Your Trifecta: Clarkson-Rosburg-Williams. When your second-best guy scores four points, you just got the crap kicked out of you.
Around this point in a given basketball season, we tend to start talking about fatal flaws, the aspects of your team you know will eventually be responsible for your demise. After 28 basketball games, they have become rather evident.
At the beginning of the season, we came to the conclusion that Missouri only having three major weapons (and sometimes a fourth in Johnathan Williams III on the glass) was going to be the Tigers' demise. Missouri has three players averaging over 14 points per game and nobody else averaging even 6.5.
By mid- or late-January, we had come to realize that, while the Big 3 Only thing was a problem, it was most likely defense that was going to do this team in. Mizzou has easily had the worst defense in SEC play -- worse than Mississippi State's -- and it has overshadowed and undone the effects of yet another top-20 offense (Frank Haith's third in three years at MU).
So basically, the team has had two fatal flaws in 2013-14. Two-flaw teams probably don't make the NCAA Tournament.
Regardless, last night, we saw flaws sneak up on this team in an unexpected way. You remember the 2012 football season, when the defense gave out late in November after supporting a shoddy offense as long as it could? Well, last night in Athens, Missouri rebounded well, and Georgia missed 3-pointers. Missouri got to the line as much as the Dawgs and, really, did the things I thought the Tigers would need to do to win. They also completely fell apart offensively, shooting 40% on 2-pointers and 17% on 3-pointers and averaging what I believe is a season-low 0.88 points per possession. The defense still wasn't good, mind you (Georgia on 2-pointers: 20-for-31), but the offense was absolutely horrendous. And two of Missouri's Big 3 (Brown and Ross) combined for just 7.4 Adj. GS points.
Sometimes the fatal flaws don't kill you directly; sometimes they just hold you at bay until your strengths fail.
Georgia 71, Missouri 56
|Pace (No. of Possessions)||63.9|
|Points Per Possession (PPP)||0.88||1.11|
|Points Per Shot (PPS)||1.06||1.48|
|True Shooting %||44.1%||59.7%|
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
|Expected Offensive Rebounds||13.5||9.7|
- Seriously, Mizzou completely wiped Georgia off of the offensive glass, and the Dawgs shot 29% on 3-pointers. And Mizzou lost by 15. I know nothing.
Mizzou Player Stats
(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)
|Jordan Clarkson||22.0||0.61||36 Min, 17 Pts (4-12 FG, 1-3 3PT, 8-9 FT), 4 Reb (1 Off), 4 Ast, 4 TO, 3 PF|
|Ryan Rosburg||16.1||0.52||31 Min, 4 Pts (1-2 FG, 2-2 FT), 12 Reb (4 Off), 4 PF|
|Johnathan Williams III||14.9||0.68||22 Min, 10 Pts (3-8 FG, 1-1 3PT, 3-4 FT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 1 TO, 2 PF|
|Jabari Brown||9.8||0.25||39 Min, 17 Pts (5-17 FG, 1-7 3PT, 6-9 FT), 4 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 3 TO, 3 PF|
|Tony Criswell||6.1||0.56||11 Min, 4 Pts (2-2 FG), 3 Reb (1 Off), 1 TO, 3 PF|
|Keanau Post||-1.0||-0.14||7 Min, 0 Pts, 1 PF|
|Earnest Ross||-2.4||-0.08||30 Min, 4 Pts (2-8 FG, 0-5 3PT), 4 Reb, 1 TO, 1 PF|
|Torren Jones||-2.7||-0.54||5 Min, 0 Pts, 1 Reb, 1 TO, 1 PF|
|Shane Rector||-4.6||-0.58||8 Min, 0 Pts (0-2 FG, 0-1 3PT), 1 Reb, 2 PF|
|Wes Clark||-8.1||-0.73||11 Min, 0 Pts (0-2 FG, 0-1 3PT), 2 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 2 TO, 4 PF|
- Yep .That's five players contributing something (ANYTHING) positive to the box score and five players combining for minus-18.8 points. If Post, Ross, Jones, Rector, and Clark had contributed a net nothing, Mizzou might have won. (I know it doesn't actually work that way. Just going for effect here.)
- Wes Clark's last two games: -3.3 Adj. GS points.
- Jabari Brown's last three games: 3-for-16 from 3-point range.
- The last time Shane Rector posted a positive Adj. GS score: January 11.
- Keanau Post since his "breakthrough" against Tennessee: 15 minutes, 0 points on 0 FG attempts, 2 rebounds, -0.7 Adj. GS points.
Three Keys Revisited
Georgia makes a living off of getting to the line. The way the officials call this game, and the way that Missouri responds by creating positive contact of its own, could be huge here. The teams combined for 47 free throws in Columbia, and Georgia has only gotten more physical since then. The Tigers have to match 'em.
Free Throws: Georgia 26, Missouri 24
Win for Mizzou!
Georgia is almost certainly going to win the rebounding battle, but there's a hell of a difference between a minus-seven expected rebounding margin and minus-two. Rebounds create extra possessions, and Georgia needs extra possessions to score with a poor shooting team. Get that margin to minus-2 or less, and Mizzou will probably win.
Expected Rebounds: Missouri +3.2
Big win for Mizzou!
Opponents take 22 3-pointers per game against Missouri. When they make 9-11, Missouri tends to lose. When they make 6-8, Missouri tends to win. Georgia only takes 14 per game, but I fully expect that number to creep toward 17-21. Make 'em, and Missouri probably loses.
3-Pointers: Georgia 29.4% (5-17), Missouri 17% (3-18)
A loss, but not quite in the way I imagined.
In a nutshell, Mizzou found a completely different way to lose yesterday. The "rebounds, whistles, and 3-pointers" recipe didn't exist, but the Tigers still managed to fall by 15 points.
1. Frank Haith isn't getting fired. Talking about it or taking guesses on Mizzou's next coach is just masturbation.
2. You can say you've given up on this team or this coach, but you haven't. If Mizzou wins the next three games, then wins the SEC Tournament, you're back on board. You haven't given up on anything; you've just come to the (correct) conclusion that it isn't very good (and isn't going to win the next three games and the SEC Tournament). Semantics!
3. Mizzou headed into Saturday's Alabama game ranked a steady 46th in Pomeroy's rankings, just five spots lower than they were when they played Georgia the first time in early January. The Tigers now stand at 61st. It's hard to fall 15 spots in two games this late in the year, and it's probably a sign that this year's about over. But the team still has three more games to rally. (And technically, if it wins all three games, it's back on the right side of the bubble. Hell, it might still be now ... but probably not.)
4. We knew this was a possibility, remember? Remember at the beginning of the year, when we talked about all of the unknowns and how this might be a transition year? That we didn't know if Jordan Clarkson could run the point (or if Wes Clark would be ready)? That we didn't know if Ross and Brown could be a little steadier and less streaky? That we didn't know how quickly Keanau Post -- considered a raw project even as a four-star JUCO -- would develop? That we didn't know if Johnathan Williams III would be ready to take a full-season pounding as a 205-pound power forward? That we didn't know if we could expect anything at all out of Ryan Rosburg? That we didn't know if Tony Criswell was ready to be a senior leader? That we didn't know what, if anything, we could expect from Torren Jones and Shane Rector? That we didn't know if this was an NCAA Tournament team?
Like I've said before, the basketball season is kind of mean when your team is flawed. This isn't a "12 Saturdays and then it's mercifully over" situation like in football. When a team is as flawed as Missouri is, you get it verified to you twice a week. The weather is cruel outside, and you're looking for entertainment, and an iffy to bad basketball team can ruin your evening twice a week ... and the season is 4+ months long. Even when you know the future tense might not be very much fun, living through it in the present tense makes you want to fire your coach and cut everybody. It's the nature of the game. But nobody's getting fired, and nobody's getting cut (that we know of), and Missouri has at least 4-5 games left to make something of the season. They probably won't. And after they don't, we'll talk about all the things that need to happen to make next season better. The present tense isn't always very fun, but we can't pretend like we didn't see this coming as a possibility. (Hell, if anything, blame Gary Pinkel and the Kreklows for stealing all of Missouri's "exceeding expectations" points.)
5. Frank Haith isn't getting fired. Talking about it or taking guesses on Mizzou's next coach is just masturbation.
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.