The fun part of writing whole game Study Halls is that it completely neglects the momentum swings that happen within a basketball game. Did you miss your first 20 shots and make your last 20? Congrats, that’s 50%!
But what unfolded at Williams Arena in Minneapolis Thursday night was anything but a normal basketball game. So while we’re going to try and look at this as objectively as possible, that’s also nearly impossible considering where things stood with 11 and a half minutes to play in the second half of the game.
At that point, I sat back on the couch and exhaled after Mike Mitchell buried a three to put Minnesota up 20 points. Missouri had been pretty awful, the Gophers had come out of the gates hot from outside and had buoyed themselves into what seemed like control of the basketball game. Mizzou hadn’t scored for about 4 minutes, Caleb Grill had already gotten kicked out of the game after making contact with an official, and it was the second technical assessed to the Tigers in the half. It was basically a long checklist of the recipe for a road loss all piled into one.
But then a funny thing happened.
Minnesota scored just 9 points the rest of the way, the cumulative pressure and Missouri’s deep bench (Dennis Gates played 13 guys!) got to their legs. And the Tigers, buoyed by the Gophers' loose handle, scored 31 points in the final 11:09 of the game to win the game. As much as you think you know the story, it still gets even weirder.
Nick Honor had a personal 8-point run to cut it to 12, but Mizzou was still down 14 when Curt Lewis subbed in with 7:31 to play. He didn’t leave the court the rest of the game, after not playing the previous 32:29. Lewis was +16 and Trent Pierce, who also played only 9 minutes in the second half, was +15. Two guys who couldn’t get into the game in the first half suddenly were the key cogs for an improbable run that a lot of people will remember for a long time.
- The 2022-23 Mizzou Tigers reared their head with this box score: this looked a LOT like last year's boxes when you’re at -6.8 on the boards, you more than double up your opponent in BCI and you score just enough to outpace your opponent. In a lot of ways, Mizzou’s defense has been a lot better this year at the point of attack, but before last night their defensive rebounding had been improved as well. Expected rebounds is around 37% of three-point misses, 32% of two-point misses, and 17% of free throws. It ends up being a little over 30%, the average in D1 so far this year is 29.5%. So yeah, 45% isn’t great. That’s in line with their performance at Auburn last year.
- The free throws and fouling continue to be a problem: Mizzou played so many guys that the only guy who got to four was Caleb Grill, and well, yeah, we know how that went. But the FTA/FGA is currently 251st in the country, and on offense they’re 298th. So the defense is improved, the rebounding is improved, but you’re still giving up a lot of free points at the free throw line. So far this season only once have the Tigers shot more free throws than their opponent, and that was against Memphis and they were +1 in that category.
- Did you make your 3-pointers? And when? Minnesota sank their first five three-pointers, then they finished 8 of 23. From 100% to 16.6%. After making their first five, they missed their next four, then connected on two in a row. So from 5/5, to 7/11, only to finish one for their last 12. Both teams made 8 of 23, so sometimes the question isn’t whether you made your threes or not... it’s when you made them. Minny made just one in the second half while the Tigers made four.
Your Trifecta: Noah Carter, Nick Honor, Sean East II
On the season: Sean East 10, Tamar Bates 3, Nick Honor 5, Noah Carter 5, Aidan Shaw 1
I was really hoping for a curveball in the trifecta and we almost got it with Anthony Robinson’s excellent 11 minutes of play. Ant is quickly becoming a #RockMFave for his energy and his ability to stick his nose in on defense. But this really was a game where the contributions were by committee.
Noah Carter had a very good day, though he’s probably still being a little overused offensively. I’m not a big fan of him taking threes off the bounce, and I like him attacking mismatches to the rim. Against Minnesota, Dawson Garcia isn’t a mismatch and for too many possessions Carter tried to do to Garcia what he’s done to guys like Uros Plavsic.
I kind of love Aidan Shaw’s line: 18 minutes, no field goal attempts, 4 blocks, a 3% usage rate. (I’ve honestly never seen that number.) He just defended like mad, affected shots at the rim, created havoc, and didn’t take any shots. Someone feed that guy a lob or something.
The only negative game score was from Carralero-Martin, who did what Gates has asked him to do and be more aggressive in looking to take shots. Maybe a bit too aggressive as he cranked a three attempt and attacked the rim against a bigger, more athletic player.
It was a really good night for the freshmen and non-portal transfer, Curt Lewis. On twitter after the game Lewis tweeted, “Stay ready you aint gotta get ready” and I love this mentality from him. I’m still not sure where he fits into this rotation but if he’s okay coming in mid-second half and just being fresh legs, well then that’s a very worthy role. The Gophers were gassed in the second half, and Dennis Gates inserted a whole host of fresh legs and just cracked their will. Lewis was a very big part of that, and he was a missed three from probably being able to get into the trifecta. That’s a very positive 9 minutes.
Truthfully, this roster still has a lot of figuring out to do. I love the energy and defense provided by Tamar Bates and Aidan Shaw right now. The freshmen have been a positive development. I realistically think Gates is going to try and play 11 guys. There are questions still about whether they can get more productive minutes from Caleb Grill and John Tonje. Tonje looks like he’s still working his way back, his movement is still stiff and labored at times. So three buy games may not be the worst thing for him. Meanwhile, Grill is a tough and physical kid, he plays with fire (sometimes a little too much fire), but he’s also got to find a way to be more than a defender and rebounder. I think Missouri has enough guys like that; they need someone who can consistently knock down shots.
I’ll reiterate, there’s still a lot to work on. And this team getting three opponents they should beat, even on an off night, may be just what they need to sort things about before the schedule gets stickier. But with that all said... the last 11 minutes were fun as hell. What a wild game.
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.