I’ve made no bones about how much I didn’t want this game to be played. At this point, I feel most everyone knows how I feel about that rotten “University” located in Lynchburg, VA. So as I hate watched the first half, angrily mumbling under my breath with each missed shot or turnover, it was difficult to look past the simple mistakes Missouri was making in letting a lesser team hang around. Mainly, if Missouri wasn’t winning by 30 or more I was probably going to be grumpy, so I apologize for over-gif’ing on Rock M twitter last night.
But even through the sloppy play, Mizzou managed to head into the locker room at halftime only down 4 points. That deficit was a lot less concerning than the 11 point deficit they faced after another opponent 3 went in.
But with a few adjustments, or what really looked like some reminders from the staff of what they were trying to accomplish in the pregame scout, Mizzou came out and slowly worked control back in their hands. Then they used a 16-4 run over 9 minutes of play to get the separation they needed. That long of a period was clearly a defensive struggle, and the pace still largely favored the other team, but they found enough that worked to get their lead, and put that other team away for good.
- Despite the awful first 20 minutes, the numbers returned to a place we’re more familiar with: On the season, Mizzou’s eFG% is 56.1%, which is where they landed last night. They’re shooting just 32.6% from deep, and they finished at 31.3%. 60.9% from 2FG on the season? Let’s land on 60.6%. How’d they get there? By shooting more FTs than they have so far this year, and shooting fewer 3’s. After 9 3-point attempts in the first half, they took only 7 in the second half.
- We kinda poked the bear a bit on Mizzou’s rebounding: So seeing the +6.3 is nice, but let’s be honest... everyone else noticed Mizzou’s opponent sprinting back towards the defensive end after an attempted shot, right? It’s nice to see them back ahead in the rebounding war, but for this game we can consider it a moot point.
It’s pretty clear the issues early were with turnovers and three point shooting. 30 first half possessions, 10 turnovers, 8 missed three point shots. On the 12 other possessions? Mizzou had 8 made field goals. There were also enough defensive lapses for a good three point shooting opponent to cash in. They were 6/15 from 2FG, 5/12 from 3FG, but only 3 turnovers. So Mizzou wasn’t getting enough shots, or getting enough good shots, and they were making life pretty tough inside the arc for their opponent. Just a few extra possessions of open looks from deep made the difference.
Until the second half.
Your Trifecta: Mark, Tilly, Dru
Man, if Jeremiah Tilmon could get his free throw shooting back on track, he could be even more of a monster than he’s been so far. As a sophomore he was at 68%, last year 62%, so while he’s clearly never been a great free throw shooter, he’s certainly been better than the 26.7% clip he’s currently shooting. Other than the free throws, Tilmon has been pretty terrific so far. He’s shooting 68% from the floor, and is rebounding like we’ve always wanted him to.
The Smith and Smith backcourt continues to do good things. After a nearly brutal first half, Mark Smith was awesome in the second half. Locked down on defense, and he scored 12 points, including being a perfect 3-3 from deep.
I’m hoping Xavier Pinson is saving this for the Illinois game, because he hasn’t been great the last few games. His usage is currently 5TH in the country, and his ORtg has actually gotten lower from a year ago. He’s at just a 92.0 ORtg, which is far too low for a guy with using up 30+% of your possessions.
X has also gotten off to a very rough start shooting the ball. He’s up around the rim, but he’s fallen off an even rough percentage from last year. And being 0-10 the last two games isn’t helping. I think we all still believe in what X is capable of, but if he really wants to be the guy for Mizzou, he needs to decrease the turnovers and make a few more threes.
If you follow Matt on twitter, you’ve already seen the lineup data, but it kind of tells us a trend:
LINEUPS | The best groupings tended to have Buggs and Mark Smith on the floor, while Dru and X were mixed evenly. Mitchell Smith worked his way into the mix as a stopper, while playing some small-ball five to spell Tilmon. pic.twitter.com/Mo9zyj7JHp— Matt Harris (@MattJHarris85) December 10, 2020
Mizzou has stuck with its starting lineup, but aside from his play against Wichita State, Kobe is actually playing fewer minutes than Mitchell Smith. The third Smith has been as important of a piece as anyone, and it showed last night. He was +10 in the first half alone, and while +/- isn’t always reliable, he was about the only guy who was in the positive (Drew Buggs was +2, Mark Smith was +2, Parker Braun was even).
We’re starting to see a tightened rotation. Javon Pickett is used for fewer minutes than the last two years, and Cuonzo Martin is being rewarded with more consistent play from the Junior.
Last night we got a bit of a scare in the first half, but then the team we’ve seen for much of this young season stepped up and quickly dissolved the hopes of what might be the best team in the A-SUN conference. You aren’t going to play perfect every night, but you want to win as much as possible when you don’t play your best. Last night was an opportunity to get away with that, and they did. Sure, I’d have preferred a 50 point win just to prove a point. I might’ve even traded a win over Illinois for a that kind of win, but a win is a win is a win.
On to Illinois.
True Shooting Percentage (TS%): Quite simply, this calculates a player’s shooting percentage while taking into account 2FG%, 3FG%, and FT%. The formula is Total Points / 2 * (FGA + (0.475+FTA)). The 0.475 is a Free Throw modifier. KenPomeroy and other College Basketball sites typically use 0.475, while the NBA typically uses 0.44. That’s basically what TS% is. A measure of scoring efficiency based on the number of points scored over the number of possessions in which they attempted to score, more here.
Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%): This is similar to TS%, but takes 3-point shooting more into account. The formula is FGM + (0.5 * 3PM) / FGA
So think of TS% as scoring efficiency, and eFG% as shooting efficiency, more here.
Expected Offensive Rebounds: Measured based upon the average rebounds a college basketball team gets on both the defensive and offensive end. This takes the overall number of missed shots (or shots available to be rebounded) and divides them by the number of offensive rebounds and compares them with the statistical average.
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.
Offensive Rating (ORtg): Similar to Adjusted game score, but this looks at how many points per possession a player would score if they were averaged over 100 possessions.
Usage%: This “estimates the % of team possessions a player consumes while on the floor” (via sports-reference.com/cbb). 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 sports-reference.com/cbb: Floor % answers the question, “When a Player 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.