Today is the day we have been waiting for since last year’s disappointing loss to the Patriots. I’m convinced that this year will be different. The Chiefs are a seven-point favorite over the Titans.
All three local college teams played on Saturday. Kansas and Kansas State won. Missouri lost on the road.
Here is your daily Dr. Feelgood…
KANSAS (66) AT TEXAS (57)
Kansas understood in this game how they score the basketball. They score by getting to the basket. They are not a three-point shooting team and they won’t be at any point this season. The Jayhawks took just 10 shots behind the arc in a 66-57 win at Texas.
Devon Dotson returned after missing Tuesday’s game at Oklahoma which the Jayhawks won rather easily. Dotson scored 21 points to lead the team in his return. He was 8-for-9 from the free-throw line.
Marcus Garrett was aggressive and effective when he attacked the basket. The problem is that he was 0-for-2 from behind the arc. He needs to continue shooting out there to keep the defense a little honest but he’s going to need to make some or they will continue to ignore him.
On defense, Kansas is regularly giving up easy baskets at times when Udoka Azubuike helps on the screen up high and switches to cover the man with the ball. It’s leaving the opponents big man one-on-one with either a smaller Jayhawk or nobody when there is miscommunication. There were a few times today when Texas threw the ball over Azubuike for an easy bucket.
Bill Self didn’t play the bench much in the second half. He said that they were playing timid when they played in the first half. Maybe not coincidentally, Kansas was much better passing the ball inside to Azubuike in the second half and that’s what helped Kansas turn a five-point halftime deficit into a nine-point win.
Kansas hosts Kansas State on Tuesday at 6 pm on ESPN2.
WEST VIRGINIA (68) AT KANSAS STATE (84)
Kansas State ended a four-game losing streak with a 16 point win over West Virginia for their first Big 12 win of the season. Was it a change in strategy that caused the 84 point output for the Wildcats? Is this a shift to a new offensive team for the rest of the season? Well, not really. It was just mostly because the Wildcats were hot shooting the ball in this game. They shot 59% from the field and 50% from behind the arc. Nobody shoots like that on a regular basis.
DaJuan Gordon continues to get better and better each game. He was 6-for-7 from the field and finished with 15 points. Gordon needs to start playing a larger role on the team. He only got 14 minutes in this game but it was just his first game against West Virginia. Maybe Bruce Weber is slowly introducing him to conference play. I would think that he will get more playing time sometime this season, but, if not, he will be a starter next season.
When Cartier Diarra is playing and shooting well he’s a lot of fun to watch. Diarra was 8-for-14 from the field and 4-for-6 from behind the arc. Yes, he took some really dumb shots but that’s part of his game and you have to be willing to live with that. It’s that aggressiveness that makes him so good at times. If you try to take away those bad shots you will lose his aggressiveness overall.
Kansas State plays at Kansas on Tuesday at 6 pm on ESPN2.
MISSOURI (74) AT ALABAMA (88)
Missouri made a conscious effort to attack the rim against Alabama but the Crimson Tide went 13-for-39 from behind the arc and beat the Tigers 88-74.
Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin has talked a lot lately about wanting his team to get out in transition more and to attack the basket in the half-court offense. Missouri attacked the basket Saturday but couldn’t get a lot of those shots to fall. The Tigers shot 31% from the field and just 25% from behind the arc.
The Tigers were drawing fouls and took advantage of it. They were 31-for-31 from the free-throw line which helped them stay in the game. They were just three free-throws shy of tying the NCAA record for free-throws in a game without a miss.
Alabama shot 45% from the field and 33% from behind the arc. Alabama likes to shoot a lot of three-point shots. In this game, 39 of Alabama’s 56 shots were behind the arc. The Tide also outrebounded the Tigers 39-36 and had an assist on 18 of their 25 made shots.
Oh, and if you can figure out Javon Pickett please let me know. He was back in the starting lineup but went 0-for-5 and did not score. I just don’t get it.
Missouri plays at 8 pm on Tuesday at home against Texas A&M on ESPNU.
WHAT TO WATCH
This section is probably unnecessary today but consistency is important in life so I am including it. Of course, the big game of the day is the AFC Championship game between the Chiefs and Titans at 2:05 pm on CBS.
The Titans won the only regular-season meeting between these two teams but they will see a different Chiefs team today. The Chiefs defense is one of the best in the NFL now whereas they were still learning Steve Spagnuolo’s system in the first matchup.
The special teams couldn’t have been worse for the Chiefs in the regular-season matchup. This was a big reason the Chiefs lost the previous meeting. I’m still concerned about this part of the team in this game but I’m hoping for a clean game.
Patrick Mahomes was playing his first game since his knee injury when these two teams previously played. The offense now looks to be playing the best that have played since Patrick Mahomes took over the quarterback position at the start of last season.
The Chiefs are a seven-point favorite. I expect the Chiefs to win and cover the spread.
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