Who is Missouri? What is Missouri? When is Missouri? Where is Missouri? Why is Missouri?
How is Missouri?
All good questions at this point.
Missouri basketball is a lot of things these days. They’ve shown just as capable of beating top level teams like Illinois and Alabama, and barely squeaking by not-so-great teams like TCU and Bradley. And then here lately, they’re losing to Ole Miss and Georgia, as well as a very winnable home game against Arkansas.
Playing without Jeremiah Tilmon is certainly notable, but you’d expect that a team who started the week staring at a potential protected seed in the NCAA tournament to be able to hold serve at home against Arkansas and beat a Georgia team hanging just inside the KenPom top 100. But they lost both games.
So what the f*** happened?
- The bottom line was Mizzou wasn’t good enough offensively: Georgia is going to play the way they play; they score points. When they take shots, they score the ball with good efficiency, and their main problem is being ranked 310th in turnover rate. A 22% turnover rate will thwart even the best of offenses (sound familiar at all?)... but Mizzou made six of 26 from behind the arc, and even struggled inside the arc as well, considering Georgia has no real rim protection.
- The Bulldogs doubled up Mizzou in FTA / FGA: Mizzou is a team who manufactures a fair amount of points from the free throw line, and while they shot well, they only attempted 15 free throws while Georgia attempted 26. After committing just five first half fouls, Mizzou had Georgia in the bonus with 13 minutes to play.
- Missing Tilmon? I think it’s safe to say when Mizzou is getting out-rebounded by a team who rebounds well offensively, but gives up a L-O-T of second chance opportunities. Frankly, getting beat by this Georgia team on the glass speaks to a missing big man in the middle.
Your Trifecta: Kobe, Parker, Mark
On the season: Jeremiah Tilmon 28 points, Xavier Pinson 25 points, Dru Smith 23 points, Mark Smith 15 points, Kobe Brown 11 points, Javon Pickett 5 points, Parker Braun 5 points, Torrence Watson 2 points
If you want to know why Missouri lost, I think you can look right at Mizzou’s two starting guards. Xavier Pinson and Dru Smith are relied upon a lot for this team to work.
They combined for 60 minutes, 20 points, 6-11 from 2, 2-12 from 3 (yuck), and 8 turnovers. We’ve seen enough of Missouri at this point to know what they need to win. They can beat a team like Georgia with only a few players playing well. But they need either Jeremiah Tilmon, Dru Smith, or Xavier Pinson to come up big. With Tilmon out, Smith and Pinson came up short.
Don’t get me wrong, it was really nice to see Mark Smith look more like himself again. When he had an early 3-point attempt blocked I shrugged, thinking we were about to see more of the same, but Mark turned it around. He got the rim, the foul line, made jump shots. And then had two bad fouls in a short period of time and took himself out of the game. The 3rd foul was a weak call, and the fourth foul was ok-ish for the refs to call... but a completely unnecessary attack for Mark to make at that point. His 4th foul changed the game completely.
It was 48-35 with 15:36 to play in the game when Mark picked up foul number four. There was a media timeout, and I messaged Matt that Mark’s foul was bad... because there was no reason for it. He had 3 fouls and had been instrumental to the team being where they were at that point. But Mark Smith picking up a fourth foul with 15 minutes left in the game isn’t why Missouri lost.
Kobe Brown missing all of his three point attempts isn’t why they lost, either. It was part of a larger issue where the Tigers jump shooting failed them, but he was so good elsewhere you’re not putting any blame on Kobe.
The issue comes down, again, to Mizzou’s margin for error. They can afford to have off nights from a few guys, but with no Jeremiah Tilmon, and bad nights from Dru and X, they were cooked.
And this all takes us back to expectations. I’m sure if anyone would have put 13-6 on the table back in November we’d all be pretty pleased with it. But order and chaos walk together, and the order of the early segments of the season has given way to the chaos of the last few weeks. With Tilmon out for the last two games, hot three point shooting one night, cold shooting the next. It’s been frustrating.
At this point though Missouri is who we’ve said they are all along. They’re capable, the ceiling is perhaps a bit higher than expected, but the floor is maybe even lower than we thought. So who is this team?
They’re a flawed college basketball team. When Missouri has Jeremiah Tilmon they’re better, but they also need either Dru Smith or Xavier Pinson to play well. There’s enough in the supporting cast to do the rest. But with Tilmon out, the thin margin gets even more so. I thought before the season the Tigers looked like a tournament team. I did not expect them to be a protected seed in the NCAA tournament. But I also didn’t expect Duke and Kentucky to be awful, and I didn’t expect Alabama to run away with the league title.
Missouri is a recovery away from being right. If they get Tilmon back and win a few games, we’ll all have good feelings again. And maybe the committee will bump them up a bit for two of their losses being without Tilmon. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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.