I’m not breaking any news here by saying that Missouri isn’t a good basketball team this year. We’ve talked about wanting to see adjustments and improvements, and those kinds of things. Just give us reason to tune in mostly.
Against Kansas and Illinois, Missouri mostly gave you reason to tune out. This game was better. Or at least vaguely more interesting for most of the action. Then, after the under 8 timeout, the Kentucky Wildcats emerged from the break and put the Tigers to bed.
I tweeted as much out from Rock M Nation’s twitter account last night, but the game flow was all about Kentucky runs. From the tip, they spent about 2:20 jumping out to an 11-2 run. Then after a Sean Durugordon layup cut the UK lead to 21-20 with 7:22 to play, the Wildcats went on a 21-2 over the next five and a half minutes. Then a 20 point lead was whittled to 9 in the second half, and was sitting at 11 with 7:09 to play. The Cats then closed with a 20-4 run to win by 27.
So I’ll do the math for you. Over about 15 minutes of game action, Missouri was outscored 52 - 8. The other 25-ish minutes Missouri scored 48 points, and outscored Kentucky by 17 points. Basketball is a game of runs, and it says something about the Tigers that teams go on these really big runs against them. It says everything you already know. Their inability to consistently make jump shots hampers them, their lack of a primary play makers further bumps them down, and then a leaky defense finishes them off.
- Rebounding, it’s important: Missouri is a poor shooting team, but they’ve been able to make things happen occasionally by going hard to the offensive glass. Kentucky erased Missouri on the offensive glass last night. Without second chance opportunities, the points per possession sank to the lowest outside of a certain trip to Virginia a little while back.
- Just 40% from 2FG, 20% from 3FG: and even though UK also shot fairly poorly on the game, their ORB rate was close to what it should’ve been, and they had a 40% Free Throw Rate. When you’re struggling to shoot, you have to get to the line and get second chances. Kentucky did that, Missouri did not.
Your Trifecta: Ronnie DeGray III, Amari Davis, Jarron Coleman
On the season: Kobe Brown 23, Amari Davis 15, Ronnie DeGray III 12, Jarron Coleman 8, Javon Pickett 7, DaJuan Gordon 5, Trevon Brazile 3, Sean Durugordon 2, Yaya Keita 1, Jordan Wilmore 1
Not a lot of positives here. Ronnie DeGray as your leader with just 8 points scored, and three of the team’s 9 offensive rebounds. Amari Davis in second with 10 points scored. And the only other double digit scorer, Jarron Coleman, basically finished in the trifecta by default.
The minutes distribution was certainly interesting, and having Kobe Brown out for a significant portion of the first half limited his overall minutes. But there were 7 players between 22 minutes and 26 minutes, and 2 more in double digits. Everyone available played, but Yaya Keita, Kaleb Brown, and Jordan Wilmore combined for 7 minutes.
I have a burgeoning love affair with Sean Durugordon. When he was in the NBA, Vince Carter was nicknamed “Half-man, half-amazing”. I’m going to alter it a bit for Durugordon and call him “Half-disaster, half-amazing”. Durugordon is so enticing and he does as many good things as he does bad things. He’s got an incredible 33% usage on the season and it was at 29% last night. In just 11 minutes, he attempted 6 shots and put up an amazing stat line outside of his 6 shot attempts. He recorded ZERO other stats. No assists, no rebounds, no fouls, no turnovers (!), just shots. I love it.
As for the rest of it, there isn’t much else to say. This team just doesn’t have the answers right now. For long portions of the game they were able to muck things up, generate offense and make life generally tough for the Wildcats. But it doesn't matter if you limit your turnovers when missed threes create the same fast break opportunities. 14 turnovers isn’t awful, but when your opponent generates 21 points off those TOs it makes life all that much more difficult.
Basically, bad teams find a way. And Missouri always does.
Last night I was perusing twitter after the game and saw this tweet:
Tom Crean will be fired between now and March 10. It’s just a question of when. There are timing issues related to the buyout. I trust Josh Brooks to act with that reality in mind. Firing him tomorrow or 60 days from now changes nothing. The season can’t be saved. https://t.co/Ib16XCfwPS— Paul Westerdawg (@GeorgiaBlogPWD) December 30, 2021
I’m not entirely sure who this is but the Rock M Nation account follows him, so someone in the Georgia blogosphere. And as I read this, I had a very “Spiderman pointing gif” moment. See, Georgia lost at home by 17 points to Gardner-Webb. The Bulldogs are 5-8 with five sub-100 KenPom losses this year and just one top 100 win. Outside of their upset over Memphis, the Bulldogs haven’t beaten anyone inside the KenPom top 200. Missouri is 6-7 with the ugly loss to UMKC, and that thing that happened in Virginia... but only two losses are outside the top 100. Mizzou getting blown out by Kentucky, Kansas, and Illinois sucks. But I guess I’m hinting that things could be worse?
The fun part, Missouri and Georgia face each other to wrap the regular season in Columbia in March. That could be a barn burner.
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.