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Study Hall: Mississippi State 63, Mizzou 52

Ugly on the road. Again.

study hall 2022

I hate when Mizzou has to play at Mississippi State. There are virtually no good games that happen for the Tigers when they head to Starkville and Humphrey Coliseum. While there were many Mizzou fans I talked to in the days leading up to this game who expressed optimism, I just couldn’t quite get there. One, because it’s really hard to win games for anyone in that building. But two, it’s been nearly impossible for Missouri to just be competitive in that building.

Different coaches have experienced the same result. It took a monumentally bad MSU team in Frank Haith’s second season to catch a win at the Hump. Since then it’s been nearly all blowouts and ugly shooting nights. The next time Dennis Gates takes a Mizzou team to play in Starkville, bring some sage to burn or something.

As for this game, heading in you knew MSU wanted it to be a mud-wrestling match. They wanted to slow the pace of play, mug you in the half court defense, and play off of Tolu Smith in the post. They’re a terrible shooting team so they wanted to rebound misses and try and capitalize as much as possible at the Free Throw line.

If they’re able to do all those things they can make your life miserable. And well, they were able to do all those things and my life was miserable. Mainly because I hate watching that style of basketball. As I’m sure is the same for most people. It’s ugly, it takes forever to play games. There’s little if any flow to the game.

When the game got a little opened up, Mizzou was able to whittle back into the lead. They got the lead down to 4 points, and it was just five when D’Moi Hodge stepped to the line for 2 FTs. He missed both. State was able to score, and on the ensuing possession they were called for a technical foul after committing some light assault on Isiaih Mosley after a tie up. Kobe Brown attempted the free throws and made one. State scored again, Kobe made one of two free throws again on the other end. The game was still within reach.

But State used the media timeout to then grind any and all game momentum into the floor. Missouri failed to score for the entirety of the next frame and would find themselves down 15 before their next points with 3:46 to play. By that point the game was effectively over and the rest was window dressing.

Team Stats

2023 study hall msu
  • MSU’s terms... Slow pace, lots of turnovers, lots of free throws: yes this game was played the way the Bulldogs wanted it. Mizzou had their worst 2FG% shooting night on the season, their second worst eFG% night on the season, and their third worst TOR% on the season. All that coupled with the lowest points per possession means this offensive performance was the worst output since the trip to Bud Walton Arena last year. I’m sure Matt Watkins remembers that trip. Granted that game was EVEN WORSE, and they were bad offensively last year so much that there were multiple games in the 0.80 range, but nothing below it. Then keep in mind Mizzou made 3 of their last 4 threes when it didn’t matter. Yuck.
  • Not being demolished on the glass is an improvement though: they were even with MSU in raw ORBs and just -1.9 in expected ORBs. Mizzou hasn’t been this close to even since beating UCF. Maybe turning a new leaf?
  • This was an average offensive game for MSU: they were bad. Mizzou got what they needed. Just 0.95 PPP and a nearly 20% turnover rate. Missouri was mostly able to keep State off the glass, but a few too many shots at the rim (30 of their 36 points from 2FG were layups or dunks) instead of long jump shots likely cost them. That and State suddenly deciding they were going to be a good FT shooting team while Mizzou opted to miss their FTs.

There were a lot of comments on it just “not being your night” from some of Mizzou twitter. Some of that is true, Mizzou didn’t do themselves many favors. You have to give credit to MSU here as well. They were able to get the game played on their terms, and they forced some tough shots and turnovers and it cost the Tigers.

State had a rough entry into league play but they were losing games on offense, not defense. Their defense kept them around. Mizzou had hope to land in Starkville and steal a win, but it was going to have to be on the offense end. And last night they just didn’t have it.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: D’Moi Hodge, DeAndre Gholston, Kobe Brown

2023 study hall msu

On the season: D’Moi Hodge 33, Kobe Brown 33, Noah Carter 17, Nick Honor 17, DeAndre Gholston 13, Sean East II 13, Tre Gomillion 5, Isiaih Mosley 5, Mohamed Diarra 3

Well clearly not a great night for the Trifecta here. When your leader is FAR and AWAY the leader with only 11 points... it’s a tough night. D’Moi Hodge was aggressive on both ends, and collected a host of rebounds, which is something kind of new. But he struggled to make shots.

MSU’s defense is difficult to run your normal stuff, they gum things up a lot. Especially if you’re unable to get into some early clock action like Missouri prefers to do. When things get gummed up Gates tends to lean on Gholston more than usual. He’s strong enough to hold off defenders, mostly. And can typically get his shot off in tight spaces, and he draws fouls. The three turnovers is too much, but he also had the best floor rate on the team, and only he and Hodge had reasonable offensive nights.

Meanwhile, Kobe Brown did not have a good night. I thought this might be a tough matchup for him, because Cameron Matthews is a big strong freak kind of like Kobe is. It was clear MSU was running doubles at Brown, and shifting their defense when he had the ball. Whatever they did, it worked. It also hurt that the guy who’s hit 44% of his 3-pointers this season couldn’t find the net on one of them in five attempts. He’s been rebounding well lately though.

2023 study hall msu

Way more red than we’re used to seeing (and I forgot to trim Gomillion out again). Four players saw minutes who had an Efficiency rating below 50, or 0.50 points per possession. Matt Harris keeps track of the lineup data and the change in the starting lineup, while logical for the matchup, left Mizzou at -8 in just three and a half minutes of action at the start of each half. One of the ways Mizzou has been able to push their agenda is by being good on offense right away.

Against LSU it was an opening 8-0 run, against ISU it was an 8-2 opening run, against Ole Miss it was a 14-2 run a few minutes into the game. Against MSU, Mizzou didn’t score until a Gholston FT with 2+ minutes gone. They didn’t have a single offensive run higher than 6-0 aside from their mid-2nd half charge with a 10-0 run. Obviously it’s hard to get runs when you’re missing shots, but part of the offensive struggles were also the lineups.

This felt like a game where Gates moved away from playing like Mizzou has played, and tried to matchup with how State plays more. Being malleable is always a good thing as a college coach, but I think there’s also room to just embrace who you are.

That’s all second guessing, but I just didn’t think it made a lot of sense to park Aidan Shaw and go with Kaleb Brown or Mabor Majak. Majak was lost defensively, and Kaleb provided only a couple turnovers in his 9 minutes.

But in the end it’s still a tough place to get a win. And I’m not sure Mizzou is any worse off for not getting a Q1 win than they were at the start of the game. It’s just a missed opportunity. But I think it can sometimes be a good thing to reset a bit, especially when you’re not the kind of team vying for a league championship, but one working towards an NCAA Tournament bid.

Missouri had won three straight games, but did so by torching the nets. They’ve now shown they’re just as capable of hitting 50% from deep as they are 20%. There are 10 games this season where they’ve shot below 33.3% from outside. Eight of those games came against high major teams, with six being losses. Only Wichita State and the home win against Arkansas saw Mizzou victorious on a tough shooting night. There aren’t very many games left where you’ll be able to survive on a rough shooting night. Maybe 2 games, possibly three at most.

Next up is South Carolina, and while they did beat Kentucky on the road, they haven't played back to back close games and they just lost to Arkansas at home in a close one. Get that win under your belt, and then focus on how you can handle another tough defense in Tennessee.

Other SEC Scores:

  • Tennessee (2) 46, Auburn (25) 43
  • Alabama (4) 79, LSU 69
  • Vanderbilt 74, Ole Miss 71
  • Arkansas 65, South Carolina 63
  • Texas A&M 82, Georgia 57
  • Kentucky 72, Florida 67

Mizzou is currently tied for 7th place. Time to get a few more wins, fellas.

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.