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Missouri went small against Xavier, but it didn't pay off

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports VanLeer Paces @MizzouHoops with 13, Tigers Fall Short at Xavier
The Trib: Xavier too much for Missouri in the second half
Post-Dispatch: Xavier pulls away, deals Mizzou first loss
The Missourian: 5 takeaways from first loss of the season for Missouri men's basketball

Your Trifecta: VanLeer-Clark-Puryear.

Season totals: Puryear 4, Phillips 3, Wright 3, VanLeer 3, Clark 2, Walton 2, Woods 1. Freshmen 12, sophomores 3, juniors 3.

Three games in, seven of 12 scholarship players have logged a Trifecta appearance.

Xavier 78, Missouri 66

Pace (No. of Possessions) 69.4
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.95 1.12
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.20 1.39
2-PT FG% 53.1% 47.4%
3-PT FG% 26.1% 33.3%
FT% 77.8% 82.8%
True Shooting % 52.4% 56.7%
FTA/FGA 32.7% 51.8%
Mizzou Xavier
Assists 8 13
Steals 8 9
Turnovers 17 13
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
0.94 1.69
Mizzou Xavier
Expected Offensive Rebounds 11.7 12.1
Offensive Rebounds 7 13
Difference -4.7 +0.9
  • The KenPom projection (XU 76, MU 64) was nearly dead-on in this one. After overachieving projections for the first two games, Mizzou had to settle for simply not underachieving here.
  • Mizzou hit 60% in True Shooting in each of the first two games but fell to 52% in Cincinnati. That's not a weakness, at least. Just not a strength either. And holding XU to 57% in the same category gave the Tigers a fighting chance.
  • Unfortunately, ball handling and rebounding went very much Xavier's way. The rebounding wasn't a surprise -- Mizzou went intentionally small, playing Ryan Rosburg and Russell Woods a combined 17 minutes -- but when you go small, you can't get nearly doubled up in BCI. That was a trade-off that didn't work out because Mizzou still ended up with 17 turnovers.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Cullen VanLeer 17.6 0.80 22 Min, 13 Pts (5-9 FG, 3-7 3PT), 2 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF
Wes Clark 15.5 0.50 31 Min, 11 Pts (5-12 FG, 1-4 3PT, 0-1 FT), 3 Reb (2 Off), 3 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 TO, 3 PF
Kevin Puryear 13.1 0.45 29 Min, 12 Pts (4-9 FG, 0-2 3PT, 4-4 FT), 5 Reb, 1 TO, 3 PF
K.J. Walton 9.5 0.45 21 Min, 8 Pts (3-8 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-2 FT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 2 PF
Tramaine Isabell 8.3 0.64 13 Min, 11 Pts (3-6 FG, 1-1 3PT, 4-4 FT), 1 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 5 TO, 2 PF
Namon Wright 7.1 0.25 28 Min, 6 Pts (2-6 FG, 0-4 3PT, 2-3 FT), 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO, 3 PF
Ryan Rosburg 1.2 0.13 9 Min, 1 Pts (0-0 FG, 1-2 FT), 1 Reb (1 Off), 1 Blk, 1 TO, 1 PF
Russell Woods 1.0 0.12 8 Min, 0 Pts (0-0 FG), 3 Reb (2 Off), 3 PF
D'Angelo Allen -1.8 -0.15 12 Min, 0 Pts (0-0 FG, 0-0 3PTT), 3 Reb, 1 TO, 2 PF
Terrence Phillips -2.6 -0.21 12 Min, 3 Pts (1-2 FG, 1-2 3PT), 1 Reb, 2 TO, 4 PF
Jakeenan Gant -3.0 -0.20 15 Min, 1 Pts (0-3 FG, 0-2 3PT, 1-2 FT), 2 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Blk, 2 TO, 1 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Cullen VanLeer 23% 47% 1.3 0% 90% 0% 10%
Wes Clark 23% 38% 2.9 54% 37% 3% 6%
Kevin Puryear 20% 42% 1.3 0% 64% 29% 7%
K.J. Walton 21% 41% 2.1 37% 50% 13% 0%
Tramaine Isabell 49% 35% 4.5 28% 29% 19% 24%
Namon Wright 17% 33% 2.3 52% 26% 13% 9%
Ryan Rosburg 10% 22% 0.9 0% 0% 67% 33%
D'Angelo Allen 4% 0% 0.2 0% 0% 0% 100%
Terrence Phillips 17% 23% 0.9 0% 50% 0% 50%
Jakeenan Gant 20% 13% 2.4 46% 23% 16% 16%
  • I was actually surprised to see that VanLeer was 3-for-7 on 3-pointers. Felt like about 3-for-4. He's got such a lovely stroke that I'm already surprised when he misses. That one exchange where Isabell nearly traveled but threaded the needle for an open 3 to CVL was loooovely.
  • Unfortunately, that was the only assist that either Isabell or Phillips managed. Definitely a growing pains game for them. Isabell shot well from the field, but he still gets out of control pretty frequently. He got stuck under the basket a couple of times and tried to force something instead of finding a bailout option. He also made things happen enough that you can see where he's maybe headed as a basketball player. But he's not there yet. As for Phillips, we saw the downside of extreme speed -- he's a freshman, and his fifth-gear ways are going to get him into trouble at times. Four fouls and two turnovers in 12 minutes is impressive.
  • Wes Clark, box score filler. His shot obviously wasn't very efficient, but two offensive rebounds (most on the team), three assists (ditto), and three steals (ditto)? I'll take that.
  • This was a nice test for Kevin Puryear, and I'd say he passed. He was 4-for-7 on 2-pointers, got to the line four times (and made all four FTs), and grabbed five defensive rebounds. I've always thought of anything about 0.4 AdjGS per minute as good, and hitting that mark against the best size he's competed against in college is a wonderful sign.
  • Walton and Wright: 0-for-5 on 3-pointers, 5-for-9 on 2s with five trips to the line. A nice way of adjusting when your outside shot isn't falling. Unfortunately, Mizzou needed the outside shot to fall.
  • We're still waiting on Jakeenan Gant to make his mark this year. He seems to be a bit lost regarding his role at the moment. When you look at his numbers -- two 3PTA to one 2PTA, as many assists as offensive rebounds, etc. -- you think he's a guard. He's not. He still has plenty of time to figure out his niche and thrive, obviously.
  • The %Pass numbers fell a bit for everybody -- only two guys crossed 50% -- but part of that was that the jumpers weren't falling as frequently. I still mostly liked the ball movement. And "90% Shoot" is probably going to be a frequent look for CVL.


Mizzou went small, sacrificing boards for ball-handling, and it didn't pay off. As a result, the Tigers needed 3s to fall to stay in the game ... and they did not. VanLeer was 3-for-7, and the rest of the team was 3-for-16. 23's too many attempts for this team, but that's part of small ball. VanLeer needs a partner-in-bombing, and he didn't get one.

Still, Xavier's a good team, and this was a one-point game at halftime and a six-point game with about 10 minutes left. Xavier went on an 8-0 run to put the game away, but Mizzou still wouldn't let the Musketeers pull away for a blowout. These are good signs, I think. As was some of the resolute tweeting that went on afterward.

This team wants to be good. And it's already better than it was last year.

(I began these Study Halls so long ago that "resolute tweeting" was not a phrase that would have even slightly made sense when I started out.)

(And no, I don't completely understand TI's tweet.)


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.