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K.J. Walton is playing well while getting the minutes he should’ve had all along

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Study Hall time.

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Your Trifecta: Walton-Puryear-Geist.

Mizzou nearly won a game while getting 11 points on 3-for-14 shooting from Jordan Barnett and Terrence Phillips. I guess that’s something.

Alabama 57, Missouri 54

Mizzou Alabama
Pace (No. of Possessions) 59
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.92 0.97
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.08 1.08
2-PT FG% 41.9% 42.4%
3-PT FG% 21.1% 25.0%
FT% 69.6% 66.7%
True Shooting % 44.9% 45.8%
FTA/FGA 46.0% 39.6%
Mizzou Alabama
Assists 6 7
Steals 7 5
Turnovers 9 11
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.44 1.09
Mizzou Alabama
Expected Offensive Rebounds 12.7 13.1
Offensive Rebounds 10 14
Difference -2.7 +0.9

Guh. Mizzou split the shooting honors (both were equally bad), got to the line a bit more, and won the ball-handling battle. But Bama won the expected rebounding battle by 3.6 and got the two most important rebounds of the game — the horrible out-of-bounds call that led to a Bama 3 and the offensive rebound by Donta Hall with about 5 seconds left. Mizzou gets that call and that carom, and that might make the difference.

One other thing that might have helped: Making more than one shot from the field in the last 7:52. But Bama nearly let that one slide.

Mizzou Player Stats

Player AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
K.J. Walton 17.4 0.58 30 Min, 12 Pts (3-6 FG, 1-1 3PT, 5-7 FT), 5 Reb (2 Off), 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO, 3 PF
Kevin Puryear 11.8 0.34 35 Min, 11 Pts (4-11 FG, 0-2 3PT, 3-4 FT), 5 Reb (3 Off), 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 3 PF
Jordan Geist 10.1 0.46 22 Min, 9 Pts (4-7 FG, 1-2 3PT), 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 PF
Jordan Barnett 4.6 0.16 29 Min, 5 Pts (2-10 FG, 0-4 3PT, 1-2 FT), 12 Reb (2 Off), 1 Stl, 2 PF
Reed Nikko 4.1 0.59 7 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG), 1 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk
Terrence Phillips 1.5 0.07 22 Min, 6 Pts (1-4 FG, 0-1 3PT, 4-5 FT), 3 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 TO, 2 PF
Cullen VanLeer 0.8 0.03 27 Min, 5 Pts (1-5 FG, 1-5 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Stl, 3 TO, 1 PF
Frankie Hughes 0.2 0.01 13 Min, 4 Pts (1-4 FG, 1-4 3PT, 1-2 FT), 1 Reb, 1 TO, 1 PF
Russell Woods 0.0 0.00 15 Min, 2 Pts (1-2 FG, 0-1 FT), 2 Reb (1 Off), 4 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
K.J. Walton 21% 45% 3.6 56% 19% 19% 6%
Kevin Puryear 21% 37% 1.4 0% 76% 24% 0%
Jordan Geist 18% 57% 2.0 46% 54% 0% 0%
Jordan Barnett 22% 20% 1.4 0% 85% 15% 0%
Reed Nikko 8% 27% 3.4 85% 15% 0% 0%
Terrence Phillips 24% 29% 2.7 34% 23% 25% 17%
Cullen VanLeer 19% 19% 1.2 0% 51% 18% 31%
Frankie Hughes 26% 22% 1.8 0% 59% 26% 15%
Russell Woods 9% 38% 0.7 0% 70% 30% 0%

I guess Jordan Barnett was due a bad game, especially since the Tide were the opponent.

  • Barnett vs. Bama: 2 games, 28.5 MPG, 6 PPG (31% FG)
  • Barnett vs. the rest of the SEC: 11 games, 28.4 MPG, 15.2 PPG (48% FG)

Alabama can play some damn defense, that’s for sure. The Tide are now 174th in Pomeroy’s offensive ratings and 18th on D. And they’ve figured out Barnett in a way that no team besides Florida can really boast.

In the end, this was a game defined by Mizzou’s stars struggling (Barnett and Phillips, plus Woods), but K.J. Walton was excellent — actually, he Barnett-like, with 12 points on 6 shots and a bunch of free throws — and the Tigers nearly pulled off the win anyway, in part because of a lack of negative contributions. Mizzou’s worst games have featured a few negative adjusted game scores. Obviously the Tigers needed more than they got from Woods (0.0), Cullen VanLeer (0.8), etc., but a lack of negative is a positive.

K.J. Walton’s last 6 games, by the way: 27.5 MPG, 11 PPG (44% 2PT, 43% 3PT, 61% FT), 5.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 1.2 APG. He still isn’t a great shooter, obviously, but he has responded quite well to getting the minutes he was deprived of in non-conference play.

The message, of course: You should always listen to fan clamoring. Ahem.

Your remaining KenPom win probabilities:

  • 10% at Tennessee
  • 7% vs. Kentucky
  • 16% at Ole Miss
  • 39% vs. Texas A&M
  • 18% at Auburn

There’s about a 2-to-1 chance that Mizzou wins another game in that stretch. But the odds of more than one win are not high. And there’s basically a 62% chance that the road losing streak continues into next season. My “schedule a season opener at Longwood next year” idea is a good one, I say.