Are we at the “moral victory” part of the season yet?
Ok, because while Missouri looked better they still weren’t good enough to put any real scare into Kentucky for the bulk of the second half. And a drought of not being able to make shots outside of the free throw line fully sealed their fate in Lexington.
After getting down by 14 points in the first 10 minutes of play, Missouri clawed their way back into the game. They cut the lead to four after a 10-0 run, they made Kentucky uncomfortable, and found a way to stay in the game. A big part of that was getting and making good shots. They looked like a team of savvy vets playing against a roster of young players and had Kentucky playing the style of game Mizzou wanted.
Since UK is so talented, they never relinquished the lead, and were able to hold off any Tiger surge, but the Mizzou offense looked like it would be able to hang all night.
Things were humming along and Missouri looked like it had a punchers chance until Kentucky guard Antonio Reeves drove the ball into Sean East II and drew contact. He also swung his arm through to create space and his elbow clipped East right by his eye. The shot forced East first to the floor and then to the bench where he would sit for about 3 minutes before coming back in and only recording a missed jumper in the lane.
East is the only real engine for the offense right now, and when he went off the floor the half court offense was difficult. So when he was heading to the bench it felt like we were going to see Kentucky’s lead expand. I don’t want to overstate this too much, because UK was already up 9 when the foul occurred, and East came back on the floor the lead was 10. But that’s because the defense held. East’s foul led to the score being 79-68 (since Reeves made the two free throws he was awarded on the foul). When he returned it was 80-70.
It felt like that was the time when Missouri needed to make their move and the main cog in their offense was on the bench being treated for a knot below his left eye.
This was a pretty fun game if you were a more casual observer. I’d imagine Kentucky fans were less comfortable than they’d hoped and Mizzou fans had to be at least a little pleased. But it was played with good pace, Mizzou seemed willing to attack Kentucky early, and we know the ‘Cats want to run. This was the fastest game Missouri has played, basically a tie with the Arkansas Pine Bluff game.
- The outside shooting numbers were ugly for the Tigers: but they were pretty good from 2FG, until an Aidan Shaw dunk effectively put a lid on the rim after he flushed it. At that point Mizzou was 25-46 (54.3%) from the field. They would miss the next 13 shots, 8 of which were from 3 point range. The Tigers were 18-33 from 2FG overall, meaning they were 17-27 (62.9%) before that stretch (Noah Carter connected on one last 2FG with less than a minute to play).
- So the three point shooting was worse: they were 8 of 19, then missed their last 9 (Curt Lewis would tack on another miss at the end of the game, after Carter made his 2). 8 of 19 is 42%! They were shooting well! The final number is bad but missing 9 in a row will do that. And it wasn’t like it was one guy either. Five guys missed all those.
There were a lot of things that seemed to connect to the theme of the season. Getting out rebounded. Give up a lot of free throws. Don’t shoot a lot of free throws. Offensive lulls. Not playing freshmen while leaning hard on vets. Are we seeing the last throes of a vet heavy lineup before eventually turning towards youth?
I don’t know.
Your Trifecta: Sean East II, Noah Carter, Tamar Bates
On the season: Sean East II 34, Noah Carter 14, Tamar Bates 13, Nick Honor 10, Caleb Grill 6, Aidan Shaw 3, Connor Vanover 3, Trent Pierce 3, Anthony Robinson II 3, Jesus Carralero-Martin 1
It was nice to see John Tonje make an appearance and for the first time look like he actually belonged on the court. We’ve spent a good amount of time discussing Tonje and the expected impact he was supposed to have. I do think that time has likely passed by but there’s still time for him to be helpful this season. Tonje was moving well and defending well. If he can do that while finding a way to connect on some outside shots, well, that might be worth something.
It was really nice to see Noah Carter have a good night. Even if it was in a loss. 6-12 and connecting on some deep shots is a good step forward considering how he’s struggled in recent weeks. For Missouri to finish the rest of this season strong they’re going to need the Senior Combo Forward to have more good nights than bad ones.
So what about the freshmen?
It’s a great question. Gates went all in on a rotation with experience against Kentucky. Anthony Robinson was out with an illness, but Mabor Majak played 7 minutes and Jordan Butler and Trent Pierce combined for 0. You know who else combined for a 0? That’s Curt Lewis+Majak+Jackson Francois Offensive Rating in 14 minutes of action. I don’t mean for Jackson to catch a stray here since he was put in with less than a minute to play. It was more a point about a severe lack of production over a set amount of minutes. And if you’re not getting any production, and the result is negligable, I would want to see more from the freshmen.
I’m not sure what they’re supposed to do with Nick Honor, but it feels like he’s a little out of sorts. Honor was so good in his role last year, and early on was being asked to do things he’s not really very good at. So I do wonder if his being pushed into an oversized role affected him to the point where he’s not even good at what he used to be so good at. It’s hard to tell when you’re not in the locker room or at practice, but he’s 3 of his last 14 from 2FG and 4 of his last 19 from 3FG. On top of that his turnover rate is at a career high of 15% (which is still pretty good, but just not Nick Honor-good). If things continue to go this way it’s possible you see Honor’s role de-emphasized a bit. Provided Anthony Robinson can get back on track and recover from his illness in time.
So that’s where things are. Sean East has been continuing to do Sean East things. Tamar Bates has come on. The last few games have seen both Aidan Shaw and Noah Carter show up. The rest? Ehhh.....
Hopefully Robinson can come back and Tonje can continue his ascent. But you certainly don’t want to start out 0-3 in league play. And South Carolina is coming into Columbia this Saturday after getting torched in the second half in Tuscaloosa. That will either rattle their ego or their resolve.
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.