Kansas was the only one of the three local teams to win this weekend. Kansas State came close and Missouri was in their game until early in the second half. In the end, the Big 12 and SEC tied this season’s series 5-5.
The Super Bowl is one week from today. This is one of the only times I have enjoyed the two-week break between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.
Here is your daily Dr. Feelgood…
MISSOURI (51) AT WEST VIRGINIA (74)
This game was over early. Yes, Missouri did fight back in the first half to pull to within one at the half but it never felt like the Tigers could keep up with the Mountaineers. West Virginia outscored Missouri 27-8 in the first ten minutes of the second half to put the game away for good. The loss dropped the Tigers to 9-10, the first time they have been below .500 this season.
So where does Missouri go from here? Their offensive efficiency is #112 in the country according to KenPom. Their defense is #77. KenPom had them as the #86 team in the country before the loss.
It felt like Missouri struggled shooting from behind the arc in this game but it really wasn’t much worse than what they have shot over the course of the season. They shot 27% behind the arc in this game. They have shot 30% from behind the arc for the season.
Torrence Watson scored 19 points on 5-for-8 shooting behind the arc.
Not one Missouri player grabbed more than five rebounds or had more than two assists.
While I am generally in favor of college coaches getting a minimum of five years so they have an opportunity to have a roster full of players they recruited, I’m not sure Cuonzo Martin will be back next season. Martin has coached exactly three seasons at every stop he has made as a head coach. This is his third at Missouri. He had not had a losing season since his first season at Missouri State until the Tigers went 15-17 last season and it looks like a good bet that the Tigers will be under .500 again this season.
Missouri hosts Georgia at 7:30 pm Tuesday on the SEC Network.
KANSAS (74) VS TENNESSEE (68)
We got to see Kansas without frontcourt depth for the first time this season with the suspensions of David McCormack and Silvio De Sousa. We got pretty much what we expected. When Udoka Azubuike is in the game they are as tough as they have been all season. When he goes to the bench it’s a different story.
When Azubuike goes to the bench, which he did more than usual because of foul trouble in this game, Kansas is susceptible on the defensive end. The Jayhawks do not have the intimidation factor in the lane and Tennessee was going to the basket without any concerns.
Kansas ran a lot of spread offense with Azubuike on the bench. It was pretty effective. They were able to spread out the Tennessee defense and drive. The Jayhawks got to the basket and scored a lot of layups because there was no help defender in the lane.
Bill Self used just seven players in this game because of the suspensions. He tried to start Isaiah Moss but it didn’t work and Christian Braun took over. Braun played 32 minutes compared to Moss’ 20 minutes.
Kansas was unusually good handling the ball. They had just six turnovers in the game. They were averaging 14 turnovers per game entering the contest.
Kansas will have to play without David McCormack for one more game. That’s a Big Monday game at Oklahoma State at 8 pm on ESPN. It should be a tough one. If Kansas can pull out a win in this game they will essentially be back at full strength for the rest of the season since De Sousa has played very little.
KANSAS STATE (74) AT ALABAMA (77)
David Sloan got the start but was in foul trouble and ended up with a poor game and just 12 minutes. He had just five points and one assist.
DaJuan Gordon got the start over Cartier Diarra but struggled. He did grab eight rebounds but had just six points and turned the ball over three times. Diarra, however, scored 17 points on 6-for-19 shooting and had four assists. But that wasn’t enough as the Wildcats fell three points short of Alabama.
Kansas State was without Antonio Gordon Saturday because of his suspension from the benches-clearing brawl in Lawrence on Tuesday.
Makol Mawien scored 13 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Mawien averages just7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game so this was out of the norm for him.
Montavious Murphy had one of his best games. He scored ten points and grabbed eight rebounds.
The Wildcats started strong and led for most of the first half. They entered halftime with a one-point lead. Although Alabama took control to start the second half and had as much as a 16 point lead midway through the second half, Kansas State continued to fight until the end.
Kansas State next plays on Wednesday at home against Oklahoma at 7 pm on ESPN+.
WHAT TO WATCH
There are a couple of interesting Big Ten games on Sunday. Maryland is at Indiana at noon on CBS. Michigan State plays at Minnesota at 2 pm on FOX. The Pro Bowl is on as well but I don’t recommend it. The only good All-Star game is the MLB All-Star game.
In this week’s Thursday podcast I talked about the Chiefs and 49ers in the Super Bowl. I also talked about the Kansas vs Kansas State game from Tuesday and explained why I believe that it was the Kansas State players leaving the bench that caused the brawl at the end of the game. I’m recording the next podcast tonight. Get the Kansas City Sports Monitor podcast wherever you get your podcasts.
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