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Against any team with a pulse, Missouri is down 10 at the opening tip

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Yeah, Missouri really, really, REALLY needs to beat Auburn on Saturday.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Your Trifecta: Puryear-Wright-Clark

Your Season Totals: Puryear 19, Phillips 14, Gant 10, Wright 9, Clark 9, VanLeer 7, Walton 6, Isabell 5, Woods 5. Freshmen 46, sophomores 24, juniors 14, seniors 0.

Here's where templates come in handy. My first instinct in writing this post was to just say "I hate reruns" and hit publish or, as Sam suggested last night, post last year's "Georgia blows out Mizzou" Study Hall piece and see if anyone notices. But the stats and built-in bullets set the table and help to draw me out of whatever cynical funk I want to be in. So let's talk about this game ... at least a little bit. Like it or not. We'll hold hands and jump in together.

Georgia 77, Missouri 59

Mizzou
Georgia
Pace (No. of Possessions) 67.0
Points Per Possession (PPP) 0.88 1.15
Points Per Shot (PPS) 1.07 1.45
2-PT FG% 44.4% 52.9%
3-PT FG% 15.8% 57.9%
FT% 78.3% 80.0%
True Shooting % 45.3% 67.1%
FTA/FGA 41.8% 18.9%
Mizzou Georgia
Assists 9 19
Steals 6 3
Turnovers 9 16
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.67 1.38
Mizzou Georgia
Expected Offensive Rebounds 13.4 8.8
Offensive Rebounds 9 6
Difference -4.4 -2.8

Heading into Wednesday's game, here's what we knew about Georgia: the Bulldogs turn the ball over like crazy and don't force many turnovers, they don't shoot particularly well but make sure their opponents don't either, they're not much of a presence on the glass, and they both get to the line and send you to the line. It was a mix of strengths and weaknesses.

Georgia is a pretty good team but not a great one, and if Missouri was able to break even on the glass (not quite, but not bad) and win the ball-handling battle (check), the game would be decided by who was able to generate a hot hand.

Inside the arc, Missouri did pretty well for a while. The Tigers actually had a higher 2PT% in the first half than Georgia did, plus Mizzou was the team getting to the line (23 free throw attempts), not the Dawgs (10). At the end of the game, Mizzou had generated 50 points on 2s and FTs, and Georgia had generated 44. So then it was a game decided by 3-point shooting.

Mizzou shot 3-for-19 from 3-point range. Wes Clark went 2-for-7, and everybody else went 1-for-12.

Georgia shot 11-for-19 from 3-point range. Blowout city.

Mizzou's defense is in an interesting spot right now. With a size disadvantage, a lot of Kim Anderson's efforts are geared around pushing teams out of the paint and keeping them on the perimeter. That shows up in the numbers -- Mizzou is a lovely 32nd in 2PT% allowed. Considering the Tigers are playing a lot of a given game with a 6'7 power forward (Kevin Puryear) and a 225-pound center (Russell Woods), that's not bad.

But once opponents are on the perimeter, it's bombs away. Mizzou is struggling no matter how you define 3-point defense -- the Tigers are 209th in 3PT% allowed (35.1%) and 255th in 3PA/FGA (37.4%). You can get away with being a small team if you're good at being small. Mizzou's 2011-12 team, further in the rearview each year, was proof of that. But this team is actually sneaky-decent at minimizing how well teams take advantage of their lack of size ... and horrific at beating teams with guard play. It's interesting, at the very least.

Mizzou Player Stats

(Definitions at the bottom of the post.)

Player
AdjGS GmSc/Min Line
Kevin Puryear 25.0 0.93 27 Min, 19 Pts (5-9 FG, 0-1 3PT, 9-10 FT), 3 Reb (1 Off), 1 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF
Namon Wright 8.8 0.35 25 Min, 9 Pts (3-9 FG, 0-4 3PT, 3-4 FT), 3 Reb (2 Off), 2 Ast, 1 TO, 1 PF
Wes Clark 6.9 0.25 28 Min, 13 Pts (5-15 FG, 2-7 3PT, 1-2 FT), 1 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 TO
Ryan Rosburg 6.3 0.45 14 Min, 4 Pts (1-2 FG, 2-3 FT), 5 Reb (1 Off), 1 Stl, 1 TO, 2 PF
D'Angelo Allen 4.4 0.63 7 Min, 2 Pts (1-1 FG), 1 Reb, 1 Stl, 1 PF
Terrence Phillips 4.1 0.18 23 Min, 2 Pts (0-3 FG, 0-3 3PT, 2-2 FT), 2 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO, 4 PF
Jakeenan Gant 1.7 0.07 25 Min, 5 Pts (2-6 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1-2 FT), 6 Reb (2 Off), 2 TO, 2 PF
Tramaine Isabell 1.5 0.10 16 Min, 2 Pts (1-4 FG), 2 Reb, 1 Ast
Cullen VanLeer 1.0 0.13 8 Min, 3 Pts (1-4 FG, 1-3 3PT)
K.J. Walton -0.2 -0.01 19 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG), 2 Reb (1 Off), 1 PF
Russell Woods -2.7 -0.34 8 Min, 0 Pts (0-1 FG), 1 Reb (1 Off), 4 PF
Player Usage% Floor% Touches/
Poss.
%Pass %Shoot %Fouled %T/O
Kevin Puryear 29% 49% 2.2 0% 48% 47% 5%
Namon Wright 25% 36% 3.2 47% 36% 14% 4%
Wes Clark 36% 27% 2.9 23% 59% 7% 12%
Ryan Rosburg 17% 36% 1.3 0% 36% 47% 18%
D'Angelo Allen 8% 100% 0.4 0% 100% 0% 0%
Terrence Phillips 11% 37% 4.8 84% 9% 5% 3%
Jakeenan Gant 19% 24% 1.2 0% 62% 18% 21%
Tramaine Isabell 13% 29% 1.9 60% 40% 0% 0%
Cullen VanLeer 27% 22% 1.6 0% 100% 0% 0%
K.J. Walton 3% 0% 0.2 0% 100% 0% 0%
Russell Woods 7% 0% 0.4 0% 100% 0% 0%
  • This was an encouraging game for Kevin Puryear. He didn't do much to fill the box score outside of scoring points, but ... well, he scored points. Nineteen of them on just nine field goal attempts. In five other games against top-100 competition, he had averaged just 8.6 points per game. This was a nice step forward for him.
  • Good news: Namon Wright is now 8-for-13 on 2-pointers in his last three games after going 2-for-15 in the previous four games), and he continues to provide a decent contribution when it comes to rebounding and passing.
  • Bad news: Namon is now 3-for-20 from 3-point range over the last month. He went 5-for-10 against Arkansas State and NIU, and he's been a 15% shooter ever since. If the opponent is getting looks and making them, Namon has to do the same.
  • Obviously 13 points on 15 shots isn't good, nor is one assist to three turnovers. But to say the least, I'm willing to overlook Wes Clark's deficiencies in this one. He was getting almost no help on the perimeter.
  • D'Angelo Allen played seven minutes, scored two points, and almost made the Trifecta. That's all I've got to say about the rest of the Tigers' output.

Summary

So ... Saturday's game is enormous.

Mizzou's projected conference record (via Pomeroy) slipped from 5-13 to 4-14 following this awful loss, and it's not hard to see why. Never mind the road losing streak, here's the streak that is currently the most telling: Mizzou has now played seven teams ranked in Pomeroy's top 120, and the Tigers have fallen behind by at least 15 against all seven. It usually happens quickly, too, like they're down 10 points when the game tips off.

Even a bad team will rip off a comeback in a couple of those games (as Mizzou did against Northwestern and Illinois) and might even win one at some point (as Mizzou has not done yet), but the Tigers' inability to avoid getting swamped from the very start of the game is quite obviously massively discouraging.

Auburn isn't a top-120 team, though. Bruce Pearl's team is almost as bad as Missouri (153rd to Missouri's 172nd) and is easily the worst team remaining on the schedule.

Mizzou is given a 61% chance of winning this game. Hopefully they do because a) winning is fun, and b) if you lose this one, you really have to worry about going 2-16 or worse in conference play. And I don't care who you are or what your alma mater is or what you inherited ... a 2-16 conference record would mean 9-22 overall, and if you win single digits for two consecutive years, you do not ... CANNOT ... get a third year in charge. The odds are still against things getting that bad for this team. But the odds change a decent amount if you lose at home to Auburn.

---

AdjGS: a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds. It takes points, assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls into account to determine an individual's "score" for a given game. The "adjustment" in Adjusted Game Score is simply matching the total game scores to the total points scored in the game, thereby redistributing the game's points scored to those who had the biggest impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.

Usage%: This "estimates the % of team possessions a player consumes while on the floor" (via). The usage of those possessions is determined via a formula using field goal and free throw attempts, offensive rebounds, assists and turnovers. The higher the number, the more prevalent a player is (good or bad) in a team's offensive outcome.

Floor%: Via Basketball-Reference.com: Floor % answers the question, "when Player X uses a possession, what is the probability that his team scores at least 1 point?". The higher the Floor%, the more frequently the team probably scores when the given player is involved.

Touches/Possession: Using field goal attempts, free throw attempts, assists and turnovers, Touches attempt to estimate "the number of times a player touched the ball in an attacking position on the floor." Take the estimated touches and divide it by the estimated number of possessions for which a player was on the court, and you get a rough idea of how many times a player touched the ball in a given possession. For point guards, you'll see the number in the 3-4 range. For shooting guards and wings, 2-3. For an offensively limited center, 1.30. You get the idea.

Anyway, using the Touches figure, we can estimate the percentage of time a player "in an attacking position" passes, shoots, turns the ball over, or gets fouled.