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Study Hall: Mizzou 84, Texas 73

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COLUMBIA, MO - JANUARY 14:  Kim English #24 of the Missouri Tigers celebrates after scoring during the game against the Texas Longhorns on January 14, 2012 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, MO - JANUARY 14: Kim English #24 of the Missouri Tigers celebrates after scoring during the game against the Texas Longhorns on January 14, 2012 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Your Trifecta: PPressey-Denmon-Ratliffe

We start with some links:

You know it was probably a good day when three players in your seven-man rotation get their names into at least one headline.

Mizzou 84, Texas 73

Pace (No. of Possessions) 58.1
Points Per Minute 2.10
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.45
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.56
2-PT FG% 57.6%
3-PT FG% 47.6%
FT% 76.2%
True Shooting % 66.4%

Mizzou UT
Assists 20
Steals 6
Turnovers 9
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO

Mizzou UT
Expected Offensive Rebounds 10
Offensive Rebounds 8
Difference -2

Two Knockdowns

I was actually pretty impressed by Texas for about 35 of the game's 40 minutes yesterday. They played tight man-to-man defense, they moved the ball well (even though only one player on the team could make a shot), and they showed quite a bit of the potential their recruiting rankings suggest they have. But Mizzou won because when the Tigers surge, they surge.

12:43 to 8:40, First Half: Mizzou 16, Texas 2
9:40 to 8:36, Second Half: Mizzou 7, Texas 0

In these five minutes of game action, Mizzou outscored Texas by a 23-2 margin. The rest of the game, Texas prevailed, 71-61. Granted, it took a career day from J'Covan Brown and some fantastic rebounding for Texas to post that margin, and granted, there's a reason why games are indeed 40 minutes, but the Longhorns certainly backed up their Top 25 Pomeroy ranking, I think. To say the least, they will be a tough out at the Erwin Center.

Good Mizzou/Bad Mizzou

Great passing ... great 3-point shooting ... great ball-handing ... iffy rebounding ... iffy perimeter defense ... sudden offensive droughts ... this game verified every single one of Mizzou's strengths, and all but one of their weaknesses (the short bench didn't become a problem, thanks to both the lack of foul trouble and something we are quickly taking for granted: Frank Haith's masterful rotations). It was certainly disconcerting watching Texas unleash a 16-5 run over five minutes in the second half, but thanks to Phil Pressey, the Tigers found their way out of the slump and put the game away.

Hey, Speaking Of Haith...

The Post Game Quotes link above gives us a taste, but Gabe from PowerMizzou had an extended quote from Rick Barnes on his former assistant yesterday afternoon:

I love Frank. Missouri did good getting him and they better do everything they can to keep him because he's young, he's got a great future ahead of him. I've said before, people have no idea the job he did at Miami. People were looking to pick at it and people up here I know picked at it, but I know what he went into. I know when he was hired what the AD down there told us that he had to do and he did so much. He's always wanted a job like this. A terrific arena, fans that care about it and I'm excited for him for that. He likes it. We talked, obviously, a little bit. He will tell you he's lucky to be here, but I will tell you Missouri's really lucky to have him. It's impressive. He came in and figured out the best way for these guys to play. And it is the perfect way for them to play with what he's got, with the numbers that he's got. That's a credit to him and his staff. He's a terrific leader and obviously I love him as a person. I wanted to win today, he wanted to win, but our relationship goes much deeper than that." --Rick Barnes on Frank Haith's success at Missouri

Obviously it isn't smart to begin judging a new coach after half a season, whether he's doing particularly well or poorly. But it is difficult to imagine how Haith could have possibly done a better job at Mizzou to date. He inherited a team that was fast, talented, undersized and woefully thin. (Yes, he could have tried to plug some of those gaps with some last-second recruiting last spring, but in finding no immediate difference-makers, he passed. I respect that.) He hired a strong staff, and he continues to figure out a way to absolutely maximize the strengths and (mostly) minimize the weaknesses.

I always view a coach's first year as, for all intents and purposes, Year Zero; this goes for Frank Haith as well. Next year, with all the recruits and transfers, Mizzou becomes his team, and there will probably be some growing pains for a team so laden with newcomers. But to say he has both earned both patience and benefit of the doubt this year is an understatement.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Phil Pressey
35 Min, 18 Pts (5-12 FG, 3-7 3PT, 5-6 FT), 10 Ast, 2 Stl
Marcus Denmon
36 Min, 18 Pts (5-11 FG, 4-9 3PT, 4-4 FT), 11 Reb (3 Off), 3 Ast
Ricardo Ratliffe
32 Min, 21 Pts (10-12 FG, 1-2 FT), 4 Reb (2 Off), 2 Ast, 2 Blk, 3 TO
Kim English
38 Min, 14 Pts (4-8 FG, 1-3 3PT, 5-7 FT), 4 Reb, 2 TO
Mike Dixon
21 Min, 4 Pts (1-1 3PT, 1-2 FT), 3 Ast, 2 TO
Steve Moore
10 Min, 4 Pts (2-4 FG)
Matt Pressey
28 Min, 5 Pts (2-6 FG, 1-1 3PT), 2 Reb
  • Flip Pressey will certainly need to learn how to play better on the road than he has to date, but wow, wow, wow, was he impressive yesterday. Ten assists, two steals, no turnovers ... and when Texas was on a major run, Flip simply scored 10 consecutive Mizzou points to rebuild the cushion. As is customary, he continues to take one step backwards for every two steps forward, but he's a sophomore. That's going to happen. The upside with this guy is ridiculous.
  • Do you think maybe Marcus Denmon was a little frustrated by his invisibility versus Iowa State? He was both assertive and deadly in the first half, scoring early and contributing six points and an assist to Mizzou's 16-2 run. Oh yeah, and he more than doubled up Ratliffe and Moore on the glass.
  • It is actually a bit disorienting when Ricardo Ratliffe misses a shot, isn't it? He was actually pretty poor on the defensive glass, and his three turnovers were a bit uncharacteristic, but you earn some slack when you score 21 points on just 12 shots.
  • God, Kim English has a pretty jumper when he goes straight up.
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
P. Pressey
M. Pressey

To the checklist!

Marcus Denmon's Usage% needs to be 23% or higher. (No.)
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. (Yes!)
Mike Dixon's %Pass should be 55% or higher. (Very much so.)
Steve Moore's Touches/Possession should be at least 1.0. (Yes!)

Five-for-seven isn't bad. Denmon disappeared just enough in the second half to drop his Usage% below the benchmark, and Ratliffe certainly drew very little contact, but this effort was clearly still good enough.

Three Keys Revisited

From Friday's preview.

Don't Let Brown Go Off

He may be physically limited right now, but he is a high-volume scorer, and it would probably behoove Mizzou to make sure he doesn't score in high volume. Whether that means using a bigger defender like Matt Pressey on him, I'm not sure. But then again, I'm not the coach.

J'Covan Brown: 38 minutes, 34 points (10-16 FG, 6-7 3PT, 8-8 FT), four rebounds, two assists

Yeah, Brown went off. But nobody else really did. The rest of the team shot 17-for-43 (40%), 3-for-9 from 3-point range (they went 0-fer for the game's first 27 minutes) and 2-for-6 from the free throw line. Brown was terrifying, but everybody else was held in check.


You missed Big 12 basketball, didn't you? With the whistles, whistles and more whistles (at least, at particular times in each half, since the definition of a foul changes depending on how much time is left in the game, and yes, I'm still bitter; I'm always bitter) and whatnot? Well guess what: Texas games are as whistle-heavy as anybody's in the conference. They are going to commit a lot of fouls and draw a lot of fouls, and by now you know the danger associated with that. If Ricardo Ratliffe and/or Steve Moore get into foul trouble, then Texas begins to develop quite a size advantage.

The game was called basically how Mizzou wants a game to be called -- refs allowed quite a bit of physicality underneath, and most of the fouls called were either in transition or during guard penetration. I'm sure Texas fans didn't enjoy the refs in this game, but if they're going to stink, they might as well stink in a way that benefits Mizzou's style of play. (Funny how that happens more at Mizzou Arena than on the road...)

You're A Senior; He's a Freshman. Or To Put It Another Way, BCI! BCI! BCI!

Mizzou's experience advantage here is immense; they need to use it. Mizzou plays a home-friendly style of ball, and they can fluster the hell out of younger players, especially young guards like Kabongo and Lewis. If they are able to limit their turnovers and stay composed, Mizzou did not do its job. Texas isn't awful in the ball control department, but they aren't amazing either, and if Mizzou easily wins in the BCI department, they will probably win in the Scoreboard department as well.

BCI: Mizzou 2.89, Texas 1.50

Phil Pressey & Mike Dixon: 13 assists, two steals, two turnovers (7.50 BCI)
J'Covan Brown & Myck Kabongo: 12 assists, two steals, five turnovers (2.80 BCI)

Kabongo was pretty impressive for the game as a whole but turnovers killed Texas as much as open Mizzou 3's during the Tigers' runs. Kabongo basically played like a five-star freshman, with high upside and a couple of devastating lapses.


It's fun being 16-1. Now Frank Haith has a chance to not only go to 17-1, but also do something Mike Anderson never could: beat Texas A&M.


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.