Well, I’m happy that’s over.
I said on the Podcast Monday night there were virtually no good outcomes with this game, save a 30-point blowout. There was no version of this game where you felt good coming out of it because South Carolina is not a good basketball team. But like most high major basketball teams, they have enough talent to put a scare if you if shots start to go in. And unlike most high majors, they also have a guy who might be the most talented player on the floor when he’s in the game.
Gregory ‘G.G.’ Jackson is a legit lottery level NBA draft prospect. They also have Meechie Johnson, who basically beat Kentucky on his own at Rupp. And with the way Mizzou plays defense, there was always a possibility of those guys getting going and making things uncomfortable.
Not on my bingo card was Hayden Brown basically becoming Kobe Brown. The Citadel transfer keeps things simple but is a nice player. He excels on cuts and second chances around the rim, and he carved Mizzou up. Then for the first 10 minutes of the second half the Gamecocks only missed two field goals. Fortunately, they’re just as bad on defense as they usually are on offense and Missouri was able to just keep the pressure on.
At the 10-minute mark the home team held just a one-point lead and it was 61-60. It was then, and only then, did the clock strike midnight on Cinderella as the Gamecocks’ shooting luck ran out. They would make just three more shots and two of those were in the final minute. They did make a few free throws to keep things somewhat interesting, but the Tigers held control. At least enough where the result wasn’t in doubt. They were going to get the win.
- Wild times in Mizzou Arena when you hit your PPG average on just 63 possessions: KenPom projected Mizzou to score 84 points, and well, they really should have if normally reliable Free Throw shooter DeAndre Gholston hadn’t missed one of his final two FT attempts. But this always felt like a game where Mizzou was going to get their points.
- The question was whether they’d prevent South Carolina from getting their points: and for most of the night, they did NOT prevent SC from getting theirs. Jackson had 23 points on 12 shots. Brown had 19 points on 16 shots. The Gamecocks have the 232nd offense in the country and scored 1.17 points per possession on their best eFG% shooting on the season. Their only problem offensively were the turnovers. They had 10 in the first half, and 4 more in the second half, and as soon as they stopped turning the ball over, they started missing shots.
- This game was close because Mizzou didn’t blow out BCI and didn’t get blown out in ORB%: and with those things closer than they normally are, the shot making was close enough to keep the margins narrower than you might want otherwise. If Missouri was able to push the pace faster, say closer to their 72-73 range which is more what they prefer, while keeping the same number of turnovers, that would have netted another 12 points. But the slower pace allowed the 10 turnovers to be more impactful in keeping the final margin narrower than projected.
This is my way of saying that Missouri played okay. BartTorvik’s GameScore for this game was a 50 out of 100. And that makes a lot of sense. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good, either. But it got the needed result, which was to not catch a bad loss to a bad team on the wrong night.
Your Trifecta: Kobe Brown, D’Moi Hodge, Nick Honor
On the season: Kobe Brown 36, D’Moi Hodge 35, Nick Honor 18, Noah Carter 17, DeAndre Gholston 13, Sean East II 13, Tre Gomillion 5, Isiaih Mosley 5, Mohamed Diarra 3
Despite a slow start and a finger to the eye, Kobe Brown found a way to be the most important player on the floor again. He started just 2-6 with 5 points in the first half. Noah Carter started hot, and D’Moi Hodge was stealing everything and scoring a bunch so he went into passive role (while still collecting 5 rebounds). But in the second half, he killed South Carolina, and more importantly, he made Hayden Brown work on defense. The South Carolina forward had 12 points on 5-7 shooting in the first half but got physically dominated by Kobe in the second half and it seemed to take some of the wind out of his sails since he finished with 7 points on 3-9 shooting in the 2nd half.
Pretty good game for everyone offensively, unless your last name is Gholston. But even Dree’s shooting struggles weren’t overwhelming in his possessions, so the impact was low. It seemed like Dennis Gates wanted to run with Sean East II and Nick Honor through most of the game when possible and they rewarded him with some big shots.
If anything, early on I’ll admit to thinking East was a little too high usage. He was taking some shots he wouldn’t normally take in games, and it just seemed odd. East was just 2-5 from the floor in the first half, and then he was 3-4 in the second with a huge 3 and a big bucket to finish a run and put Mizzou back up 12 with 1:35 to play. That shot effectively ended the game. That three was just his 5th 3PFG make in conference play put Mizzou up 6. And he also hit all four of his free throws. In all, East scored 9 of the team’s final 17 points in sealing off the win.
In fact, Honor, East, and Kobe Brown scored 37 of the team’s 41 2nd half points. It’s no wonder two of them made the trifecta, and the other had a top 3 Adjusted Game Score per Minute.
What lies ahead now is Missouri’s lowest Win Expectancy for the season in its visit to Knoxville to take on the 6th ranked Tennessee Volunteers. UT is 6th in the AP poll, but 2nd in KenPom, 2nd in NET, 2nd in Torvik. And as we said on the pod, their defense is why. UT is 1st in Defense in a lot of categories. Their Adjusted Defense is 83.8, which is the lowest Defensive Rating for anyone in the KenPom era. Their eFG% is 1st, their TOR% is 10th, their 3P% is 1st, 2P% is 9th. And all that goes with a top 30 block rate, a top 15 steal rate, and their RAW defensive efficiency is 1st at 80.7 points per 100 possessions. For context, Mississippi State is at 90.1 in AdjustedD and 89.0 in raw efficiency.
But as I mentioned on the pod, 3-point defense is largely considered to be a bit of a luck based state. Yet they’ve never had a team shoot better than 35% this season. And since the Vols struggle to score, if you can get a few 3-pointers to fall you might be able to pick this game off. Still a long shot.
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.