They did it!
Mizzou finally won an NCAA Tournament game!
It’s been a very long time so I hope you enjoy this one. Crack open something good to drink, have a cigar, set a toast. However you celebrate. March can be fun again!
This Missouri team is just a fun team. Going into the matchup the predictive metrics favored Utah State, the Vegas betting odds favored Utah State, and there were plenty of national pundits who picked Utah State.
I picked Missouri. I know plenty if not all of you did too. We’ve seen this team, we’ve watched them all year. They just go out there and make plays. They may not be great defensively but they make you uncomfortable and they make you work. If you’re patient and move the ball enough you can get an easy look. But that requires a lot of work, that wears you down. I’ve seen enough of Utah State to know they don’t like being uncomfortable on offense, and if you can make them uncomfortable, you can tweak those margins enough to make them chase you.
Now, if Utah State comes out and makes their first 5 three pointers, things are different. But they didn’t do that. They missed their first 13 (if you were counting). Part of that is luck, but the other part is what Mizzou is good at on defense, which is making you uncomfortable.
I thought the game was going to come down if Mizzou was able to make enough shots from outside. While things were looking dire for a while, the Tigers made 6 of their last 8 to close the game on a 27 to 10 run, which was lessened by two late layups by the Aggies when the game was over. This is the team we’ve seen so many times this season. They turn you over and make back-breaking threes. And they get to try it again at least once more.
- I’ll admit, I didn’t have Mizzou holding USU to a sub 1.0 ppp on my bingo card: but there it is. The Aggies still finished the season 17th in the country in 3FG%. And as we’ve said many times in the past and this season, 3FG% defense is largely about luck. Considering the way some teams have shot against Mizzou this year, we were due for some luck in that category. It did seem like the game plan was a willingness to give up closer shots around the rim as long as three point shots were challenged. It worked. And it turned in a tie for the Aggies’ worst outside shooting performance on the season, another 4-24 performance in.... their last game. So they finished the season in a 8-48 slump.
- The 2FG% shooting is what kept it close: As both teams struggled to make outside shots, USU was better inside the arc making 8 of their first 9, and 10 of 12. As for Mizzou, they finished making 6 of their last 7. Again, they always seem to close strong.
It seems like the things we’ve seen this team do all year, they did against Utah State, namely the high eFG%, the low TOR%, and a complete disappearance on the glass. Mizzou also forced USU into one of their worst games handling the ball on the season. Weirdly enough this was their only loss with a TOR of 19.0% or higher which spans 10 games.
Your Trifecta: D’Moi Hodge, Kobe Brown, Noah Carter
On the season: D’Moi Hodge 54, Kobe Brown 52, Noah Carter 24, Nick Honor 22, DeAndre Gholston 20, Sean East II 18, Tre Gomillion 6, Isiaih Mosley 5, Mohamed Diarra 4
As the team was struggling a bit, they turned to Kobe Brown and Brown came through. At the 10:46 mark the Aggies converted a fast break dunk to take a 47-45 lead. Kobe Brown had just 7 points to that point in the game. Missouri called a timeout and here’s how the next few offensive possessions went:
- Kobe Brown missed 3FGA
- Kobe Brown made dunk off post up
- Kobe Brown made 3FGA
- Kobe Brown made 3FGA
- Kobe Brown fouled, FTA 1 of 2
That was 5 straight offensive possessions, Mizzou went from down 2 to up 5 with Brown scoring 9 points, or 1.8 points per possession. He would can another three to put Mizzou up 6 before turning things over to D’Moi Hodge to finish things off. D’Moi would make two threes and a dunk to give Mizzou an 11 point lead. And the Tigers are just one of those teams that once they get that run this late in the game, they’re really hard to come back on.
We did not get a Dree game. I don’t think he was as bad as some of these numbers indicate. Utah State did a good job of forcing Mizzou away from what they wanted to do and then funneling the ball to Gholston in late clock situations. Those aren’t ideal for anyone, and Gholston was usually stuck with a taller, longer defender. So his efficiency slumped a bit.
But without Tre Gomillion again, the bench was really short. Diarra was ineffective, and it seemed like Dennis Gates wanted to make sure they got this win. So he played his cards close to the vest and kept his rotations short. Shaw played some solid minutes defensively, and really helped when Kobe picked up his second foul.
But when it came to what they needed when they needed it, the math was simple: get the ball to the best guys.
And now the math is simpler: win again and you’re in the Sweet 16.
Arizona did Missouri a big favor by failing to score a basket in the final 4 minutes, and just 6 points in the final 10 minutes. This caused them to lose to Princeton, the 15-seed. So instead of facing Arizona, Mizzou gets Princeton. For the record, I liked the matchup a bit against Arizona because Kerr Kriisa and Oumar Ballo both are banged up and not playing well, and I thought Kobe and Noah Carter could pull Ballo and Arzuolas Tubelis away from the rim offensively.
Instead, the Tigers get the Tigers. Princeton is good and well-coached, but until yesterday had just one top 100 win in KenPom. That win was over Yale in the Ivy League Championship game. Their second best win was over Penn. Mizzou will be favored, the current line looks to be about 6.
It doesn’t matter how you get there, just that you got there.
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.