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Study Hall: When Mizzou won, they were a really good team

The data says Missouri played at nearly a top 30 level.

study hall 2020

I mentioned in last week’s Study Hall we were going to pursue a different view of the season. With so much unevenness, I wanted to see Mizzou in all its forms. So a five week experiment of looking into what version of the Tigers consisted of.

  1. Mizzou vs Everyone
  2. When Mizzou won
  3. When Mizzou lost
  4. Mizzou on a skid
  5. Mizzou recovers

So we’re here to talk about what kind of team Missouri was when they won games. So I added up the numbers based upon every win this season minus two games: Incarnate Word and Chicago State.

I wanted to throw those games out because they’re offensive outliers and would kind of skew the statistics in a way that wouldn’t be helpful. Both teams were in the bottom 8 for worst teams in the country last year, you can’t learn a lot from games against teams like that.

So we looked at:

  • vs 144 Northern Kentucky
  • vs 154 Wofford
  • vs 316 Morehead State
  • at 115 Temple
  • vs 178 Southern Illinois
  • vs 30 Illinois
  • vs 32 Florida
  • vs 96 Georgia
  • vs 47 Arkansas
  • vs 33 Auburn
  • vs 102 Ole Miss
  • at 169 Vanderbilt
  • vs 60 Alabama

Let’s jump in.

Team Stats

study hall 2020 mizzou wins
  • Adjusted Efficiency Margin is how KenPom ranks his teams. Whoever’s offensive and defensive efficiency has the biggest difference in margin will be ranked at the top. When Missouri won games, their efficiency margin was +0.18 points per possession. That EM was akin to 26th in KenPom this year right behind Butler. Obviously we haven’t deducted the losses from everyone in this experiment but I think it illustrates the point many of us realized. Mizzou was capable of being really good, just inconsistent. Good Mizzou was top 30, meaning bad Mizzou was WAY WORSE.
  • I’d also note a slightly quicker pace: They were a lot more likely to push the ball on misses and turnovers and being... aggressive. Aggressive in early clock offense is one of the things that seemed like it helped the Tigers boost things down the stretch.
  • Three-Point Shooting: is something which was obviously an achilles heel this year. But even with the line moving back, I don’t think we anticipated the shooting to tank like it did. Last year, Mizzou shot 36.3% from deep. This season they shot 29.9%, and in wins they shot 34.2%. Basically, the drop from last year to this year was expected to be about 1.2% or so, and had Mizzou dropped 2% for all their games, they’re probably a lot closer to the team we expected to see this year (through the whole season, just not in the wins).

Everything else improved in a mostly static way. When you shoot better, you hit another assist or two. The offensive rebounding was basically the same. Oddly enough, they still fouled a lot and sent the other team to the line for a bunch of free throws.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: Dru Smith, Xavier Pinson, Mark Smith

study hall 2020 mizzou wins

A slight variation on the seasonal trifecta. Xavier was 3rd in the season, and 2nd in wins. It makes some sense considering the role he played in the recovery of the team. But I found the shuffling really interesting.

We all know by watching the season unfold how valuable Dru Smith was. Pinson jumped in, Mark Smith was basically the same guy we expected in wins.

But Reed Nikko and Mitchell Smith... provided the same game score on the season as they did in wins. Nikko was 6.2 on the season, Smith was 6.1 overall. So he was slightly better in wins.

Tilmon was less important and had a worse Offensive Rating. But in 4th place was Javon Pickett. A lot was made of Javon this season in games Mizzou won. I think I tried to downplay it, but Javon providing more value probably speaks more to the Tigers’ need for consistency on the wing and to get some scoring in that position. Simply having a guy who could give you 9 points a game was important... go figure.

study hall 2020 mizzou wins

So good Mizzou featured a lot more guys hitting solid numbers. I’m stunned by this development.

Kidding obviously, but nearly every rotational player improved his Floor% by at least a few percentage points. But I think you can at least see the framework for an improvement next year. Get more of Xavier Pinson playing with a usage in the high 20s, and Floor percentage in the low 40s, along with consistent Dru Smith, and then all you need is one more consistent scorer and you’re in the NCAA tournament.

This is why you see Cuonzo Martin pursuing Justin Turner

Someone like Turner, or preferably Turner himself, could take a lot of offense pressure off other guys.

Seeing these numbers makes you realize the bones of the roster aren’t as bad as it felt at times this year. That is until we see what Mizzou looks like in their losses.

So was Mizzou figuring something out down the stretch they can apply next year? There’s a lot of data here which indicates it’s a hard maybe. With some improvement from Kobe Brown, and a healthy season from Mark Smith and Jeremiah Tilmon? Who knows?!

So we’ll return with another Study Hall next week... it’ll be bad news, but you know it’ll be so much fun!