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Study Hall: Alabama 85, Mizzou 64

Sometimes the river just runs dry at the wrong time.

study hall 2022

With just a few minutes gone into the start of the game, Missouri moved the ball ahead to freshly subbed in Isiaih Mosley,who was open for a three pointer. But as the ball arrived his feet weren’t quite set. He could have still shot the ball, but declined the shot moving the ball ahead to DeAndre Gholston who stood open just above the corner. Gholston gathered the pass, and attempted the shot.

It clanked against the top of the backboard and fell into the hands of Alabama guard Jaden Bradley, who went the other way. Maybe Gholston was expecting Mosley to shoot and wasn’t prepared to shoot the ball, but either way it was an ugly miss. One of 25 on the day from outside the arc, and in a ways it seems to be a bit of a harbinger for things to come. What was to come was a long night from behind the arc, and an ugly score against a top 5 opponent.

If you’ve read enough of these over the years you know there’ll be some sort of reference to “did you make your 3s?” And against Alabama, Mizzou did not make their 3s. They shot just 10.7%, or three for 28. It wasn’t the worst shooting performance of all time, but it was close being the worst this season. Since joining the SEC for the 2012-13 season, Mizzou has had eight worse shooting performances, with five of those games against SEC opponents.

But in none of those games did Mizzou miss as many 3-point shots. In a shocking twist, Matt Watkins and I were on the same page in looking this up.

The loss to Alabama dropped Mizzou to 14-5, with four losses in their last 6 games. Their shooting is at the forefront of the struggles. They’re shooting worse in conference play than everyone except Mississippi State, and after shooting 37% in their first three games (26 of 70), the Tigers have hit just 18.5% over their last 4 games (18 of 97).

Clearly the shooting has been a problem over the last few games. You know when a good time to fix that would be? Like, right away.

Team Stats

study hall 2023 alabama

Realistically, Mizzou got the offensive game they needed from Alabama in order to win or stay close in this game.

  • 2FG% nearly kept Mizzou in the game: with Isiaih Mosley back into the lineup, and DeAndre Gholston attacking in the middle of the first half, the score was tied with about 5 to play, and the Tigers were only down three before Jahvon Quinerly hit a tough jumper with under 2 minutes to play. Mizzou started and ended the 1st half shooting 1 of 8 (so 2/16). Seven of those shots were 3s and none of them a 3P make. In between, they made 9/16 shots, while being 1 of 5 from outside the arc. Meaning, they were 8 for 11 on shots inside the arc for nearly 10 minutes of game action. So things were cooking pretty well as long as the Tigers weren’t settling for 3-point shots, and when they were working the ball through Mosley.
  • The assist rate was bad: but that tends to happen when you make virtually no outside shots.
  • Mizzou didn’t turn the ball over, and neither did Alabama: so any points the Tigers got they had to work to generate them in the half court. Which is difficult to do against the Tide’s length on defense.
  • But hey, not getting destroyed on the glass vs. a taller and much longer team: That’s not so bad eh?

It’s just the shooting. I said above that Mizzou got what they needed from Alabama. The loss was lopsided for the Tide, but that was strictly because Missouri was so horrendous at converting outside shots. If they shoot as poorly as they did against Florida it’s a 15 points loss. If they shot as poorly as they did against Wichita State it’s a 12 point loss. And if they shoot as bad as they did against Texas A&M it’s a 9 point loss. Which is what KenPom originally projected. Shoot just 23% and you’re within the expected margin.

If they shot the same as Alabama, who also shot the ball poorly, it’s a 6 point loss. What I’m trying to say is Mizzou didn’t play bad. They actually played quite well, but when you shoot that badly, it just doesn’t matter.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: Mohamed Diarra, Isiaih Mosley, Noah Carter

study hall 2023 alabama

On the season: D’Moi Hodge 25, Kobe Brown 24, Nick Honor 16, Noah Carter 15, Sean East II 13, DeAndre Gholston 10, Tre Gomillion 5, Isiaih Mosley 4, Mohamed Diarra 3

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say nobody projected Mo Diarra to be the leader in Adjusted Game Score. And if anyone had Mo + Isiaih + Noah as their trifecta, well, your annual subscription to Rock M Nation is on me for the year. Congrats.

The team Saturday night barely resembled anything we’ve seen all season. Diarra’s impact, and continued edge into the rotation, is good for the team’s biggest weakness. But the majority of his impact was felt when the game was already out of hand. Diarra’s 8 points were all in the second half and all in the last 4 minutes. His first basket nibbled an 18-point lead down to 16. In fact, he scored all of Mizzou’s last 8 points. But the place where he wedged himself into the top spot was through the rebounding. Having a moderate amount of size and rebounding can only be a bonus for Dennis Gates the rest of the way.

Through much consternation, we finally have Mosley minutes. Losing Kobe Brown for any amount of time is hard for this team, but you could see even a rusty Mosley is still someone who can buoy the offense when things are a bit sticky.

study hall 2023 alabama

Continuing on Mosley, his efficiency is still lagging, but four turnovers and just 1-8 from 3FG is a big anchor pulling that number down. He was 8-10 from inside the arc and had the assist of the game with a beautiful alley-oop pass to Aidan Shaw. If he’s able to trim his turnovers a bit and start sinking 3s with a more regular clip, then you’re looking at the Mosley we expected.

The bigger issue is a 50.8 ORtg from D’Moi Hodge and a 56.5 ORtg from Nick Honor. Both were just 1-9 from the floor and getting two made field goals from the two players who’ve been the most consistent guys in the lineup (at least from those who were available) puts just too much strain on the rest of the roster. Both Hodge and Honor going through a dry spell at the same time is hopefully just a rip-the-bandaid-off type thing. Let's just get it over with. Hopefully they can each find their jumpers soon.

So much of how a team is viewed is through the lens of shooting. Coaches want their guys playing hard and fighting each possession, most of them understand you can’t coach shots into the basket, and missed shots aren’t Dennis Gates’ fault. But rarely is a poor shooting night this bad. It’s unfortunate it happened against a top 5 opponent, and also unfortunate it happened when that top 5 team was having an off night.

Alabama is a great basketball team and maybe the best in the country right now. I’m pretty sure their second team could win 11 games in the SEC this year. But they came into Mizzou Arena and were just ok on Saturday. Good news for them was Missouri was just so outrageously bad at shooting the ball from 3-point range that they never had to sweat. Just show up, collect the defensive rebounds and be moderately good.

The good news, or bad news, is the Tigers have a short turnaround. A trip to Ole Miss isn’t necessarily the tonic Missouri has used to get right in the past, but the Rebels are scuffling and might be without their best offensive player in Matthew Murrell. They’re 9-10 and haven’t beaten a top 100 opponent since November 11th. Like most of the SEC, they defend hard and can’t score. So it should be interesting.

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.