Your Trifecta: J3-Allen-Gant. Sophomore, freshman, freshman. Followed by a senior, a sophomore, and two more freshmen. Stick together, guys. One offseason with any continuity whatsoever, and you're going to be pretty damn strong next year.
Your Season Trifecta: J3 16, Teki 11 points, Shamburger 11, Clark nine, Wright six, Allen five, Gant four, Rosburg two, Isabell one, Post one. By class: freshmen 27, sophomores 25, seniors 12, juniors two.
It's not supposed to work that way. You're not supposed to play your best, grittiest, most fun game of the season, make a huge shot to tie the game, play good defense on the final possession, force an awkward step-back 3-pointer ... and lose. For 39:59, this game had solidified itself as one hell of a moral victory, and there would be no changing that. But it looked like it might also become a victory victory.
Still, what a ... mature game from the Tigers. In this game, Missouri seemed to have the best sense yet of what it could and couldn't do well, and the Tigers most adeptly figured out how to inflict its strengths on its opponent while masking its weaknesses. With some combination of Johnathan Williams III, Jakeenan Gant, and D'Angelo Allen filling almost all of the minutes at the 4 and 5, Mizzou basically said "We're going to be small, but we're going to be feisty." Kim Anderson gave up on putting proper size on the court, playing Ryan Rosburg and Keanau Post a combined 11 minutes (all from Rosburg) and went for energy and skill instead. It almost worked.
Illinois 62, Missouri 59
|Pace (No. of Possessions)||61.4|
|Points Per Possession (PPP)||0.96||1.01|
|Points Per Shot (PPS)||1.18||1.09|
|True Shooting %||52.9%||49.1%|
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Offensive Rebounds||10.3||12.2|
- Mizzou went small and only lost the expected rebounds battle by 1.1. Not bad. Illinois isn't an amazing rebounding team, but the Illini aren't bad -- 152nd in offensive rebounding, 88th in defensive rebounding. But while the offensive rebounding wasn't great, and while Illinois grabbed about six offensive boards in two possessions in the second half (and almost none otherwise), this was a rock solid team rebounding job. J3 grabbed eight, Allen grabbed five, and the Shamburger/Clark (!) grabbed 10. Full-team rebounding means very few run-out opportunities (because your point guard is under the basket and not standing at half-court), but ... first things first.
- Mizzou almost won this game while shooting poorly from the 3-point line! Another moral victory, I guess. D'Angelo Allen was 2-for-2 (I'm telling you ... Artest), and everybody else was 4-for-19. But until the stupid final stepback 3-pointer from Rayvonte Rice, Illinois was only 3-for-17 itself. That helped.
- Horribly shaky ball-handling early on, followed by a pretty even BCI battle over the final 25-30 minutes or so.
- It almost broke my brain when I realized Teddy Valentine was on the officiating crew nearly three-quarters of the way through the game. He usually, uh, stands out with both his calls and theatrics. Instead, this was easily the most well-called, free-flowing game of the year, with just 22 fouls and 27 free throws. The teams helped in that regard -- it's not like the refs were simply allowing football-level contact -- but you only noticed the refs when they had to make a big call, like the flagrant and technical on Leron Black. (It's very strange to me, by the way, that you can get called for a flagrant and a technical and not be ejected. Black didn't play much after that combo, and he didn't really impact the game, so this is certainly more curiosity than complaint.)
Mizzou Player Stats
(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)
|Johnathan Williams III||15.8||0.49||32 Min, 15 Pts (6-13 FG, 1-3 3PT, 2-3 FT), 8 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 2 TO, 2 PF|
|D'Angelo Allen||11.7||0.58||20 Min, 8 Pts (3-4 FG, 2-2 3PT), 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 TO|
|Jakeenan Gant||9.1||0.57||16 Min, 7 Pts (3-6 FG, 0-2 3PT, 1-2 FT), 2 Reb (2 Off), 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 2 PF|
|Keith Shamburger||8.6||0.27||32 Min, 5 Pts (1-5 FG, 1-4 3PT, 2-2 FT), 5 Reb (2 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Blk|
|Wes Clark||6.9||0.22||31 Min, 11 Pts (4-9 FG, 1-5 3PT, 2-2 FT), 5 Reb, 3 Ast, 5 TO, 1 PF|
|Montaque Gill-Caesar||3.2||0.10||31 Min, 8 Pts (3-8 FG, 0-2 3PT, 2-2 FT), 3 Reb, 2 Stl, 4 TO, 1 PF|
|Namon Wright||3.1||0.28||11 Min, 3 Pts (1-1 FG, 1-1 3PT), 1 Ast, 1 TO, 1 PF|
|Deuce Bello||0.2||0.02||9 Min, 2 Pts (1-2 FG, 0-1 3PT, 0-2 FT), 1 Reb, 1 PF|
|Tramaine Isabell||0.0||0.00||7 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG, 0-1 3PT), 1 Ast|
|Ryan Rosburg||-0.6||-0.06||11 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG), 2 Reb (1 Off), 1 Blk, 1 TO, 1 PF|
|Johnathan Williams III||29%||39%||2.4||25%||54%||13%||8%|
- This team is starting to develop some swagger. J3 made some huge plays down the stretch, D'Angelo Allen carries himself like the most confident player on the court (no-look pass in transition late in your first Braggin' Rights game? Are you kidding me?), Jakeenan Gant is all limbs and energy, and Wes Clark openly sought the ball with the game on the line. Like I've already said like 18 times this year, just stick together. Keep developing and keep moving on after tough losses, and the tough losses will dissipate pretty soon, be it in February or next November.
- The problem for Mizzou, of course, was that, despite all the swagger, the Tigers had no idea where to go with the ball from about the 3:30 mark to the 0:30 mark of the second half. Gant scored on that gorgeous cut toward the basket with 3:33 left, and Mizzou's next three possessions were Teki turnover, missed J3 jumper, missed J3 jumper. (And again, when J3 is taking jumpers, that means Mizzou's best offensive rebounder isn't under the glass to get the boards.) J3 certainly tried to take over -- he openly sought that 3-pointer and took it without hesitation -- but that's not quite his game. Here's where Teki needs to become the guy, and soon. He faced pretty tough, muscular defense yesterday, and he wasn't quite able to muscle back and demand the ball. That'll come, one assumes.
- Next step of development for Namon Wright: filling other lines in the box score beyond 3-pointers.
Twice in this game, it looked like Missouri was dead in the water. From 4:00 to about 1:40 in the first half, Illinois went on a sudden 7-1 run that lit up the UI portion of the arena. This looked like the type of knockdown situation that destroyed Mizzou against Xavier. Instead, Mizzou responded with a 3-pointer from Keith Shamburger, and after Leron Black's T, Shamburger made two free throws. Mizzou inflicted cracks on Illinois instead of crumbling.
Then, Illinois' offense got rolling early in the second half, and it didn't look like Missouri would keep up. At 36-36, Malcolm Hill made a jumper, then Ahmad Starks made two, and Illinois was quickly up six. And over the next 90 seconds, Mizzou went on a 7-2 run to come right back. That's maturity. Mizzou doesn't have a reliable offense yet, but every time Illinois had the Tigers wobbly, they responded. That was incredibly heartening, even if the game ended up falling directly into Moral Victory territory because of a stupid 3-pointer at the end.
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 Basketball-Reference.com: 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.