Multiple things can be true here and we’re going to talk about a lot of them.
Missouri is not a good offensive basketball team. There are things they do well, and things they’ve gotten better about, and things they’ve changed in order to score with more efficiency. One of those things they haven’t been able to fix is shooting. They’re a bad shooting basketball team.
Now, they’re capable of having a good shooting night, and there are guys on the team who are better shooters than others. But in large part, our sample size over the last season’s 6+ games is big enough to know this: Mizzou is probably more likely to finish shooting 30% on the season from 3 as they are the 36% they shot two years ago.
But Missouri is going to have a lot of nights where they’re missing a lot of shots. It’s just who they are. It helps if that’s a night where you can get out in transition, or have Dru Smith manufacture some points. But every so often you have the perfect storm... Dru in foul trouble, everybody clanking outside shots, and very few transition opportunities. But you know what helps on those nights? When you win the game anyway.
- As hard as it is to put lipstick on this pig: we’re going to try. But a 27.8% eFG% is actually hilariously bad. It’s far more funny when the game is in the win column than with a loss, but that’s a hysterically bad number. In the two plus years since I’ve been running Study Hall, Mizzou has never had a number than low. They’ve been in the 30’s far more than I care to count, but 27.8% is the low point. But because I’m weird and curious and a nerd, I decided to see if I could find the last time Missouri shot below 30% eFG and thanks to barttorvik.com it was pretty easy to locate... Here is the game, it was 2015, at Rupp Arena. Mizzou did not win the game, and they still shot better than the Tigers did last night.
- So if you’re going to have your worst shooting night in six years: you might as well take care of the ball. Mizzou shot bad yes, but SOME shots went in, and they had seven more possessions with shots than Bradley. Missouri took care of the ball enough to get a high enough volume of shots to give them the slightest of edges overall. And HALF of those turnovers came from one guy!
- Not to be a complete parade of “here look at the Four Factors!”: BUT — Missouri has been a good free throw shooting team for the last few years. Mizzou made 19 FTs out of 26 attempts, and Bradley only attempted 10, making five. Being +14 from the line, and making 9 more than your opponent takes is a pretty good start. If you remove free throws, Missouri only scored 35 points, so they were pretty important. And Jeremiah Tilmon picked a good night to begin his progression to the mean, especially that last one.
Your Trifecta: Tilly, Mark, X
Man, rough night, lol.
Seriously, Mizzou’s best player is Dru Smith and they got a -0.2 Adjusted Game Score from him.
But if we’re going to talk about a guy, let’s talk about Tilmon. He’s caught a lot of flack from fans over the years, and I don’t think his career has quite gone like most imagined, but he’s also been a program guy, and taken a step out of the spotlight to let others shine on more than one or two occasions. Tilmon is, by all accounts, a good person, so it was really nice to see him get and finish the game tying basket, and then clinch the win at the free throw line. His free throws have been as much of an adventure this year as any, but Tilmon was 6-9 overall, and 5-7 in the second half. He’s also been terrific on the glass. So a double double on a night when nothing else seemed to be working was needed.
So let’s take a look at who was good on the Floor percenta.... OH GOD.
I don’t think you can count on going OH-Fer in the +40% range with the entire roster and think you’re going to live to tell the tale. But especially seeing such ugly numbers from guys you’re really used to being at least reliable. X? No. Dru? No. Mark? No. Kobe? No. Javon? No. Even Jeremiah was at just 37%.
This is like watching a horrific car wreck on Formula One, the kind where the car immediately bursts into a fireball, and then somehow the driver gets out of it alive.
Missouri drove their car into the wall, and got out of it with a win.
A more dire read on the contest might look at it as a harbinger. The Raven staring down the narrator from atop the doorway, signaling impending doom. The rose-colored goggles might look at the last time Mizzou was this bad as six years ago, so it’s certainly going to be another six before it happens again.
As usual, I come down somewhere in the middle. Missouri is who they are at this point. They’re not a great shooting team. Hell, they’re not even a good one. They’ve got one guy who can be mostly relied upon to knock down jumpers, and that’s Mark Smith. If Dru and Xavier Pinson are knocking down 3’s, they can be lethal. If Kobe Brown, Mitchell Smith, and Javon Pickett join in, they can be unbeatable. But those games are likely to be as big of an outlier as the game last night.
Against Tennessee, the Tigers are likely to face a team who’s as stingy defensively as Bradley, and a little more athletic. So they can’t roll out like they did tonight and expect to win... at all. But you already know that. The expectation is Missouri will probably not have many shooting nights like tonight the rest of the year.
Who they are at this point? They’re a tough basketball team. Missouri last year doesn’t win this game. Heck, it’s probably been about 9 or more years since a Mizzou team can overcome what they did tonight and still win. Winning is hard, and winning at a high level is even harder. I still think Missouri is probably closer to the 40th best team then the 10th best team. But if they finish the season 40th in Kenpom and win the SEC? Analytics be damned... win the games, that’s all that matters.
The league is wide open and we’re about to find out really quickly how much of a contender the Tigers really are. Just... if at all possible... don’t shoot this poorly again. It really wasn’t a lot of fun to watch. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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.