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Study Hall: Mizzou 68, UCF 66

Close games usually come down to one or two small things, this one came down to a fairly lucky 35 foot banked in three at the buzzer.

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After last week’s game, Missouri needed a palate cleanser. After the first five minutes of the first half yesterday, it certainly looked like they were not going to get one, either.

UCF was fresh off a fairly thorough beating of Ole Miss in Oxford, and were looking to do the same thing to another middle-of-the-pack SEC team. So when they were up 10-0, and the Tigers had yet to score a point, and had missed their first three 3-point attempts, things were looking dire. Dennis Gates had made a change to the starting lineup by swapping out DeAndre Gholston and Noah Carter and inserting Tre Gomillion and Ronnie DeGray III. The moved was not paying off. But he adjusted.

He subbed in Isiaih Mosley and Noah Carter, hoping to inject some offense. And on a day when not a whole lot of things were going right for the Tigers, one thing very much went right for them starting at the 15:27 mark in the first half. Nick Honor made his first three point attempt.

From there Mizzou would connect on 12 more threes on a day when the rest of the offense was a bit of a struggle. If there was a saving grace (beyond the 3-point shooting) it was the defense. Mizzou was undersized (the Tigers are 310th in average height per KenPom, and UCF is 28th) but held their own and forced UCF star freshman Taylor Hendricks into a rough shooting day.

It all added up to a needed and important neutral court win over an opponent in the same neighborhood of KenPom.

Team Stats

2023 study hall ucf
  • We’ve talked enough about Mizzou and their defense, and sometimes you have to give credit where it’s due: Mizzou holding a much bigger team to just 37.5% from inside the arc is admirable. Notably, Hendricks was 4/10 from the floor and 2 of 3 from beyond the arc, so just 2/7 from around the rim. Mizzou used different defenses and different matchups to frustrate the top freshman in the AAC.
  • Nearly identical in a lot of categories, in fact they made the same number of 3s, and the same number of FTs: But the Tigers made 1 more 2-point shot on 3 fewer attempts. You could basically look at DeAndre Gholston’s mid-second half run as nearly as big of a difference maker as his banked in 3 at the buzzer.

This was a game where UCF had every advantage they wanted. It was a slower pace, and an ugly defensive grinder. 62 possessions, each team had 15 turnovers, both teams shot the ball well from distance to offset any other struggles offensively. The only difference was one more made 2FG by the Tigers. Really, they just needed that 3 at the end to even things up. It was Gholston’s jumper in the paint with 6:55 to play that won the game.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: D’Moi Hodge, Nick Honor, DeAndre Gholston

2023 study hall ucf

On the season: D’Moi Hodge 19, Kobe Brown 11, Nick Honor 10, Noah Carter 10, Sean East II 7, DeAndre Gholston 4, Tre Gomillion 3, Isiaih Mosley 2

I removed the ORtg from this section and put it down below, it fits better with the usage rates. I think it fits better there with the restructure. Otherwise, this section is unchanged. We like GameScore and AdjGS so they’re staying.

Overall, this was a very strong game from three guys and they’re all up in the header. Ronnie DeGray is the unheralded guy who did what we saw a lot from RDG last year. Just a guy who does the little things to help you win. And this game is one of the reasons why I felt he would find a way to squeeze his way into the rotation. An offensive rebound and drawing the foul then converting two free throws. Two block shots including one on a run out when it looked like UCF would capture momentum. He’s just a guy who does the little things.

And while this blog has been somewhat critical of Gholston and his usage, I’d like the point out that even with his outburst, most of the criticism around his usage and shot selection stands even after how he performed. At no point have I, or anyone else here, insisted he’s a bad player. I’ve tried to be clear in that I think he’s really useful. He’s good at the rim, and while his catch and shoot percentages have slipped from years past, he’s a reliable shooter. But sometimes, maybe out of habit, he takes bad shots. Even yesterday his shot selection was really good, maybe minus one shot. But 90% good shots is something I’m happy with. Gholston played a really well-rounded game, and greatly impacted winning because of it.

2023 study hall ucf

We have a new look here. Descriptions are below but I wanted to move a little away from the Touches/Possession numbers used in the classic Study Hall, and get into Rates. I like the shot rate, assist rate, turnover rate stats, plus I’ve always liked the Floor Rate. But “Touches” felt a little out of place. So I wanted Individual Possessions. Just how many real opportunities are you getting, and what are you doing with them?

But here’s where I think we still need to work on our formulas, because while Isiaih Mosley struggled to make shots, he was clearly a difference maker in the first half. He had 4 assists and was +5 while on the floor. And he did that with an Offensive Rating of just 53.7. Not making shots, but assisting on four shots while missing four shots (with 2 turnovers) means you at least accounted for at least 8 points on 10 possessions. It’s all in development.

But I think this game came down to Mizzou being pushed out of how they wanted to play and still managing a win. They were up 14 and forced a turnover, with a chance to extend that lead and they missed a three. Mizzou then forced a turnover but had a turnover themselves. After a 3-point play Noah Carter missed a dunk, then UCF made four straight free throws surrounding a bucket by Carter. But Mizzou only led by 10 at that point and after some three point shot making by the Knights, it was a ball game again.

AutoNation Orange Bowl Basketball Classic Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of these games this season. Close games where a play here or there makes the difference. Missouri should have lost. The odds of making a 35-foot three at the buzzer aren’t really all that good. But that doesn’t matter because they did make the shot.

Up next is Illinois. I’d imagine Brad Underwood is wanting to baptize Dennis Gates for his introduction into the Braggin’ Rights match up. But the Illini are struggling a bit. They’ve lost two of their last four, including an ugly home loss to Penn State, and a sluggish win over Alabama A&M. But they’ve also beaten UCLA and Syracuse this year.

One last game before Conference play starts.

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.

%Min: This is easy, it’s the percentage of minutes a player played which were available to them. That would be 40 minutes, or 45 if the game goes to overtime.

Usage%: This “estimates the % of team possessions a player consumes while on the floor” (via 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.

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. This combined with Usage Rate gives you a sense of impact on the floor.

IndPoss: This is approximates how many possessions an individual is responsible for within the teams calculated possessions.

ShotRate%: This is the percentage of teams shots a player takes while on the floor.

AstRate%: Attempts to estimate the number of assists a player has on teammates made field goals when he is on the floor. The formula is basically AST / (((MinutesPlayed / (Team MP / 5)) * Team FGM) - FGM).

TORate%: Attempts to estimate the number of turnovers a player commits in their individual possessions. The formula is simple: TO / IndPoss

Floor%: Via 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.

In attempting to update Study Hall, I’m moving away from Touches/Possession and moving into the Rates a little more. This is a little experimental so if there’s something you’d like to see let me know and I’ll see if there’s an easy visual way to present it.