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Study Hall: Mizzou 77, Arkansas 67

When Good Jontay shows up, Missouri is almost impossible to beat. We’ve said that a lot this season, and he keeps proving it right.

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

Don’t touch him yet, NBA. Give Mizzou fans one more year with him, sports god. GIve him a year in the weight room, a year to prepare for being the man and delivering big numbers (almost) every night. That’s all I ask. Don’t take Jontay Porter away from me just yet. You took Michael Jr. away almost immediately — you owe us this.

Offensive Rating (ORtg) is a measure invented by Dean Oliver and shared on Ken Pomeroy’s team profile pages. A player’s ORtg is his points produced per 100 possessions; like the Adjusted Game Score figure I’ve been using forever, it takes into account both your stats and your team’s and raids the entire box score for context — “points produced” doesn’t mean “points scored,” in other words. It’s everything.

When Jontay Porter produces an ORtg of at least 100, Missouri is 16-3. (And never mind the fancy stats — Mizzou is 15-1 when he simply scores in double digits, no matter the efficiency level.)

The Tigers did still lose to Ole Miss (his ORtg: 126), Florida (153), and WVU (166) despite Good Jontay appearances, but that’s it. When Good Jontay shows up, Missouri is almost guaranteed to win.

When Porter produces an ORtg below 100, Missouri is 4-8. The four wins were against UCF, Miami (Ohio), Mississippi State, and Texas A&M. Against Miami, Kevin Puryear had his best game of the year, scoring 20 points with a 182 ORtg. In the other three games, Kassius Robertson averaged 19 points and an ORtg of 135.

When Jontay isn’t on, Mizzou needs someone else to be spectacular to have a chance. And when he is on, only shoddy ball-handling can stand in the way of a Missouri win.

Jontay’s been very much on in the last two ballgames. Exactly what you want to see heading into the postseason.

Team Stats

Boy, if these stats don’t scream “generic Mizzou win,” I don’t know what does. Mizzou outshot Arkansas, drew more fouls (which, granted, isn’t the hardest thing in the world to do against a Mike Anderson team on the road), and handled its business on the glass.

The Tigers handily controlled three of the Four Factors, but things got dicey for a little while because of the fourth: ball-handling. 2017-18 in a nutshell.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: Porter-Barnett-Tilmon

Mizzou has somewhere between two and 10 games remaining this season. And now Cuonzo Martin and the Tigers must find a way to replace more lost minutes. Cullen VanLeer played 14.3 minutes per game and scored only 1.9 points per game. On its face, that shouldn’t be difficult production to replace, but you still have to have the guys to do it.

VanLeer’s torn ACL means he’s done for the season, and others have to take on those 14 wing minutes. It can’t be Kassius Robertson, who’s already played a staggering 37.7 minutes per game in conference play, or Jordan Barnett, who’s averaged 35.7. It can’t really be Jordan Geist either — he’s averaged 33.5 per game over the last eight contests.

So who is it, then? Where does Martin turn? Geist will almost certainly take on another three to six minutes, but do you give Brett Rau a run? He’s put in minutes in three of the last five games (total minutes: nine) because of Missouri’s other pressing need (point guard), so maybe Martin trusts him enough to hand him four or five of those minutes?

I’m being slightly obtuse here, obviously. The first choice for these minutes (and more) is easy: Michael Porter Jr. But while rumor has it he wants to play in the SEC Tournament, he’s been on the brink of playing for a while but hasn’t. Maybe this time the rumors are true. But until we officially see his name in the lineup, it’s impossible to assume it will happen. And if it doesn’t happen, I’m curious where CVL’s minutes go.

FLOOR CHECK: When Mizzou has at least three guys with a Floor% (the percentage of your possessions that result in points) of 40 percent or higher, the Tigers win. They only managed two this time — I’m pretty surprised Tilmon didn’t hit the mark, though he barely missed — but made up for it with both of those guys hitting 51 percent or above.