Most any college basketball season is usually filled with a number of highs and lows. Following a specific college basketball team is usually going to allow you to experience all kinds of emotions. Most of them within one season.
There are your close game wins, like when DeAndre Gholston banked in a 35 foot three at the buzzer to beat UCF. That’s a gleeful moment. A spark. There might be a blowout loss, like the crushing disappointment of watching the Tigers get spanked by KU. But seldom has Missouri been on the other end of that coin. Rarely have two rivals shown up, and we’ve had the pleasure of Missouri just blowing the doors off the other team.
When it comes to Braggin’ Rights, Mizzou has won four of the last five games in the series. Much of that was due to Javon Pickett owning Brad Underwood’s ass. But the largest margin of victory over Illinois was 18 points in 1994. Against KU you have to go back to 2000 for the last time Mizzou won by a blowout margin.
Last years Braggin’ Rights was ugly, and one of the reasons why it was probably time to move on from Cuonzo Martin. This game was a flip from that result. Last year Mizzou was dominated. Last night, Mizzou was the dominator. The difference is last year Mizzou was supposed to be bad and they were. This year Illinois is supposed to be good! They are (maybe were after this) ranked, had beaten two top 10 teams including Texas who was number 1 at the time.
The Illini are a mess right now. And if there’s one area where this version of the Missouri Tigers can punish you, is if you’re not prepared to play a clean game. If you’re a little sloppy with the ball, they’ll turn you over. If you’re a little disconnected on defense, they will slice you up for layups. If you aren’t together as a team, you’ll be buried. That’s what happened last night. Mizzou isn’t the best and most talented team in college sports, but they fight, they play hard, and they’re in it for each other.
It’s how a couple baskets in a row after a turnover or two balloons into 15-0 run, and later a 10-0 run in the same half. And how Mizzou took a 24 point lead into half time. By the time Mizzou had ballooned their lead to 35 with 12 minutes to play, the game story had been written. I’m sure there were Mizzou fans out there who got nervous when the Illini tried making a few shots in a row; it’s just hard to believe anything is locked up after the battering Mizzou fans have taken over the more recent past. But Illinois scored 71 points for the game, with 13:36 to play in the second half Mizzou had scored 72.
- This was a lot like Mizzou playing a mid-major: they dominated the BCI, shot at a high level at the rim, got easy looks off their pressure, and D’Moi Hodge went ham. Just against a team who is currently in the top 25.
- Mizzou almost hilariously got crushed on the glass: and it didn’t matter at all. The Illini rebounded half of their misses and it just made no difference whatsoever because they shot so poorly from 3 and turned the ball over 1⁄4 of the time.
- It helps to shoot 50% from 3: but while good shooting always helps, this team outscored Illinois by 14 from 2FG, and were +6 in the paint. Winning the paint and 2FG shooting is probably more important than even their 3FG shooting. Especially when you consider Illinois has the kind of size, and positional size advantages over the Tigers.
Your Trifecta: Kobe Brown, D’Moi Hodge, DeAndre Gholston
On the season: D’Moi Hodge 21, Kobe Brown 14, Nick Honor 10, Noah Carter 10, Sean East II 7, DeAndre Gholston 5, Tre Gomillion 3, Isiaih Mosley 2
Kobe Brown hasn’t often been an elite player against high major competition. In fact, you can go back and look at his production against top level teams over the last few years and it’s oftentimes been a struggle. Specifically last year, when the Tigers’ offensive options were more limited. Against KU, Brown looked a lot like he did last year. Overwhelmed by defenses focused on him. But against Illinois he was able to exploit the matchups far more. Any time the Illini brought in 6’9 bruiser Dain Dainja, Mizzou went right to Brown. It helps when Brown’s jumper is connecting. If you have to crowd him he’s that much more dangerous. Well, 31 points, 8 assists, and 4 steals later and you see why he was the MVP.
Just say as many good things about D’Moi Hodge as you want to say. He’s worth all of it. I don’t think it’s hyperbole at this point to say Hodge is likely the favorite player for a lot of fans these days. He plays defense with energy, he seems to go 4 of 9 from distance every game, he gets steals. He’s just a fun player.
And the last member of the trifecta was DeAndre Gholston who I thought played his best overall game of the year. Every shot he took was a good shot, he defended hard, and while he fouled out he looked as in-sync with the offense as he has all season.
You can pretty much ignore those turnover rates, I’m still toying with colorizing some of the statlines to highlight things a bit. I’m not sure the Orange between 10 and 20% works the way I thought it would. But Mizzou had just two turnovers in the first half when things mattered. In the second half they were mostly playing keep away and then it jumped to eight turnovers. And because they only had 10 turnovers with a shorter bench, and only Kobe and D’Moi commanding more than 10 possessions, the rates look a bit high. But also you can just stare into the green of the Offensive Rating category where the only red is because Aidan Shaw didn’t play much and had a 0% usage rate.
I’m going to say again that Kobe Brown shooting 3 of 4 from deep and 8 for 8 from the line might be the scariest stat line for anyone facing Missouri. Kobe has always been a strong and skilled hybrid forward, but he’s never been a good shooter. And I’m not going to go beyond him having a good night last night, but a Kobe Brown who can make 3 pointers and extend the floor is the kind of player who can take Mizzou up a significant notch or two.
So what’s this all mean?
That’s a great question. I didn’t have “Mizzou dismantles Illinois the way they did Houston Christian” on my Bingo Card, but here we are. While the game was a lot of fun, and anytime you can whip the snot out of a rival, you take it, but what this really did was reset Mizzou from where they were after the KU result. They’re back into the bubble conversation and have their first Quad 1 win on the season. But probably more than that it sets the Tigers up well having played 3 of the 5 games in what is likely the toughest stretch they’ll have all season. They’re 2-1 in that stretch with a home game against Kentucky and a road game against Arkansas left. If they can find a way to win this stretch and be 3-2, I think we can really consider this team a tournament team. They aren’t out if they go 2-3 by any stretch, but it’s a big step to get those UCF and Illinois wins.
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 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.
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 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.
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.