I spoke yesterday about the grander idea of there still being time in the season to right this ship. So much about this season and all that’s gone wrong has soured a lot of people on the prospects for the future on Cuonzo Martin. Regardless of where you come down in that discussion, there’s still room for this team to simply be better than they’ve played.
The installed offense was tweaked and changed for the first time, and it benefitted the personnel. It was refreshing!
But we don’t know yet if this was an indicator of a trend, or just an outlier. Until this team can put together more performances like they did against Utah, there could be hope for the season. But let’s at least take a look at what went right and what went wrong against the Utes.
- Look at those Tigers winning 3 out of the 4 factors: In a reasonably paced game, Missouri didn’t turn the ball over, generated extra possessions on the glass, and got to the free throw line. They did everything they needed to do offensively…
- Except shoot the ball from distance: this team just cannot make threes. It’s nearly comical if it weren’t so tragic. When College Basketball gets reduced to a question of “did you make your threes?” or not, and you so often DO NOT make your threes… well it’s tough to win. Missouri has had just one game where they’ve shot better than 40% (a win over SMU), and just 3 over 30% (Central Michigan and Kansas). So it shouldn’t be a surprise that they only shot 19% from deep.
- Valuing possessions is something this team has had a hard time with: so just having 6 turnovers gives them more opportunity at the rim. Couple that with a hefty amount of offensive rebounds and suddenly you’re taking an offense which has a hard time making shots and you can push the points per possession to nearly 1.2 (which is the very good range). It was the only game they got close to 1.2 where the opponent wasn’t an NAIA team.
Your Trifecta: Kobe Brown, Amari Davis, Ronnie DeGray III
On the season: Kobe Brown 22, Amari Davis 13, Ronnie DeGray III 9, Javon Pickett 7, DaJuan Gordon 5, Jarron Coleman 4, Sean Durugordon 2, Trevon Brazile 1, Yaya Keita 1, Jordan Wilmore 1
It helped a lot that Utah center Branden Carlson was MIA due to COVID, as him being out changed everything in the game. Without him, Utah had no real rim protection. Missing Carlson allowed Kobe Brown to go absolutely nuts, and go nuts he did. His 3 turnovers in 25 minutes barely put any kind of dent into his Offensive Rating and GameScore thanks to being 8-10 from 2FG and 11-13 from the Free throw line. At this point, Brown is running away with the trifecta title, and Amari Davis is solidly in second.
Without Brown and Davis making shots, though, the offense gets dodgy in a hurry. But they made 25 of 45 shots from inside the arc, and Pickett, Brown and Davis were 19 of 26.
DeGray beat out Pickett by not turning the ball over and getting a few more rebounds. Otherwise Javon was really good and had the 3rd highest Floor rate after Brown and Davis.
It was nice to see Martin change a few things. But aside from parking Jordan Wilmore, who just hasn’t been effective on offense and constantly gets drawn into ball screen coverage when he’s on the floor, Martin’s other moves were to insert Anton Brookshire and Trevon Brazile into the starting lineup. While I like the willingness to experiment when the season has been as disastrous as it’s been, I don’t love starting Brookshire just yet. He’s a young point guard, and even though the roster is devoid of point guards, he still needs that adjustment of watching the game a bit first.
Brazile seems ready. He wasn’t hugely effective against Utah, and I personally don’t care whether you start him or bring him off the bench. It’s just he needs to play. Yaya Keita needs to play also. There’s still figuring out that is happening with him, but he had 5 offensive rebounds in just 8 minutes. Durugordon played just 3 minutes, but had a bucket and a steal, and an offensive rebound. Brookshire started but played just 9 minutes.
So he went to the kids early, but quickly went to the vets, and it was the vets who closed things out. Somewhere in there you need to find a few more minutes for those guys. He’s trusting in Brazile, mostly because Brazile can cover up his mistakes on both ends of the floor pretty quickly.
Up next is Illinois which is about a 60 spot jump in KenPom. Things have to work like they did against Utah, only better to keep the streak of 3 straight Braggin’ Rights wins in tact.
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.
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.
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.
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.