Julian Vizitei, the Grand Poobah for The Antlers, said that The Antlers help Mizzou’s basketball team by getting in the head of the opposing team’s players and negatively affecting their play. He cited a game from two seasons ago when Mizzou played Ole Miss and Marshall Henderson. According to Vizitei, Henderson had a bad game. When I first looked at the box score from that game on mutigers.com, I agreed that Henderson had an off night. On February 9, 2013, Henderson scored 16 points on 4-15 shooting. That’s a decent amount of points, but his 26.6 percent shooting percentage was not impressive. After I looked at Henderson’s season averages on espn.com, I had a different opinion though.
Henderson averaged 20.1 points per game and a 38.5 field goal percentage in the 2012-2013 season. In that game at Mizzou Arena, Henderson was close to his season scoring average, and while his shooting percentage was poor, his season percentage wasn’t that impressive to begin with. Vizitei and the rest of The Antlers had some funny antics for that game, but Henderson wasn’t as affected by them as he thought. There were some players who played much more poorly as a result of The Antler Effect.
I looked at the last four years of Mizzou’s conference games, two in the SEC and two in the Big 12. I looked at the top 10 scorers in the conference each year and how they played when they came to Mizzou Arena. The opposing player that had the worst game in the last four years was former Baylor forward Perry Jones. In 2011-2012, Jones averaged 14 points per game and shot 50.3 percent from the field. On February 11, 2012, Mizzou held Jones to four points and 2-12 shooting, possibly thanks, in part, to the work of The Antlers.
The Antler Effect isn’t always a negative thing for opposing players. Sometimes top scorers actually put up better numbers than their season averages. The best example of this is former Texas guard J’Covan Brown. In 2011-2012, Brown averaged 20.1 points per game and a 41.7 field goal percentage. On January 14, 2012, Brown had a great game, scoring 34 points on 62.5 percent shooting.
My theory is that The Antlers create different reactions among top scorers in the conference depending on the player’s temperament. Antler antics seem to be hit-and-miss. Some players respond poorly to the constant jeering. Others rise to the challenge and respond with unreal numbers. Then, there are the players like Henderson that play close to their season averages.
The Antler Effect Theory involves the formula: (Game points + Game shooting percentage) – (Season points per game + Season shooting percentage) = Change in Production Efficiency.
J’Covan Brown Example: (34 points + 62.5 shooting percentage) – (20.1 points per game + 41.7 shooting percentage) = +34.7 points in Production Effieciency
The Antler Effect Theory can’t really be proven and is only a correlation between the presence of The Antlers and opposing player performance. It holds Mizzou team skill level constant over many years. Opposing team and player skill level is also held constant. There are some inconsistencies, but that’s why it’s a theory and not a law.