Your Trifecta: Barnett, M. Porter, J. Porter.
Missouri and Kansas scrimmaged and raised a metric ton of money for hurricane relief on Sunday in Kansas CIty. They also gave us a semi-real basketball game to react to. Mizzou basically got to measure itself against an elite team before the games actually begin to count. That’s immeasurable.
So what did we learn? TO THE STUDY HALL MACHINE.
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Oh, how much a team can change in an offseason. Missouri got outshot, drew far fewer fouls (27-18), and lost the ball control battle but ended up within six points because of dominance on the glass. This isn’t the biggest Kansas team in the world — and it was the small guys who ended up winning the game for the Jayhawks — but Mizzou’s ability to generate second-chance opportunities made up most of the gap the other factors caused.
The ratio of offensive rebounds (19) to free throws (20) was an odd one — I’m guessing Mizzou won’t struggle to get to the line this year. The question is, will that pay off? Mizzou missed nine of 20 free throws, and guys not named Michael Porter Jr. went a ghastly 4-for-12 from the line; make a more normal number of freebies, and this is maybe a one-possession game in the closing seconds.
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Barnett and two Porters atop the Adjusted Game Score list. I’m guessing this won’t be the last time we see that, even if the order changes from time to time.
You have to love the Porters’ ability to fill the box score despite the fact that the jumpers stopped falling after a while. Michael and Jontay went just 10-for-32 from the floor (31%) but combined for 20 rebounds (eight offensive), four assists, four steals, and three blocks. I think I’m as happy with that as I would have been if they’d shot 50% from the floor or something.
Yesterday proved two things I was very much suspecting heading into the year:
- Kassius Robertson is of grave importance to this team. He’s likely to be the team’s steadiest 3-point shooter (though I’m obviously not going to complain if Jordan Barnett chooses to go 5-for-7 from long range every game), and this team is still light in the backcourt. Blake Harris looks the part but is going to spend a good portion of the season looking like the freshman he is, and it doesn’t appear that C.J. Roberts has quite earned Cuonzo Martin’s trust yet. (There’s time.) If Robertson can deliver 30 minutes of decent play per game, maybe Mizzou gets away with this arrangement while the freshmen develop. If not, though ... yikes.
- Jeremiah Tilmon is going to be a foul machine. The dude is 250 pounds of granite, and he’s aggressive. It’s going to take him a while to figure out what he can and cannot get away with. I was telling friends exactly this at the tailgate on Saturday ... but even I wasn’t anticipating seven fouls in 13 minutes. Damn.
The most interesting part of this table is the usage rate (an estimate of the amount of a team’s possessions a player occupies while on the court). Anything over about 30 percent is extremely high usage. I’m not sure I’d ever seen a 47 percent usage rate until MPJ’s in this game. Damn. (And the fact that he had only three turnovers while commanding that much possession is ... double damn.)
I’m guessing MPJ’s usage rate ends up around 35 percent for the season, but I do see Barnett’s role being more or less what it was on Sunday — off the ball, waiting to take advantage of distracted defenders. I’m curious about the other freshmen, though; Jontay and Tilmon were both higher than I thought they’d be from a usage perspective, and Harris didn’t do a hell of a lot. I expect all three of them to drift toward 20 percent.
Missouri Head Coach Cuonzo Martin takes questions from the media following Missouri's 93-87 loss to kansas.Posted by Rock M Nation on Sunday, October 22, 2017
Live from Kansas City: Let us discuss a weekend that was for Mizzou AthleticsPosted by Rock M Nation on Sunday, October 22, 2017
And in case you missed Mizzou Madness on Saturday...
...I know I did, as the Connelly household has been battling a minor case of the plague of late...