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Mizzou 84, Alabama 68: Study Hall

Mizzou gets knocked down and still exceeds expectations. Weird game.

Jamie Squire

Your Trifecta: Brown-Oriakhi-Ross. Your winner: nobody. This was a weird one.

Pretty sure this "fight" had four knockdowns: three for Mizzou and one for Alabama. It was a rare, rather odd game, but I don't mind "rare and odd" when Mizzou wins.

Knockdown No. 1: Mizzou goes on a 10-0 run from the 17:04 mark to the 15:29 mark of the first half to build a 15-5 lead.

Knockdown No. 2: Alabama goes on a 14-1 run from the 11:26 mark to the 7:44 mark of the first half to build a 21-18 lead.

Knockdown No. 3: Mizzou goes on an 11-4 run from the 17:47 mark to the 15:59 mark of the second half to go up 51-44. (This one's more of a standing eight-count.)

Knockdown No. 4: Mizzou finishes the game with a 12-4 run over the final 3:19 to win, 84-68.

These four runs add up to Mizzou 34, Alabama 22. The rest of the game was basically even (Mizzou 50, Alabama 46). Like I said last night, this was an old-school Mizzou win of sorts, based on runs, ball control and 3-pointers. The pace was a smidge higher than I expected, but only a smidge -- there were a couple of times when the game sped up considerably, but in the end Mizzou reached 84 points by playing some mostly fantastic offense (1.24 points per possession), not by racking up a ton of possessions.

Mizzou 84, Alabama 68

Pace (No. of Possessions) 68.0
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.24 1.00
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.58 1.24
2-PT FG% 55.3% 50.0%
3-PT FG% 60.0% 29.4%
FT% 68.2% 83.3%
True Shooting % 67.0% 54.0%
Mizzou Bama
Assists 18 8
Steals 8 6
Turnovers 10 16
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
2.60 0.88
Mizzou Bama
Expected Offensive Rebounds 10 11
Offensive Rebounds 5 9
Difference -5 -2

Mizzou In 2013: Not A Very Good Rebounding Team

For the second straight game, Mizzou lost the expected rebounds battle. One can say the Tigers miss Tony Criswell here, especially on the offensive glass, but considering the fact that they outrebounded UCLA considerably without Criswell, this does suggest that there might still be a bit of an effort issue. That, or a bit of a "We don't want to get beaten back downcourt, so we're not crashing the offensive boards as hard" issue ... which is more of a choice than an issue, I guess.


Alabama's bigs are not blessed offensively. Mizzou forced four turnovers from Moussa Gueye, two from Nick Jacobs and three more from Devonta Pollard and default "big" Levi Randolph. Gueye also fouled out in 15 minutes. One can see why Anthony Grant prefers a four-guard lineup a good portion of the time. Regardless, this burst of takeaways allowed Mizzou to actually win the ball control battle for once. And with the way Alabama's Trevor Releford was playing, this came in very, very handy.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Jabari Brown 21.5 0.58 37 Min, 22 Pts (7-11 FG, 5-7 3PT, 3-4 FT), 2 Reb, 2 Ast
Alex Oriakhi 19.4 0.59 33 Min, 16 Pts (6-8 FG, 4-5 FT), 10 Reb (2 Off), 2 Stl, 2 Blk, 2 TO
Earnest Ross 19.1 0.55 35 Min, 19 Pts (7-12 FG, 3-4 3PT, 2-4 FT), 5 Reb, 2 Stl
Laurence Bowers 17.5 0.56 31 Min, 16 Pts (6-8 FG, 4-5 FT), 5 Reb (2 Off), 2 Blk, 2 TO
Phil Pressey 11.7 0.33 35 Min, 11 Pts (4-10 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-4 FT), 13 Ast, 2 Reb, 2 Stl, 5 TO
Ryan Rosburg -0.5 -0.23 2 Min
Negus Webster-Chan -0.6 -0.05 12 Min
Keion Bell -1.6 -0.40 4 Min
Stefan Jankovic -2.6 -0.24 11 Min, 0 Pts (0-4 FG, 0-1 3PT), 2 Reb, 3 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Brown 19% 58% 2.1 44% 41% 14% 0%
Oriakhi 20% 54% 1.9 28% 39% 23% 10%
Ross 22% 51% 1.8 27% 55% 18% 0%
Bowers 22% 54% 2.0 28% 39% 23% 10%
Pressey 26% 43% 8.1 80% 10% 4% 5%
Bell 14% 0% 0.7 0% 0% 0% 100%
Jankovic 20% 0% 1.1 0% 100% 0% 0%
  • Jabari Brown & Earnest Ross vs. Bucknell: 8 points on 2-for-18 shooting, 0.4 Adj. GS points.
    Jabari Brown & Earnest Ross vs. Alabama: 41 points on 14-for-23 shooting, 40.6 Adj. GS points.

    That Mizzou was able to beat Bucknell with Brown and Ross shooting horribly was encouraging. But they sure as hell better win every time these two shoot like they did Tuesday night. That the Tigers only won by 16 with them playing this was was almost discouraging. Almost.
  • I am seriously underrating Alex Oriakhi. This is the second straight game in which he has made the Trifecta without every really drawing my attention, at least not in a "He's one of Mizzou's three best players" kind of way. Sorry, Alex.
  • In Mizzou's seven games versus "real" opponents (Stanford, Louisville, VCU, Illinois, UCLA, Bucknell, Alabama), Negus Webster-Chan has scored a total of 24 points on 8-for-27 shooting, with one assist, eight turnovers, seven fouls, and a per-game average of 0.9 Adj. GS points. Take out the VCU game, and these totals are 12 points (on 4-for-19 shooting), no assists, seven turnovers, six fouls and minus-1.1 Adj. GS points per game. In the last two games, he has played 20 minutes without attempting a shot.

    I've been saying for a while that NWC lets the game come to him a lot like Marcus Denmon did. But Denmon didn't blend into the scenery quite this much. With Jabari Brown's emergence, it hasn't been that big a deal, but still ... it's a little discouraging. He's not making a ton of bad plays by any means, he's just not really existing.
  • Boy, when Phil Pressey's brain turns off, it totally turns off, huh? I will say, though, that these lapses don't last nearly as long now as they did a couple of years ago. Pressey was pretty awful during Alabama's "knockdown" run, but he was otherwise stellar.

Three Keys Revisited

From Tuesday's preview:

Rebound Like You're Supposed To

If Mizzou is dialed in on the glass, the Tigers should dominate, especially on the offensive end. So, uh, get dialed in. Force Alabama to get smoking hot from the field to beat you.

Mizzou: -3 Expected Rebounds.

It's the second straight game in which the Tigers haven't rebounded like they're "supposed to," and it allowed Alabama to hang around for quite a while.


Mizzou almost goes out of its way not to force turnovers, and Alabama is reasonably decent (good enough, anyway) at not committing them. If Missouri is winning the battle on the glass (and it should) and some member of the Tide isn't suddenly nailing about 10 3-pointers, the Tide will have to create extra possessions through ball control to have a chance. Missouri has shown that it doesn't have to win the ball control battle to win games, but it cannot get dominated here.

BCI: Mizzou 2.60, Alabama 0.88.

But Mizzou is "supposed to" be quite a bit worse in terms of ball control. So that balanced out the rebounds.

Pressey vs. Releford

In recent games, Phil Pressey has proven to be perhaps the most important player (to his team) in the country. Against Trevor Releford, he should have some fun competition in the scoring-and-passing department (even though he's a much better passer than Releford). If Releford can fight Pressey to a draw, it could keep Bama close for quite a while.

Phil Pressey: 35 Min, 11 Pts on 10 FGA, 13 Ast, 5 TO, 2 Stl, 2 Reb
Trevor Releford: 35 Min, 26 Pts on 14 FGA, 3 Ast, 2 TO, 1 Stl, 2 Reb

Releford carried Alabama's offense for quite a while, but he eventually needed help. He and Trevor Lacey combined to score 35 points on 12-for-23 shooting. The rest of the team: 33 points on 12-for-42 shooting. Meanwhile, Pressey raised his game in the second half (fewer assists, fewer turnovers, better shots), and Mizzou eventually pulled away.

(Also: Hey, hey! Pressey actually got to sit for five minutes!)


Mizzou was projected to win by 10, won by 16, and improved by two spots in Pomeroy's rankings. The game was weird and, if you're nit-picking, disconcerting (Brown and Ross shot well enough for Mizzou to win by 25, Laurence Bowers tweaked his knee, etc.), but in the end, it's hard to complain too much when you exceed expectations. 12-2.

Big, big game coming on Saturday, by the way. As we've discussed, Ole Miss is ranked strangely high in Pomeroy's rankings, which could be a sign that the Rebels will be a solid Top 4-5 team in the SEC, or that they could be a strange outlier that fades dramatically in the coming weeks. Regardless, Mizzou now faces a situation in which it might be without Laurence Bowers and/or Tony Criswell, so if Ole Miss really is a strong team, Saturday's trip to Oxford will be difficult. We'll see.


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 an offensively challenged center, 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.