The NFL playoffs were entertaining on Saturday. The Bills got a small taste of what they did to the Houston Oilers many years ago when they lost a 16-0 lead in the second half. The Patriots got a taste of what they have done to other teams for years when Tennessee used the time rules to run an extra 1:40 or so off the clock late without running a play. And don’t forget about the college basketball played by the three local schools. One win and two losses but some good in all of the games.
Here is your daily Dr. Feelgood…
OFF THE TOP:
We now know who the Chiefs will play in their first playoff game next Sunday. The Houston Texans looked lost for the first 2 1/2 quarters against the Bills and fell down 16-0 but came back and won 22-19 in overtime. Then in the night game, the Tennessee Titans won in New England 20-13. So, Tennessee will travel to Baltimore next Saturday and the Chiefs will host Houston.
I’ll discuss this in the Sunday night podcast, and a lot more in the Thursday night podcast, but things look bright for the Chiefs. Sure it would have been nice to have the chance to beat the Patriots. But as I said in this past week’s Thursday podcast, playing the Patriots still makes me nervous even if they aren’t the team they were even last season. You never know how they might cheat and I honestly believe that. We have seen it too many times to not consider it. Heck, they are about to be punished again for cheating for recording the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline this season.
The Chiefs played Houston at Arrowhead on October 13 and the Texans won that game 31-24. The Chiefs were not playing anything like they are now, especially the defense. The Chiefs’ defense has given up just 27 points in their last three games combined. I don’t see the Chiefs giving up 31 points to the Texans this time.
We still have two more playoff games on Sunday but the AFC playoffs are set for the divisional round. This will be a long week waiting for the Chiefs to play on Sunday.
Kansas State loses at Oklahoma 66-61
Kansas State started off great in this game. It felt like the Wildcats were in control most of the first half and when they stretched their lead to 11 with 14:23 left in the game it should have been over. With a 61-54 lead with 3:45 left in the game, Kansas State had an 85% probability to win the game according to KenPom. The Sooners then went on a 12-0 run to close out the game and win 66-61.
Kansas State has struggled at the start of games in the non-conference part of their schedule but you wouldn’t have known that with how they started in Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday. Maybe it’s just being more comfortable against a conference opponent. Maybe it’s knowing the opponent better. Whatever it is, Kansas State fans hope that the days of starting slowly on offense are done fo the season.
Kansas State held Oklahoma to 21% shooting from behind the arc and 37% overall. However, Oklahoma shot 50% inside the arc on 28 shots and got to the free-throw line 29 times, making 23 of them.
Cartier Diarra did a better job in this game looking to pass rather than chucking up a shot every time he touched it. When he takes shots in rhythm and within the offense, he’s pretty good. When he starts forcing up shots he struggles. Diarra scored 10 points to go with 6 defensive rebounds and seven assists while having just two turnovers. He was fifth on the team in offensive rating according to KenPom. The other four starters were all rated higher.
Diarra had a bad turnover late in the game when he tried to force a pass inside which was stolen by Oklahoma. The Sooners turned it into an easy fast-break layup and Kansas State’s lead was cut to just one point. Diarra helps the team but sometimes make bad plays in critical parts of the game. He likes to try to take charge and wants the ball in crunch time which is good. However, he makes mistakes too often in those situations.
Xavier Sneed was easily the best player on the court for Kansas State. He hit some tough shots and acted like the go-to player the Wildcats need him to be. He scored 22 points and had six defensive rebounds. Sneed had a 125 offensive rating in 28 minutes.
Freshman DaJuan Gordon was impressive with his aggressiveness. He played 27 minutes, had an offensive rating of 84 and finished with eight points. He didn’t look like a freshman. He hit a big 3-point shot to give Kansas State a five-point lead with under four minutes to play.
Oklahoma was led by Austin Reaves, a recent transfer from Wichita State, who had 21 points and was the MVP in this game. He got off to a slow start by forcing too much in the first half. In the second half, he settled down and got on a roll.
My issue with this game was Xavier Sneed not getting a touch with under two minutes to play and Kansas State down three points. The best offensive player in the game for the Wildcats wasn’t a focal point when they needed a basket late in the game. If they had several options or even someone with a hot hand I could understand but not this time, not in this game. Sneed needed a touch in that possession and never got it.
The loss drops Kansas State to 0-1 in the Big 12. They host TCU on Tuesday at 8:00 pm on ESPNU.
Missouri loses at Kentucky 71-59
Missouri played well at the tip and opened up a 17-9 lead with 10:22 left in the first half but never had a win probability of more than 42.4%. Missouri lost that lead about two minutes later and never led again in a 71-59 loss at Kentucky.
Missouri did a nice job offensively early in the game with dribble penetration and attacking the basket. They caused all kinds of problems for Kentucky’s defense because of their success in doing this. But once Kentucky adjusted with about nine minutes left in the half, Missouri had a much tougher time scoring the rest of the game.
Missouri was outrebounded 36-31 in the game. Kentucky shot 50% from two and 25% from three. Missouri shot just 38% from two and 33% from three.
The Tigers were led by freshman Kobe Brown in this game. He wasn’t the leading scorer but was the best player for Missouri. That’s pretty impressive at Rupp Arena. He finished with 9 points in 21 minutes.
Jeremiah Tilmon was a non-factor in just eight minutes of play. He accumulated four fouls in those eight minutes. This Tigers team isn’t deep, especially up front, and Tilmon continues his poor play and fouling which keeps him off the court when his team needs him. He’s a junior now. This isn’t on coaching. This is on Tilmon. The coaches can only do so much.
Mark Smith continues to be an inconsistent scorer. But that’s what this Missouri team is overall. They don’t have anyone who is a consistent scorer and that’s why they struggle.
Reed Nikko started in place of Jeremiah Tilmon and played pretty well. He finished with a 128 offensive rating, second only to Torrence Watson. But Nikko had just two rebounds.
Missouri fell to 0-1 in the SEC with the loss. They host Tennessee at 6:00 pm on Tuesday on the SEC Network.
Kansas beats West Virginia 60-53 in Allen Fieldhouse
West Virginia wasn’t intimidated at all playing at Allen Fieldhouse. They have done it enough. Sure, Bob Huggins’ teams haven’t ever won there, but they have given Kansas a few scares. And this game looked to be another nervous game for Jayhawk fans as the Mountaineers jumped on top early and led by six at the half.
Unfortunately for West Virginia, Kansas came out playing well to start the second half and took just 2:15 to tie the game. Kansas didn’t get a lead in the second half until there was 13:29 remaining in the game and then they took the lead for good with 12:45 to play.
West Virginia found success offensively in the first half using the pick and roll, especially late in the shot clock. Oscar Tshiebwe was terrific. He was setting the pick and then rolling to the basket. Several times Kansas was caught in bad matchups with Devon Dotson or another smaller player on Tshiebwe leading to an easy score for the Mountaineers. Tshiebwe dominated Udoka Azubuike in the first half. He looked more skilled offensively and he’s just a freshman. Tshiebwe finished the game with 17 points, 8 offensive rebounds, 9 defensive rebounds, and two blocks.
When the Mountaineers were taking control of the game in the first half, the Jayhawks were taking bad shots on offense. West Virginia was leaving Marcus Garrett open at the three-point line and Garrett went 0-for-3 there.
Things changed in the second half. Udoka Azubuike took over and dominated Tshiebwe. The Jayhawks were throwing balls up toward the basket which Azubuike was grabbing and dunking. He finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and six blocks!
Devon Dotson and Marcus Garrett played well as always. They are two steady players who almost always give you what you expect. Dotson didn’t have his best shooting game but finished with 16 points.
The most impressive player that you might not have expected to play a large role in the game was freshman Christian Braun. Braun earned 30 minutes of playing time in this game. He started the second half and I believe he played the entire half. If he didn’t he wasn’t out of the game for long. Braun finished with just six points but was more important to the team than that. He doesn’t play like a freshman. He has a feel for where the ball is going to be and gets there before others. His KenPom offensive rating was a ridiculous 145! Azubuike was second on the team with a rating of 98.
Kansas improved to 1-0 in the Big 12 with the win. They travel to Iowa State for a 7:00 pm game on Wednesday on ESPN+.
IN THE NEWS:
The Washington Nationals agreed with Starlin Castro on a two-year, $12 million contract.
The Washington Nationals agreed with Asdrubal Cabrera on a one-year, $2.5 million contract. He could make $3 million with incentives.
The San Francisco Giants agrees with RHP Tyson Ross on a contract.
WHAT I’M WATCHING: The NFC Wild Card games are today starting at noon. We can’t miss those games. I’m interested in both of them. I think the NFL playoffs this year is the most intriguing it has been in several years. Minnesota plays at New Orleans at noon. I’ll take the Saints by double-digits. Seattle plays at Philadelphia at 3:40 pm. I’ll take the Seahawks in a close game.
PODCAST: I will be recording the Sunday podcast tonight. I am going to talk about the Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri basketball games from Saturday as well as the NFL playoffs and more. Subscribe to the Kansas City Sports Monitor podcast wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss an episode.
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Thanks for reading…