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Study Hall: Auburn 88, Mizzou 82

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So many whistles.

study hall 2020

If I’d have told you that Missouri would finish the game with only 9 turnovers in an 80+ possession game I think you’d probably take that, right?

It’s going to be hard to walk through the stats and analysis of this game without referencing the officiating. Most of the time college basketball officiating is questionable even on good days. Last night it was way more than questionable. I’ll illustrate things with something I tweeted last night:

Sharife Cooper is pretty awesome, and he’s a bad matchup for everyone in the SEC. In the above mentioned stretch of play Cooper scored 17 points, including eight points from the free throw line. Missouri, meanwhile, scored 15 points, while Auburn as a whole scored 14 from the free throw line alone. Obviously, this was the big swing in the game. Missouri was called for 13 fouls, Auburn was called for 6, and Auburn basically flipped the score on Missouri.

Now I’m not here to insinuate every time Auburn scored from the free throw line or Missouri fouled it was a bad call. There were opportunities for Missouri around the rim and at the free throw line themselves; they just didn’t capitalize. But after digging themselves out of a big first half hole, Missouri looked like they were in control of the game. Then the fouls started racking up, and suddenly Auburn’s ability to cover themselves offensively at the free throw line was more than Mizzou’s cold shooting could overcome.

Team Stats

auburn study hall 2021
  • Strip out the fouls and Missouri largely did their job defensively: they held a good offensive team to 50% from 2FG, 28.6% from 3FG, and limited their offensive rebound opportunities. Missouri got exactly the defensive game, they wanted except they sent Auburn to the free throw line 44 times. Auburn had a RIDICULOUS 0.80 FTA to FGA ratio.
  • I really would have had a hard time imagining a game where Missouri wins the BCI battle: and still loses. My primary concern when facing a team like Auburn is Missouri’s ball security, and that was a non-concern.
  • Missouri has largely been around 1.2 points per shot on the season: and they could barely muster a full point per attempted shot. If it weren’t for their ball security, things would have been WAY uglier.

I think one thing I need to add in for next year is blocked shots. Because not having turnovers is great, but a blocked shot is equally bad. Missouri gets their shot blocked a lot— on the season they’re at about 12.4%. Against Auburn they had their shot blocked 14 times on 76 shot attempts. That’s 18.4%. Blocked shots are basically turnovers if the other team can gain control of the ball.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: Tilly, Dru, Javon

auburn study hall 2021

On the season: Jeremiah Tilmon 24 points, Xavier Pinson 16 points, Dru Smith 16 points, Mark Smith 13 points, Kobe Brown 4 points, Javon Pickett 3 points, Parker Braun 2 points

It’s kind of hard to celebrate anyone, considering how the night went. Jeremiah Tilmon was almost truly awesome... but he also missed a few easy buckets including a big slam, and missed 8 free throws. He also had several possessions early where he struggled against the double (and sometimes triple team) which led to turnovers.

Dru Smith was really good but was only 2 of 9 from 2FG. Xavier Pinson was 2 of 7 from 2FG. Mark Smith was 1 of 5 from 2FG. If you take out Tilmon, Missouri was just 14 of 37 from inside the arc... 37.8%. That’s bad... and even that includes 5 of 8 from Javon Pickett (who actually had a good day). Without Pickett it’s just 9 of 29.

Missouri hasn’t been a good shooting team all year, but they were about their season average at an ugly 28.1%. So it wasn’t the outside shooting that did them in. It was an inability to finish shots inside the arc which they’ve largely made all year. That and the fouling.

auburn study hall 2021

Clearly, the answer was they needed to play Jordan Wilmore more minutes, right?

I’ve also been critical of Braun’s defense as a reason why he doesn’t play, but I kind think this is the kind of game where you might be able to get away with his defensive issues. He struggles against physical post players and Auburn really isn’t that... they’re athletic as hell, but not supremely physical. But Zo went with Wilmore and he’s a liability in pick and roll defense right now.

So I don’t think there’s any real reason to freak out or panic about this game. Auburn is a vastly better team with Cooper in the lineup than without, and losing at Auburn is a Quad 1 loss. Missouri played bad, fought the officials, and still only lost by 6 points. Xavier Pinson fouled out, Mark Smith fouled out, Dru Smith fouled out... it wasn’t a great night and they still had a chance to win the game. One or two possessions go the other way and Missouri might have pulled this game out.

Should they have won? Probably. I think this is a game Mizzou can win more times than not, but probably not like 8 out of 10, but more like 6 out of 10.

When things go awry like they did, it’s best if you move on quickly and they’ll have another opportunity to get back on the right track on Saturday.


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.