Both Missouri and Kansas State played on Tuesday night and both lost. These two teams are very similar. KenPom has Missouri ranked higher but I would pick the Wildcats if these two teams played. It would be interesting to see them play in the postseason. However, both teams might struggle to finish with a winning record to qualify for the NIT. Unless they go on a run, these two are not playing in the NCAA tournament.
Here is your daily Dr. Feelgood…
Tennessee (69) at Missouri (59)
Missouri doesn’t have much depth in the frontcourt and that was before they were without Jeremiah Tilmon in this game. Tilmon was diagnosed with a stress fracture on Monday and is out indefinitely. So a lack of depth in the frontcourt gets even worse. Cuonzo Martin said Tuesday that although Tilmon hasn’t had the stats this year he’s still someone the other team has to spend time game-planning for. I would have to argue with this take. Why waste any extra time for a guy who struggles to stay on the court because of foul trouble and when he does stay out of foul trouble, does not really do anything above average on either end of the court?
Mitchell Smith stepped up in this game for the Tigers. He doesn’t normally play inside much. He’s more of an outside shooting big man but he did mix it up more inside than normal in this one. Smith had seven rebounds in the game. Tilmon has had just one game with more rebounds. Mitchell Smith was particularly effective in the second half and helped keep the Tigers in the game when they fell down 10 points.
Kobe Brown often looks like one of the better players on the court for Missouri. He did at times Tuesday but was mostly non-existent. Brown only scored six points and didn’t have a single rebound.
I was most impressed with the limited time I saw Tray Jackson. He looked smooth and under control on offense and scored 11 points in just 9 minutes and had three rebounds. He hasn’t had much playing time this season but should see more with Tilmon out and especially after how he played Tuesday night.
Dru Smith got in foul trouble in the second half with four fouls. Cuonzo Martin put him back into the game with 6:41 remaining and he committed his fifth foul with 5:06 left in the game.
There has been a lot of discussion about how Kansas State coach Bruce Weber handles pulling and putting back in players with two fouls in the first half and four fouls in the second half. This game for Dru Smith is a strong argument in favor of Weber’s approach. Of course, you need to know your player and the opposing team and even then things sometimes just don’t work out.
After Dru Smith fouled out it was up to Xavier Pinson to run the team and although he was aggressive going to the basket, he wasn’t able to finish and score.
Tennessee shot well, particularly from the outside, down the stretch to give them a 69-59 win over Missouri.
TCU (59) at Kansas State (57)
Cartier Diarra had a game he will want to forget. He was never really into the game. Diarra was limited in playing time because he was in foul trouble all night. Diarra finished with five points. He just struggled all night.
Xavier Sneed scored eight of Kansas State’s first ten points and continued to play well all night. He is easily the best player on the team but needs more help around him. Sneed struggled from long distance Tuesday going 1-for-6 but still ended up with 19 points. Sneed also added six rebounds. He hustled on defense and was diving for loose balls. Sneed is a lot of fun to watch. Kansas State just doesn’t have enough talent around him this season.
David Sloan got a lot more playing time Tuesday because of Diarra’s foul trouble and he played pretty well. He turned the ball over just once and scored eight points to go with three assists. Sloan is a better passing point guard than Diarra and was clearly better in this game simply because he could stay on the court. Sloan even hit a game-tying three-point shot with 13 seconds remaining but the Wildcats couldn’t hold on.
Montavious Murphy continues to get better. He scored just seven points on 3-for-9 shooting but did several things well. Murphy missed some rather easy shots but could have made a few of them. He was rushing a little at times and seemed to be just a little off on most plays. Murphy did some good things in this game and looks like a bright spot for next season. The hope for Kansas State is that he starts to put it together late in this season to give him the confidence you would like him to have heading into the offseason.
IN THE NEWS:
Bob Huggins received a public reprimand and was fined $10,000 by the Big 12 Conference because of his comments after West Virginia’s loss at Kansas on Saturday. Huggins said, “I can’t control what those three blind mice running around out there do.” The fine amount was because this was his third such incident.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams said that his team is not a very gifted team. ESPN quoted Williams as saying that his team is “the least gifted team I’ve ever coached in the time that I’ve been back here.”The Tar Heels are 8-6.
Baylor football coach Matt Rhule is leaving the Bears to become the head coach of the Carolina Panthers. He agreed to a 7-year, $60 million contract with incentives that could increase it to $70 million. Ian Rapoport said that Rhule called the New York Giants before accepting the Panthers’ job to give them a chance to match the Panthers’ offer. The Giants decided to go another direction. Rhule grew up in New York.
The New York Giants hired Joe Judge as their next head coach. Judge is the special teams and wide receivers coach for the New England Patriots. Judge also had an offer to be the head coach at Mississippi State, his alma mater.
The Dallas Cowboys would like to keep OC Kellen Moore but he also has an opportunity to be the offensive coordinator at the University of Washington which is where he is from. Moore is deciding which he would like to do but it is believed that he is leaning towards staying in Dallas.
The Boston Red Sox used their replay room to get sign sequence information during games in 2018 which is against MLB rules. Meanwhile, Jeff Passan reported that Major League Baseball is expected to hand down its penalties on the Houston Astros cheating within the next couple of weeks and they could be severe.
The Chicago White Sox agreed with Steve Cishek on a one-year, $6 million contract.
WHAT I’M WATCHING: Wednesday is all about Kansas and Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum. I’m watching that game and hopefully a little of the St. John’s at Georgetown game before the Kansas game starts.
PODCAST: The Sunday podcast is available. I talked about the Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri basketball games from Saturday as well as the NFL playoffs. Subscribe to the Kansas City Sports Monitor podcast wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss an episode.
DROP ME A NOTE: You can contact me at email@example.com or on Twitter at @KCSportsMonitor. I would love to hear from you. Send me your comments and questions and I might include them in a future column or podcast.
STAY INFORMED: If you haven’t already signed up for email updates please consider it. Things are changing a lot right now and I would like to keep you informed of all of the latest changes.
Thanks for reading…