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Study Hall: Mizzou 93, South Carolina 78

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A big man returns, and Mizzou is able to keep the Gamecocks at arms length for the second half.

study hall 2020

With just under 11 minutes in the second half, the South Carolina Gamecocks had successfully whittled a 19 point late first half lead down to just 7 points. Missouri fans, being the fatalists we are, were going through the entire range of emotions watching the lead dwindle down. The Tigers, after all, had just coughed up big second half runs in their last five games with the last three turning into losses.

So with the fans tightening up, Mizzou did the opposite. They settled. Five unanswered points, added to four unanswered, added to another five unanswered and suddenly Missouri had scored on eight straight possessions, gone on an 18-6 run, and the Gamecocks behind them.

Once the lead got to 20, it never recessed below 15 points and Missouri was never really threatened. Of course, having seen things fall apart quickly over the last few games, it was easy to let your mind wander to dark places. But the dark corners of your Mizzou fandom were brightened by consistent and steady play from the guys who’ve steered the ship all year long.

Team Stats

study hall 2021 south carolina
  • If you’re going to score 1.26 points per possession: you’re going to win a lot of ball games. Mizzou needed a 1.30 mark to beat TCU, but the 1.26 ppp is the Tigers’ most efficient game after the TCU game. Good three point shooting helps, good two point shooting helps, too. But also not turning the ball over. And that’s with an unnecessary shot clock turnover with 15 seconds to play, when Mizzou declined to take a shot holding a 17 point lead. Take away that final possession and the TO% drops to just 10.8.
  • The rebounding numbers are again kinda ugly: South Carolina is a really great rebounding team, and Mizzou didn’t give themselves a lot of chances for ORBs, but they made a concerted effort to limit the Gamecocks second chance points. SC only had 13 second chance points. Also in giving up second chances of their own, Mizzou was able to shut down SC’s transition game.
  • I would have liked to see Mizzou shoot a few more FTs: but the way the offense was clicking it didn’t end up mattering yesterday. Pinson wasn’t getting many calls when he was attacking, and Mizzou only shot 7 second half FTs despite leading the entire time. Again, unusual especially when Carolina had the Tigers in the bonus with 10:16 remaining in the half... After that foul, they had two more called fouls in the next minute... and then did not get called for a single foul the rest of the way. 9:15 minutes of foul free play (Mizzou meanwhile as whistled for eight).

So Mizzou was +6 points from the 3-point line, +10 points from inside the arc, and were just -1 point despite shooting six less free throws.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: Dru, Tilly, X

study hall 2021 south carolina

On the season: Jeremiah Tilmon 30 points, Xavier Pinson 26 points, Dru Smith 26 points, Mark Smith 14 points, Kobe Brown 8 points, Javon Pickett 5 points, Parker Braun 3 points, Torrence Watson 2 points

This is like a total “All is right with the world” kind of box. Xavier Pinson was good from the floor, but he had zero turnovers. Dru Smith was efficient, Kobe Brown was reliable, Mark Smith is starting to look like Mark Smith again. Torrence Watson and Parker Braun even had their moments. And then Jeremiah Tilmon was basically perfect.

We know this team missed Tilmon’s presence. The loss to Arkansas can be explained away by his absence, and he has the ability to be a bit of a calming offensive presence. He wasn’t super helpful against Ole Miss, but when Tilmon entered the game he did what he’s done all year. He played within himself, kept his reads simple, and then made ALL HIS FREE THROWS! There’s no doubt Tilmon had a tough week, dealing with the loss of a grandmother for the second time in a year, being away from his teammates in the middle of conference play isn’t easy either. But he came back and was everything they needed him to be. Not amazing, just good, and he did it to perfection.

study hall 2021 south carolina

These numbers were my favorite to look at:

  • Xavier Pinson — 33% usage, 44% floor rate, 0% TO
  • Dru Smith — 19% usage, 65% floor rate, 4% TO (this is SEC POY kinda stuff btw)
  • Mark Smith — 17% usage, 61% floor rate, 0% TO
  • Jeremiah Tilmon — 23% usage, 67% floor rate, 8% TO

I’m just gonna guess that Missouri is going to win ALL their games when these four guys play like this. I do want to single out Pinson a bit here, because South Carolina has traditionally been a tough matchup for him. In the first game he had a negative adjusted game score in 19 minutes and five turnovers. last season he managed just an 82 ORtg in their lone matchup. As a freshman he played a combined 15 minutes and had five turnovers in two games. He was barely playable. So to see him take this challenge and be as good as he was in a game where the officials were not giving him the whistle is the kind of thing you hope might be a next step for him.

I don’t know how long Tilmon will be kept out of the starting lineup (I hope it was just this one game) but it would seem Kobe Brown has no issues being the ‘Get things going’ guy in the starting lineup. He’s come out aggressive offensively two games in a row. Aside from some turnovers early in the second half which caused his efficiency to dip, Brown has a good thing going on.

It’s been a weird week and a half for Mizzou fans. Rushing to judgement writ large after a tough stretch is par for the course in college athletics. But we often forget how none of this happens in a vacuum. While Missouri was basically outperforming expectations early, the underlying efficiency told us they probably weren’t the top 10 team we hoped they were. But one place where I’ve been consistent is... this is a good basketball team. It’s easy to forget they are when they’re getting run off the floor in Athens or Oxford, but the nightly outcomes across the league are continually ugly for everyone and the Tigers aren’t immune.

While Alabama was hanging on for dear life at home against Vanderbilt, Kentucky was running Tennessee out of their own building. The hottest team in the league, arguably the Ole Miss Rebels, got smacked on their own floor against Mississippi State. Alabama is running away from the league in the win column, but Mizzou and now Vanderbilt have shown how fallible they are. In fact the Tide played Carolina on the road and only beat them by 3.

At 7-6 in the league, Mizzou has some ground to make up if they want a protected top four spot in the conference tournament (if it’s played). With Ole Miss and Texas A&M (a team still on COVID pause) at home, and a road game at Florida, the Tigers have three winnable games on their slate left. They’re currently 62% to win against the Rebels, 81% to win against A&M, and just 37% to win against Florida. Beating Carolina on the road hopefully put to rest any fears you had about the Tigers bombing themselves out of the NCAA tournament (they weren’t going to miss the tournament), there’s still a lot in front of them. Sitting on the six line provides some chances to move up.

Other SEC Scores

  • 8 Alabama 82, Vanderbilt 78
  • Kentucky 70, 19 Tennessee 55
  • Florida 70, Georgia 63
  • LSU 104, Auburn 80
  • Mississippi State 66, Ole Miss 56
  • 24 Arkansas vs Texas A&M PPD

SEC Standings

  1. Alabama 13 - 1
  2. LSU 9 - 4
  3. Arkansas 9 - 4
  4. Florida 7 - 5
  5. Tennessee 8 - 6
  6. Missouri 7 - 6
  7. Kentucky 7 - 7
  8. Ole Miss 7 - 7
  9. Mississippi State 6 - 8
  10. Georgia 6 - 9
  11. Auburn 5 - 9
  12. Texas A&M 2 - 6
  13. South Carolina 3 - 9
  14. Vanderbilt 2 - 10

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.