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Study Hall: Arkansas 73, Missouri 71

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Bell-Ross-Oriakhi. Your winner: Cougar9001.

We'll get this out of the way up top.

From Georgia-A&M last Saturday...

From Tennessee-South Carolina last Saturday...

What happened yesterday with the officials ... with the double-foul calls, and the "We have no idea what happened, so let's just call a jump ball" calls ... and the "anticipate the contact and call the foul without checking to see if it actually happened" thing ... and the iffy clock operation ... and my personal favorite, "Ignore one foul until you have to call something 5x worse a few seconds later, then 'crack down' on all the things you've been allowing for the last 20 minutes" routine ... it really was the worst officiating I've seen in a Missouri game this year, even if the setlist was familiar. And the final 60 seconds were absolutely incredible.

I mean ... come on.

But it is also becoming the primary storyline for SEC basketball this year.

I know that football pays the bills in this (and every) conference. I know that basketball officiating is damn near impossible (there's a reason why I refused to do basketball when I was an intramural ref). And I know that "Fire 'em all!!!!" doesn't really work as an approach to referee management. (Remember the NFL replacement refs? They were worse.) But ... something needs to be done here, right? Something? Anything? Basketball is borderline unwatchable these days, and SEC Basketball is unwatchable. It is difficult to call 50 fouls and still lose complete physical control of the game, but they pulled it off. And it wasn't the first time.

Arkansas 73, Missouri 71

Pace (No. of Possessions) 75.6
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.94 0.97
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.22 1.20
2-PT FG% 47.7% 50.0%
3-PT FG% 14.3% 30.4%
FT% 74.2% 58.3%
True Shooting % 49.6% 51.0%
Mizzou UA
Assists 12 16
Steals 7 7
Turnovers 17 11
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.12 2.09
Mizzou UA
Expected Offensive Rebounds 14 14
Offensive Rebounds 11 7
Difference -3 -7

The randomness of the 3-point line

Missouri entered this game hitting 35 percent of its 3-pointers for the season. Arkansas came into the game with its opponents hitting 35 percent of their 3-pointers for the season. Missouri hit two of 14 3-pointers. If Missouri hits 35 percent (five) of its 3s, the Tigers win no matter what the officials do in the last two minutes. Didn't work out that way, even though most of the 3s they attempted were exactly the kind they've been taking all year.


...even with the 3-pointers, if you give me this box before the game (sans the PPP giveaway, of course), I assume Missouri wins. You hope to see better offensive rebounding, and 17 turnovers is still quite a few, even against Mike Anderson. Still, Arkansas didn't shoot very well, didn't manage to double Mizzou up in terms of BCI, and still lost the rebounding battle by a decent amount. It was almost enough.

(Arkansas' PPP was at 0.92 before those three-point plays in the last minute, by the way.)

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Keion Bell 31.3 0.92 34 Min, 25 Pts (9-11 FG, 7-8 FT), 8 Reb, 2 TO, 5 PF
Earnest Ross 22.2 0.69 32 Min, 16 Pts (7-12 FG, 1-3 3PT, 1-2 FT), 9 Reb (4 Off), 3 Ast
Alex Oriakhi 8.9 0.47 19 Min, 7 Pts (2-3 FG, 3-5 FT), 11 Reb, 2 TO, 4 PF
Phil Pressey 6.3 0.18 34 Min, 9 Pts (2-9 FG, 0-3 3PT, 5-6 FT), 3 Reb, 3 Stl, 2 Ast, 4 TO
Ryan Rosburg 4.2 0.60 7 Min, 1 Pt (1-2 FT), 2 Reb (2 Off)
Tony Criswell 2.8 0.14 20 Min, 3 Pts (0-3 FG, 3-4 FT), 4 Reb, 2 Stl, 4 PF
Jabari Brown -0.8 -0.03 30 Min, 8 Pts (2-10 FG, 1-5 3PT, 3-4 FT), 4 Reb, 4 PF
Laurence Bowers -4.8 -0.20 24 Min, 2 Pts (1-10 FG, 0-2 3PT), 4 Reb (2 Off), 2 Ast, 4 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Bell 22% 60% 1.5 0% 57% 33% 10%
Ross 21% 49% 2.7 53% 36% 5% 6%
Oriakhi 17% 38% 1.3 0% 33% 45% 12%
Pressey 21% 27% 2.3 40% 30% 16% 14%
Rosburg 6% 52% 2.8 78% 0% 22% 0%
Criswell 13% 25% 1.7 45% 23% 25% 8%
Brown 25% 23% 3.2 49% 28% 9% 14%
Bowers 21% 14% 2.5 52% 44% 0% 4%
  • I don't even know what to say about Keion Bell right now. Rarely does the light switch get flipped like this midway through your senior season. But he went from role player to star, and he has been absurdly good over the last few games.
  • Ugh. If Jabari Brown and Laurence Bowers just manage to contribute a neutral stat line -- 0.00 Adj. GS points instead of minus-5.6 -- Missouri probably wins. If they shoot 6-for-20 instead of 3-for-20, Missouri probably wins.
  • Last 6 Games
    Keion Bell: 21.4 Adj GS PPG
    Alex Oriakhi: 13.2
    Jabari Brown: 12.7
    Earnest Ross: 11.4
    Phil Pressey: 11.3
    Laurence Bowers: 5.3

    If Bowers can find his game by March, this is an absurdly dangerous team. But he has struggled so much worse than I thought he would upon his return. He's now averaging 7.7 PPG in that span, shooting 45% on 2-pointers and 22% on 3-pointers, and averaging just 3.8 RPG. The injury bug has been mean to Missouri, in just about every sport, all year. But it is just cruel that his senior season might end with him playing like this. He was quite possibly the best player in the SEC two months ago.
  • Quality minutes from Ryan Rosburg, though with Oriakhi gone next year, eventually "quality minutes" will have to include "points." And honestly, considering how iffy Missouri's post defense was with Oriakhi out, Rosburg probably shoulders a bit of the blame for that, too. (Criswell gets more, though.)
  • Man oh man, was Earnest Ross good down the stretch yesterday.
  • Man oh man, was that an awful travel call on Ross with 46 seconds left. He pulled down a man's rebound with Coty Clarke on his back and got whistled for stumbling when Clarke climbed off his back. Incredible. And it was about the fourth-worst call of the final minute. Still, Ross going to the line up three with under a minute left? That would have been nice, huh?

    (As lucky as B.J. Young may have been in the last minute, Clarke was even luckier.)

Three Keys Revisited

From Friday's preview.


Of course. This is a game featuring a Mike Anderson team, after all. Basically, Arkansas is all but guaranteed to win this battle, probably comfortably. But if Mizzou can keep Arkansas' margin to under 2-to-1, or perhaps 1.75-to-1, that's a very good sign.

BCI: Arkansas 2.09, Missouri 1.12

Apparently 1.75-to-1 was the cutoff point. 1.87-to-1 didn't quite get the job done.


Of course. This is a game featuring a Mike Anderson team, after all. The way the refs call fouls will dictate how effective Arkansas' press is. This has always been the case. In losses, Arkansas has averaged a ridiculous 22.3 fouls per game. In wins, 18.2. So we'll set the bar at 20 then. If Arkansas commits, or is whistled for (probably a better way to put it) at least 20 fouls, Mizzou is in good shape.

First Half: 18 fouls, 19 free throws
Second Half: 32 fouls, 36 free throws

Let's just move on. We've all already said what needed to be said.

(Young's first and-one was much, much worse to me than the second one, by the way.)


I wanted to point out how interesting the Marshawn Powell-vs-Laurence Bowers battle could be, and I wanted to make it the third key here, but ... of course the biggest key is Phil Pressey. (This is a game featuring Missouri, after all.) And that means a couple of different things, really. First, he is going to be facing a pretty fierce press for about 36-38 minutes. One hopes that Keion Bell can spell him at times, but it's going to be mostly Flip. He has to consistently beat the press (and considering his urgest to split double-teams, that could go either way) and make good decisions on offense, but he also has to prevent his opponent from destroying him on the opposite end.

Rickey Scott, Rashad Madden, Kikko Haydar and Fred Gulley all have a %Pass over 60%, all drive pretty well, and average a combined 53 minutes of play per game. Assuming Flip isn't matched up with B.J. Young (which would seem exhausting and almost cruel), he will be facing off against any one of these guys ... and as we know, in Missouri losses, opposing point guards tend to go off. Haydar is a good 3-point shooter, as well. (The other three aren't.)

Powell-versus-Bowers is interesting. Bell-versus-Young could be the same. But there's no point in beating around the bush. This game is all about Phil Pressey.

Phil Pressey: 34 minutes, 9 points (2-9 FG), 2 assists, 3 steals, 4 turnovers, 3 rebounds
Scott/Madden/Haydar/Gulley: 50 minutes, 6 points (2-11 FG), 6 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 7 rebounds

Comments during and after the game suggested that the blame for this loss should basically go to 1) Refs, 2) Pressey, 3) Refs and 4) Pressey. But once again, I think Pressey shoulders too much of the blame. As good as Keion Bell is, he's not a point guard. He can fill in here and there, but he's a slashing shooting guard. Pressey is all Missouri's got, and he faced an absolutely impossible task yesterday against a team that goes 13-deep, mostly with guards and wings. That he was able to put up stats comparable to four combined Arkansas guards tells me he did pretty well. Yes, he was out of control sometimes, but guess what: That's Flip Pressey. Even in his greatest games, he has lost the plot for a few possessions. And he's still one of the better point guards in the country.

Honestly, just like everybody else, I expected more out of Flip this year than I have gotten. But "He's been slightly disappointing" is not the same as "BENCH HIM [FOR A NON-POINT GUARD]."

By the way...

Marshawn Powell: 35 minutes, 24 points (8-19 FG)
Laurence Bowers: 24 minutes, 2 points (1-10 FG)

You are unspeakably cruel, Injury Bug.


And now Missouri's got an even bigger game coming up on Tuesday. And depending on the result of Tuesday's game, next Saturday's could be even bigger. How's your blood pressure?


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 limited 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.