One of the sites I use quite frequently is Sports Reference. They have this tool on the site where you can view previous matchups and the results of those matchups. So after Missouri lost to Georgia to open SEC play, I had a bad premonition about the rest of the season. I hopped onto Sports Reference and looked at the history of the Mizzou-Georgia series and it confirmed what I had thought.... losing to Georgia is a bad sign.
For one thing, the Georgia basketball program is one of the worst in the SEC. They have just three NCAA appearances since 2002 and none since 2015. Mark Fox was competent there but that was also during a time when the SEC sort of forgot to care about basketball. Before Mizzou joined the SEC they had never lost to Georgia, it wasn’t until Fox’s best team came to Columbia in early 2014 and beat Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown. The Bulldogs were just 6-6 at the time, Mizzou was 12-1. After that loss, Missouri would not beat the Bulldogs again until 2018, when Kassius Robertson and Jontay Porter stopped the streak of six straight losses. You might remember Mizzou lost to Georgia in the SEC Tournament that year, with a wobbly Michael Porter Jr and a roster wearing thin. But Cuonzo Martin would go on to right the ship and win five of the next six, losing only at Georgia in the weird COVID year and during Tom Crean’s best season.
But losing at home?
I’m not saying all this to crap on Georgia. Or even a one-off result. I doubt Georgia is an NCAA tournament team, and even bad teams can find good luck every so often. But one of the things about moving up the ranks is beating the programs at the bottom. You need to consistently beat Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and yes, Georgia.
So yeah, maybe this isn’t a game you want to lose. And they did.
The conditions were nearly almost correct for Mizzou to get the win. Higher assist rate, higher steal rate, lower turnover rate. They didn’t shoot the ball horribly and didn’t get crushed on the glass. But...
- UGA doubled up Mizzou in 3FGM: Missouri just doesn’t seem to take a lot of threes, Georgia did! So when they attempted half of their shots from behind the arc and made 42.9% of them that’s going to be a significant boost to your eFG% where Georgia was much better than Mizzou was.
- Not only did they take more threes, but they also shot 14 more free throws: and made 8 more than Mizzou attempted.
- So plus 18 from three, plus 9 at the free throw line: Mizzou made 10 more 2FG than Georgia did, but they only shot 50% from inside the arc.
So while Aidan Shaw was dunking his way to a career night, the rest of the squad wasn’t holding up their end of the bargain.
Your Trifecta: Sean East II, Aidan Shaw, Tamar Bates
On the season: Sean East II 31, Tamar Bates 12, Noah Carter 12, Nick Honor 10, Caleb Grill 6, Aidan Shaw 3, Connor Vanover 3, Trent Pierce 3, Anthony Robinson II 3, Jesus Carralero-Martin 1
So let's talk about Shaw. Most teams this year seem to have scouted him well. You watch for basket cuts, take away lobs, and play off when he has the ball outside of 10 feet. Then if you’re able to keep him off the offensive glass, you’ll turn him into a defensive player and a non-factor on offense. For some reason, Georgia thought it could get away with not doing all those things, and Shaw had many, many dunks. Shaw has done a good job of playing with energy this year but his offensive game looks like it’s regressed. But against UGA, he looked a lot like K.J. Adams, which is a good comp for what you might want to see from him the rest of the season.
Dennis Gates inserted Shaw back into the starting lineup and here is the breakdown of what he got from his starters versus his reserves:
- Starters: 169 minutes, 65 points, 27-56 FG, 5-14 3FG, 6-7 FT, 21 Rebounds, 14 assists
- Reserves: 31 minutes, 3 points, 1-7 FG, 1-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 6 Rebounds, 0 assists
That’s not great for a team that seemingly wants to play a lot of bodies. Only one reserve (Carrelero-Martin) played more than 10 minutes. But what made this worse is that the bulk of the production came from three players.
- Tamar Bates, Sean East II, Aidan Shaw: 97 minutes, 47 points, 22-39 FG, 2-10 3FG, 4-5 FT, 16 rebounds, 9 assists.
- Noah Carter, Nick Honor: 72 minutes, 18 points, 5-17 FG, 4-9 3FG, 2-2 FT, 5 rebounds, 5 assists.
Carter shot it well making 3 of his 4 3-point attempts. Nick Honor had another rough day, though.
It was also a difficult day for your reserve experienced bigs. Carralero-Martin made a 3 but was -8 in 12 minutes. Connor Vanover played just 6 minutes and looked bad with a -6 while on the floor and no rebounds.
There’s at least a part of me that wonders if the staff made a decision here recently to lean heavily on vets as sort of a proof of concept. Give those guys a chance to right the ship here and if it doesn’t work out quickly pivot hard to your young guys. Because well... I’m not sure where this team goes from here with what is currently on the roster. I’m not sure why the three freshmen played so little, especially with Honor not playing well and Noah struggling to convert inside. If you’re going to miss inside shots, well, Trent Pierce and Jordan Butler can do that. Only they might learn how to make those shots.
The second half proved there were some interior concerns as Gates tried to find answers for 7’0”, 275-pound Russel Tchewa. With 9 rebounds and 12 points (half coming at the free throw line) in just the second half. Gates tried guarding Tchewa with multiple players and none of it worked. But you know what did work? Aidan Shaw dunks.
Most of the dunks for Shaw came when Tchewa was guarding him. Basically, Aidan did what Noah Carter and Kobe Brown did to the Tennessee bigs last year. Despite an overwhelming physical advantage at the rim, defending is a problem when you’re smaller and more athletic and play with space.
Mizzou had a few chances to really seize control of the game. The first was at around the 9 and a half minute mark in the game when Tchewa committed an offensive foul with Missouri up 3. Sean East missed a layup, Shaw missed a block on the other end, then a layup on offense, and suddenly Georgia hit a three to retake the lead. Then things again got stagnant for both teams and after another Shaw dunk the Tigers held a 2-point lead with 4:45 to play. That would be their last point before a Tamar Bates free throw with less than a minute left and at a 7-point deficit.
It feels like a bit of a theme growing. Missed opportunities, offensive lulls, a defense that isn’t good enough, and unreliable depth.
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 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.