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Wes Clark's incredible performance papered over a lot of Missouri's same-old problems

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Consider this your Sunday live thread.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Clark-Allen-Rosburg

Your Season Totals: Your Season Totals: Puryear 21, Phillips 16, Clark 12, Gant 10, Wright 10, Walton 9, Isabell 9, VanLeer 7, Woods 5, Allen 2, Rosburg 1. Freshmen 53, sophomores 31, juniors 17, seniors 1.

The last two regulars who hadn't gotten into the trifecta did. Hooray?

South Carolina 81, Missouri 72

Mizzou
South Carolina
Pace (No. of Possessions) 74.0
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.97 1.09
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.26 1.31
2-PT FG% 55.3% 61.0%
3-PT FG% 36.8% 14.3%
FT% 69.2% 66.7%
True Shooting % 57.4% 52.9%
FTA/FGA 22.8% 53.2%
Mizzou South Carolina
Assists 17 12
Steals 8 7
Turnovers 16 13
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.56 1.46
Mizzou South Carolina
Expected Offensive Rebounds 10.8 13.6
Offensive Rebounds 5 17
Difference -5.8 +3.4
  • I believe this is the first time since the Xavier game that Missouri exceeded Pomeroy's projections against a top-100 team. And a streak ended ... or at least, it was adjusted. Now Missouri has only trailed by at least 13 in every top-100 game instead of 15. Hooray for moral victories!!
  • Now just imagine what the Tigers could have done if they hadn't started the game down 8-0. It's like the first damn punch of the game is a knockdown every single time. It's ridiculous.
  • The power of shooting: Mizzou got absolutely Murderball'd on the glass (SC was plus-9.2 in terms of expected rebounds), went to the line far less frequently than South Carolina, and only broke even in the ball-handling battle ... but lost by only nine. Wes Clark and Namon Wright going 6-for-11 from 3-point range sure papered over a lot of other problems. (And if the rest of the team hadn't gone just 1-for-8 on 3-pointers, the Tigers could have kept it even closer.)

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Wes Clark 34.6 1.05 33 Min, 26 Pts (10-16 FG, 4-6 3PT, 2-3 FT), 6 Reb (2 Off), 8 Ast, 2 TO, 4 PF
D'Angelo Allen 14.0 1.00 14 Min, 8 Pts (4-5 FG), 6 Reb (1 Off), 2 Ast, 1 PF
Ryan Rosburg 10.8 0.77 14 Min, 12 Pts (6-6 FG), 1 TO, 5 PF
Namon Wright 8.3 0.26 32 Min, 9 Pts (3-9 FG, 2-5 3PT, 1-2 FT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO, 1 PF
Tramaine Isabell 5.0 0.23 22 Min, 8 Pts (3-8 FG, 0-3 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk, 4 TO, 1 PF
Terrence Phillips 4.1 0.24 17 Min, 3 Pts (1-2 FG, 1-2 3PT), 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 TO, 4 PF
Jakeenan Gant 3.8 0.20 19 Min, 3 Pts (1-3 FG, 1-2 FT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 1 Blk, 1 PF
Kevin Puryear -1.5 -0.13 12 Min, 2 Pts (0-1 FG, 2-2 FT), 1 Reb, 2 Stl, 3 TO, 4 PF
Cullen VanLeer -1.7 -0.21 8 Min, 0 Pts (0-2 FG, 0-2 3PT), 1 Blk, 1 PF
K.J. Walton -2.3 -0.32 7 Min, 0 Pts (0-3 FG, 0-1 3PT), 1 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 PF
Russell Woods -2.4 -0.11 22 Min, 1 Pts (0-2 FG, 1-2 FT), 2 Reb, 1 TO, 1 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Wes Clark 30% 58% 5.7 69% 23% 5% 3%
D'Angelo Allen 18% 80% 3.3 70% 30% 0% 0%
Ryan Rosburg 25% 82% 1.4 0% 86% 0% 14%
Namon Wright 19% 31% 2.7 57% 29% 7% 6%
Tramaine Isabell 30% 30% 3.3 45% 31% 9% 15%
Terrence Phillips 12% 28% 1.6 60% 20% 0% 20%
Jakeenan Gant 10% 31% 0.8 0% 57% 43% 0%
Kevin Puryear 21% 17% 1.4 0% 16% 37% 48%
Cullen VanLeer 13% 0% 0.7 0% 100% 0% 0%
K.J. Walton 22% 11% 3.5 66% 34% 0% 0%
Russell Woods 9% 12% 0.7 0% 38% 43% 19%

Okay, you've all got experience now

So this is actually pretty funny:

  • Guys who had experienced Murderball before: 75.8 Adj. GS points
  • Guys who hadn't: -3.8 Adj. GS points

The freshmen and Russell Woods were mostly dreadful. Everybody else was between decent and great. We'll call this a rite of passage.

Damn, Wes

Meanwhile, Wes Clark is now averaging 26 points per game since this completely out-of-context tweet:

LET 'EM DROWN, WES.

Seriously, what a damn game from No. 15. Mizzou made 28 shots from the field on Saturday, and on the court on which Clark's season ended because of injury last year, Clark either made or assisted on 18 of them. With Tramaine Isabell and Terrence Phillips showing quick hands (five steals) but struggling from a distribution perspective (three assists, six turnovers), Clark took over that role while still scoring in a high volume. He was Mizzou's best point guard and shooting guard for the day. He had a point to prove on that court, evidently.

By the way, Ryan Rosburg, the tallest guy on the team, grabbed zero rebounds and committed five fouls in just 14 minutes ... and made the Trifecta for the first time all season because he went 6-for-6 from the floor and didn't get a chance to miss any free throws. Clark assisted on four of Rosburg's six made shots (well, layups/dunks), so ... we'll say that Clark was so good that he got two people into the Trifecta.

We see you, DA

D'Angelo Allen's last three games: 12.0 MPG, 5.0 PPG (6-8 2PT, 1-2 3PT), 4.0 RPG. That'll play. Hell, that might qualify him as Missouri's best big man.

Summary

Not bad. Not great by any means -- Missouri got erased from the boards and for the eleventeenth time looked overwhelmed and ill-prepared at the opening tip -- but not bad. Mizzou fought, and the Tigers' best fighter, Wes Clark, was awesome.

Mizzou's not playing for a seed in the SEC Tournament now, obviously; the Tigers are simply hunting for wins. And these next five games are HUGE in that regard.

Of the 14 remaining games on the schedule, Pomeroy's projections give the Tigers a 38% chance or better in just four, and three are coming up pretty quickly: Georgia on Jan. 20, Mississippi State on Jan. 30, and Ole Miss on Feb. 3. After that, only the Tennessee game is anything close to a tossup. So any chance Mizzou has to break about 12 wins this year will require fight similar to what we saw on Saturday ... only, without the "crap, what time does the game start?" awfulness at the beginning of the game.

---

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.