Basketball is back, basketball is back, basketball is back. I, for one, could not be happier about that fact. And not only was basketball back, but we had a real crowd at the game and the students showed up! Look at the students!
Now as for the rest of the crowd... ehhhhhhh. (Editor’s Note: I was there)
But kudos to the students for showing up, and they saw... ** checks notes ** ... a great 10 minutes of basketball.
If you needed convincing that Missouri was going to be a work in progress for much of the season you saw evidence in the other 30 minutes of basketball. They scratched, and clawed, and found a way to hold off a Central Michigan team who seemed to be figuring things out as much as the Tigers were.
But one thing I’ve said for a while about this team, my mind wasn’t going to be made up after one game. They need a lot of work, and with as many new pieces as there are, and 3 of those pieces sitting out for various reasons, it wasn’t surprising to see a team be a little hot and cold.
- Paaaaacccceeeeee: When Missouri was out and running, they were attacking the rim and getting easier looks. CMU switched up their approach in the second half and lulled the game into a slog which benefitted the underdogs. 69 possessions is nice and all, but for this team to be where they want they need to be over 70, and probably closer to 75. The half court offense just was too stagnant when it got later into the shot clock.
- Second chances had a little impact: Missouri missed 34 shots, and got 16 offensive rebounds. They probably aren’t going to average a 43% offensive rebound percentage on the year, but it’ll help your points per possession if you can get multiple attempts in each draw.
- Kinda thought this was interesting: and maybe it’s an outlier in an early part of the season. But considering Missouri doesn’t have a traditional point guard, they really didn’t turn the ball over. 7 in the first half (and four in the stretch between 16:55 and 14:18), and just five in the second half. If this team can limit turnovers it’ll go a long way towards making their offense work. Because the offense needs a little work.
Your Trifecta: Javon Pickett, Jarron Coleman, Ronnie DeGray III
If you watched the game you probably could have predicted the box. Missouri gave Brookshire and Durugordon longer looks in the first half, but as the defenses shifted, and the score got tighter, Cuonzo shortened his bench. It felt like the vets were ready and they responded.
Javon Pickett did everything you could’ve asked him to do. He played with energy, he played with enthusiasm, and he played within himself. I’m not sure if you want Pickett taking 14 shots deep into the conference season, but... as a team who is still figuring most of everything about themselves... you want your leaders taking control early when they need to. He was exactly who Missouri needed last night.
Amari Davis certainly looked the part of what you expected. He was a willing three point shot taker and looked at home attacking the rim in transition. Boogie Coleman took 7 of his 8 shots from behind the arc, which isn’t ideal, but if he’s going to make 4 of 7 threes per game the rest of the year I’m ok with that number. Kobe Brown didn’t have the breakout he might’ve been hoping for, but he did what we’re accustomed to from him. He rebounded and showed a nice floor game, and if not for the four turnovers it would’ve been a really nice night.
But this is a Ronnie DeGray III fan site now. DeGray was terrific. His awareness on the floor is what stood out the most. If you watched his film at UMass, you saw why we kind of refer to him as bigger Javon. He just understands how to play the game, and he understands angles. It’s what allows him to impact the game in a variety of ways.
If you were like me and had the feeling that you just liked what you saw from Yaya Keita, well then here’s why: Keita was one of just 3 players with a floor percentage higher than 40% (generally considered the good marker), and he did so with a 30% turnover rate. So you’re thinking to yourself, SURELY Keita won’t have a 30% turnover rate every night, right? That’s the hope. His usage was high but it’s because he turned the ball over. Without those turnovers he’s probably a lot closer to a usage rate you're more comfortable with.
Anton Brookshire showed a lot of why you like him as a prospect. I’d have just felt a little better had one of those threes gone in.
Jordan Wilmore had some golden opportunities and didn’t convert. And I think we missed seeing DaJuan Gordon and Trevon Brazile.
So here’s where we get to the big Summary, right?
Sorry to disappoint, but I’m sticking with my initial first half thoughts I posted to twitter last night.
Quick first half impression: I don't think any of the questions you may have had about this team were put to rest after the first 20 minutes. But they play hard, they run, and they get after you. If they do that all year I'm going to enjoy watching this team.— Sam Snelling (@SamTSnelling) November 10, 2021
I still don’t think we have all our questions answered. Mainly because I think there’s a good portion of the fan base who’s made up their mind and thinks this team is going to stink. If you’re in that segment of the fan base you had plenty of fuel to add to your fire. The shooting was absent in long stretches. The zone offense was non-existent. The youngsters looked overwhelmed.
If you’re the more positive type, you saw what you wanted. Boogie hitting threes, the team getting out and running. All of that good stuff.
If you’re like me though, this team was always going to look at home and at odds in their opener. Central Michigan played the role of spoiler well enough. They have enough plucky talent, and a coach willing to abandon their early game plan and draw Mizzou into the dirt hole for a good wrestling match. Once Missouri was forced out of its game plan, the game dragged and became mostly boring. Tony Barbee knew that he needed to make it ugly to keep it close, and he did.
Missouri did what it needed to do. They got game action, saw what worked, what didn’t. And won a game without three players being available, and one of which is a projected starter. They weren’t the only team to struggle at home with a lesser opponent, Arkansas won by 13 against Mercer. Ohio State needed a buzzer beater to beat Akron. Florida beat Elon by 13 (Torrence Watson had a familiar floor night if you were curious: 1-10 from the floor, 8-10 from the FT line).
This team was always going to be about making progress. It’s a good group. There’s a lot to like. DeGray is a do it all, Coleman is crafty, Amari is crafty. They just need some more time together to see if they can be a lot more like that 10 minute stretch of really great basketball, and less like the disheveled mess of the other 30 minutes.
I think we’ll need to do another “quick impressions” post to see what others thought. But at least we have basketball back.
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.