Saturday was a crazy day in sports. The Tennessee Titans upset the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore. Kansas was dominated by Baylor at Allen Fieldhouse. Missouri destroyed Florida at Mizzou Arena. Bill Cowher was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And that’s just the beginning.
Here is your daily Dr. Feelgood…
CHIEFS VS TEXANS
The AFC divisional playoff game between the Chiefs and Texans got a little more exciting when the Tennessee Titans defeated the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday. That outcome means that the winner of today’s game will host the AFC Championship game next Sunday.
KANSAS (55) VS BAYLOR (67)
The Kansas offense started off slow against Baylor, falling behind 9-3 but then kicked things into gear and eventually led 20-15. But after that, it was Baylor who dominated the game. Specifically, it was Jared Butler who dominated the game on his way to 22 points.
Kansas struggled so much it’s hard to know where to start. Was the biggest problem the Jayhawks’ inability to feed the low post, specifically Udoka Azubuike? Or was it their defense against Baylor’s guards? The answer is: Yes.
Isaiah Moss started the game aggressively by looking for his shot from the outside as well as driving inside. And he was hot at the start. He helped Kansas take a 20-15 lead in the first half. One play, in particular, had Moss shot-fake a three-point shot and after the defender flew by he took one dribble inside the arc and hit an open two-point shot. That should be more of his game.
But Moss’ ball-handling is less than ideal. He needs to be someone who shoots the three or steps just inside the arc and shoots a long two. He should not be driving to the basket or really dribbling the ball anywhere for very long. He loses the ball too easily.
Ochai Agbaji was also very effective early. He hustled all over the floor. Maybe most impressive was his hustle back on defense when Baylor appeared to have an easy layup. The shot was missed and Agbaji’s hustle helped Kansas gain possession. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to do much of anything offensively in this game.
Kansas had trouble all day feeding the low post. One of the few times they made a decent pass into the low post in the first half, Udoka Azubuike tried to catch the ball with one hand and Baylor stole it.
One big piece of the puzzle that helped Baylor control Azubuike was their athleticism. Not every team can do that to Kansas. Baylor fronted Azubuike in the low post and helped on him when the ball was thrown inside. And they weren’t just letting him catch the ball and double-teaming him. Baylor was trying to steal the ball on the feed inside and it worked. The best way to prevent Azubuike from beating you inside is to not let him get the ball. That’s easier said than done but Baylor is a team that can do it. They held Azubuike to just six points on just six attempts.
There is something else that Scott Drew did that more teams should understand and implement. Drew had the defender who was guarding Marcus Garrett sag off of him and play closer to the lane. Garrett hit a three-point shot early but wasn’t a factor outside after that as usual. Garrett’s offense is driving to the basket, so if you sag off of him towards the lane he will come to you. You don’t have to go to him.
Although the Kansas offense was really bad in this game that wasn’t the only reason they lost. The defense was just as bad. The Baylor guards tore apart the Kansas defense. Jayhawk defenders couldn’t stay in front of Baylor guards when they drove to the basket. Baylor was also quicker getting to the loose balls. Bill Self had to take Isaiah Moss out of the game at one point because he couldn’t stop his man from driving by him to the basket.
Maybe worse are the injuries that came out of the game. Devon Dotson has a hip pointer and will be very sore for a while. We don’t know if he will be able to play on Tuesday. Marcus Garrett aggravated his ankle injury from the Iowa State game.
So Baylor has now won at both Kansas and Texas Tech just three games into their conference schedule. KenPom previously had Kansas winning the conference by three games but after this one, it has Kansas and Baylor finishing in a tie at 14-4. Regardless, Baylor is the team to beat in the Big 12 until proven otherwise.
Kansas travels to Oklahoma Tuesday for an 8:00 pm game on ESPN.
MISSOURI (91) VS FLORIDA (75)
Has anyone seen the Missouri Tigers lately? It appears that they were not able to get to the arena because of the snow and ice and another team dressed in their uniforms and crushed the Florida Gators 91-75.
Cuonzo Martin and the Tigers players talked this week about needing to push the ball after opponents missed shots and turned the ball over. They did that and more in this game. In the half-court, the Tigers were aggressive driving to the basket to get easy points and fouls.
Mitchell Smith got into early foul trouble which looked like it could be a major problem since the team is already thin in the frontcourt with Jeremiah Tilmon out. His second foul came just 4:04 into the game. The Tigers were up 6-3 at the time.
Instead of Mitchell Smith’s second foul causing trouble for the Tigers, Missouri took off on its way to a 51-34 lead at the half. You read that right. The Missouri Tigers had 51 points at halftime.
Dru Smith was terrific on both ends of the court. Smith played 36 minutes and scored 22 points to go with two rebounds, six assists, five steals, and just two turnovers.
Javon Pickett came off the bench for 14 points in 31 minutes.
Mark Smith had 14 points himself in 32 minutes to go with six rebounds.
This was easily the best game of the season for the Tigers. Their aggressiveness on both ends of the court caused all kinds of problems for Florida. Although the Gators heated up from outside in the second half, every time they made a run Missouri countered it with hot shooting themselves. Missouri shot 63% from behind the arc (12-for-19) and 61% from two (20-for-33). They also made 75% (15-for-20) of their free-throw attempts.
Missouri plays at Mississippi State on Tuesday at 8:00 pm on the SEC Network.
KANSAS STATE (50) at TEXAS (64)
This game was on the Longhorn Network so very few people actually saw it. That might have been a good thing for Kansas State. The Wildcats shot 37% from the field and 33% from behind the arc and threw in 18 turnovers for good measure on their way to a 64-50 loss in front of almost nobody in Austin, Texas.
Not much went right for the Wildcats in this one. DaJuan Gordon was the only player who shot well. He was 4-for-5 for nine points in 28 minutes. Even though he didn’t get the start, only Cartier Diarra had more minutes than Gordon.
One other positive note was Cartier Diarra’s turnovers. He had just one turnover in 36 minutes of play. That’s terrific for anyone with that many minutes but especially someone who handles the ball as much as Diarra.
Overall, it was a game Kansas State wants to forget.
Kansas State has to fix things quickly. They host Texas Tech on Tuesday at 7:00 pm on ESPN+. Texas Tech will be hungry as they have lost their last two games.
Neither NFL playoff game was very close on Saturday. One home team and one road team won.
The San Francisco 49ers led the Minnesota Vikings 14-10 at halftime. San Francisco added 13 more points in the second half and won 27-10. Both teams turned the ball over twice. Tevin Coleman ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns to lead the 49ers to the win.
The AFC game was a complete shock. Tennessee not only beat the Ravens in Baltimore, they dominated them. Baltimore gained 530 yards in the game to Tennessee’s 300 but turnovers killed the Ravens.
Tennessee’s Derrick Henry rushed for 195 yards on 30 carries. Ryan Tannehill threw for just 88 yards. Tannehill threw for just 72 yards in the Titans win last weekend in New England.
Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson threw for 365 yards and one touchdown but had two costly interceptions as well as a fumble.
The talk immediately after the game by Chiefs fans focused around the rushing yards by Henry versus the Titans’ defense. What is the reason for Tennessee’s success against Baltimore? Tennessee wins games as a team. Rushing and turnovers were the keys to this one. The defense gave the offense short fields and the offense took advantage of it by scoring touchdowns and not having to settle for field goals. If you need one aspect of the game to be the reason for the Titans’ win, the only thing you can say for sure is that the Titans’ passing game was definitely not that reason.
Today we get the Texans at Chiefs and then the Seahawks at Packers.
U.S. Soccer sent a letter outlining its plans to select host cities for the 2026 World Cup to be hosted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Kansas City is one of 17 U.S. cities competing for 10 spots.
Kansas City’s bid would include Arrowhead Stadium for games. U.S. Soccer will visit twice between March and November this year. Specific details regarding the selection process will be presented in workshops each competing city must attend.
NFL HALL OF FAME
Former Chiefs coach and Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl-winning head coach Bill Cowher was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. He was surprised with the news on the set of the CBS pregame show. His wife and daughter were with him. It was a neat moment. Congratulations to someone who appears to be a great man.
WHAT TO WATCH
The Kansas City Chiefs take on the Houston Texans at 2:05 pm at Arrowhead on CBS. That’s the big game of the day in Kansas City. The Texans won the regular-season meeting between these two teams 31-24 but the Chiefs defense had not learned how to play together in Steve Spagnuolo’s system and several Chiefs missed the game due to injury. This week the team was healthy until Travis Kelce and Chris Jones appeared on the injury list as questionable. The Chiefs are a 9 1/2 point favorite.
The late-game has the Seattle Seahawks at the Green Bay Packers. The Packers have won six consecutive games entering this one and they had a bye last weekend. The Seahawks won 17-9 at Philadelphia last weekend to advance to this round but they have lost three out of their last five games. The Packers are a four-point favorite.
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Thanks for reading…