Going into last night’s game at Allen Fieldhouse, Mike Anderson had never won on his rival’s home court. Last night, that streak continued, as did Missouri’s Big 12 road losing streak, which now sits at 5.
Kansas won 103-86, taking a close game at halftime and turning it into a laugher by the under-12 timeout of the second half. The Jayhawks hit 11 threes, got 38 points from the Morris twins, and spent the entire night taking advantage of a poor Missouri defense. As boring as it is to say, this game really didn’t teach us too much about Kansas. They are still one of the top teams in the nation, probably right below Texas and Ohio State, and a blowout win against a horrible road team doesn’t really change that.
Winning without Josh Selby does make Kansas seem for dangerous in the long run, though Selby has already shown he can’t just be plugged in, he needs time to adjust. Selby is still very important to the Jayhawks, though it is also encouraging to see Mario Little and Travis Releford step up in his absence and play well. Bill Self probably needs all three in order to beat other Final Four caliber teams.
For Missouri, it’s starting to become panic time. Right now they sit at 4-5 in conference, and in real danger of finishing 8-8 in Big 12 play. For a team with so much talent, and so much ability Missouri really should be able to play better on the road. Their defense goes away completely, to the point where you wonder why they even bother to defend. The offense, which thrives on ball movement and good shot selection, turns into a lot of one-on-one play.
Missouri’s bench was especially guilty last night. Kim English tossed up a major stink bomb, scoring just six points on 1-6 shooting. Mike Dixon was just as bad, scoring just five points. Really, Mike Anderson’s best bench player last night was Steve Moore, who was able to take up space, and hold his own in the post.
The shame is, Missouri wasted great games from their two best big men, Laurence Bowers and Ricardo Ratliffe. Both fouled out, but combined to score 31 points on 13-16 shooting. Phil Pressey had a fine game as well, scoring 17 points and dishing out six assists. Outside of those three, it was a rough game for the Tigers.
In theory, the Tigers should go on a long winning streak now. Their next six games are all very winnable, though three of them are on the road. The last game of the season for Missouri is a home game against Kansas, which might become a must win if the Tigers can’t fix their road woes.
Kansas probably has more happy days ahead as well. At Kansas State is hardly the daunting task it once appeared to be, and the Jayhawks won’t be threatened until the final two games of the season.