No matter how many times you read or are told about the randomness of three-point shooting, it’s still difficult to watch a team bury three-point shot after three-point shot on your defense. Especially when your team has a lot on the table, and the opponent is playing out the string.
LSU has proven for much of the season they aren’t a particularly good basketball team. They had enough of a roster reconstruction to make you think they could be better than they’ve been. After all, we even projected them 7th in the league around here. But even bad basketball teams can catch a heater, and even at home. They shot 42.9% from deep in a home win over Vanderbilt, they scored 45 second-half points against Texas A&M, and they put up 77 points on Missouri last month at Mizzou Arena.
So capable, but not consistent.
For senior night, Matt McMahon started walkon Parker Edwards in his last home game. Edwards was a scholarship player at Southeastern Louisiana but opted to walk on at LSU instead, so he can play a little bit. Not enough to actually log minutes in games obviously. But he started anyway, and he canned two early three-pointers which completely set the tone for a weird 1st half.
LSU made their first three, and 11 of their first 14 three-point field goal attempts. They made five in a row at one point and that landed them a 19-point lead with just under 3 minutes to play. 78% 3FG shooting is hard to fathom, especially for a team like the LSU Tigers. Before the game they were shooting around 30% in SEC play and had only made 11 or more in a game in four games all season. They made 11 in the first half.
Making things even weirder, they were awful from inside the arc. They made just ONE of 10, seven of those were layups! Meanwhile, Mizzou played ok offensively. They weren’t great, but they were just bad enough to make you worried this game was going to get away from them. It looked that way, until it didn’t.
LSU came back down to earth in the second half, and Mizzou did that thing where they score a lot. It worked out.
- Possession is very important, you can’t score without possession: there were 65 possessions, but Mizzou forced turnovers on one out of every four of them. They also did not turn the ball over, and against a poor defensive team getting 9 more possessions with shots at the rim was a vital difference. Especially when LSU was getting 1.55 points per shot.
- We know Mizzou is a poor rebounding team: and they know they’re a poor rebounding team. The gamble is they can value the ball more by not turning it over while getting you to cough up the ball. The Tigers had 7 turnovers in the game, and 0 in the second half. LSU had 10 second half turnovers and 16 in the game. So a -1 disadvantage turned into a +10 advantage in the second half. They used every second half possession to get a shot at the rim and scored 47 points that way.
- The 2FG shooting was pretty important it turns out: Instead of LSU taking a 20-point lead or more at half time with some better interior finishing, Mizzou was able to keep the pressure on enough that an early burst to start the second half was enough to make it a game again.
DeAndre Gholston’s shot at the 2nd half buzzer cut the lead to 13. Then a 6-0 run to open up in the second half cut the lead to 7. Once the lead got under 10 it never got back over. There was never a big kill shot, but several small runs while LSU’s turnover woes prevented them from sustaining anything more than a couple of consecutive buckets.
Your Trifecta: D’Moi Hodge, DeAndre Gholston, Noah Carter
On the season: D’Moi Hodge 46, Kobe Brown 45, Nick Honor 21, Sean East II 18, Noah Carter 19, DeAndre Gholston 17, Tre Gomillion 6, Isiaih Mosley 5, Mohamed Diarra 4
Tough night for Kobe Brown, but part of it is that LSU has two defenders is Derek Fountain and Jalen Reed who are strong enough and mobile enough to give him trouble offensively. He also was 0-3 from outside which forced his efficiency to slump. He scored the ball better in the home win because he hit 5-5 from the outside, but without the outside shot dropping Fountain was able to deny him the ball in the spots he wants and it worked out well for LSU. Other than Gholston turning into Kobe for the night.
If there was ever a game where Green Light Dree Gholston was going to show up and play great well this was it. He did not disappoint, he was good from 2 and from 3, he got to his spots and aside from three turnovers in the first half, he kept Mizzou around enough so they could make a move. When they made their move it was D’Moi Hodge time.
Noah Carter also played well. He hit a big three and had a couple of offensive rebounds and putbacks.
What was interesting in the second half was how Dennis Gates shortened his bench and moved away from Aidan Shaw (who was very helpful in the first half — but also had to play a lot with Kobe in foul trouble), and Tre Gomillion. Gomillion wasn’t as effective as he was in the previous two games but he wasn’t hurting them. Even Mohamed Diarra, who started his third game in a row, was reduced to just 7 minutes and inserted in hopes to quell a few rebounding issues.
I still love Nick Honor: 9.1% usage, 133.2 ORtg with a 0% turnover rate, and a 45% floor rate. That’s just a tremendous line.
In the first half Mizzou wasn’t bad; they weren’t very good. They did give up a few too many open threes, but also you have to credit LSU who make just as many contested shots as well. Just like Georgia on Saturday, the question would be if they could keep it up. Because Missouri didn’t storm back with an aerial assault from beyond the 3-point arc. They only made 4 threes in the second half, but had 11 made shots at the rim. Getting to the rim and finishing, while LSU was coming back to earth with their 3FG shooting was the key.
Even when Hodge forced a 3FGA on a transition opportunity I mused to the Matts that I didn’t like the shot. Normally I love Hodge and his confidence in taking transition threes, but Mizzou was getting to the rim and putting real pressure on LSU. The Bayou Tigers were melting because of that pressure, so why take them off the hook?
Regardless, the good Tigers got the win and moved to 10-7 in conference play. A protected seed in the SEC tournament is still in play, and they’re coming home to face Ole Miss. A capable and athletic ball club, but one that seems to find ways to lose, while Missouri has done a good job finding ways to win.
Just find a way to win this next one and let the chips fall where they may.
Other SEC Results from the last two nights:
- Alabama 90, Auburn 85 (OT)
- Texas A&M 69, Ole Miss 61
- Tennessee 75, Arkansas 57
- Vanderbilt 68, Kentucky 66
- Mississippi State 74, South Carolina 68
- Florida 77, Georgia 67
SEC Standings with Saturday’s Opponent
- Alabama* 16-1 — at Texas A&M
- Texas A&M* 14-3 — vs Alabama
- Tennessee 11-6 — at Auburn
- Kentucky 11-6 — at Arkansas
- Missouri 10-7 — vs Ole Miss
- Vanderbilt 10-7 — vs Mississippi State
- Auburn 9-8 — vs Tennessee
- Arkansas 8-9 — vs Kentucky
- Mississippi State 8-9 — at Vanderbilt
- Florida 8-9 — vs LSU
- Georgia* 6-11 — at South Carolina
- Ole Miss 3-14 — at Missouri
- South Carolina 3-14 — vs Georgia
- LSU* 2-15 — at Florida
An asterisk denotes a team locked into that tournament seed for the SEC Tournament. Basically Alabama won the conference by beating Auburn last night. Texas A&M secured the second spot. Georgia is locked into 11th, and LSU is locked into the basement. Everything else is dependent on Saturday. As for a double bye...
Step 1: Win on Saturday— Matt Harris (@MattJHarris85) March 2, 2023
Step 2: Tennessee loses to Auburn
Doesn't matter what Vandy does in that scenario. MU has the tiebreak over them. That gets the No. 4.
If UK also loses, it would let them move to the No. 3 seed. https://t.co/ehpbYOpebB
The good news is that with a win, Mizzou cannot fall farther than 5th. The only teams who can tie them at 11-7 are Kentucky, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt and Mizzou holds the head-to-head tiebreakers over all of them. If Kentucky (at Arkansas) and Tennessee (at Auburn) both lose and Missouri wins they could be 3rd. If one of Kentucky and Tennessee loses, but the other wins, Mizzou will be 4th. Again, as long as the Tigers take care of business on Saturday.
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.