Dennis Gates has been the head coach at Missouri for 38 basketball games, and while I think we’ve seen all sort of basketball games so far under his watch, none of them would I have called Cuonzo-like. But here we are. Credit to Matt Watkins for pointing that out, but it fits.
The pace was slow, the defense was tight and suffocating, the offense was sporadic. The win was comfortable. All the hallmarks of a non-conference game during the Martin era. That’s not a criticism. It’s also not a compliment, it’s a realization.
The entry to the 2023-24 season has been a bit bumpy. Or at least bumpier than we maybe thought it might be by this point. Last season the offense was rarely so sticky as it’s been for such long stretches this year. The lineups have been a little all over the place which has led to a few more dry spells. They’ve also still played without Connor Vanover, and the interior experimentation has been just that... Dennis Gates experimenting. After starting each of the last two games, Jesus Carralero Martin didn’t even get off the bench last night. Yet Gates still got to 11 players. Kaleb Brown didn’t play but was a pregame scratch with an illness.
Instead we saw more of John Tonje at the four, and Jordan Butler at the five. We also saw a dialed up half court defense. After getting punished in middle pick and rolls early in the game, Missouri switched up its coverage and just ate up the ball handlers. After scoring 31 points in 30 possessions in the first half, SIUE managed just three made field goals in the second half, and two of those were in the final minute and a half.
Were it not for Mizzou’s propensity for fouling and sending their opponent to the line, this game would have been well more out of hand than it was.
- These two teams faced each other last year: and the game couldn’t have been any different. Mizzou won 105-80, at one point leading by 41. That game was played at a pace of 79 possessions, so an extra 18 possessions of basketball. The efficiency margin that night was 0.33, last night it was 0.29 PPP. That’s not a huge difference.
- 53.8% eFG isn’t awful: it would have been in the bottom third of last year’s shooting, but within the range. Basically, between Southern Indiana and LSU on the road. They’re getting a lot of good shots, too. You wonder if this is going to be who they are or if there’s a dam that’s going to break at some point.
- Mizzou had two games last year with better Defensive Efficiency: I know comparing everything to last season may be getting old, but that’s our measuring stick so far. Even with three games, that’s not a lot of data, so understanding this team through a scope of “how are they different from last season” can help. Last year’s defense held opponents to less than a point per possession in just 9 games. Two of the three games so far that’s been the case. So one of the offseason questions we had about this team is possibly being answered... they appear to be a little tougher on the defensive end.
Your Trifecta: Sean East II, Noah Carter, Aidan Shaw
On the season: Sean East 9, Tamar Bates 3, Nick Honor 3, Noah Carter 2, Aidan Shaw 1
Sean East being this team’s best player by a significant margin is not what I had on my BINGO card. East’s big breakout has been his three point shooting. For the season he’s 6 of 10, and if East wants to make 60% of his threes the rest of the year I’m here for it. He’s also sporting a 149 efficiency rating on the season. Three games and East has been the trifecta leader in all three.
Noah Carter also had a good shooting night, on his birthday too! And I was a little surprised to see Aidan Shaw sneak into the trifecta. He only played 13 minutes, but five boards and a couple dunks were enough. But he just edged out Caleb Grill, who I thought had a really productive game. It was good to see him making some outside shots, but he was doing a great job being a connector.
Man those Floor rates are all over the place.
So, I really like Anthony Robinson II. If he were making any of his shots (he’s 1 of 8 on the season) I’d probably convert this to crush status, but he’s just a really good smart player. His pace is good, he never looks rattled, he defends, and brings energy... I just really like him. If he keeps playing like that I don’t know how you don’t give him minutes all season. Really, both Ant and Jordan Butler had good minutes.
I still think Gates likely wants more from Tamar Bates, but I will point out that Bates was +13 in his 19 minutes. For all the things you want from Bates offensively, he’s a very good defender and still impacts the game on that end even if he’s not quite on track on offense.
Hopefully Nick Honor’s arm injury is not serious.
This team appears to be a weird hybrid of what Gates wanted last year’s team to be, and what he wants his program to be eventually. You can see it when he has the length on the wings and the interior with how disruptive that can be around the rim and affecting shot attempts. At the same time, they haven’t yet pulled out the offense with how it looked for much of the season last year. The framework is there, and perhaps as the lineups become a bit more fixed we see the comfort levels settle more. And that improves the shooting.
The next game is at Minnesota and it will be with Connor Vanover. Having even a slightly more clear picture of this team with their 7’5” center should help to understand this team far better.
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.