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Study Hall: Mizzou 73, Tennessee 64

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My goodness, X.

study hall 2020

If you were wondering what it looks like when you flip the script on an ugly 20-point home loss, this was pretty much it.

Mizzou went on the road, faced a top 10 opponent, and led the game from wire to wire. The Tigers were up 12 before Tennessee even realized a game was happening, and despite waking up and cutting the lead all the way to three multiple times, they were always at arms length. Tennessee managed one 8-0 run in the first half, but in the second half the most the Vols could gather together was a 5-0 run. That was snuffed out by a Xavier Pinson jumper.

Martin trimmed his rotation to eight, and rode Pinson and Dru Smith hard, with the Vol defense swarming around Jeremiah Tilmon. With the rotation tight, and the pace moderate, a proud Tennessee defense was victimized by a renewed Xavier Pinson. So let’s see how it played out... you know... statistically.

Team Stats

tennessee study hall 2021
  • One way where eFG% can be misleading: is when ball-handling comes in. Tennessee shot the ball well actually... but they had a 27.4% turnover rate, leading to a -7 deficit in possessions to Missouri. It’s how you go from a higher eFG%, a better PPS, and still lose by 9 at home.
  • So while UT was awful with the ball, Missouri was quite good: it’s kind of funny how Missouri seems either plagued by turnovers or they’re tight with the ball. They had 11 turnovers and five of those were by Pinson.
  • One place where UT clearly impacted the Tigers’ play is in their 2-pt defense: Yves Pons is a ridiculous shot blocker, and you could see Missouri was aware of that fact whenever they attacked the rim. Mizzou has shot well from 2FG this season, but that dipped by 11% against Tennessee. The reason they survived was a +13% jump in their 3-point shooting on the season.

So a 29% shooting team shot 18% in the first game and 42% in the second. Weird that over 138 possessions of basketball against Tennessee and Missouri basically shot their season average.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: X, Dru, Kobe

tennessee study hall 2021

On the season: Jeremiah Tilmon 21 points, Xavier Pinson 16 points, Dru Smith 14 points, Mark Smith 13 points, Kobe Brown 4 points, Javon Pickett 2 points, Parker Braun 2 points

It sorta felt as though Pinson had settled on a level of consistency so far this season. He still flashed against Oregon and Arkansas, but mostly he was being a little more selective. But against Mississippi State he struggled in the second half, and he was downright bad against both Texas A&M and South Carolina. But whatever Cuonzo Martin and Pinson talked about between those games worked. Pinson was unstoppable. He is still prone to excess at times, evidenced by his 5 turnovers... but he was able to get to the rim at will, and had his jumper working. And when Pinson has his jumper working, he’s lethal to have to defend.

Also a great night for Kobe Brown, who was bad in the first meeting. He didn’t have to do what X did, but he made a three, made his free throws and crashed the glass. Brown finished with three offensive rebounds, but he had two huge offensive boards. His three pointer took an 8 point lead to 11, his steal and free throws took an 11 point lead to 13. Brown played a really good game.

tennessee study hall 2021

You don’t normally see an easy win over a top 10 team involve a pretty rocky offensive performance. But that’s just how good Pinson was last night. His 36% usage was high, but awesome when his Floor% was over 50%.

Outside of Pinson though, Dru Smith made enough shots and didn’t turn the ball over, and Jeremiah Tilmon just drew so much attention it was enough. Missouri didn’t play their best game (credit to the Vols defense for a lot of that) but they still kept an easy distance from a good team on the road thanks to timely playmaking and an early run where the Vols couldn’t hang onto the ball. The perfect recipe for a road win.

More than anything, this felt like a statement for Cuonzo Martin. In 2014 he was run out of Knoxville, and despite cleaning up Bruce Pearl’s NCAA mess and taking his team to a Sweet 16, the Volunteer faithful created an online petition to get him fired... mostly for not being Bruce Pearl.

Since then Martin has been a traveled man, going to Cal and then finding his way to Missouri where he’s endured a lot of setbacks on the court. Finally Martin’s team is healthy, and it’s healthy in a year where one of the most important roster factors is continuity and experience. Two things Missouri has in abundance.

Missouri isn’t the best team in the SEC, and they’re a long ways from the most talented team. In fact, Tennessee is much more talented. But Missouri knows who they are more than anyone else in the league. It’s helped them to a 10-2 start, and a top 20 ranking. There’s still a long way to go, and surely the Tigers are going to lose again, but right now this is a confident team. A confident ranked team with more Quad 1 wins than anyone in the country other than Gonzaga.

Still a long ways to go, and up next is a fun Auburn team who is playing at a new level since adding Sharife Cooper.

Here are the rest of the results in the SEC

  • 18. Alabama 81, Mississippi State 73
  • Auburn 109, South Carolina 86
  • Arkansas 92, Vanderbilt 71
  • Florida 92, Georgia 84
  • Ole Miss 61, Texas A&M 50
  • Kentucky 82, LSU 69

And the SEC Standings

  1. Alabama 8-0
  2. Missouri 4-2
  3. Florida 5-3
  4. LSU 5-3
  5. Tennessee 4-3
  6. Kentucky 4-3
  7. Arkansas 4-4
  8. Mississippi State 4-4
  9. Ole Miss 3-4
  10. Auburn 3-5
  11. Georgia 2-5
  12. Texas A&M 2-5
  13. South Carolina 1-3
  14. Vanderbilt 0-5

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.