Your Trifecta: PPressey-Denmon-Dixon. Your winner: nobody!
Back at the start of conference play, when Mizzou obliterated Oklahoma, I simply said that "This is what Mizzou stats look like when everybody plays well at the same time." Well, not everybody played well yesterday. Matt Pressey was invisible and Ricardo Ratliffe struggled mightily. So Mizzou only beat the Big 12's No. 3 team by 15. But the shooting. Oh, the shooting.
In some ways, there was about a five-minute span in the second half yesterday that reminded me of the 2008 Mizzou-Nevada football game, where seemingly every play Mizzou ran resulted in a 68-yard touchdown. Hey, there goes Derrick Washington for a long score. Dump off to Jeremy Maclin? 80 yards. And look, there's Chase Coffman stiff-arming 17 defenders and hurdling three for a 40-yard gain that should have stopped after eight yards. That was the game where The Beef and I turned to each other and agreed that it was never, ever going to get better than this. From a shooting perspective, it was the same way yesterday. It almost literally can't get any better than what Missouri unfurled for a little while.
It was 38-37 Mizzou for almost four minutes in the second half when the ball got rolling.
- 13:10: Mike Dixon 3-pointer (41-37)
- 12:41: Steve Moore dunk in transition (43-37). (Timeout, Baylor. Scott Drew makes two substitutions, then Pierre Jackson badly misses a 3-pointer.)
- 11:50: Kim English 3-pointer (46-37). (Timeout, Baylor. Scott Drew makes three more substitutions.)
- 10:50: Phil Pressey 3-pointer (49-38). (Perry Jones III rebounds his own missed jumper and is rejected by the bottom of the rim on the putback attempt.)
- 10:18: Marcus Denmon 3-pointer (52-38).
- 9:47: Mike Dixon 3-pointer (55-41).
This wasn't Mizzou-Nevada in that the offensive perfection didn't quite last as long; Mizzou would make a few more 3's along the way, but there were a few turnovers interspersed. Still, that's 17 points, scored by five different players, in six possessions. Five 3-pointers with a spirit-breaking transition dunk sandwiched in between. It was beautiful.
Mizzou 72, Baylor 57
|Pace (No. of Possessions)||58.0|
|Points Per Minute||1.80||1.43|
|Points Per Possession (PPP)||1.24||0.98|
|Points Per Shot (PPS)||1.44||0.98|
|True Shooting %||64.6%||44.1%|
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Offensive Rebounds||9||14|
Make No Mistake: Baylor Played Well For Quite A While
Depending on your glass-half-full or -empty tendencies, there were two ways to look at the first half: 1) Baylor was incredibly dominant on the glass, and Mizzou had to shoot really well to maintain their lead; if the shooting cools off, Mizzou is in serious trouble here. 2) Baylor cannot possibly show the same level of effort on the glass all game long, so the fact that they were so good and still don't have the lead is a very good sign.
To review just how good Baylor was rebounding in the first half, let's go to the table:
FIRST HALF: Mizzou 33, Baylor 29
|Pace (No. of Possessions)||26.9|
|Points Per Minute||1.65||1.45|
|Points Per Possession (PPP)||1.23||1.08|
|Points Per Shot (PPS)||1.43||0.97|
|True Shooting %||66.6%||44.4%|
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Offensive Rebounds||4
Plus-nine! Baylor knew they had to dominate the glass to win, and they did to an incredible degree. And it wasn't just that they were taller and using their height to their advantage; they were hustling. They were getting fingers and hands on caroms, repeatedly keeping the ball alive until someone with a height advantage could jump and secure the ball. They were battling, and it was working. That Mizzou was able to keep their poise enough to still manage solid offensive efficiency (especially considering they both had some good looks rim out at the beginning of each half and were getting nothing from Ratliffe) was impressive.
Baylor came out aggressive again to start the second half, getting some good looks from long range and playing decent defense. But after pulling to within 38-37 three minutes in, they failed on five consecutive possessions to take the lead -- Jackson missed a 3-pointer (he was atrocious yesterday), A.J. Walton missed a jumper, and Baylor turned the ball over three times. Then Mizzou caught fire, and the ball game was over.
(Mizzou's work on the glass improved considerably in the second half -- they were actually plus-2 in terms of expected rebounds.)
Mizzou Player Stats
(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)
|Phil Pressey||22.1||0.58||38 Min, 19 Pts (5-8 FG, 4-7 3PT, 5-6 FT), 4 Reb, 3 Ast|
|Marcus Denmon||19.5||0.50||39 Min, 16 Pts (6-12 FG, 4-8 3PT), 6 Ast, 5 Reb (2 Off)|
|Mike Dixon||14.6||0.46||32 Min, 16 Pts (6-10 FG, 4-7 3PT), 6 Ast, 3 TO|
|Kim English||10.2||0.31||33 Min, 12 Pts (3-8 FG, 2-6 3PT, 4-4 FT), 2 Reb, 2 Ast|
|Steve Moore||2.9||0.18||16 Min, 3 Pts (1-2 FG, 1-3 FT), 2 Reb|
|Ricardo Ratliffe||2.2||0.07||30 Min, 6 Pts (3-9 FG), 8 Reb (4 Off), 3 TO|
|Matt Pressey||-1.3||-0.11||12 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG)|
- Phil Pressey wasn't much of a "point guard" last night; he was third on the team in assists and scored 19 points on just eight field goal attempts. Somehow, I think we'll live with that. But perhaps Flip's best contribution was the way he so completely got into Pierre Jackson's head. I noticed early on that he seemed to be going out of his way to nag Jackson, sticking to him (following him over the top of screens, guarding him much closer than anticipated) 40 feet from the basket. He played Jackson in a different way than he tends to play most guards. I figured that must have been intentional, and looking at Jackson's stat line -- 35 minutes, five points on 2-for-9 shooting, four assists (after 15 in Game One), three turnovers, no steals -- it worked. Flip was already the Trifecta winner with his offensive work, but his defensive play was just as important in this one.
- Marcus Denmon fought through a little bit of unfocused play in the game's mid-section (he missed some open shots, he was slow to rotate defensively a few times), but all's forgiven with the way he played the rest of the way. When you play 39 minutes, you are probably going to have a lapse or two; for the game, Denmon scored 16 points on 12 shots, grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds, and led the team with six assists.
- Mike Dixon has perhaps the best sense of The Moment of anybody on this team. When the offense is clicking, he almost blends in, serving mostly as facilitator. When everybody else is struggling, he says "F*** it" and starts raining 3-pointers. The entire team got hot in the second half, but Dixon was the catalyst. Flip Pressey was the best player on the court yesterday, but Dixon was equally important. As has been said many times, he has just enough Clarence Gilbert in him to take a solid offense to a different, almost obscene place sometimes. There is a smidge of instability to his game that every crazy-good offense needs. With Dixon playing so well, and with Baylor playing mostly poorly on the perimeter, Matt Pressey almost got the night off.
- I don't have anything new to say about Kim English. He has transformed himself from a "points only" contributor to the box score, to the team's best "little things" guy, right down to the drawn charges and the fact that he spends half the game guarding somebody four to five inches taller than him.
- Ricardo Ratliffe was dreadful yesterday, but I say that with admiration, actually. First of all, he grabbed four offensive rebounds in the second half and hustled as hard as he could despite the fact that he wasn't getting any calls near the rim. (With Ratliffe, it's funny -- either the rest of the team is getting calls and he isn't, or vice versa.) Second ... he's been so unbelievable this year that a single 3-for-9 performance feels like 3-for-18. Or, you know, 2-for-12 (Perry Jones III's shooting line).
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. (No.)
Mike Dixon's %Pass should be 55% or higher. (Yes!)
Steve Moore's Touches/Possession should be at least 1.0. (Yes!)
Three Keys Revisited
Despite iffy shooting, Mizzou was able to take the game in Waco because they beat Baylor on the glass. (Well, that, and Ricardo Ratliffe went crazy for 27 and eight.) At home, they might not need to win the rebounding battle, but they will need to come close. Mizzou has handled its size disadvantages much better than we anticipated at the beginning of the season, but not always.
Expected Rebounds (First Half): Baylor +9
Expected Rebounds (Second Half): Mizzou +2
Rebounds kept Baylor in the game despite dreadful shooting, but Mizzou matched the Bears' effort as the game wore on.
The Long Ball
Both teams came into the last battle smoking hot from long range; Baylor ranked 14th in 3PT%, Mizzou 21st. Neither team shot particularly well -- Mizzou was 7-for-21, Baylor 2-for-10 in the first 39 minutes. The Bears shot themselves out of the game to an extent, then almost shot themselves back in with a 5-for-6 run late. If both teams are hot or cold, they will balance each other out; but both teams are ridiculously streaky, and if only one is hot, that's like a bonus 9-12 points.
3-Pointers: Mizzou 14-for-28, Baylor 4-for-17.
Indeed, one team got hot. That team won by double digits.
Phil Pressey was both great (16 points, seven assists, six steals) and iffy (four turnovers) against Baylor last time around, and he's been mostly iffy in the last three games overall: 20 points (decent), 0-for-3 on 3-pointers (bad), 15 assists (solid), 10 turnovers (bad). Hopefully a few days off have allowed him to refocus a bit because he and Mike Dixon will need to at least split the battle with Pierre Jackson and the struggling A.J. Walton. Jackson was incredible in the first MU-BU game (20 points, 15 assists), but his six turnovers (and Flip's six steals) helped negate that advantage. Now do it again, Flip.
Phil Pressey: 38 minutes, 19 points (5-8 FG, 4-7 3PT, 5-6 FT), three assists, one steal, one turnover, four rebounds, 38 minutes of residence in Pierre Jackson's head.
I would say the four or five days off treated Flip pretty well, wouldn't you?
You just shake your head after a while. With Laurence Bowers hurt and Mizzou limited to such a short rotation of scholarship players, I told a good friend in early-November that I would be pleased with an NCAA Tourney bid of any kind, just to send these seniors out the right way. These seniors have had other ideas. I love being wrong like this.
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.