power to KSU for both recognizing and utilizing their extreme matchup advantages on the interior and making the plays to close out the game.

Thank Goodness NCAA Tournament Games Aren't Played on Opponents' Home Courts

At home in conference play, Mizzou has allowed opponents a True Shooting % of 48.9%.  Heading into yesterday morning's game, they were allowing 58.0% on the road.  Kansas State shot 62.0%.  I know increased fouls play a role in this, but ... they are just so much worse on the road, and fouls don't explain it all.  I hate memes that are too general, like "road woes," for one simple reason -- every road game has played out slightly differently.  Sometimes Mizzou starts hot, sometimes dreadfully cold.  Sometimes they wilt midway through the first half, sometimes not.  Sometimes Player A player great, sometimes he doesn't.  That said ... Mizzou's defense is simply dreadful on the road, and there's no getting around it.

The Perfect Game for an Extended Boxing Analogy

In a game as physical as this one, with plenty of figurative haymakers (and almost some real ones), this was the perfect game for going round by round.

Round 1: KSU scores an almost immediate knockdown, Mizzou recovers enough to escape the round with no further trouble.  10-8 KSU.

Round 2: Mizzou recovers and starts to fight back, but KSU is still clicking right along.  10-10.

Round 3: With the bench in, Mizzou breaks even in another round ... which, considering their typical bench woes on the road, is a mini-victory.  10-10.

Round 4: Mizzou swarms, going on a 10-1 to tie the game at 33-33 with Jacob Pullen on the bench.  They almost score a knockdown, but an and-one from Pullen re-establishes KSU's advantage.  10-9 MU.

Round 5: No flow whatsoever as whistle after whistle brings the game to a crawl.  10-10.

Round 6: An early flurry from Mizzou (in the form of a 7-2 run) leaves KSU wobbly, but they recover enough to stay off the canvas.  10-9 MU.

Round 7: It's KSU's turn to land some shots.  Will Spradling makes a 3-pointer to give KSU a sudden seven-point lead, and it's Mizzou's turn to barely avoid the canvas.  10-9 KSU.

Round 8: Here comes Mizzou! Denmon and Dixon make 3-pointers, and an 11-4 Mizzou run ties the game.  Unfortunately, they punch themselves out in the process.

Round 9: KSU TKO.  Mizzou's legs go, they stop fighting back, and the ref steps in late.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Marcus Denmon 23.9 0.70 34 Min, 22 Pts (7-13 FG, 3-6 3PT, 5-7 FT), 2 Ast
Laurence Bowers 20.2 0.55 37 Min, 16 Pts (5-12 FG, 6-7 FT), 9 Reb (4 Off), 2 Blk
Phil Pressey 11.1 0.37 30 Min, 8 Pts (2-6 FG, 2-4 3PT, 2-2 FT), 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO
Matt Pressey 9.6 0.46 21 Min, 8 Pts (2-3 FG, 1-1 3PT, 3-5 FT), 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk, 4 TO
Mike Dixon 6.7 0.33 20 Min, 10 Pts (4-11 FG, 2-5 3PT), 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO
Kim English 2.6 0.08 35 Min, 4 Pts (1-6 FG, 0-2 3PT, 2-3 FT), 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 4 PF
Ricky Kreklow 0.0 0.00 2 Min
Ricardo Ratliffe -1.3 -0.10 12 Min, 2 Pts (1-3 FG, 0-1 3PT), 4 PF
Justin Safford -2.2 -0.37 6 Min, 0 Pts, 4 PF
Steve Moore -3.1 -1.02 3 Min, 3 PF
  • Some mighty impressive late-game stat-padding from Marcus Denmon, scoring seven points in three shots in the final 45 seconds.  It got the game back to a more respectable 10-point deficit, which I liked from an aesthetics perspective simply because this game was really, really close for 34 minutes.  Plus, it pushed him into the Trifecta lead.
  • Barely over two minutes into the second half, Laurence Bowers was 5-for-8 with 16 points and six rebounds.  Then Ricardo Ratliffe committed his third foul.  Then Justin Safford committed his third and fourth fouls two seconds apart.  Then Ratliffe committed his fourth foul.  Bowers was Mizzou's only post player from then on and, predictably, wore down.  He didn't have as much lift on offense (he got two shots blocked after that) and basically disappeared.  Not only did the fouls force English to take on more than he should be taking defensively ... it forced the same out of Bowers.
  • Not the best game from Flip Pressey, but he certainly wasn't the problem.  Jacob Pullen got the best of him this time, but ... that's still a season split for Flip vs Pullen.  I'll take that.
  • Matt Pressey's problems took a turn at Bramlage.  He was struggling with his shot, but that wasn't much of an issue; needless to say, I'll take eight points on three shots from Big Pressey.  The four turnovers, on the other hand...
  • If a couple of rim-outs rimmed in for Dixon, his stat line would look completely different.  Even so, the 3-pointers weren't a problem -- once again, it was the 2's that didn't fall for Predator.  Two-for-6 was actually an improvement.
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Marcus Denmon 25% 25% 50% 38% 43% 19% 0%
Laurence Bowers 22% 22% 41% 0% 67% 33% 0%
Phil Pressey 16% 16% 38% 71% 18% 5% 6%
Matt Pressey 23% 23% 38% 61% 10% 15% 14%
Mike Dixon 34% 34% 31% 48% 44% 0% 8%
Kim English 13% 13% 26% 55% 28% 12% 5%
Ricky Kreklow 0% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ricardo Ratliffe 18% 18% 21% 0% 75% 0% 25%
Justin Safford 0% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Steve Moore 18% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
  • Well ... turnovers weren't a problem.  So there's that.  We were worried about that becoming a trend.  It's not.
  • I don't know about you, but "71% Pass, 18% Shoot, 6% Turnover" looks like a pure point guard's line.  What do you think, Flip?

Three Keys Revisited

From Friday's Preview.

Play. Your. Game.

We've been through this before, but here are some of Mizzou's home-road differences in Big 12 play...

Opp. 2PT%: 44.3% at home, 53.8% on the road
Opp. 3PT%: 30.9% at home, 37.5% on the road
Opp. FTA/FGA: 0.29 at home, 0.49 on the road (!!)
Opp. Off. Reb. %: 34% at home, 40% on the road
Opp. Def. Reb. %: 64% at home, 69% on the road
Opp. Turnovers/Game: 19.6 at home, 11.8 on the road
Opp. BCI: 0.77 at home, 1.89 on the road

Mizzou allows more open shots and more rebounds on the road, fouls more, and forces far fewer turnovers.  Do that at The Octagon, and you lose.  Badly.

KSU 2PT%: 51.2%
KSU 3PT%: 53.8%
KSU Off. Reb. %: 44%
KSU Def. Reb. %: 75%
KSU Turnovers: 17
KSU BCI: 1.53

In every category but Turnovers, KSU played at the level of the typical home team versus Missouri.  Granted, a lot of the offensive brilliance came in two bursts -- the 15-5 run over 3:30 to start the game and the 16-2 run over 4:30 near the end of the game -- and the rest of the game actually saw pretty good Missouri defense, but the effect was the same.  The full-game stats still drastically favored the KSU offense, and Mizzou lost another road game.

(It is kind of sad to realize that Mizzou won a giant chunk of the game -- they outscored KSU, 55-45 in basically the game's "middle" 30 minutes -- but two runs murdered them.)

Kim English and Mike Dixon

Kim English and Mike Dixon: 55 minutes, 14 points (5-for-17 shooting), 4 assists, 4 steals, 3 turnovers, 7 fouls.

Mike Dixon suffered a bit of bad luck, really -- two key shots of his rimmed out early in what would become KSU's game-winning run -- but again, the effect was the same.  English and Dixon were horribly inefficient on offense, and it put too much pressure on Mizzou's other scorers.  When Ratliffe immediately found foul trouble, that left Marcus Denmon, Laurence Bowers and Phil Pressey to basically do all of Missouri's scoring.  They held up for a while -- especially Bowers -- but the offense fell apart eventually.


Okay.  I'm going to try not to make this long simply because I have nothing new to say.  The first half was abysmal in ways that Big 12 officiating is typically abysmal -- one foul in the first three minutes, followed by 24 fouls in the next 17, this is a foul, then it isn't, then it is again.  The second half, however, was more worrisome to me.  Mizzou got basically every call in the first three minutes of the half, leading to their sixth-round "win."  Then Kansas State got every call for about the next seven minutes.  Then Mizzou got every call for the next couple of minutes.  The officiating prompted each of the momentum swings of the first 12 or so minutes of the second half, then Kansas State pulled away with what was left of the collateral damage on both teams.  The foul rates slowed up in the second half, but in many ways, the officiating was all of the things about which we usually complain: "They change the definition of a foul."  "They make themselves the story."  Et cetera.  As Transmogrified Tiger said at one point in our live thread, after a call that benefited Mizzou, no less, "Tom O’Neill gets money to do this. Money he can buy things with. What a shame."

In the end, Kansas State won because they did a better job of overcoming Pullen's and Martavious Irving's foul trouble than Mizzou overcame their bigs' foul trouble.  They should be commended for that.


Those two hours played out about as I expected.  I predicted annoying officiating and a seven-point Kansas State win, and I was off by three points and zero annoyance.  Now, things get really interesting.  Mizzou travels to Lincoln to take on a Nebraska team that, in seven days' time, has gone from "rising bubble darling" to "dead in the water" following losses to K-State and Iowa State.  Mizzou's spot in the tournament is not in jeopardy, but a positive seed is.  Even with this loss, Mizzou has still won five of seven.  A good performance in Lincoln will make it six of eight, and 23 of 30.





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.



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