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Study Hall: Mizzou 74, Nicholls State 54

This team is every bit as even as you thought.


Your Trifecta: Oriakhi-Bell-Ross. You have better odds of winning the lottery than getting a Trifecta right this year.

Out of curiosity, I compiled the stats from the first five games (the three real games and the two exhibitions), and ... the averages are about as hilariously even as I expected.

Adj. GS PPG (5 games)
Earnest Ross (13.4)
Alex Oriakhi (13.2)
Laurence Bowers (12.4)
Keion Bell (11.7)
Phil Pressey (11.1)
Negus Webster-Chan (9.7)
Stefan Jankovic (7.0)

That might be even more even than what we were dealing with during the 2008-09 season. This is going to be a fascinating season. And it starts in earnest in three days.

Mizzou 74, Nicholls State 54

Otherwise known as the Game Flow chart from every game this season

Pace (No. of Possessions) 61.9
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.20 0.87
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.45 1.10
2-PT FG% 38.5% 45.2%
3-PT FG% 58.3% 27.8%
FT% 71.9% 61.1%
True Shooting % 56.9% 47.4%
Mizzou NSU
Assists 10 10
Steals 6 3
Turnovers 14 15
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.14 0.87
Mizzou NSU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 12 12
Offensive Rebounds 16 10
Difference +4 -2

That's Some Pretty Awful 2-Point Shooting.

By most indications, Missouri will be getting Mike Dixon back. That's a good thing because while this team has incredible size, strength, athleticism and occasional defensive potential, it also calls back to the Mike Anderson days in that there is not necessarily a lot of pure, unadulterated, natural offensive ability. You've got a bunch of guys with specialties, guys who can make open shots from this spot or that, and most nights that will probably be enough. But sometimes the ball just isn't going to be falling, and Mizzou is going to need an extra offensive boost. That boost's name is probably Mike Dixon. (Its name is also Jabari Brown, I guess.)

Now, through five games (including exhibitions), things haven't been that bad from inside the arc. Mizzou is shooting 52 percent as a team on 2-pointers, and Laurence Bowers and Earnest Ross (i.e. the two players who might end up taking the most 2-pointers on the team) are each over 60 percent. It could be worse, but it's probably never going to be a strength. Luckily, the rebound potential on this team is enormous. And so is the ability to make an open 3-pointer.

"Far Too Early To Conclude Anything" Ken Pomeroy Ratings

It obviously wouldn't be very smart to attempt to come to any major conclusions after three games, but I still thought it would be interesting to see where Mizzou ranked in some of Ken Pomeroy's categories thus far.

  • 11th in Off. Reb%. A very, very, very welcome change.
  • 5th in Def. 2PT%. Mizzou can't make 'em very well, but neither can opponents. Size will do that for you.
  • 30th in Off. Steal%, 47th in Off. TO%. Ball control was an early, miniature concern for me about this team, but that has not played out yet.

    And on the flipside...
  • 262nd in Off. 2PT%. Like I's not going to be a strength, even if it shapes up a bit.
  • 248th in Def. TO%. It is almost jarring to see Mizzou failing to force many turnovers. Maybe that changes (especially since Mizzou is a much healthier 113th in Steal%), but maybe it doesn't. With so much new blood, this is officially not a Mike Anderson team anymore, at least in this regard.
  • 231st in Def. 3PT%. Among last year's primary weaknesses, obviously the rebounding has improved dramatically. This, however, has not. Opponents (mostly SIUE) have still found a few too many open looks from long range.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Alex Oriakhi 24.0 0.92 26 Min, 17 Pts (4-10 FG, 9-10 FT), 10 Reb (7 Off), 2 Ast
Keion Bell 16.7 0.57 29 Min, 13 Pts (3-8 FG, 1-2 3PT, 6-7 FT), 7 Reb (2 Off), 4 Stl, 3 TO
Earnest Ross 14.0 0.54 26 Min, 16 Pts (6-9 FG, 3-4 3PT, 1-2 FT), 5 Reb, 2 TO
Laurence Bowers 9.7 0.40 24 Min, 12 Pts (4-7 FG, 1-2 3PT, 3-6 FT), 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 TO, 4 PF
Phil Pressey 5.6 0.18 31 Min, 6 Pts (2-6 FG, 1-2 3PT, 1-2 FT), 3 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 TO
Tony Criswell 3.2 0.19 17 Min, 4 Pts (1-4 FG, 2-3 FT), 3 Reb
Negus Webster-Chan 2.6 0.10 25 Min, 4 Pts (1-3 FG, 1-2 3PT, 1-2 FT), 2 Reb
Ryan Rosburg 2.3 0.25 9 Min, 2 Pts (1-1 FG)
Dominique Bull 0.0 0.00 1 Min
Corey Haith 0.0 0.00 1 Min
Danny Feldmann -0.9 -0.47 2 Min
Stefan Jankovic -4.0 -0.45 9 Min, 0 Pts (0-3 FG), 2 Reb, 4 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Oriakhi 28% 47% 3.6 40% 34% 26% 0%
Bell 25% 35% 2.5 27% 36% 24% 14%
Ross 23% 49% 1.6 0% 72% 12% 16%
Bowers 27% 40% 3.5 45% 27% 17% 11%
Pressey 14% 33% 2.8 65% 22% 6% 7%
Criswell 16% 35% 2.3 48% 33% 19% 0%
Webster-Chan 10% 26% 0.7 0% 55% 27% 18%
Rosburg 6% 100% 0.4 0% 100% 0% 0%
Jankovic 22% 8% 3.6 60% 30% 0% 10%
  • This is such a ridiculously matchups-based team, especially when Dixon and Brown are aboard. We saw this in Europe, where Oriakhi and Criswell would go off one game, and Dixon and Ross would go off the next; and we are seeing it early in 2012-13 as well. Stefan Jankovic finds a favorable matchup and explodes, then vanishes the next game. Alex Oriakhi scores eight, then six, then eight, then 12, then 17. Phil Pressey scores four, then eight, then 19, then 21, then six. Mizzou's got the depth to win a lot of these matchups, but again, it's going to be a fascinating season in this regard.
  • Next Denmon™ Watch: Negus Webster-Chan had the prototypical Bad Denmon Game on Friday. It seems that, like Denmon, when NWC struggles, he will just disappear. He won't implode and shoot 1-for-13 with seven turnovers, he'll just turn invisible. That's preferable, though you'd more prefer he just not have any bad games.
  • Keion Bell is not actually as good a finisher as I anticipated, but I love what he brings to the defensive side of the ball. He alone is responsible for 22 percent of Mizzou's steals thus far (including exhibitions).
  • Alex Oriakhi's rebound rates so far this year: 22% on offense (last year's highest: Ricardo Ratliffe at 16%), 21% on defense (Ratliffe was 20%). But Mizzou is more than a one-man rebounding team this year -- Criswell is at 13% and 17%, Rosburg 19% and 7%, Bowers 5% and 17%, Ross 7% and 15%.


So now the season begins.

Click to enlarge.

Beat Stanford, and your strength of schedule will get a serious boost with something like a Stanford-Louisville-Duke or Stanford-Louisville-Memphis trio of games. Lose, and you could be stuck in mid-major hell, where you either win games you should or drop incredibly frustrating games to salty teams like Northern Iowa or VCU.

The Stanford game is pretty big, in other words.


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.

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.