Well that was a horribly ugly game.
I expected a little more from Arkansas, considering they were the fresh team. Missouri looked about what I expected for the most part... I was hoping they’d play a little cleaner, maybe have a dozen or so fewer charges called... Ya know, I’m asking for a lot.
But overall it’s about the game I thought would play out. I didn’t know who would win, and if you asked me before the game I’d have probably said Arkansas 60-40. Obviously, I was hoping for Missouri to win, but I don't think it’s at all surprising they didn’t quite have enough down the stretch.
It’s late (hey, I had to cook dinner after the game), so I’m not going to wax too poetic — mainly because we know this team still has at least one game to play — and we might as well rip this bandaid off. (Just wait until I start talking about charges)
- All I have to say about these PPP numbers is LOL: Mizzou averaged 0.8 points per possession. They scored 62 points in 77 possessions, and that included a pretty solid 37% FTA/FGA.
- In the first half, Mizzou held Arkansas to a 0% ORB rate: So the fact the Hogs finished with a 25.8% ORB rate means they made up some ground in a hurry. Obviously, that had something to do with the fact Mizzou had both Mitchell Smith and Jeremiah Tilmon foul out. And both were in foul trouble for the bulk of the second half. But it’s still a number worth marveling at. Meanwhile, the Tigers had just five Offensive Rebounds and undershot their expected number by nearly 7. Extra shot opportunities can take you a long way.
- So both teams were turnover happy, ** cough ** offensive fouls ** cough ** and not rebounding particularly well: the fact the Hogs were able to generate just 3 additional ORBs and average 1.27 points when attempting a shot gave them enough of the edge in the second half.
I tallied it up. By my count there were 15 offensive fouls (out of 45 total fouls — and 41 total turnovers). Missouri had 10 called offensive fouls; that’s nearly HALF of their total turnovers. I didn’t feel like counting beyond that but both Mitchell Smith and Jeremiah Tilmon were called for multiple offensive fouls. If you just clear out half of them from those guys they’re able to give you more minutes, and possibly be enough on the glass in the second half to make the difference. Or... just this:
we really gotta do something about the number of charges called in a college basketball game— ROCK Mask-up NATION (@RockMNation) March 13, 2021
Or maybe when I just started getting smart-assy about it:
Your Trifecta: Kobe, X, Dru
On the season: Dru Smith 35 points, Jeremiah Tilmon 33 points, Xavier Pinson 30 points, Mark Smith 16 points, Kobe Brown 15 points, Javon Pickett 5 points, Parker Braun 3 points, Mitchell Smith 3 points, Drew Buggs 2 points, Torrence Watson 2 points
Your trifecta is... the same three from last night in a slightly different order. And therein lies the problem.
What Missouri needed tonight was better from Jeremiah Tilmon, Mark Smith, and Mitchell Smith. And what they got was a GameScore leader from a guy who scored 6 points. Kobe has been terrific on the glass.. for really most of the year. But for his rebounds, steals and blocks to carry more weight than anyone who was scoring, well that’s a problem.
I felt like Dru wasn’t great, Xavier was decent, but the amount of turnovers (charges) were too much. Then you add in they basically got nothing from their teammates and it makes for an ugly game.
The main takeaway from it might be that playing two games in two days with your All-SEC guard playing 38 minutes a night might be too much. It’s even tougher when he’s playing all those minutes and not getting enough from the most important player on the roster: Jeremiah Tilmon.
You’re not going to win very often, at least against a good team like Arkansas, when you have only two guys over 40% in Floor rate, and those two combined for 26 minutes. All year long we’ve talked about the recipe for Missouri and here are their usage and floor rates for their top guys:
- Pinson: 30% usage, 39% floor rate
- Dru Smith: 21% usage, 33% floor rate
- Mark Smith: 30% usage, 19% floor rate
- Jeremiah Tilmon: 23% usage, 31% floor rate
Those are your four most important guys, and if you get TWO of them having a better night you probably win. But all four largely struck out. Maybe, after a long season, the quick turnaround was just a little too much to ask. But they were all sub-40% against Georgia also. The difference was Pinson was the worst at 34%, and Dru was the best at 38%. So even if they just replicated a pretty meh performance from last night... at least all four of them were fine instead of blah.
Clearly the officiating was a weird factor, but on a night when Missouri needed something more from their top four, they didn’t get it. The charge calls were completely weird, and frankly, hard to watch. And I really support the NCAA doing something to curb the amount of garbage charge calls moving forward. I even had a little mini-rant about it last night. But it kinda is what it is at this point. You have to manage to avoid the contact somehow... I guess.
The bigger story to me is Mizzou was unable to generate enough offense when they weren’t in transition. We’re a day away from Selection Sunday, and Mizzou is probably going to be a 7 seed. They’re just as capable as anyone of making the Sweet 16. But to do so, they need more from their top four guys.
When Drew Buggs makes a shot, or Mitchell Smith hits a three, or Javon scores, or Torrence buries a 3... that’s a bonus. Bonus points are good for this team. But every night they’re going to get some form of a bonus. What they really need is the guys you expect to show up, to show up and be good. If Jeremiah Tilmon doesn’t show up and give Mizzou better than a 0.2 adjusted game score, zero rebounds, 3 turnovers and 3-of-6 shooting... well, it’ll be a short trip. If Mark Smith is funneling 30% of the possessions through him with a 54 ORtg, it’s going to be a short trip.
Basically, Mizzou is capable. They just need better from the guys they expect production from.
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.