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Study Hall: Mizzou 92, Central Arkansas 59

A get right game at just the right time.

study hall 2022

A little late here so you’ll have to forgive me. The holidays were a lot, then the whole “football is fun and great” took some precedence. But I did watch this game and ran the numbers and here we are.

We have often talked about get right games. The necessary part of your schedule where you get to pick on a lesser opponent and recalibrate after a tough stretch. Sometimes it’s a completely overwhelmed low major school like Central Arkansas, sometimes it’s just the worst team in the league coming into your building. Either way, everyone needs a get right game every once in a while.

Not always after a string of losses, sometimes it’s just a stretch of not playing well. Or a step up in the competition. Mizzou had both!

Following up after dropping games to Kansas, Seton Hall, and Illinois, the Tigers looked like they were searching far too often. Each game progressively worse.

So sure it was important the Tigers get someone they could beat up on. The one caveat here was that they had a get-right week set up the week of Thanksgiving. With Jackson State, South Carolina State, and Loyola (MD) coming into Mizzou Arena and the Tigers went 2-1 with only one win by double digits. Central Arkansas isn’t much worse than the latter two of the previous week, settling into the 340 spot in KenPom currently, with SC State at 336 and Loyola at 330. Both possibly buoyed by their performances against Mizzou.

So while this should be a get right game, with this team there was no guarantee. So it was really nice to see them do it.

Obviously this doesn’t mean everything is fixed. They’re still a work in progress and there’s a lot to work on. But just having the opportunity to reset and win a game by a large margin with lots of dunks was a fun time for everyone who tuned in or was there in person.

Team Stats

study hall 2024 central arkansas
  • Asking for a friend here, but is a 63.6% ORB rate good? The last time Mizzou hit 50% was against Eastern Illinois in early December of 2021. The last time they hit 60% was in 2003 against Coppin State. That’s a wild stat. The best offensive rebounding team in the country (Texas A&M) didn’t hit 60+% this year. The best offensive rebounding team last year (Kentucky) only hit 60+% once last year. So that’s a pretty rare number.
  • It’s a good thing they got so many offensive rebounds: because they missed a lot of threes! The Tigers shot 24 and made just six threes, one game after shooting six of 27. That’s just 23.5% over the last two games. I guess, better to get all the misses out of the way now before conference play starts.
  • Getting over 1.3 ppp while shooting just 25% from deep is another rare feat: last year Missouri shot 25% or worse from 3FG range while scoring over 1.0 ppp in just three games. Their best mark was 1.18 ppp against Southern Indiana. So you can still have good offense but it’s pretty hard to have great offense when you don’t shoot well.

Player Stats

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

study hall 2024 central arkansas

On the season: Sean East II 28, Noah Carter 12, Tamar Bates 11, Nick Honor 10, Caleb Grill 6, Connor Vanover 3, Trent Pierce 3, Anthony Robinson II 3, Jesus Carralero-Martin 1, Aidan Shaw 1

If Tamar Bates wants to shoot 9 of 10 each night that would be helpful. A 179.2 offensive rating with 25.3% usage tells me he should have shot more. We’ve spent plenty of time talking about the sort of role Bates is accustomed to, but seeing him step into a larger offensive role now over the last few games should be heartening. He’s capable, but for the two previous years he delegated. He’s shooting 55% from outside which does tell me he hasn’t shot enough of them. He’s basically attempted just 2.5 per game, he needs to find a way to double that. It’s likely the percentage drops if he does take twice as many, but even at 40% that’s an incredible weapon.

Aidan Shaw attacking the rim is exactly what you want to see from him. He’s become unaggressive on offense and he just needs to be more aggressive. There’s not much more to it than that.

study hall 2024 central arkansas

It’s not a great thing that 3 of your four starters sank below the 40% floor rate threshold. Nick Honor has been on a particular tough stretch shooting the ball, and he’s just 3 of his last 12 from 3 point range. But Honor isn’t the only one struggling. Noah Carter has connected on just one of his last 17 three point attempts, two of his last 23 and his season percentage has dropped to 25.4%. Since being inserted into the starting lineup Trent Pierce is just 1 for 6 from deep. Missouri as a team made 6 threes, Bates and East made 5 of them on 6 attempts. That means the rest of the team was one of 18.

One game after shooting 6 of 27, Mizzou turned around and shot 6 of 27.

This isn’t the trend you wanted to see with conference play starting up this weekend, but as we all know shooting really does seem to be a game to game thing. The difference here is that Mizzou isn’t shooting poorly as a team, as Tamar Bates, Sean East, and to a lesser extent, Nick Honor are shooting well. But their attempts are limited and nowhere near what D’Moi Hodge could put up last season on a whim.

Things are fully clicking and a fair amount of that is due to the missing pieces, which has been discussed on this blog and on the pod ad nauseam. With Georgia coming in this weekend, the Tigers could use a boost. They’re behind the eight ball in the quest for an NCAA bid, but they’re also not THAT far off because... and breaking news here... there are a lot of mediocre teams in the higher major conferences and the bubble is super soft year after year. So far Mizzou has been able to win games in a variety of ways, but their inability to define who they are could almost be an asset if they can find a way to a quick start in league play. Just find a way to win.


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.