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Study Hall: South Carolina 72, Mizzou 64

It’s groundhog’s day... again.

study hall 2022

Funny part about the score, it was exactly what KenPom.com projected. He did have it around 65 possessions and we ended at 67, but still, pretty impressive on the accuracy. It’s almost like Mizzou is becoming predictable at this point.

Maybe that’s what’s more frustrating. I looked up the Luck Stats for Missouri last night after the game, they’re 352nd out of 362. Luck is basically how much better or worse you were versus the expected win ratio. The understanding is that predictability in sports is based on an expectation of variability. Basically, weird things happen all the time. Underdogs win. A hot shooting night propels them past the favorite. Those kinds of things. Only, that doesn’t seem to happen for Missouri.

Last year the Tigers were 10th in the country in Luck. They won more games than was expected. It’s the opposite this year. This is the only time I’ll draw a comparison to anything with the Kim Anderson era, but the last time Mizzou’s luck rating was this bad was in KAs last season when it was 2nd to last in D1, and 350th.

Meanwhile South Carolina is 25th and Ole Miss tops the entire ranking overall. Both are playing a lot like Missouri did a year ago. The metrics don’t love them, but they keep finding ways to win games.

Right now Missouri is doing the opposite, it’s not that they’re finding ways to lose games. They’re just not finding ways to win them either. They are in large part playing pretty well. They play competitive basketball, and even more than competitive basketball for long stretches. But when the other teams makes the big shot, Mizzou doesn’t answer. When that needed rebound caroms off the rim it bounces to the one spot on the floor where there are no Tigers able to pursue.

The sequence that perfectly encapsulated the conference season so far was happened after two Sean East free throws to cut the lead to seven with 3 and a half minutes to play. Carolina freshman Collin Murray-Boyles missed a dunk which bounced right to East who flipped the ball out ahead of Tamar Bates leading to a dunk. With the lead at 5 and Mizzou having scored on their previous 5 possessions, it felt like the time to make a run. They forced a B.J. Mack missed three but failed to secure the rebound and Mack retrieved his own miss and was fouled.

Mack made both free throws, but the found their way to another Bates layup after a nifty half court set. Then a good defensive possession they forced a Mack miss and got the board. East pressed ahead and got the ball to Noah Carter in position for a layup, but Carter slipped just enough and had to gather his feet. That allowed Murray-Boyles time to recover and blocked it. Bates got the ball off the blocked shot and his putback attempt fell short.

The next possession saw South Carolina work a switch of Connor Vanover onto their point guard Talon Cooper who had no issues going by the 7’5 center. What’s even worse is Vanover was playing drop coverage and calling for Bates to stay on Cooper but the switch happened anyway. Cooper’s basket pushed the lead back to 7 with a little over a minute to play. What’s more frustrating is Vanover did what he should have, he was playing drop coverage in order to avoid the switch. But was left out to dry by his teammates.

East pressed the ball up and took a quick three, make it and they still have a chance, miss it and the game is likely done. He missed. Not bad, just not enough. The story of the season so far.

Team Stats

2024 study hall south carolina
  • It doesn’t even matter if Mizzou won the rebounding battle for the first time in a while: They gave up only 6 offensive boards, collected only five of their own, but without Anthony Robinson and Trent Pierce available Gates moved to playing some bigger lineups. And it helped on the glass.
  • Did anyone else notice a supreme lack of three point attempts?: Missouri, before the season, was thought to be a dangerous three point shooting team. That’s digressed to the point where they’ve taken the fewest threes in a game since Cuonzo Martin’s last season when he had nobody who could shoot. The game was also where they beat the piss out of Ole Miss on the back of Amari Davis going nuts from inside the arc. That game Mizzou attempted 7 threes, against South Carolina just 8. In the game of “did you make you threes” South Carolina did, Mizzou didn’t try.

It’s been a little weird to watch the shift of a team built around threes go out of their way to avoid them. Part of it is your two best scorers are better at attacking the rim (Bates) and working the mid range (East). But still weird to see them move away completely from attempting threes. Even Matt Watkins was alarmed:

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: Sean East II, Tamar Bates, Connor Vanover

2024 study hall south carolina

On the season: Sean East II 40, Tamar Bates 23, Noah Carter 20, Nick Honor 14, Caleb Grill 6, Connor Vanover 4, Aidan Shaw 3, Trent Pierce 3, Anthony Robinson II 3, Jesus Carralero-Martin 2, Jordan Butler 1

The trend of not getting good performances from your top four continues as Noah Carter had a bad night. Carter started the game on the bench and looked bad in his first spell, he did start playing better but still struggled to finish around the rim. His floor rate was just 28% and his efficiency just 0.65 points per possession. While Nick Honor didn’t have a great night he didn’t have a bad night either. Mizzou might have been able to survive the night had Carter been better.

Because East and Bates were both really good. Bates did miss a few opportunities around the rim but it’s hard to complain about 16 points and a 1.13 PPP in 85% of the minutes. Certainly the team didn’t lose because Bates and East didn’t do enough.

2024 study hall south carolina

Mizzou is able to cobble together enough lineups and possessions to get competitive, but their depth continues to let them down. Gates alternated between Vanover and Butler at the five spot in the second half and their size helped with the rebounding. He parked Jesus Carralero Martin and gave Carter most of the run at the four. Butler and Vanover were fine, Carralero Martin was not playing his best ball and was a drag when he played in the first half. Aidan Shaw continues to just be a guy who plays some minutes.

The top four players played 67.5% of the available minutes and it was the only way they had a shot.

I don’t think anyone would have predicted this kind of start. I’m still seeing a lot of panic from people on twitter and I frankly don’t understand it. Missing John Tonje and Caleb Grill have fundamentally changed the dynamics of the roster and the rotation. But this isn’t Kim Anderson nor is it even Cuonzo Martin in his last season. This team isn’t getting blown out and embarrassed. They are a lot closer to the version of the team we saw last season than most may realize. We said over and over against last year that the margins were slim for them to have success, and they found ways more often than not to come up on the plus side of those margins.

This year it’s the same thing except they aren’t finding ways to be on the plus side. Up next is the biggest reprieve this team will see all season with Arkansas and Vanderbilt. The season isn’t over but what you’re playing for certainly is past you. Arkansas at home and Vanderbilt on the road represent the two (other) worst teams in the league. It’s time to get off the slide.


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 on 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 that 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 approximates how many possessions an individual is responsible for within the team’s calculated possessions.

ShotRate%: This is the percentage of a team’s 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.