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Study Hall: LSU 86, Mizzou 80

Too much Cam Thomas.

study hall 2020

If you want a one sentence summation of what happened against LSU I would go with this: Cam Thomas scored 29 points on just 13 shots, while Mizzou needed 34 free throw attempts just to keep pace.

In a game marred by whistles, Mizzou’s free throw attempts just weren’t enough to overcome their struggles from the floor when you added in how efficient Cam Thomas was.

LSU basically works like this: they’re going to score points and give up points. How you beat them is by limiting their fourth scorer and trying to make Thomas as inefficient as you can make him. It’s difficult to do, and one of the reasons why LSU is going to be a tournament team and a protected seed in the SEC.

In their losses, Thomas is still good but not like he was at Missouri. Here are LSU’s losses and Thomas’s shot attempts and points:

  • SLU: 18 attempts, 25 points
  • Florida: 19 attempts, 28 points
  • Alabama: 17 attempts, 21 points
  • Kentucky: 20 attempts, 18 points
  • Texas Tech: 20 attempts, 25 points
  • Alabama: 19 attempts, 22 points
  • Georgia: 19 attempts, 21 points
  • Arkansas: 19 attempts, 25 points

Clearly he’s going to score, but Missouri allowed him to score 29 points on just 13 attempts. According to Kenpom.com his 155 Offensive Rating was the best of the year (only slightly lower his 153 vs Mississippi State). Missouri basically did their job on Trendon Watford and Javonte Smart, both were okay (Smart had a 74 ORtg, Watford was 108) but not great. And Darius Days was good enough to make up the difference. In the end, for LSU at least, it came down to Cam Thomas being pretty damn awesome. And Missouri not having a good enough day to overcome it.

Team Stats

study hall 2021 lsu
  • I highlight the four factors because it’s helpful to point out the “How KP looks at things” part: Ball handling was about even, ORB% was high but also even. Both teams went to the line... a lot... but Missouri simply didn’t make shots. Thus a pretty poor eFG%.
  • So WHY was that eFG so bad? Ehhhh, should be pretty apparent. The 2-point shooting was awful. This was Mizzou’s 4th worst shooting performance on the season. But their inability to make shots around the rim (13 of 29 or just 44% — whereas they’re 55.8% on the season) was a major culprit.
  • If you break things down by scoring column it looks like this: Mizzou was +12 from behind the arc (9/30 vs 5/17), +6 from the free throw line (25/34 vs 19/26) which makes for a good total of +18 in areas that would normally be keys to a victory. But LSU was +24 from 2FG. They scored 24 more points on two point field goals than the MIzzou did.

So Missouri attempted 13 more threes, 8 more free throws, and 9 fewer 2-point field goals... and they lost by only 6 points because they shot 43% overall from 2FG, 44% around the rim, while allowing over 60% from LSU. Of all the nights for Jeremiah Tilmon to be in foul trouble and be largely ineffective...

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: Dru, Drew, Mitch

study hall 2021 lsu

On the season: Jeremiah Tilmon 33 points, Dru Smith 32 points, Xavier Pinson 27 points, Mark Smith 16 points, Kobe Brown 9 points, Javon Pickett 5 points, Parker Braun 3 points, Mitchell Smith 3 points, Drew Buggs 2 points, Torrence Watson 2 points

I praised Mitchell Smith on the last Study Hall. He was important in Missouri securing a road win at Florida, but now this is the second game where Mitchell has popped up in the Trifecta and... well, it’s not the right recipe. I wrote plenty about Mitch and his importance to the program yesterday, and I meant all of it. But Florida aside, Mitch making the trifecta just isn’t something which points to a win in a lot of cases.

Against Florida, Mitch was scoring... his point output was twice what it was against LSU. So to make the point clear, the problem isn’t Mitch in the trifecta. The problem is who isn’t in the trifecta.

Jeremiah Tilmon is still leading the team on the season and he’s largely the reason why Missouri is who they are. His overall consistency this year has improved Missouri’s 2point shooting and improved their defense. But overall we’ve figured out the recipe for this team to succeed, and as much as we love Mitchell Smith... his non-presence in the trifecta for the first 21 games was a much more telling part of the season story than his presence the last two games.

study hall 2021 lsu

The story of this season has always been about four guys: Xavier Pinson, Dru Smith, Mark Smith and Jeremiah Tilmon. For Mizzou to be good, they need two of the four to have good nights, and enough of a bump from everyone else to make it work. So let’s look at who was good: Dru Smith.

Mark Smith’s recovery over the last few games went back on hiatus, and Pinson had another tough game. In a game with 73 possessions, Pinson and Mark combined for 26 FG attempts, just a couple turnovers, but generating just 22 points on close to 30 possessions, along with a quiet foul trouble addled game from Jeremiah Tilmon and basically three of the four top guys were absent enough to lose the game.

It was nice to see good minutes and scoring from Drew Buggs and Torrence Watson, plus Kobe Brown continued his recent good play. But all of these performances are non-sequiturs with just one of the main four having a good night. So there were 10 Tigers who played, four who had a good night, which means six either made no impact or were a drag on the effort. 57% of the minutes played were good minutes, 43% of the minutes played were the other kind.

With the regular season completed we have an idea of where and who Missouri is. They’re an NCAA Tournament team, who when they play well can beat anyone. They have wins over Illinois (a likely one seed), Alabama (a likely two seed), and five other tournament teams (Arkansas, Wichita State, Liberty, Tennessee, and Florida). But it’s important for them to get at least two of their top four playing well to have an impact.

First is the SEC Tournament

Florida and Tennessee wrap up the full slate today, with a game in Knoxville. Both teams have nine conference wins, Tennessee has 7 losses and Florida has six. So I guess there’s some seeding still to be figured out.

But what we do know is Missouri will play Georgia at 6pm on Thursday as the 7 seed. A chance to avenge their earlier loss in Athens. We’ll obviously have more coverage forthcoming, but as it stands today, here’s the SEC conference results from yesterday:

  • 8 Alabama 89, Georgia 79
  • 12 Arkansas 87, Texas A&M 80
  • Kentucky 92, South Carolina 64
  • Auburn 78, Mississippi State 71
  • Ole Miss 56, Vanderbilt 46

The Conference standings are:

  1. Alabama 16 - 2
  2. Arkansas 13 - 4
  3. LSU 11 - 6
  4. Florida 9 - 6
  5. Tennessee 9 - 7
  6. Ole Miss 10 - 8
  7. Missouri 8 - 8
  8. Kentucky 8 - 9
  9. Mississippi State 8 - 10
  10. Auburn 7 - 11 < — self imposed post season ban
  11. Georgia 7 - 11
  12. South Carolina 4 - 12
  13. Texas A&M 2 - 8
  14. Vanderbilt 3 - 13

The conference tournament starts Wednesday with Vanderbilt vs Texas A&M.


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.