Sometimes you get breaks. We’ve experienced Mizzou getting a lot of breaks this year. Obviously saying something like that will remind you of DeAndre Gholston hitting game winners. But just as important that game was hitting over half of their threes. Getting a 10-0 run at the right time against Arkansas to secure a home win is also getting a good break. Most of the time when Mizzou has won games this year, at least against the tougher teams, it’s been getting a good run at the right time, the right shot at the right time. Enough to give them some room and make their opponent chase.
None of that happened against Mississippi State last night. Neither team was able to string together more than a 6-0 run. Any time Mizzou would get any level of distance, the Bulldog defense would stock up enough to keep it close.
Missouri had a 4-point lead with three minutes to play and managed just one point the rest of the way. A missed three, a turnover, then one for two on a set of free throws by Kobe Brown and Mizzou held a 2-point lead. The defense held (I know, right?) and D’Moi Hodge secured the rebound with 18 seconds left. He was fouled, went to the line for a 1-and-1 and missed the front end. MSU got the ball to Tolu Smith in prime position and Kobe Brown fouled Smith hard pushing him to the free throw line. The 56.3% free throw shooter made both shots with about 8 seconds left.
But even then Mizzou was undeterred. Dennis Gates drew up a fantastic play on the baseline to get his best player the ball under the rim. Brown was open, and he missed the bunny. The game went to overtime.
At this point you can’t feel too good about it. But Nick Honor opened the scoring in the extra time with a three pointer, just Mizzou’s second since halftime. But State answered with just their first made three in the same time frame. Mizzou would go cold after that, and it just felt like things weren’t going their way. They get a steal and turn the ball back over. They’d get a block then miss a layup. Mabor Majak even got an offensive rebound off a miss, kicked it to Brown who still lost the ball. Then Brown secured a big defensive rebound and ran into Majak’s shoulder and earned a bloody nose.
But with Kobe off the floor, Noah Carter buried a three pointer, his second on the night after making just one for his previous five games. Then a chaotic play resulted in another State bucket to take the lead back by one, before Nick Honor stepped into heroics.
NICK HONOR!!!— Mizzou Hoops (@MizzouHoops) February 22, 2023
They gutted this win out. Mississippi State is who they are at this point. They’re a bad offensive team, but they know that so they defend their ass off. This game was in their favor. It was slow paced and low scoring. And the Tigers were able to over come all that.
- Expected Rebounding with this team may never be a win: but against A&M it was -8.4. Auburn was -10.3. Tennessee was -6.9. They’ve been getting crushed on the glass. But not getting crushed you give yourself much more leeway offensively.
- The Bulldogs 3FGA/FGA might be the stat of the night: they are the worst three-point shooting team in the conference by a considerable margin. They’re 359th in the country on three point shooting percentage. They usually only shoot about 35% of their shots from behind the arc. But, and I know we rarely talk about Mizzou’s defense but this is actually a good thing, Mizzou forced MSU to settle by crowding Tolu Smith. The results were nearly half their shot attempts from behind the arc and just 25% of 28 attempts. Mission accomplished.
- Surprisingly enough, in a game that goes to overtime, the offensive stats were nearly identical: They each made 15 twos, State made one more FT, Mizzou made one more three. Mizzou won the BCI narrowly, and lost the expected rebound margin, narrowly.
It was very much like Dennis Gates rolled out nearly the same game play then had the first go around against MSU, and it just worked a little better. They were better in their discipline against Tolu in the half court. But they were also better with the ball and at the rim. So even despite a lot of those little in game things going against them, it was enough to get the win.
Your Trifecta: D’Moi Hodge, Kobe Brown, Tre Gomillion
On the season: Kobe Brown 45, D’Moi Hodge 41, Sean East II 18, Nick Honor 18, Noah Carter 17, DeAndre Gholston 15, Tre Gomillion 6, Isiaih Mosley 5, Mohamed Diarra 4
Talk about a “Welcome back, Tre Gomillion” game. He isn’t the type of guy who is going to overwhelm many teams in the SEC with his skill and offensive arsenal. But he’s a really smart player, and he’s very strong and tough. The physical nature of how the Bulldogs play took Missouri out of a lot of things they want to do, but Gomillion wasn’t phased by it. He even thrived in just his second game back. Gomillion got rebounds, and even had maybe the most important play of the game when he got between Tolu Smith and Cameron Matthews at the rim with virtually no time on the clock, and won. Tre tipped the ball out away from both taller and more athletic players and it secured the win. In a game where so many little things nearly lost Mizzou the game, Gomillion’s little things kept them in it and at the end won it for them.
D’Moi was great in the early part of the game, as he had all of his points in the first half and within the first two minutes of the second half. Kobe had 10 second half points, Gomillion had 8. And then Nick Honor and Noah Carter became the splash brothers in overtime.
When Gholston was overwhelmingly ineffective, Dennis Gates parked him. He stuck with the scout from the first game and opted to deploy Mabor Majak over Aidan Shaw, to mixed results. But basically everyone did at least a little bit to get this win. Brown wasn’t as awesome as he’s been all year, but he was good. And MSU is a tough matchup because Cameron Matthews is basically one of the few guys in the league who Brown isn’t stronger than, and he’s probably less athletic. Why Cam isn’t playing defensive end is beyond me.
Last thing I wanted to talk about was this:
Gates says the foul at the end of regulation was planned because he wanted his team to have the last shot.— Parker Gillam (@gillam_parker) February 22, 2023
Cites analytics as the reasoning, it just didn't work out with the Kobe Brown lay-up.
I don’t think I believe him that they always intended on fouling regardless on the last possession there. You are ahead, analytics don’t tell you to give your opponent a chance to tie the game to just get the ball back. BUT... it 100% made sense to foul Tolu Smith once he got the ball deep in the post like he did. He’s a 56% free throw shooter which tells you he’s probably more likely to make his attempt at the rim than he is two foul shots.
On top of that a foul to get the ball back also wasn’t going to be needed because most teams will try to score quickly to leave time on the clock in case they do NOT score. This gets a little into my talk with Matt Watkins on the podcast last week. If you’re behind you want the game longer, if you’re ahead you want it shorter. MSU would want to lengthen the game and attacking early would solve that.
Mizzou was always going to get the ball back with time on the clock. Either through a State score or a miss and a rebound, or turnover. Tolu defied the odds and made both FTs. And Gates did get what he wanted which was a fast point guard attacking down hill. Then his baseline out of bounds play was executed to perfection. They just missed the shot. The overtime heroics were fun, but that would have been a great play to wrap it all up also. Much like the D’Moi Hodge back-cut to score against Wichita State.
Turning the page, this puts Mizzou in a very good position down the stretch. We’ve talked about their three winnable games. Mizzou is now 8-7 in league play and tied with Arkansas, one game behind Vanderbilt, Auburn and Tennessee in the loss column. They’re two behind Kentucky, and a lot behind Texas A&M and Alabama. Florida is tied in the loss column but plays tomorrow. And Mississippi State is now two back of Mizzou. Here are the remaining schedules:
- Alabama (13-1): at South Carolina, vs Arkansas, vs Auburn, at Texas A&M
- Texas A&M (13-2): at Mississippi State, at Ole Miss, vs Alabama
- Kentucky (9-5): at Florida, vs Auburn, vs Vanderbilt, at Arkansas
- Tennessee (9-6): vs South Carolina, vs Arkansas, at Auburn
- Auburn (8-6): vs Ole Miss, at Kentucky, at Alabama, at Tennessee
- Vanderbilt (8-6): at LSU, vs Florida, at Kentucky, vs Mississippi State
- Arkansas (8-7): at Alabama, at Tennessee, vs Kentucky
- Missouri (8-7): at Georgia, at LSU, vs Ole Miss
- Florida (7-7): vs Kentucky, at Vanderbilt, at Georgia, vs LSU
- Mississippi State (6-9): vs Texas A&M, vs South Carolina, at Vanderbilt
- Georgia (6-9): vs Missouri, vs Florida, at South Carolina
Pretty much everyone has teams ahead of them in the standings remaining except for Mizzou. Kentucky is ahead of everyone but all their remaining games are against teams around them in the standings if only a little behind. Arkansas has been playing much better but have a brutal finish to the schedule. Tennessee has been floundering, having lost five of their last seven games.
Mizzou can top out at 11 wins and 7 losses. They are in a group of seven teams who can reach that number, and behind four who can get more. But they have arguably the best path to maximize their wins.
As I said on the podcast, winning on the road is tough and you cannot take teams behind you in the standings for granted. Georgia still has a lot to play for, maybe an NIT berth is at stake. LSU and Ole Miss are likely finishing at the bottom of the league, but they are still two teams with good players who have pride. And on the right night they can steal a win. And as we’ve seen, bad Mizzou can be pretty bad. But with the MSU win in their pocket they can hit the road for Athens with a real shot (albeit an outside one) to be a top 4 seed.
Missouri has a LOT to play for and more at stake than their opponents. Just keep doing the wins!
Other SEC Scores:
- Texas A&M 68, Tennessee 63
- Arkansas 97, Georgia 65
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.