Look, there’s no candy-coating this game. Missouri went on the road in a game against a team playing well, and they mailed it in. You could tell Cuonzo Martin was fuming after the game:
Cuonzo Martin not holding back: "Some guys didn't give it tonight. Some guys didn't show up."— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) February 11, 2021
Martin on Pinson: "He didn't attack the rim at all. When he's not aggressive we're stagnant."— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) February 11, 2021
Early on, Dru Smith seemed determined to keep Mizzou in the game despite Ole Miss shooting the ball unbelievably well... but the rest of the team seemed largely disengaged. Like there was some kind of expectation they were going to win. They were, after all, the 10th ranked Missouri Tigers. But here’s the thing about this team — and maybe a lack of tangible success over the years hasn’t driven this home for them — you have to show up each and every night and play your best to earn the ranking next to your name.
Missouri doesn’t have the margin of error of some of the more talented higher ranked teams. They’ve gotten to where they are by showing up and playing harder and with more consistency as most of the other teams in the country.
Until last night.
- Point one is just going to be talking about Ole Miss being ridiculous offensively: two point shooting is something we tend to overlook because these days it mainly means how you did on your layups. But Ole Miss was canning a LOT of mid-range jump shots. The Rebels attempted 30 2FGs and made 21... but they only made 6 of their last 13 shots from inside the arc meaning they made 15 of their first 17 shots from 2, and they missed their first attempt. So really 16 of 17. Seven of those 16 were jumpers. On top of that, they also rebounded nearly 40% of their misses. Just brutal.
- If you’d have said before the game: that Mizzou would turn the ball over 12 times and shoot 42% from deep, I’d have thought it would have been an easy 8-12 point win. But Ole Miss’ offensive rebounding kept the possessions low, Missouri’s ineptitude at shooting free throws, and the Rebels hot 2-point shooting instead made it a 21 point loss.
- The offense was fine in the first half: but the defense was giving up too many open looks. On no planet should you think you can remotely win a game where you give up 1.3 points per possession on the road.
Your Trifecta: Dru, Javon, Parker
On the season: Jeremiah Tilmon 28 points, Xavier Pinson 22 points, Dru Smith 22 points, Mark Smith 14 points, Kobe Brown 8 points, Javon Pickett 5 points, Parker Braun 3 points
Dru was Dru. He was good, forced to take far too big of a load. Mostly because... well, Xavier Pinson was absent. I’m not exactly sure what the issue is but I wondered if he was sick or something. He looked completely uninterested in being in the game. Pinson can be incredibly frustrating because he can look like an All-SEC guard one game (like at Tennessee) and follow it up with a dud (like Auburn). Since TCU,his Offensive Rating have been ugly. 86 against Kentucky, 89 against Alabama, and 48 against Ole Miss. If Missouri is going to be all they can be... they need Pinson to stop all that.
No offense to Javon Pickett or Parker Braun, they both serve their roles well... but if Mizzou is a top 25 level team, they’re not relying to either player to carry them to road wins in league play.
Missouri largely got what they wanted when Romello White got into foul trouble. Not having White should have clued Pinson and Tilmon to match up and attack in the pick and roll. Instead, both players went missing. They combined for 12 points on 15 shots, and 11 of those went to Pinson. Tilmon’s struggles at the free throw line continued on top of all this.
It’s easy to chalk this up as just a bad night. Mizzou sure seems like they expend a bunch of luck when they need it to win games like Bradley, TCU, Alabama, even Illinois... and then they just lose the plot. They get blasted on the road at Mississippi State, get blown out at home by Tennessee, and get blown out by an Ole Miss team who’s been playing better, but by no means a great team.
The Rebels’ average shooting is about 50% from 2FG and were +20% in that category. If they’d have made half of those shots that only shaves 12 points off their total. An average 3 point shooting night drops 2 more off their total, or 6 points. So now you’re at 18. And Mizzou’s free throw shooting was enough to be the difference. But that’s not telling the entire story. Ole Miss shot well, but the defensive intensity from the Tigers was lacking. There’s no reason whatsoever for a Cuonzo Martin coached defensive unit to give up 15 makes on 17 attempts.
If you’re going to look at the timing, coming off a big home win (and really three big home wins in a row) and facing Arkansas at home this weekend in the Rally For Rhyan game, well there might be something there. The dreaded “trap” game. But if there’s a “trap” in your schedule, you should be able to override all that with an experienced roster like Missouri has. So as Jeremiah Tilmon said earlier this year... they’re too old to be learning these kinds of lessons.
If you want to know why the computers don’t love Mizzou there’s your evidence. The same team who can be +20 over 35 minutes against Alabama, or beat Tennessee on their court, or overtake Illinois, is also capable of narrowly beating TCU and Bradley, and getting blown out by a pretty mediocre Ole Miss team. And yes, Ole Miss has been playing better of late, but they’re the same team who got swept by Georgia. So the Tigers aren’t in danger of missing the NCAA tournament or anything, but at this point you’re playing for seed. If you want to be a 3 seed, you can’t lose games in that way.
Missouri needs to show a little more fight. And they need Xavier Pinson and Jeremiah Tilmon to show up this weekend.
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.