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Study Hall: Mizzou 102, TCU 98

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Just as everyone predicted, a high scoring shootout.

study hall 2020

Heading into this game, I was planning on being relatively unimpressed by what I watched. Two defensive minded coaches going head to head. Jamie Dixon’s teams are known for playing a slow pace, defending hard, and working the ball on offense to get a good shot. Cuonzo Martin’s rebirth this season as a coach comfortable pushing pace is still like wearing a new pair of dress shoes, prone to causing a blister before they’ve broken in.

Even in pushing the pace at times this year, Martin’s teams still struggle offensively because of a lack of consistent shooting, while TCU has been plagued with turnovers and missed shots this season. But neither team looked at all like you’d expect as the points just poured in all game long.

Consider the Horned Frogs’ previous four games where they scored 64, 49, 46, and 51 points against KU (twice), Baylor and Oklahoma. Granted, all of those teams are ranked and making the NCAA tournament this year, and Baylor is the #1 ranked team in Defensive Efficiency. Kansas is 10th, and Oklahoma is 26th. Coming into the game, Missouri was 29th... until yesterday.

So what unraveled during gameplay is always possible, just as any outcome is statistically possible... but it was certainly unlikely. So if you’d have said Missouri would win by four points, I’d have guessed something like 64-60, with possessions in the low 60s and mostly inefficient shooting. But here’s what actually happened...

Team Stats

study hall tcu 2021
  • Before the game, if you’d have shown me Missouri’s shooting numbers I’d have been convinced they would have won by at least 15 points. 63.2% from 2FG on 38 shots, 47.8% from 3FG on 23 shots, 66.4% eFG... just a shooting clinic, really. The only problem is I don’t think you get to play in a vacuum and the other team gets to try also. TCU was very nearly as good and attempted 10 more FGs than the Tigers, which shaved the margin a bit despite a difference in FTA.
  • One of the things which helped (both teams) in their offensive efficiency is the turnovers. TCU has a 20.6% turnover rate on the season and cut that in half against Missouri. In a game when the ball was clearly going through the hoop, adding extra possessions (for TCU they’d have likely had 16 TOs, for Missouri 15) will generate more points. So take off 5 points for Missouri, for TCU it would’ve been 10 points. And the pregame expected score was a 9 point Missouri win.
  • Missouri won the expected rebound battle: but let’s look a little deeper. The Tigers were +2 in raw offensive rebounds in overtime. Kobe Brown had two offensive rebounds in the last few minutes, so this was a battle Mizzou was about to lose until Brown showed up late and helped Mizzou force overtime.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: X, Tilly, Kobe

study hall tcu 2021

On the season: Jeremiah Tilmon 26 points, Xavier Pinson 19 points, Dru Smith 16 points, Mark Smith 13 points, Kobe Brown 5 points, Javon Pickett 3 points, Parker Braun 2 points

Post game Cuonzo Martin called Kobe Brown the MVP, and you have to give him a lot of credit here. He got the rebound and passed the ball to an open Xavier Pinson who tied the game on a 3-pointer. He tipped a pass and recovered the ball in what ended up being TCUs last real chance to tie the game. 13 rebounds and probably the game’s most important assist will get you some notice. But one thing that was also surprising is he was so important this game and he only took 3 shots.

I’m not sure how much more we can gush about Jeremiah Tilmon at this point. He’s doing everything you want. He’s scoring around the rim, he’s rebounding, he’s blocking shots, and he’s staying in games. He’s also struggling from the free throw line. After shooting 68% as a sophomore, and even making 7 of 10 against Arkansas, He’s 13 of his last 32. I don’t think anyone is looking for Tilly to be Steph Curry at the free throw line, but if he could return back into the 60% range it would go a long ways towards preventing any late game shenanigans when it comes to fouling strategy.

Here are Xavier Pinson’s stat lines since conference play started:

  • vs Tennessee: 22 min, 11 points, 2 TO, 2 PF, 86 ORtg, 7.8 GameScore
  • at Arkansas: 32 min, 23 points, 2 TO, 4 AST, 128 ORtg, 27.8 GameScore
  • at Miss State: 28 min, 13 points, 2 TO, 8 AST, 96 ORtg, 12.5 GameScore
  • at Texas A&M: 19 min, 7 points, 4 TO, 1 PF, 72 ORtg, 1.2 GameScore
  • vs South Carolina: 19 min, 2 points, 5 TO, 2 PF, 40 ORtg, -5.7 GameScore
  • at Tennessee: 30 min, 27 points, 5 TO, 2 AST, 128 ORtg, 27.7 GameScore
  • at Auburn: 23 min, 7 points, 3 TO, 4 AST, 5 PF, 64 ORtg, 0.1 GameScore
  • vs TCU: 33 min, 36 points, 2 TO, 4 AST, 150 ORtg, 33.5 GameScore

Missouri is 5-3 in these games. Pinson saved them against Arkansas and TCU, was awesome at Tennessee, and went missing against South Carolina, Texas A&M, Tennessee (home), and Auburn. He had foul issues at Mississippi State, which may have cost Mizzou that second half offensive momentum. I say all this to proclaim that X is great, but he’s really inconsistent. I don’t think you expect him to go off for 36 points and 8 threes every game, but less of the disappearing acts would be nice.

study hall tcu 2021

The old adage of needing four players with a floor% over 40% stays true here. Pinson and Tilmon both had usage rates near 40%, and Floor% near 50%. That’s efficient.

The story of this game came down to TCU having basically no way to prevent Missouri from scoring. Pinson and Tilmon accounted for roughly 47 possessions combined, or 60% of Mizzou’s 78 overall. Those 47 possessions netted 69 points, or 1.46 points per possession. That’s just ridiculous. Thankfully TCU had no answer for Tilmon or Pinson’s offense, because Missouri found themselves sloppily defending a red hot shooting club.

For TCU’s first basket, Chuck O’Bannon banked a 17 foot jump shot in from just left of center. I should’ve known at that point it was going to be a weird game. The second half featured a 16-6 run and it just felt like things were unraveling for the Tigers. They were now down 12 with just 4:40 to play, and while they seemed able to score the ball with ease, they had no answer for the Horned Frogs offense. But Jamie Dixon seemed to take the air out of the ball, thinking they could just bleed the clock. It backfired and Missouri finished on a 19-7 run highlighted by FOUR Tigers three point shots.

College Basketball this season is weird, and it’s not getting any less weird. Missouri’s won two games they needed dramatic comebacks to win. Being down 8 with 3:44 to go against Bradley, and 12 with 4:40 to go against TCU. If you can win on a night where it doesn’t feel like you should, you’re ahead of the game.

Up next is Kentucky, if the Wildcats are able to play (they had to cancel their game against Texas due to COVID). Let’s keep this train rolling!

Other SEC Scores:

  • 2. Baylor 84, Auburn 72
  • 24. Oklahoma 66, 9. Alabama 61
  • 10. Texas Tech 76, LSU 71
  • Florida 85, 11. West Virginia 80
  • 18. Tennessee 80, 15. Kansas 61
  • Texas A&M 68, Kansas State 61
  • Georgia 71, Ole Miss 61
  • Mississippi State 95, Iowa State 56
  • Vanderbilt 93, South Carolina 81
  • Texas vs Kentucky, PPD

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.