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After another dreadful showing, the next 2 games are the most important of Kim Anderson's tenure

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MUtigers.com: @MizzouHoops Falls at No. 13 Arizona, 88-52

The Trib: Arizona routs Missouri as Tigers lose 17th straight road game

Post-Dispatch: Arizona pummels Mizzou

There is context here, of course. There always is. Missouri was grounded in Lubbock and didn't have a normal walkthrough experience or pregame routine. That can affect you, especially when you're one of the youngest teams in the country (again). Plus, Arizona played incredibly well and presented specific, size-related matchup disadvantages for the Tigers. And on average, Arizona is actually a pretty bad 3-point shooting team ... but was 27% better than Missouri in that regard last night (41% to 14%). So there was some bad luck to go with the epic bad mojo.

That said...

Missouri has played four Pomeroy top-100 teams in 2015-16 so far. Average score after 10 minutes: Opponent 21, Missouri 9. Average score at halftime: Opponent 37, Missouri 24. Average final score: Opponent 75, Missouri 56. That's top 100, not top 10. It's included two excellent teams (Xavier and Arizona) and two decent teams (Kansas State and Northwestern) and the average score is a 19-point Missouri loss.

The go-to line when talking about this Missouri team this year has been "This team has clearly improved, but..." But...

  • On December 14, Missouri is 5-4 with a No. 179 Pomeroy ranking and a minus-19 average scoring margin against top-100 teams.
  • On December 14 last year, Missouri was 5-5 with a No. 160 Pomeroy ranking and a minus-12 average scoring margin against top-100 teams.

No, the Tigers have not yet lost to a UMKC-level team. Yes, they played well for about half the game against Xavier (middle half) and Northwestern (second half). But that's basically the only difference. Of the 22 regular season games remaining on the schedule, 16 are against top-100 teams. The burden of proof is now entirely on the Tigers to prove they aren't about to go down exactly the same road they went down last year.

The next two games -- against NC State at home on Saturday and against Illinois in St. Louis the following Wednesday -- are now the most important games of Kim Anderson's tenure. Keep putting together these showings against power-level teams, and you end up giving Mack Rhoades a pretty tough choice to make about your future.

***

Your Trifecta: Walton-Phillips-Gant.

Your Season Totals: Puryear 13, Phillips 13, Walton 6, Wright 6, Gant 6, VanLeer 4, Isabell 3, Clark 2, Woods 1. Freshmen 36, sophomores 15, juniors 3, seniors 0.

Arizona 88, Missouri 52

Mizzou
Arizona
Pace (No. of Possessions) 70.1
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.74 1.26
Points Per Shot (PPS) 0.93 1.60
2-PT FG% 35.7% 63.2%
3-PT FG% 14.3% 41.2%
FT% 61.5% 76.0%
True Shooting % 38.6% 66.7%
FTA/FGA 46.4% 45.5%
Mizzou Arizona
Assists 6 20
Steals 3 6
Turnovers 12 15
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
0.75 1.73
Mizzou Arizona
Expected Offensive Rebounds 15.6 9.4
Offensive Rebounds 10 9
Difference -5.6 -0.4
  • Granted, Arizona was probably surprised anytime a shot didn't go in, but if you're scrounging for positives, Missouri did manage to keep a good offensive rebounding team off the glass. That was mitigated by Missouri missing 15 more shots from the field and grabbing just one more offensive rebound, but still. It's a positive. And hey, the Tigers committed fewer turnovers, too!
  • That's all the positives. Missouri has proven it can run a pretty efficient offense against athletically mediocre/bad defenses, but the Tigers have had nothing to offer this year against teams with a defensive pulse. In five wins, the Tigers are averaging 1.16 points per possession; in four losses: 0.81. That's a ridiculous difference. And while a True Shooting % of 55%+ has been common against lesser opponents ... last night's 39% was about what they produced against Kansas State, too.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
K.J. Walton 15.5 1.03 15 Min, 6 Pts (1-1 FG, 4-8 FT), 1 Ast, 1 PF
Terrence Phillips 15.5 0.50 31 Min, 7 Pts (2-9 FG, 0-3 3PT, 3-4 FT), 2 Reb (1 Off), 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF
Jakeenan Gant 14.4 0.85 17 Min, 8 Pts (3-6 FG, 2-2 FT), 3 Reb, 1 TO, 2 PF
Wes Clark 10.9 0.68 16 Min, 8 Pts (4-5 FG, 0-1 3PT), 1 TO, 5 PF
Namon Wright 10.2 0.36 28 Min, 9 Pts (2-8 FG, 1-2 3PT, 4-5 FT), 5 Reb (1 Off), 2 TO, 2 PF
Adam Wolf 9.5 9.49 1 Min, 3 Pts (1-1 FG, 1-1 3PT)
Ryan Rosburg 3.9 0.28 14 Min, 2 Pts (1-2 FG), 4 Reb (1 Off), 1 Blk, 1 TO, 3 PF
Russell Woods 2.5 0.11 22 Min, 5 Pts (1-5 FG, 3-6 FT), 4 Reb (1 Off), 4 PF
Kevin Puryear -0.7 -0.03 22 Min, 4 Pts (2-10 FG, 0-2 3PT, 0-1 FT), 5 Reb (4 Off), 1 Ast, 1 TO, 1 PF
Jimmy Barton -2.5 -1.23 2 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG)
D'Angelo Allen -6.0 -1.49 4 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG), 1 TO
Cullen VanLeer -9.8 -0.89 11 Min, 0 Pts (0-3 FG, 0-3 3PT), 1 Reb, 1 TO
Tramaine Isabell -13.7 -0.81 17 Min, 0 Pts (0-4 FG, 0-2 3PT), 2 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 TO, 2 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
K.J. Walton 15% 51% 2.7 42% 7% 51% 0%
Terrence Phillips 19% 32% 2.9 57% 29% 11% 3%
Jakeenan Gant 23% 43% 1.5 0% 68% 20% 11%
Wes Clark 19% 63% 1.1 0% 83% 0% 17%
Namon Wright 22% 27% 1.5 0% 55% 31% 14%
Adam Wolf 50% 100% 2.9 0% 100% 0% 0%
Ryan Rosburg 11% 30% 0.6 0% 67% 0% 33%
Russell Woods 17% 27% 1.4 0% 49% 51% 0%
Kevin Puryear 26% 19% 2.3 33% 56% 5% 6%
Jimmy Barton 25% 0% 1.4 0% 100% 0% 0%
D'Angelo Allen 25% 0% 1.4 0% 50% 0% 50%
Cullen VanLeer 18% 0% 1.1 0% 75% 0% 25%
Tramaine Isabell 21% 5% 2.2 46% 31% 0% 23%
  • On the bright side, I was worried that walk-on Adam Wolf's late-game 3-pointer would put him in the Trifecta, which would be the ultimate shame for the team as a whole. Granted, it put him ahead of seven other Tigers, but five remained ahead of him. But the fact that one positive event gave him 9.5 Adj. GS points tells you how badly quite a few other Tigers played. Puryear, Barton, Allen, VanLeer, and Isabell combined to basically take 33 points off of the scoreboard for Mizzou.
  • His minutes show that KJ Walton hasn't completely earned Kim Anderson's trust yet, but he was about the only player last night who was both trying to make something happen and sort of succeeding. He took one shot from the field but continuously drew contact and got to the line. Granted, he only made four of eight free throws, but he's proven college-ready in his ability to draw contact (8.1 fouls drawn per 40 minutes). That's something.
  • Terrence Phillips' shot obviously wasn't falling, but he's very mature in the way he figures out how to contribute outside of points. That he's being asked to do so much this early in his career is a shame, and he might hit the freshman wall at some point, but he incredibly had half of Missouri's assists and two-thirds of its steals last night (and only 1/12th of its turnovers). Mizzou is lucky to have him.
  • I mentioned last week that, from a pure athleticism standpoint, Kevin Puryear was going to face a serious test against Arizona and NC State. Arizona was certainly a bit of a reality check for him; hopefully he rebounds on Saturday.
  • Wes Clark is shooting 38% on 2-pointers in losses (0-for-8 against Northwestern and 9-for-16 in the other three) and 23% in wins. Okay.
  • Namon Wright is shooting 15% on 3-pointers in losses and 45% in wins. That one makes a little more sense.

---

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.