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Missouri 82, South Carolina 74: Study Hall

Your Trifecta: Clarkson-Brown-Ross. But not in the bad way.

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday basically proved what we already knew: Missouri doesn't need much production outside of its big three, but it needs some production. That Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown, and Earnest Ross led the way for this team again is not automatically a troubling sign; it's only troubling when nobody else does anything. But Wes Clark dished four assists, Johnathan Williams III scored eight points and grabbed four offensive rebounds, Ryan Rosburg grabbed some key rebounds early on, Keanau Post ... played minutes. In all, players outside of the big three contributed 19.6 Adj. GS points to the box score, as you'll see below. And Missouri averaged 1.25 points per possession as a result.

Missouri 82, South Carolina 74

Pace (No. of Possessions) 65.4
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.25 1.13
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.71 1.25
2-PT FG% 58.1% 39.4%
3-PT FG% 47.1% 38.5%
FT% 66.7% 81.8%
True Shooting % 65.6% 53.9%
Mizzou S.C.
Assists 18 12
Steals 2 5
Turnovers 11 11
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.82 1.55
Mizzou S.C.
Expected Offensive Rebounds 9.6 13.2
Offensive Rebounds 8 13
Difference -1.6 -0.2
  • Mizzou has either won or barely lost the BCI battle in three straight games. Is three games a trend? I hope three games is a trend.
  • I like Missouri's chances of winning anytime the Tigers shoot 47% on 3-pointers. #analysis
  • So ... defense. South Carolina should never, under any circumstances, average 1.13 points per possession or score 52 points in a half (the Gamecocks' second-half tally). That's a bad look for Mizzou's D ... but South Carolina also scored 22 points on 7-for-27 shooting in the first half. And after a quick, nine-point burst in the first two minutes of the second half, the 'Cocks scored just 11 points in the next nine minutes. Mizzou was up 62-44 with eight minutes left before Brenton Williams, by far SC's best shooter, said "Screw it" and started bombing away. That he made a lot of his "Screw it" shots made this a much closer game than it felt, and SC scored 30 points in eight minutes after scoring 44 in 32, and ... I just can't get too worked up about the defense in this one. It was good to great when it needed to be.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Jordan Clarkson 24.2 0.69 35 Min, 22 Pts (6-12 FG, 2-5 3PT, 8-10 FT), 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 PF
Jabari Brown 22.6 0.63 36 Min, 24 Pts (7-13 FG, 4-6 3PT, 6-7 FT), 6 Reb (1 Off), 6 Ast, 5 TO, 1 PF
Earnest Ross 15.1 0.56 27 Min, 14 Pts (5-10 FG, 1-3 3PT, 3-3 FT), 5 Reb (1 Off), 3 Ast, 2 PF
Johnathan Williams III 12.7 0.40 32 Min, 8 Pts (3-4 FG, 2-5 FT), 6 Reb (4 Off), 2 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 PF
Ryan Rosburg 4.8 0.16 31 Min, 8 Pts (4-5 FG, 0-4 FT), 4 Reb, 2 Blk, 2 TO, 3 PF
Wes Clark 3.8 0.17 23 Min, 5 Pts (1-3 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 TO, 4 PF
Tony Criswell 1.5 0.25 6 Min, 1 Pts (1-2 FT), 1 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 PF
Shane Rector -0.5 -0.25 2 Min, 1 PF
Keanau Post -2.7 -0.34 8 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG), 1 Reb, 1 TO, 2 PF
Torren Jones N/A N/A 0+ Min
Danny Feldmann N/A N/A 0+ Min
Corey Haith N/A N/A 0+ Min
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Clarkson 25% 48% 2.9 36% 37% 27% 0%
Brown 32% 44% 5.1 59% 22% 10% 8%
Ross 23% 51% 3.4 58% 33% 9% 0%
Williams 11% 57% 1.9 58% 20% 22% 0%
Rosburg 15% 39% 1.0 0% 48% 33% 19%
Clark 14% 40% 4.0 78% 10% 6% 7%
Criswell 8% 52% 3.9 77% 0% 23% 0%
Post 14% 0% 0.8 0% 50% 0% 50%
  • Though they only made so much of an impact, I loved the show of confidence Frank Haith tried to give to Rosburg and Post in this one. Rosburg scored the game's second bucket off of an assist from Jabari Brown (who had six of them!) and grabbed some big early rebounds. And the final play of the first half was a lob designed for Post. Granted, Rosburg had just one rebound after the first 10 minutes of the game (and went 0-for-4 from the free throw line). And granted, Post missed the tip-in off of the lob. But this was the kind of game to try to get them going, whether it worked or not. (It didn't really work.)
  • Goodness, is Jabari Brown playing good ball.

Three Keys Revisited

From Friday's preview.

The glass

If KSU [yes, I intentionally left this error in there after discovering it; it cracked me up] isn't grabbing second-chance opportunities, it isn't winning. Period. Mizzou's rebounding rankings have begun to tank in recent weeks, and that's a bad sign, but if Missouri can match SC's second chances with some of its own, the Tigers should be just fine.

Expected Rebounds: SC +1.4.

Mizzou wasn't very impressive on the offensive glass -- JW3 grabbed four offensive boards, and the rest of the team combined for four (including two deadball rebounds) -- but the Tigers were shooting 54% from the field, which makes rebounds less of an issue. More important was Mizzou's work on the defensive glass, and it was stellar, especially early on. So we'll call this a draw.

The 3-ball

South Carolina only has two players who average more than two 3-point attempts per game -- Brenton Williams (5.1 attempts per game) and Sindarius Thornwell (2.6) -- and they only average 14 per game as a whole, but they're pretty good at them. And they've had reasonable success in preventing opponents from either shooting or making them. This is another area where Mizzou just needs to match.

3-pointers: Mizzou 47% (8-for-17), SC 39% (10-for-26).

South Carolina went 6-for-16 (solid), then 4-for-5 (great), then 0-for-5 (bad). The 3-point surge got them relatively close, but the end-of-game drought kept this from getting too close. Williams went 7-for-14 from long range, but the rest of the team went 3-for-12. Meanwhile, Brown, Clarkson, and Ross went 7-for-14, and Clark even made one!

(I felt really bad for Clark in the first half; mired in a horrific shooting slump, he fired one up midway through the first half, and I swear it had to have been rejected by the net ... not sure I've seen a shot go that far down without going in since Clarence Gilbert's 3-pointer at the end of the 2000 Big 12 Tournament game against Oklahoma. And yes, I'm still a bit scarred by that one.)

The whistles

South Carolina games average 46 fouls. Free throws and foul trouble will play a massive role in this game because Frank Martin.

For the game, there were indeed 46 fouls, matching South Carolina's average. But a lot of those took place late, when SC was desperately trying to catch up. There were only 34 fouls in the game's first 38 minutes, and that was incredibly refreshing for a game against Murderball.


For the second straight home game, Missouri did what it needed to do, and the Tigers are now back up to .500 in conference and 52nd in Pomeroy's rankings. (They were 41st when conference play began and sank to 65th before the Alabama game.) And now begins the six-game stretch that will probably determine Missouri's NCAA Tourney fate: at Arkansas (Pomeroy's win probability: 30%), Kentucky (38%), at Florida (12%), at Ole Miss (40%), Arkansas (61%), Tennessee (52%). If the Tigers win all three home games and steal a road game (probably against Ole Miss), they're back to looking quite good for the tourney. If they go 2-4 (or worse), they're almost done. If they go 3-3, they have a lot of work still to do.

I'm more confident in this team than I was nine days ago, but it still has ground to make up after giving away games to Georgia and Vanderbilt. Getting anything from players not named Brown, Clarkson, or Ross is a very good thing for this team; we'll see if yesterday's effort can continue.


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.