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Study Hall: Colorado State 84, Missouri 72

Andy Lyons

Your Trifecta: Oriakhi-Pressey-Ross. Your winner: nobody. Fitting.

18:06 left. Phil Pressey makes a hesitation-and-go layup, and Missouri cuts Colorado State's lead to 47-43. "We got this."

16:02 left. Jabari Brown pumps, drives to the elbow and fires up a soft jumper that misses everything by about three feet. "Hmm."

15:25 left. Missouri plays solid defense for once. Ball gets tipped around, and both Negus Webster-Chan and Tony Criswell hit the ground going for it. The ball ends up in Greg Smith's (I think) hands, however, and he lobs the ball to a wide-open Pierce Hornung. At least, it looks like a lob. It is awful, however, and bounces off the rim ... and Hornung tips it in. CSU back up 8. "Ah. Nevermind. That's how it's going to be."

Colorado State 84, Missouri 72

Pace (No. of Possessions) 66.3
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.09 1.27
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.26 1.65
2-PT FG% 50.0% 48.6%
3-PT FG% 30.4% 50.0%
FT% 89.5% 81.8%
True Shooting % 55.1% 64.1%
Mizzou CSU
Assists 13 10
Steals 6 1
Turnovers 5 14
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
3.80 0.79
Mizzou CSU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 12 10
Offensive Rebounds 3 12
Difference -9 +2

Perfect Circumstances

If you asked Larry Eustachy what he would want to see from this game in a perfect world, his answer would have probably been "Make some early shots, build a cushion, force Missouri to take some chances offensively and clean up the messes, force Missouri to take some chances defensively and kill them with their own aggression." Check, check, check, check, and check.

The early lead set the table for everything that followed, and while Missouri fought back from poor starts on quite a few occasions this year, Colorado State was too mature, too smart, to let that work. The Tigers' chances came down to one single run, really, and I described it above. Mizzou got to within four early in the second half, blew a couple of opportunities, got a couple of unlucky breaks, and four minutes after getting to within four, the Tigers were down 17. That was that.

Those Rebound Numbers


I mean ... Mizzou was actually mostly fine on the defensive glass. Colorado State was only +2 on that side, and one of those offensive rebounds was the Hornung's "tip-in" of the intended lob from Greg Smith. But there was absolutely no presence whatsoever on the defensive end. Colton Iverson grabbed eight defensive rebounds, and Alex Oriakhi grabbed one offensive rebound. That was the key matchup, and while Iverson did almost nothing offensively, he did his job on the other end.

I Have Absolutely No Idea... Mizzou averaged 1.09 points per possession while shooting 42% (30% from 3-point range) and grabbing three offensive rebounds. Does not compute. But it does back up the simple idea that, despite the rebounds, offense wasn't the problem. This team was done in by its defense. We said it on multiple occasions this year, but I have to be honest and say that I didn't see that coming. I didn't see a CSU offense that was only good offensively, not great, averaging 1.27 points per possession. But again, that tells us how important the first few minutes can be. CSU made some shots they don't usually make (or take) early on, and it both gave them confidence and completely shook Missouri's.

I Ache For Keion Bell

He has been a strong representative of the university, and he was one of the primary reasons why Missouri was able to tread water this season when Laurence Bowers went down. Over a nine-game span, he was nearly flawless. And he was absolutely horrific last night. He brought nothing to the table offensively, and he was absolutely destroyed by Dorian Green on the defensive end. It was so bad that, despite being desperate for options and sparks, Frank Haith played him only 12 minutes. Negus Webster-Chan played 14.

I'm Not Going To Link To It...

...but Gregg Doyel's post-game column, which featured brilliant insight like (paraphrased) "Frank Haith is obviously an awful, awful coach, but he's won too many games to get fired," "Colorado State didn't even play well," and "Missouri was clearly more athletic, therefore they must have lost because they didn't care," was quite possibly the hackiest thing he has ever written. And that's a pretty lofty assertion. There were about 118 reasons to pick Missouri apart after this game, and he instead chose one that didn't actually exist. Well done. Effort was not a problem. It was everything else that was the problem. The effort was terribly misplaced, which is an entirely different problem, but it was there.

We'll Get To This In The Season Post-Mortem Series...

...but a team that features Phil Pressey and Jabari Brown in the backcourt is going to be a) good to excellent on offense and b) pretty awful in perimeter defense. Mizzou needed Keion Bell to be the defensive stopper outside this year, and while he had his moments, he just wasn't that guy. I'm not sure who that guy will be next year.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Alex Oriakhi 21.4 0.65 33 Min, 16 Pts (6-6 FG, 4-4 FT), 2 Reb, 4 PF
Phil Pressey 21.0 0.55 38 Min, 20 Pts (7-19 FG, 3-6 3PT, 3-4 FT), 7 Ast, 3 Stl, 4 PF
Earnest Ross 10.0 0.36 28 Min, 11 Pts (3-8 FG, 1-4 3PT, 4-4 FT), 3 Reb, 4 PF
Laurence Bowers 9.6 0.31 31 Min, 7 Pts (3-7 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1-2 FT), 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 4 PF
Jabari Brown 8.4 0.30 28 Min, 14 Pts (3-10 FG, 3-9 3PT, 5-5 FT), 4 PF
Negus Webster-Chan 3.7 0.27 14 Min, 4 Pts (2-3 FG, 0-1 3PT)
Tony Criswell 0.6 0.04 15 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 3PT), 4 Reb
Dominique Bull 0.0 0.00 0+ Min
Stefan Jankovic -1.0 -1.00 1 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG)
Keion Bell -2.1 -0.18 12 Min, 0 Pts (0-2 FG, 0-1 3PT), 2 Reb
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Oriakhi 15% 72% 1.0 0% 57% 34% 9%
Pressey 33% 41% 5.1 64% 29% 6% 2%
Ross 22% 39% 2.0 32% 43% 19% 5%
Bowers 14% 46% 2.6 67% 26% 7% 0%
Brown 27% 33% 1.7 0% 65% 29% 6%
NWC 12% 62% 0.6 0% 100% 0% 0%
Criswell 4% 27% 1.4 85% 15% 0% 0%
Bell 14% 11% 2.2 66% 23% 0% 11%
  • If Alex Oriakhi wins the Trifecta while grabbing just two rebounds, your team probably did not win.
  • Granted, he got some solid garbage points there at the end, but Phil Pressey certainly wasn't awful on the offensive end. He missed some early shots that I didn't hate him taking, and he was the only one playing well at all for a couple of stretches. Of course, his defense was between mediocre and iffy (CSU actually burned Bell and Brown a lot more than they burned Flip, I think, though that's an at-a-glance impression that could be proven very wrong with film breakdown), and his counterpart, Dorian Green, somehow managed to score 26 points on just 13 shots.
  • I didn't get to say this much (okay, at all) in the final three months of the season, but ... decent minutes from Negus Webster-Chan! I want him cutting to the basket a lot next year. At this stage in his development, he's much more interesting around the rim than hovering around the 3-point line.
  • When Laurence Bowers made his first shot from the field, I was excited. Win or lose, I wanted him to have a big night. He didn't have a bad night (other than on the offensive glass), but he was mostly invisible. Damn shame.

Three Keys Revisited

From Wednesday's preview.

Hit the Glass

Let's not think too hard about this one. When the rebounding numbers (for both teams) are this absurdly high, it has to be the key to the game even if it's obvious. Whoever wins the expected rebounding battle will have a very, very good chance of winning the game.

Expected Rebounds: CSU +11. That's amazing.

Make the Shots They Give You

There's one sure way to win even if you aren't winning on the glass: Make shots. You don't have to rebound misses if you don't miss. If Mizzou's bipolar jump-shooters -- Phil Pressey, Laurence Bowers, Jabari Brown, Earnest Ross -- are knocking down the shots they are given (and they should get some decent looks), Mizzou could have too much offense for CSU. We know they can shoot lights out, and we know they don't always do so. In wins versus "real" teams, these four have shot 45% from the field. In losses, they've shot 38%. That might not seem like a huge difference, but these four have taken 61 percent of Missouri's shots this year. If they combine to take about 36 shots, the difference between 45% and 38% could be about five points. In what is projected as a dead-even game, five points could make all the difference.

Pressey, Bowers, Brown, Ross: 52 points on 16-for-44 shooting (36%). In other words, they shot almost their exact "Mizzou in losses" average. And some of those shots were quite open. The jumpers fell for CSU ... and didn't for Mizzou. It was the exact opposite of what needed to happen.


Honestly, the Iverson-Oriakhi matchup is going to draw a lot of attention, especially considering how well Oriakhi has played of late -- at least 10 points on 80+% shooting in five of his last six games. But this Missouri team is impacted most directly by the play of Phil Pressey. His play, of course, is dictated by others -- if Brown, Ross or Bowers are making jumpers, he sits back and dishes, but if the jumpers aren't falling, he shoulders more of the scoring load -- but his personality is this team's personality. And needless to say, his play in the final minutes of what will probably be a close game will be the most heavily parsed of any player on the court.

Flip was fine. Dorian Green was much better, of course, but Flip wasn't the biggest force for good or bad in this game. Those early misses sure didn't help, though.


Post-mortem series starts next week. I bet you can't wait.

That said ... here's where the tourney format is a good thing. While we all wish Missouri was still playing, you can still lose yourself in the tournament for another few days and forget at least a few of your cares.


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.