Once the game wrapped up, I knew I had to write the R.I.P. post instead of Study Hall. It’s become tradition at this point. Really, it’s weird to watch the team make the NCAA Tournament, make a quick exit and then have to perform an autopsy of the season before doing one on the most recent game. But I like the exercise because it forces me to process things a little more quickly.
On the flip side, running the Rock M Nation twitter account Saturday night also allowed me to process things in a different way.
You see, sports rarely make me mad (when I’m not directly involved, at least). I might get a little frustrated watching a particularly ugly stretch of play, or a series of selectively poor decision making, but once the game is over it’s over for me. I want Missouri to play well, but the only thing that I find irritating is having to read the mentions on Twitter of a bunch of people who get really mad about sports. Maybe it’s the Bill C. influence over the years, but I like the analysis without the reactionary.
Study Hall is probably different when I write it, than when Bill did. Mainly because coming from a playing/coaching background, I’ll never view the game as one set of numbers. It’s always a play here or there, a momentum swing, a turnover, an open three. The journey of the game leads to the destination, but the journey provides a better picture than the destination.
- To start, it’s not good losing 3 of the 4 Four Factors: When the game is that close, the results often point to the margins and OU eked out the edge in eFG%, TO%, held a hefty lead in FTA, and lost the OR% battle. From Missouri’s perspective, they needed to force a few more turnovers (or have a few less themselves), and generate a few more FTAs and snag another Offensive rebound or two and that would probably be enough to pull even or go ahead.
- 2FG% again looks rough: And you’ll see down below that Jeremiah Tilmon was 6-for-11, meaning the rest of the team was 5-for-20. It’s hard for this team to win when they don’t make their 2s. They picked a bad time to have their 2nd worst performance from inside the arc on the season.
- The tempo was slower than what Missouri wanted: Early on they were getting early looks, but then the Sooners were able to bog things down.
Of the things you can control, Missouri largely hit their marks. They valued the ball, shared it, hit their 3s (overall), and made their FTs. But Oklahoma was more precise. Fewer turnovers and more free throws. They were able to offset their poor 2FG% shooting night with trips to the line, while Missouri offset theirs with 3FGs. One has a more difficult hit rate.
Your Trifecta: Tilly, Dru, Mark
On the season: Dru Smith 37 points, Jeremiah Tilmon 36 points, Xavier Pinson 30 points, Mark Smith 17 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
Realistically, this is what you wanted to get from your top 3. Dru Smith struggled early in the game (just 1-6 in the first half) but came alive late. Mark Smith hit early and struggled late, and Tilmon was pretty consistent throughout. The issue though is Dru and Mark combined to shoot 0-for-6 from 2FG. So while the 9-16 from three range was certainly helpful, they were not solving any issues.
To make matters worse, the supporting cast didn’t have anyone step up with more than just a wisp of an impact. Mitchell Smith had a bad night, Kobe Brown had a couple moments but also had some ugly misses. And then there was X.
27% usage and a 25% floor rate is not what this team can stand from Pinson. Couple that with some very clear defensive mistakes, and I was honestly surprised with the blowback on Martin for not playing him more. Is X capable of being great? Yes! He is. He’s also capable of being a fairly big drag on the offense. Since being an early candidate for an SEC all conference spot, X has kind of done what he’s always done... frustrate and tease. During Mizzou’s 10 game struggles late in the season, Pinson had sub-100 ORtgs in six of those games. For a guy who gets a hefty amount of possessions funneled his way you just can’t blow that many on empty possessions in a single game elimination.
It’s sucks because Pinson can be so much fun to watch. Perhaps if he is more engaged on offense, he gets more engaged on defense and the game goes a different way. He wasn’t, and it didn’t.
I can tell you when I knew the game changed... because I had studied it the week before in my study of Mizzou and close games. With 6:16 to play in the game, Missouri had crawled back into the game and had taken a slim 55-54 lead. Pinson allowed a blow by on defense to Elijah Harkless who was fouled by Tilmon. Harkless made both Free Throws with 5:52 to play. For the next minute and 50 seconds neither team would score. Here’s how Mizzou’s offensive possession went:
- Missed step back 3 pointer by Dru Smith with about 20 seconds left on the shot clock
- Missed 25 foot 3 pointer by Mark Smith with about 25 seconds left on the shot clock
- Airballed corner 3 pointer by Kobe Brown with about 10 seconds left on the shot clock
- Dru Smith made 2 FTs
- Drew Buggs turnover
- Missed 3 pointer by Mitchell Smith with about 15 seconds left on the shot clock
Now there were 2:38 seconds to play and Oklahoma had taken a 1 point lead and extended it to 6. On the ensuing possession they’d push it to 8. Mizzou made things more interesting down the stretch thanks to some Dru Smith 3-pointers. But the lesson of the last 10 games wasn’t learned.
Mizzou had three bad possessions, two by their two best and most experience guards in critical late possessions. Their third possession was a good shot by a starter, a corner three, and he missed (badly). Mitchell Smith’s 3 was a kick-out to the top of the key, another shot I’d considering good in most circumstances. But... none of them fell.
If I can remind you, Missouri was in the bonus. So a foul results in free throws. Instead we got four long jumpshots and a turnover.
If there’s anything you want to take back, I’m sure Cuonzo would love to point to that sequence and highlight it with his team. Five negative possessions, plus a game when your most talented guard was unreliable again.
Overall, OU won because they got to the line a little more, and covered a few more interior jumpers. Missouri lost because when the game was in the balance, it’s two best guards took bad shots, and it’s two top role players couldn’t sink shots they needed to make. 0-4 from 3, and a turnover. No attempts inside the arc (not that inside the arc was working, but attacking when you’re in the bonus is a good idea.
As I said in the RIP post, it was a disappointing end to a once promising season.
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.