Let’s start with some obvious facts. The goal when you enter each basketball contest is to win the game, right? Missouri has proven this year they’re pretty good at getting a W, and they collected another one last night against the LSU Tigers, moving their overall record to 17-5 and 5-4 in league play.
Since this is an analytics post, we talk a lot about KenPom.com, and BartTorvik.com and EvanMiya.com, among others. Analytics will tell us a lot about how a thing happened. And how things happened is one of the key contributors to what’s holding Mizzou back in a lot of these predictive metric sites. Frankly, defensively they’re just pretty bad and it’s weighing them down in things like NET and KenPom.
Last night Mizzou came out of the gates and immediately put LSU in an 8-0 hole. Their hot shooting continued for much of the first half as they would eventually take an 18-point lead with 8:43 to play when Kobe Brown buried a 3-pointer. After that began a theme for the day, where Mizzou lost focus, got sloppy, and let LSU hang around.
For the night, Mizzou only had 10 turnovers, but three of them came in that stretch where the lead was whittled down to 9 points. They would eventually get the lead back up to 13 by the break, but the damage of letting a fledgling team searching and hoping for any kind of spark was set. From there LSU would become a fly in the ointment on a night when most Tiger fans just wanted to celebrate. Instead, there was a nervous energy in the second half, despite the fact LSU never got the lead into single digits. And even the final margin was only made that way thanks to a late 3 with 16 seconds on the clock.
Even Mizzou’s turnover margin was inflated thanks to the LSU press when the game was well in hand. The Tigers had 4 turnovers in the last 1:19 of play. Couple that with the 3 which occurred over a 4-minute stretch, and you have 7 of the 10 turnovers from a lack of concentration when you thought you were blowing someone out.
- Missouri’s defense is quickly becoming a “get right” game for struggling offenses: They’ve held just one high major opponent to a sub-1.00 PPP and that was last game against Iowa State. I jokingly said last night from the RockMNation twitter account that, “Pretty sure Mizzou believes they can just score it more than you can” and the canned response from the Twitter proletariat was “because they can,” which really is mostly true. Currently the Defense is rated 188th in AdjustedD, which would be the worst mark of the KenPom era. The only thing that comes close is Quin Snyder’s final team (182nd) when Melvin Watkins piloted the final 7 games. Last night Mizzou gave up 1.09 PPP to what is STILL the league's worst offense. LSU didn’t even shoot well, just a 49.2% eFG but found a way to score 77 points on 70 possessions.
- Perhaps that’s why the offense is so good?: They have to be! This is the 2nd best offense in the KenPom era, behind only the 2012 team. That team was first overall, this team is third. And they’re doing it in a very similar way! Five out spacing with good shooting and finishing around the rim. Plus being top 30 in FT shooting helps as well. Last night was another onslaught of offense.
- A tale of 2 halves in 3pt Shooting: After hitting on 11 of their 23 3FGA in the first half, Mizzou attempted just four 3s in the second half, while making 2 of them. First half 2FG shooting was 6/9, 2nd half was 14/23. Meanwhile LSU attempted 18 3s in the first half, and 15 in the second half. Mizzou switched their approach in the second half and focused on getting to the rim and they were able to be efficient in scoring both ways. It’s a good sign for when they travel to Baton Rouge later in the season.
This feels like a game that should’ve been at least a 15-18 point win. Missouri didn’t take care of the ball down the stretch, and seemed to pump the breaks more than they have recently. They only forced 12 turnovers, which is usually where they make up for the difference of getting hit hard on the glass. LSU was merely good on the ORB% and not great. But most of that happened in the second half when they were trying to hang around.
Your Trifecta: Kobe Brown, Noah Carter, DeAndre Gholston
On the season: Kobe Brown 32, D’Moi Hodge 30, Noah Carter 17, Nick Honor 17, Sean East II 13, DeAndre Gholston 11, Tre Gomillion 5, Isiaih Mosley 5, Mohamed Diarra 3
Man, Kobe Brown is on one. Since missing the Alabama game he’s scored 64 points, grabbed 25 rebounds, dished out 13 assists, grabbed 6 steals while shooting 10-10 from the foul line, 10-14 from 3FG, and 12-15 from 2FG. We thought we knew what Kobe Brown was as a player coming into this year, but whatever we thought is wrong. Kobe’s ability to go from a poor, or at best erratic, shooter to making nearly half of his attempts after 22 games this year is certainly something unanticipated. His shooting stroke from mid-range and at the FT line suggested he could be a better shooter, but I didn’t envision 47.6%.
Noah Carter has experienced a turbulent move to the SEC. But when he’s able to be an effective offensive weapon he makes this team all that more dangerous. He picked a good time to break out. Carter was just 5 of 24 from outside since league play started, but he hit 3 of his first 4 attempts and helped Mizzou create that early separation, which held up all game.
LSU switched their defensive focus to take away D’Moi Hodge. Since Hodge had blitzed both Iowa State and Ole Miss, they probably figured if they could limit him they might be able to hold the offense down a bit. And he got off just 2 shots in the first half. That’s why Noah Carter was so important. Kobe was torching everyone, but he needed a second guy and Carter filled in. Isiaih Mosley also connected on 2 first half threes, and DeAndre Gholston tacked one on for good measure also.
Whoops, forgot to trim Tre out of this one.
This is a nearly perfect sheet offensively. I think you might prefer to see Hodge’s usage up a bit, closer to 20%. Mosley’s down a tick closer to 30%, and even Kobe probably should’ve hunted another opportunity or two. Brown was responsible for two turnovers, but a third was also his fault as he was a little careless and didn’t get the ball across halfcourt in time. So, he was really at fault for 3 of the last 4 turnovers.
It’s a good sign this team has broken out of its funk. It has also corresponded with the schedule lightening up a bit and facing teams who aren’t as stout defensively. Florida, Arkansas, Alabama, Iowa State, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Auburn are all 21st or better in Adjusted Defense. So that isn’t to say Mizzou’s offensive performance is because they’ve lit up bad defenses; after all they did pin Iowa State to the glass. But they need to show they can do it on the road.
The confines at Mizzou Arena are friendly for the home team, but what about The Hump in Starkville? This teams looks bound for an NCAA tournament, but they’re not as safe as we’d like it’s largely because the defense keeps giving up a lot of points. The Tigers have shown they’re capable of putting up more points than just about anyone, but at some point they’re going to need a stop on defense.
There are 9 games left on the schedule and if Mizzou just holds serve at home, they’ll be 21-10 and 9-9 in league play. In this year’s SEC that may not be enough to get you over the hump. They’re going to need to win a few road games and I want to know if they can do that against a good defense, and limit even a bad offense to few opportunities or at least a sub-1.00 ppp. Next chance is at Mississippi State, a top 10 defense with an offense that struggles mightily to make jump shots. But hey, at least they offensive rebound!
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.