If the Jayhawks were going on the road to anywhere other than Columbia this weekend, I'd be worried about a let down. We just beat the best team on our schedule, had a big sendoff for Sherron Collins (possibly Cole Aldrich and Xavier Henry too), and clinched the Big 12 outright. Heading to Missouri should keep this team focused for another game and they had better be focused because regardless of what the polls say, Missouri can play. The Pomeroy ratings have Missouri at #12, I'm not that convinced but KenPom is smarter than me.
Missouri had a rough start to the season, pretty understandable considering all of the production they lost between seasons. A loss to Richmond and then to Oral Roberts made the Big 12 preseason predictions look good, having picked Missouri 7th. They've settled down since then and now sit tied for 3rd in the Big 12 with Baylor and Texas A&M. They're 16-1 at home this year, with their only home loss coming to a good Texas A&M.
All numbers for Big 12 play only.
- Effective FG% (8th) -- Missouri's offense relies on turnovers from their defense. If they're forced to run halfcourt sets, they tend to struggle. The last two games they have been 4-18 and 4-19 from the 3 point line. If that continues, they'll have a long day on Saturday.
- Turnover % (5th) -- They take care of the ball better than I'd expect for their style of play. They speed you up on defense but have the control to take care of the ball in transition. This is a key for them, they only average 1.04 points per possession, so turnovers can really kill their offense. Sticking with their last two games, they had a TO% of 23.6 and 24.4. No real surprise that they struggled mightily against K-State and had to go to overtime against Iowa State.
- Offensive Rebounding % (6th) -- Right in the middle of the pack for the Big 12. Keep them off the glass and we'll be in good shape. Aldrich was a beast on the glass in the first game, this will be a good game for him to go for double digit rebounds again.
- FTA/FGA (12th) -- With their lack of size inside and their love of 3 pointers, this isn't all that surprising. Throw in the uptempo pace where they can get baskets in transition, it starts making sense. Morri- don't help them out here.
- Effective FG% (2nd) -- Now we're going into Missouri's strengths. They guard you everywhere, speed you up, and the result is a hurried or contested shot. KU had an eFG of 57% in the first meeting, stay there and Missouri won't be able to score with us. Drop down to around 50 or below and we've got a much tougher mountain to climb.
- Turnover % (2nd) -- The only team in the Big 12 that forces more turnovers than Kansas State, not a surprise due to their full court pressure. Kansas took great care of the ball on Wednesday, do it again and Missouri will not win. In the first meeting, Kansas had 23 turnovers. At Columbia, that will get Kansas in trouble.
- Offensive Rebounding % (10th) -- Lack of size inside and their full court pressure allows their opponents to get some offensive rebounds. Take advantage of this and capitalize by scoring after each offensive board.
- FTA/FGA (7th) -- Not bad for a team that causes a high number of turnovers. 19.9 fouls per game is pretty reasonable in that style. Kansas shot 26 free throws in the first game and it worked out well. They will foul, so just make the free throws.
- Scorers: For Missouri, this is pretty much everyone that plays. Kim English is their leading scorer at 14 points per game and then they have five other players that average between 7 and 11 points per game. They did just lose Justin Safford's 8.6 points per game, so they have to find a way to fill that hole. As is often said on this blog, let one guy get his. Maybe even two, just hope they don't have two or three guys get hot from the 3 point line and have career days.
- Rebounders: Keith Ramsey (5.7 rpg) and Laurence Bowers (5.6 rpg) are their leading rebounders. They get their rebounds similar to how they score, no one player is dominant but a lot of them get a few and it can add up. They're not a great rebounding team, so this is one area that Kansas can and should win.
- Three Point Shooting: Three point shooting generally depends on the team shooting more than the defense. With Missouri, that's not the case. They extend their defense and hurry you up which leads to tough shots, especially outside. Use the big men in this game and don't force any outside shots.
- Miscellaneous: Just like Wednesday was Senior Day for the Jayhawks, Saturday is Senior Day for Missouri. You know it will be loud and intense, keep your composure and stay calm through the early storm. Don't give their fans any reason to believe they can control the outcome of this game.