On January 12th Mizzou marched into Fayetteville and were handed their worst loss of the Cuonzo Martin era. A 44 point humiliation in Bud Walton Arena. Nothing went right, and it was the culmination of a truly horrendous start to the season.
Since that game Missouri was playing at around a top 50 level. They were only 3-6, but it was clear the changes in approach were working. At least until last night.
Facing the Razorbacks last night, the results were... well, better, than they were the first time around. In game one it took the Razorbacks 8 and a half minutes to build a 21 point lead. Last night it took them ALL the way until the first 16 seconds of the second half! See? Progress!
Obvious sarcasm aside, Missouri and Arkansas looked like two teams on two different missions. The Hogs were aggressive defensively, and found their three point stroke early and often, and looked like a team headed towards a respectable seed in the NCAA tournament. And Missouri looked like a team scrambling just to save some level of respectability on their season. One team succeeded in their mission and the other failed. Unfortunately the failure happened with the team we cheer for.
- The “did you make your threes? y/n” question rears its ugly head: for as poor of a 3-point shooting team as Missouri has been this year (recent gains notwithstanding) they haven’t had many game where they’ve been buried by the other team through the 3-point line. It’s just the second time an opponent hit more the 50% of their 3FGA this season. But where this really came back to bite the Tigers is the Hogs made their 3s and Mizzou did not. As Matt pointed out on Twitter:
A Sam often says, we can reduce some games to one question: Did you make your 3s?— Matt Harris (@MattJHarris85) February 16, 2022
Here are the scoring margins for #Mizzou tonight.
- 2FGs: +2
- FTS: -3
- 3FGs: -18
- The turnover rate ended up being not as bad, but: so many of the turnovers happened early which gave Arkansas the padding they didn’t really need. The Tigers had 3 turnovers before the first media timeout, and 8 total in the first half. Arkansas turned those 8 turnovers into 10 points. Missouri was careless with the ball early and it cost them. Coincidentally the officials did decide to swap out the official game ball just before tip off, in an unusual move.
But that’s the game in a nutshell. Mizzou turned the ball over too much and Arkansas made their 3s. Sure the Hogs caused the Missouri offense to struggle, and their efficiency lagged where it’s been for much of the last month. Arkansas stifled the Missouri offense, and when things got stagnant for the Hogs they were able to make a three to loosen things up. The pressure within the deficit was too great.
Your Trifecta: Ronnie DeGray III, Trevon Brazile, DaJuan Gordon
On the season: Kobe Brown 38, Ronnie DeGray III 25, Amari Davis 22, Jarron Coleman 21, Javon Pickett 18, DaJuan Gordon 12, Trevon Brazile 10, Sean Durugordon 2, Yaya Keita 1, Jordan Wilmore 1
I’m gonna go out on a limb and surmise Missouri probably isn’t going to win many games if Kobe Brown, Amari Davis, and Boogie Coleman give them mostly nothing. A combined 14 points on 21 shots is emblematic of how the night went offensively.
And Ronnie DeGray, who played well, only had 8 points and led the team in Adjusted GameScore. It was just that kind of night.
Credit to DaJuan Gordon, he’s turned himself into a good spot up shooter. But man he turns the ball over a lot.
Only two players had a floor rate above 40%, and both (Brazile and DeGray) had usage rates of 18% and 14%. Meanwhile Kaleb Brown had a 31% usage rate and a 25% floor rate, Pickett’s 24/33 split was similar to Gordon’s 26/33 split.
There’s not much more to get to here since over two games Arkansas was clearly the better team. What’s probably more interesting for most of the fan base is what this game means for Cuonzo Martin’s future.
I’d just say not good. I said on twitter that I’m still a staunch ‘no one result should determine a coaches fate’, but here’s the problem with losing to Arkansas at home like this: Game one could be explained away as a bad night for a team who was still figuring things out. The pitch up until this game was easy to predict. Martin was worth giving another year to because despite the ugly early season results, they figured things out down the stretch and looked like a team who were a lot closer than we thought.
But having lopsided results later in the season spoils that argument. It also means a lot more because of the results against the so-called rivals.
A hoops note from @Dave_Matter: In four games this season against rivals Kansas, Illinois and Arkansas, Mizzou has lost by a combined margin of 125 points.— Benjamin Hochman (@hochman) February 16, 2022
Sweeping Ole Miss is great, especially considering the programs issues with beating Ole Miss since moving to the SEC. Splitting with Texas A&M is all well and good, both programs are in the rebuild mode. But you’re WAY behind regional rivals, and programs you’ve agreed to play every year. Kansas is Kansas, but while Missouri has struggled to gain footing the SEC both Illinois and Arkansas have rejuvenated their programs. The Hogs are sitting in 4th in the conference a year after finishing 2nd. Illinois is sitting in 2nd place, a year after finishing a disputed 2nd in the Big 10.
Both Illinois and Arkansas (and of course Kansas) have institutional alignment on being great basketball programs. They invested, have recruited well, and they’re winning. And Missouri is lagging behind.
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.