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Major upside, drastic lapses, and youthy youth for Missouri against Arkansas State

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John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Trib: Wright clutch as Tigers hold off Red Wolves, end three-game skid

Post-Dispatch: Mizzou sputters but survives at home

Your Trifecta: Phillips-Wright-Isabell.

Season totals: Puryear 9, Phillips 9, Wright 6, VanLeer 4, Isabell 3, Clark 2, Walton 2, Woods 1. Freshmen 24, sophomores 9, juniors 3, seniors 0.

This was ... a silly game. To illustrate, let's go round-by-round like we did in the olden days:

Round 1: 10-9 MU
Round 2: 10-7 MU
Round 3: 10-9 MU
Round 4: 10-9 ASU
Round 5: 10-9 MU
Round 6: 10-9 MU
Round 7: 10-10
Round 8: 10-9 ASU
Round 9: 10-8 ASU
Round 10: 10-10

Eight minutes into the game, Mizzou was up 19-3. And after wavering a bit, the Tigers went up 54-29 early in the second half. And then ASU outscored the Tigers, 37-16, over the next 14 minutes.

This went from "statement win!" to "uhh...guys?" rather quickly. But after letting ASU get to within 70-66 with 4:54 left, Namon Wright pulled off a 4-point play and a fastbreak layup, and that was that.

Mizzou still exceeded projections, rising four spots (184th to 180th) in Ken Pomeroy's rankings. The end result was fine, even if the ebb and flow of the 40 minutes was a bit on the psychotic side.

Missouri 88, Arkansas State 78

Mizzou
ASU
Pace (No. of Possessions) 73.2
Points Per Possession (PPP) 1.20 1.07
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.35 1.15
2-PT FG% 49.0% 36.7%
3-PT FG% 43.8% 42.1%
FT% 73.1% 66.7%
True Shooting % 57.6% 48.8%
FTA/FGA 40.0% 39.7%
Mizzou ASU
Assists 14 15
Steals 2 6
Turnovers 10 7
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.60 3.00
Mizzou ASU
Expected Offensive Rebounds 13.4 16.6
Offensive Rebounds 11 14
Difference -2.4 -2.6
  • It's always funny to look at full-game stats when things were so lopsided in both directions for such sustained periods of time. C'est la vie. For the game, Mizzou shot quite well again. The Tigers like Mizzou Arena rims quite a bit more than Sprint Center rims, evidently. Wright, Tramaine Isabell, and Cullen VanLeer won't always combine to go 7-for-12 from 3-point range, of course, but they were certainly getting pretty good looks, which is sustainable.
  • ASU's pace seemed to suit Mizzou pretty well. This was, I believe, only Missouri's second game over 70 possessions, and the other was the decent showing at Xavier. ASU's pressure paid off, and the Red Wolves very much controlled the ball control battle, but Mizzou created good shots, and with rebounding being about even, that was the difference in the game.
  • 23 more fouls for Missouri, and four more for Terrence Phillips. Gonna have to get used to the new foul rules sooner than later.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Terrence Phillips 15.5 0.67 23 Min, 8 Pts (2-4 FG, 0-2 3PT, 4-4 FT), 4 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 PF
Namon Wright 14.8 0.53 28 Min, 14 Pts (5-9 FG, 3-5 3PT, 1-1 FT), 6 Reb, 1 Blk, 3 PF
Tramaine Isabell 14.0 0.87 16 Min, 11 Pts (4-6 FG, 2-2 3PT, 1-1 FT), 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 PF
K.J. Walton 10.6 0.71 15 Min, 10 Pts (2-7 FG, 6-7 FT), 5 Reb (3 Off), 1 Blk, 1 TO
Kevin Puryear 8.2 0.39 21 Min, 10 Pts (4-7 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-3 FT), 7 Reb (2 Off), 1 Ast, 3 TO, 2 PF
Russell Woods 5.8 0.53 11 Min, 8 Pts (4-6 FG, 0-4 FT), 4 Reb (2 Off), 1 Blk, 1 TO, 3 PF
Ryan Rosburg 5.5 0.19 29 Min, 10 Pts (5-9 FG), 2 Reb, 1 TO, 3 PF
Wes Clark 5.1 0.20 26 Min, 8 Pts (2-7 FG, 0-1 3PT, 4-4 FT), 4 Reb (1 Off), 3 Ast, 3 TO, 2 PF
Cullen VanLeer 3.2 0.20 16 Min, 6 Pts (2-6 FG, 2-4 3PT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 1 Ast, 1 TO, 3 PF
D'Angelo Allen 2.0 0.29 7 Min, 1 Pts (0-0 FG, 1-2 FT), 2 Reb, 1 Blk, 1 PF
Jakeenan Gant 0.8 0.10 8 Min, 2 Pts (1-4 FG, 0-1 3PT), 1 Reb (1 Off), 1 Blk, 1 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Terrence Phillips 12% 64% 5.7 85% 8% 7% 0%
Namon Wright 16% 51% 0.9 0% 91% 9% 0%
Tramaine Isabell 19% 66% 3.1 63% 32% 5% 0%
K.J. Walton 34% 35% 2.5 0% 50% 43% 7%
Kevin Puryear 25% 40% 2.4 32% 38% 14% 16%
Russell Woods 37% 42% 2.5 0% 58% 33% 10%
Ryan Rosburg 16% 45% 0.9 0% 90% 0% 10%
Wes Clark 21% 34% 3.2 57% 23% 11% 10%
Cullen VanLeer 20% 29% 2.2 46% 47% 0% 8%
D'Angelo Allen 6% 38% 0.7 0% 0% 100% 0%
Jakeenan Gant 23% 22% 1.3 0% 100% 0% 0%
  • For the season, Terrence Phillips is ranked in the Division I top 400 in True Shooting % (158th), eFG% (192nd), Assist Rate (215th), 2-point % (318th), Steal % (364th), and 3-point % (377th). Plus ... and this is both exciting and depressing ... his 16.8% defensive rebound rate is (gulp) the highest on the team. Those rankings don't win you any national awards, obviously, but what a first impression he is making. Unfortunately, he's also committing 5.8 fouls per 40 minutes, and his bench stretch in the second half was not beneficial for the Tigers. In terms of plus/minus, Mizzou was +1 in the second half with him on the court and -10 without him.
  • KJ Walton has shown serious flashes of figuring out how to fill the box score when his shot isn't falling. He had a terrible Sprint Center stint, but he was excellent on Tuesday, all things considered. He was only 2-for-7 from the floor (which, considering there were no 3-pointers in the mix, is quite bad), but he got to the line seven times (and went 6-for-7), blocked a shot, and grabbed three of Missouri's 11 offensive rebounds. He's got a mature game ... though the shooting (36% on 2-pointers, 0-for-3 on 3-pointers) is going to catch up to him if it doesn't improve.
  • I know the bar's low here, but ... look at Woods and Rosburg! 40 minutes, 18 points (5-15 FG)! The free throw shooting was awful (0-for-4, all from Woods), and the two combined to only grab four defensive rebounds in those 40 minutes, which is awful. But ... progress!
  • I will say this in just about every Study Hall this year, but I love Kevin Puryear's game so much. He did nothing to stand out yesterday, but he gives you easy points and (occasionally) rebounds, something Mizzou so desperately lacked last year. He quietly scored 10 points on seven shots and grabbed seven boards. Love it.

Summary

The full-season Trifecta totals are a constant remind of how absurdly young this team is. There are three upperclassmen in the rotation, but on a night-by-night basis, a freshman is the best player nearly every time. And when he's not, it's a sophomore. That this team can be so young and still benefit from better continuity than any Missouri team since 2012 is a sign of how wacky the last few years have been, but we once again caught a sustained glimpse of a happy future last night -- Terrence Phillips' hands and speed, Kevin Puryear's easy points, Namon Wright's (and Tramaine Isabell's) big shots, etc. That such a young team could look so awesome, then nearly blow a 25-point lead, makes a little bit of sense, I guess. But we're seeing glimpses.

Kim Anderson has spoken recently about the need to dial down to a nine-man rotation soon. I'm curious about that. In terms of quality, the two least impressive players in this 11-man rotation (D'Angelo Allen and Jakeenan Gant) are two of the team's bigger guys, and both are in need of playing time to develop properly. Meanwhile, guard play has been mostly strong ... but if you're trimming from 11 to nine, you're probably trimming guard minutes a little bit. We'll see what changes are on the horizon.

---

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.