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Russell Woods’ development has been a ray of sunshine in another dreary Missouri basketball season

Study Hall time!

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Woods-Walton-Puryear.

Sometimes you’ve just got to play the hits. After a couple of weeks of fixing its biggest weakness (3-point shooting) and figuring out other ways to lose games — ball-handling, 2-point shooting, free throw shooting, ball-handling again — Mizzou went back to basics.

The Tigers nearly broke even on the glass against a Frank Martin team and hit 2-pointers and free throws at a downright acceptable rate. And if they’d gone even 5-for-17 from 3-point range (a still-pretty-bad 29%), they’ve have quite possibly beaten a tourney-level team.

Instead they went 1-for-17. Mr. Jones and me ... tell each other fairy tales...

South Carolina 63, Missouri 53

Mizzou S.C.
Pace (No. of Possessions) 68.5
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.77 0.92
Points Per Shot (PPS) 0.95 1.11
2-PT FG% 48.7% 34.4%
3-PT FG% 5.9% 36.0%
FT% 70.6% 73.7%
True Shooting % 41.7% 48.2%
FTA/FGA 30.4% 33.3%
Mizzou S.C.
Assists 8 9
Steals 2 6
Turnovers 15 14
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
0.67 1.07
Mizzou S.C.
Expected Offensive Rebounds 13.4 13.8
Offensive Rebounds 9 11
Difference -4.4 -2.8

Okay, it wasn’t just 3-pointers. Mizzou now has five steals in three games. Five in one game is mediocre! Whereas turnovers haven’t been a drastic problem, Mizzou’s defense is now 13th out of 14 teams in Steal% in conference play. Steals create easy buckets. Mizzou’s have completely disappeared.

Mizzou Player Stats

Player AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Russell Woods 41.0 1.11 37 Min, 18 Pts (7-9 FG, 4-7 FT), 8 Reb (3 Off), 1 TO, 3 PF
K.J. Walton 21.5 0.72 30 Min, 12 Pts (3-8 FG, 6-8 FT), 4 Reb (2 Off), 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO, 2 PF
Kevin Puryear 2.5 0.07 35 Min, 7 Pts (3-9 FG, 0-2 3PT, 1-1 FT), 8 Reb (2 Off), 3 TO, 3 PF
Cullen VanLeer 1.1 0.04 25 Min, 3 Pts (1-5 FG, 1-5 3PT), 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 TO, 2 PF
Terrence Phillips -1.1 -0.05 22 Min, 5 Pts (2-7 FG, 0-4 3PT, 1-1 FT), 2 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 TO, 5 PF
Reed Nikko -1.1 -1.12 1 Min, 0 Pts (0-0 FG), 1 PF
Jordan Geist -3.6 -0.13 29 Min, 6 Pts (3-11 FG, 0-4 3PT), 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 TO, 1 PF
Jordan Barnett -8.9 -0.43 21 Min, 2 Pts (1-7 FG, 0-2 3PT), 5 Reb (1 Off), 1 TO, 4 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Russell Woods 18% 58% 1.4 0% 50% 44% 6%
K.J. Walton 23% 37% 2.4 24% 32% 36% 8%
Kevin Puryear 18% 25% 1.1 0% 69% 9% 23%
Cullen VanLeer 12% 25% 2.0 66% 28% 0% 6%
Terrence Phillips 22% 32% 3.6 64% 25% 4% 7%
Jordan Geist 26% 22% 2.7 44% 41% 0% 15%
Jordan Barnett 19% 11% 1.1 0% 88% 0% 13%

So here’s a quick reminder of how Adjusted Game Score works. I use the same formula I’ve used for a long time regarding the value of different pieces of the box score. Points and turnovers have a weight of 1, for instance. Missed field goals, offensive rebounds, assists, and blocks are worth 0.7. Et cetera. The idea is basically, how many positive possessions did you contribute to, and how many did you waste. Honestly, I should probably update it at some point because it’s at least 10 years old, and there are probably better formulas to use now. Basically, I use it because I’ve used it, and I know what the numbers mean.

Adjusted Game Score, then, takes the total number of Game Score points your team compiled it and divvies out credit based on the actual number of points your team scored. So if your team scored 61 points, but the Game Score points add up to only 50, everybody gets a proportional boost. It basically redistributes the points from a given game.

It works pretty well because most of the time, if your team scored, say, 53 points (as Mizzou did), the Game Score total is going to be between about 40 and 65.

Occasionally, however, you’ll get something weird.

Mizzou played eight guys on Saturday night (the normal nine-man rotation minus Frankie Hughes). Russell Woods’ raw Game Score total was 14.7. K.J. Walton’s was 7.7. Everybody else: minus-3.4.

So when you try to redistribute that among 53 points, Woods and Walton almost literally get all the positive points. Kevin Puryear took the third spot in the Trifecta with 2.5 Adj. GS points. (The multiplier effect also screwed Jordan Barnett going in the other direction. His raw GS total was minus-3.2.)

Woods’ 41.0 Adj. GS points is one of the highest I can remember seeing, but as good as he was — and to be sure, 18 points on 9 FG attempts, with three offensive and five defensive rebounds is quite lovely — his ridiculous adjusted total is due to the mostly awful box score performance of his teammates.

I’m really happy for Woods, though, and not only because he responded to an awful couple of results — a bunch of missed free throws in an otherwise winnable game vs. Ole Miss and a dud at Mississippi State — with a strong one. I’m also happy for him because he’s having himself a perfectly decent senior season. He’s now averaging 8.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, which certainly isn’t all-conference caliber, but it’s something.

Woods was, to put it politely, not much of a factor last year, especially once conference play began. He averaged 11.4 minutes per game and scored a grand total of 14 points in 16 SEC games.

That Woods might be Kim Anderson’s second-best developmental success story behind Ryan Rosburg — who also didn’t really develop until well into his senior season — is probably an indictment in and of itself. But it’s still a success story. Woods has turned into a decent weapon, and as with Rosburg, it’s a shame Mizzou doesn’t get him for another year to see where he might go.

So there you go. Something positive to end a piece about Mizzou’s 12th consecutive loss.