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Study Hall: Mizzou 83, Oklahoma State 65

Your Trifecta: PPressey-Denmon-Ratliffe. Your winner: the one and only Dr. Ausgiano!

A quick word about Sports Hate. Over the course of writing for SB Nation, I have begun to come to the conclusion that about 80 percent of every fanbase is exactly the same. The other 20 percent is basically defined by history and geography. It has been enlightening and enjoyable to make so many friends from so many different fanbases, but honestly, it has made Sports Hate, the power of hating something or someone just because you want to, a bit more difficult. Granted, MIZZOUEXPANSIONAPALOOZA™ stirred up enough hard feelings to get the hate juices flowing, but that is both temporary and somewhat easy to explain. Sports Hate requires no explanation. In fact, if you try to explain your Sports Hate, you will start feeling pretty silly. I have no idea whatsoever why I have always rooted against Peyton Manning, for example. I just have. He is an amazing quarterback, he seems like a really good human being, he's potentially the funniest sports host in SNL history ... I have no reason to root against him, but I always have. That isn't Hate, per say, but it hints at it.

When it comes to Sports Hate as it pertains to Missouri, I have found a major source in Keiton Page. I've elaborated on all the reasons previously, and I don't need to rehash it now, but I was reminded last night why it is probably silly (and really fun) for me to want to give him so much hell. The reason, basically, was that I found myself really, really liking his coach.

I had the pleasure of being SleepyFloyd7's plus-one at last night's game, and I got to take in the media scene. In the post-game press conference, Travis Ford sat down and simply gushed about Missouri, about how well the Tigers are playing, about how much he will miss Columbia as a once-per-year stop, and about how much he enjoyed his year in Columbia two decades ago. And he seemed incredibly genuine about all of it. Maybe he's just a good actor, who knows, but I very much found myself liking him by the end of his short stay at the mic. He seemed humble and honest.

Now, I've never really disliked Ford. But I have spent a lot of Sports Hate on the point guard about whom he said this last night:

Keiton is our lone senior. After him we're a very young, inexperienced basketball team. I've said it the last couple weeks, he's probably the best leader I've ever coached in 15 years of being a college head coach. He's probably the best leader I've ever had. And he's developed into that because two years ago we couldn't get him to say peep. He's by nature a very shy person, he really is. He's the guy that I still don't think gets the respect he deserves from a lot of people, the refs. I think they get tired of calling fouls on him. He just gets held, and I understand that. It's hard to call them all. He takes a beating every single night, and he's kind of like the Energizer Bunny - he just keeps ticking. We ask a lot out of him. I ask him to score. I ask him to defend. I ask him to lead. I ask him to play 40 minutes. I ask him to do a lot. And he does nothing but try to do everything you ask him to do with the greatest attitude. It's amazing. When he ends his career, here's a man who grew up 15 minutes from Stillwater, dreamed of playing at Oklahoma State. You look at a young man like him, not of an imposing figure, he's going to go down over 1500-point scorer at Oklahoma State in the Big 12, two NCAA tournaments, and he started on both those teams. He's going to go down as the leading guy that I think has played the most minutes ever at Oklahoma State when it's all said and done. Pretty impressive. Overachiever.

Now, I can roll my eyes about the "get tired of calling fouls" bit (the dude goes out of his way to flop and draw cheap contact, especially at home), but the bottom line is, if I find myself liking Travis Ford, I would probably find myself liking Keiton Page if given the right opportunity.

And I hope that opportunity never comes. Let me keep some of my irrational hatred, please.

Mizzou 83, Oklahoma State 65

Pace (No. of Possessions) 61.4
Points Per Minute 2.08 1.63
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.35 1.06
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.36 1.07
2-PT FG% 58.1% 46.8%
3-PT FG% 38.9% 42.9%
FT% 80.0% 42.9%
True Shooting % 61.4% 50.7%
Mizzou OSU
Assists 15 16
Steals 5 5
Turnovers 6 6
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
3.33 3.50
Mizzou OSU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 11 13
Offensive Rebounds 11 9
Difference +0 -4

Garbage Time

By now, you are likely quite familiar with the concept of garbage time, the point at which a game's statistics stop mattering because the game has been decided. I use it in my football ratings to filter out late scores and junk yardage that is in no way evaluative of the teams involved, but I don't for basketball because ... well, because that would be pretty time-consuming. But rarely is the difference between "regular" time and garbage time as stark as it was last night.

First 32 Minutes: Mizzou 78, Oklahoma State 45
Last 8 Minutes: Oklahoma State 20, Mizzou 5

The full-game stats lend you plenty of ridiculous stats -- Mizzou averaged a borderline obscene 1.35 points per possession, they outrebounded the 'Pokes by four in terms of expected rebounds, they shot ridiculously well from the field; but in looking only at the 32 minutes that decided the game, the numbers get even crazier.

First 32 Minutes: Mizzou 78, Oklahoma State 45

Pace (No. of Possessions) 50.9
Points Per Minute 2.44 1.41
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.53 0.88
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.59 0.96
2-PT FG% 70.6% 45.0%
3-PT FG% 46.7% 28.6%
FT% 90.0% 42.9%
True Shooting % 73.0% 44.9%

Mizzou OSU
Assists 15 10
Steals 5 5
Turnovers 6 6
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
3.33 2.50

Mizzou OSU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 6 10
Offensive Rebounds 7 6
Difference +1 -4

I'm just not sure I can describe how ridiculous a 1.53 points per possession average is. They averaged only 1.48 against Kennesaw State and Missouri Southern, though, granted, those averages may also have been higher pre-garbage time. When Missouri is on, it is just clinical destruction. And you only have to go as far as opposing coaches for backup on that point.

Baylor's Scott Drew:

I'll say this, when Missouri is on there is nobody in the country that is as good as them offensively. Nobody. What I mean on is when they are making their threes, because they are so good at getting in the lane and everything, you can't take away both. You've got to hope they are not on. They've been on a lot this year.

Oklahoma State's Travis Ford:

"You know, Missouri played like the third ranked team in America tonight. They actually played like the number one ranked team in America tonight. Very impressed, had been, that is capable of what they are doing on any given night. It's all about them. I could sit here and talk about them all night. They are just a really good basketball team that is capable of doing this to people, very quickly. I have seen it done to other teams in our league, we watched some games and seen it. We knew after the first game that we were going to respond and they did with great fashion. They played like a team that is capable of doing some really special things, really impressed with their basketball team. It's just more all about them. They just played really well."

There is coachspeak praise, and then there is "good golly, I don't know how you stop them" praise.

You Had To Know It Was Your Night When...

...Mike Dixon attempted an alley-oop to Phil Pressey and ended up with an open layup out of it.

And perhaps the most entertaining subplot of the game was just how pissed off Frank Haith was that Dixon had tried it in the first place. And he was still in the mood to give Dixon crap about it after the game.

In the post-game press conference, Dixon was asked about his thought process on the oop and whether or not he felt it was a good decision. Before he could answer, Haith, off-mic, said "NO it wasn't a good decision!" Dixon explained how he thought Markel Brown was going to commit to covering him, and that he therefore thought the pass to Pressey was the right decision. Haith ... disagreed. And thanks to some goading from SleepyFloyd7, he disagreed a bit more later on. Very funny.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Phil Pressey 18.7 0.64 29 Min, 13 Pts (3-5 FG, 2-2 3PT, 5-6 FT), 7 Reb, 7 Ast
Marcus Denmon 16.1 0.56 29 Min, 17 Pts (6-10 FG, 3-7 3PT, 2-2 FT), 3 Reb
Ricardo Ratliffe 15.0 0.63 24 Min, 15 Pts (6-9 FG, 3-4 FT), 12 Reb (5 Off), 3 TO
Mike Dixon 13.0 0.48 27 Min, 15 Pts (7-11 FG, 1-3 3PT), 3 Ast
Kim English 11.4 0.36 32 Min, 13 Pts (6-13 FG, 1-4 3PT), 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl
Steve Moore 6.7 0.37 18 Min, 7 Pts (3-3 FG), 2 Reb (2 Off)
Matt Pressey 0.4 0.01 30 Min, 3 Pts (1-7 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1-2 FT), 3 Reb, 2 Ast
Andy Rosburg 0.0 0.00 1 Min
Jarrett Sutton 0.0 0.00 5 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 3PT), 1 Reb
Andrew Jones -1.2 -0.24 5 Min, 0 Pts (0-2 FG), 1 Reb
  • There was a moment with probably seven or eight minutes left in the game, when Steve Moore tracked down a loose ball and squared up about 23 feet from the rim. In the interest of getting six players into double digits I found myself actually hoping he would attempt his second 3-pointer of the season. But apparently he was too close to Haith -- close enough that Haith might have jumped out to try to block the shot himself -- and thought better of it. Alas.
  • I mean ... who beats Missouri when Phil Pressey and Mike Dixon are scoring 28 points on 16 field goal attempts? Anybody?
  • As Haith put it, Matt Pressey is probably "stressing" about his shot a bit, and it's easy to see why -- after seeing his shooting percentages creep ahead of Marcus Denmon's, MPressive3 has now missed 23 of his last 30 field goal attempts and nine of his last 10 3-pointers. Now is certainly a good time for a cold streak, what with everybody else hitting everything and a few more weeks in the regular season to snap out of the slump; still, the sooner you can become a "He makes his open shots, so we can't sag off of him" threat again, the better.
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
P. Pressey 16% 59% 5.9 78% 9% 11% 2%
Denmon 20% 57% 2.0 33% 56% 11% 0%
Ratliffe 31% 46% 2.1 0% 57% 24% 19%
Dixon 24% 59% 3.5 60% 37% 0% 3%
English 22% 45% 2.5 48% 52% 0% 0%
Moore 13% 68% 0.9 0% 61% 19% 20%
M. Pressey 14% 23% 2.2 57% 34% 9% 0%

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%. (Yes!)
Phil Pressey's Touches/Possession need to be 3.5 or better. (Yes!)
Mike Dixon's %Pass should be 55% or higher. (Yes!)
Steve Moore's Touches/Possession should be at least 1.0. (So Close!)

Five-for-seven overall, basically percentage points away from six-for-seven. I'll take that.

Three Keys Revisited

From yesterday's preview.

Make Sure They Don't Beat You The Same Way

Oklahoma State beat Missouri last time because of the 17-footer. The Tigers were slow to rotate and/or get around screens early at Gallagher-Iba, and guys like Nash (12-for-18) and Brian Williams (6-for-11) nailed quite a few long 2-pointers early on. Nash exploded late, but without the early jumpers, OSU isn't close enough for Nash's hot streak to matter. Mizzou needs to fight, scratch and claw on the perimeter and make sure that if OSU pulls another upset, they at least do so in a different matter. Obviously overplaying the perimeter has its own set of drawbacks -- it could result in fouls, and OSU is a phenomenal free throw shooting team; plus, there's nothing saying that they will make as many long jumpers again this time, even if open. But still.

In the first 32 minutes, Oklahoma State made two of seven 3-pointers and 18 of 40 2-pointers. Markel Brown made a corner 3-ball on OSU's first possession, and then the jumpers went really, really cold. After the game, Ford gushed about how aggressive Mizzou was on the perimeter, but in terms of active hands and aggressive pick-and-roll defense. OSU just couldn't find an open look to save their lives, at least until the walk-ons came in.

Attack The Rim

Oklahoma State plays pretty good perimeter defense, but they hack a lot in the process. Mizzou did a reasonably decent job of pounding the ball inside last time -- Ricardo Ratliffe shot 10-for-17 -- and despite the fact that OSU blocked quite a few shots (seven), a focus on both getting Ratliffe involved and hurling guards at the rim could get a thin team in foul trouble and/or open up 3-pointers later on.

Ricardo Ratliffe took nine field goal attempts in 24 minutes, and Mizzou got to the line 15 times on 14 fouls, meaning there were quite a few shooting fouls in there. They were aggressive on the perimeter on defense, and they attacked the rim on offense. Pretty much perfect.

Honestly? Just Play Well

I really couldn't come up with a third key because if Missouri is playing well -- getting Ratliffe looks, passing well, obstructing passing lanes, playing tight perimeter defense, finding open looks for Marcus Denmon and Mike Dixon, getting the home crowd involved -- they will win. No overthinking necessary. OSU is an interesting team that will get even more interesting next year, but they are not good enough to win in Columbia if Mizzou is in "not messing around" mode.

Yeah, they played well.


By my count, there are two Big 12 arenas where Mizzou's senior class has not won: Allen Field House in Lawrence and Reed Arena in College Station. They have a chance to erase one more building from that list this weekend, and while I'm sure I will be paranoid right before tip-off ... at this point, the team has earned the benefit of the doubt. They have played at an incredible level recently, and while I expect that they will have to continue that against A&M team that might actually be healthy for the first time all season, I also expect that they will continue that. What a season, guys.


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.