If you’re an NCAA committee member arguing for Mizzou to be a seed higher, the Tigers just gave your argument a little more merit.
Without Jeremiah Tilmon in tow, the Tigers traveled to Athens, Georgia and dropped an in-conference road game. Georgia isn’t sniffing the NCAA tournament this year, and the loss is one that dragged the Tigers down the seed lines a bit. But with Tilmon back in the lineup on a neutral court, that loss has been avenged.
On paper, Mizzou was expected to win this game. They did. It’s March, and there have been a host of weird outcomes already, so you don’t worry too much about the process because it ends up being much more about the results. And the Tigers won the game. That’s what counts, right?
Let’s see how they did...
- The game was close, and too close for most of our own comforts: But why? Well... both teams shot the same amount of Field Goals (60), made the same amount of Field Goals (26), and were nearly identical in their shooting. But Mizzou shot more 3s, and had more FTAs. They were +2 points from 2FGA, -3 from 3FGA, and made 4 more FTs. So basically, nearly everything was even, except Mizzou got to the line a little more. Whew.
- Again on BCI... so even: Mizzou had fewer assists, but equalled Sahvir Wheeler’s assist total. And while they assisted less, they stole the ball more and turned it over less. Squeaking out a BCI win, and a TORate win... it all helps in close games.
- Mizzou basically had an average 3point shooting game: Maybe plus 1. But Georgia shot 32% on the season and made 53% (8 of 15) until P.J. Horne sailed one wide left at the end of the game. They basically made three more than expected for an average shooting night, and Mizzou made one more. And that’s why the expected margin of victory for Missouri was 6 points.
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to win the rebounding margin. Georgia is actually a really tough team to play, but they have no rim protection and they can’t hit 3s. So when they DO hit 3s they scare the bejesus out of you. And Missouri made their life easier by being... eh... less than great around the rim.
Your Trifecta: Kobe, Dru, X
On the season: Dru Smith 34 points, Jeremiah Tilmon 33 points, Xavier Pinson 28 points, Mark Smith 16 points, Kobe Brown 12 points, Javon Pickett 5 points, Parker Braun 3 points, Mitchell Smith 3 points, Drew Buggs 2 points, Torrence Watson 2 points
This team really is what they are at this point. Cuonzo Martin has even said as much in recent pressers. People are asking him about these late games and close wins, and his answer is basically, “we are who we are at this point in the season”. And he’s right.
The recipe isn’t going to change. Missouri needs a few guys to play well, a few more to play well enough, and everyone else to essentially hold water. For most of the season, it’s been Tilmon, Dru, X, and Mark, with some spot appearances from a few others.
So when things aren’t going great for multiple guys in the top four, you really have to scrap to pull out a win. So it meant a lot for the team that Kobe had the night he did. When you have a 172 ORtg, my only thought is... you needed to shoot the ball more. He was really just a couple of those made FTs from a perfect night.
When you look at the usage and floor rates, it’s a damn good thing Mizzou won this game. Kobe’s 68% floor rate is awesome, and Pickett was solid, but Mizzou’s top four guys were all below 40%.
The good news in that stat is they were all in the 30s, and not worse. If any of those guys sinks into the 20s (and that happens in losses), then Missouri is probably looking at the 8/9 game next weekend, and more than a week to prepare for it. This time of the season the margin can be that thin. When the Tigers are good around the rim, they’re able to put pressure on the defense in ways that make them a much more functional offense.
Most of that has come down to Pinson and Tilmon this year. Tilmon is just 4-of-11 the last two games, and Pinson is 4-of-20 (!!!) his last four. X’s three point shooting and free throws can occasionally make up for his lack of shotmaking around the rim, but Tilmon needs to get his mojo around the rim back.
So, I guess there’s a little bit of solace in the fact that Missouri didn’t play great and still won the game. In March you want to be playing your best basketball, but the more important part is you want to keep winning. The task tomorrow gets a lot harder. Arkansas is who Georgia kind of wants to be. They push pace, play fast, and make shots.
In the first contest at Arkansas, Missouri shot 19-32 from 2FG, with Tilmon hitting 9-13 and X going for 4-7, so 13-of-20 overall. That was without Justin Smith, who changes Arkansas’ defense around the rim quite a bit. The first game was without Smith, and Mizzou won in Bud Walton, the second game was without Tilmon, and the Hogs won at Mizzou Arena. The third game is the rubber match in Bridgestone Arena.
Arkansas is playing much better basketball than they were in early January, and Missouri hasn’t been playing their best basketball. But all it takes is one game to change momentum.
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.