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Border War: Is Conner Teahan An Underrated Key To Beating Missouri?

Missouri is undersized, no question about that. At the same time they have only lost two games all season and they are a contender for the Big 12 title. How did they lose?

The first thing you'll notice is that both games were on the road. Then you look at the first loss and it happened against a physical Kansas State team that pressured them on the defensive end and gave them trouble on the interior. The second loss came at the hands of a hot shooting Oklahoma State squad on a cold night for the Tigers. Both games had a fairly unique set of circumstances that gave Missouri that 'it's not our night' type feel to things. It happens, it happens to Missouri and it just as easily happens to Kansas.

However, if we assume that things do go according to plan for the Tigers, it seems like we can probably expect them to either sag or play a zone on the defensive end to counter the Jayhawk advantage on the interior. That may or may not work, but it does mean that Kansas could greatly benefit if they can show the ability to knock down the open shot. There is one player that has been slumping as of late and he could prove pretty important for the Jayhawks.

Now obviously there are other ways Kansas can attack this type of defense. Working the ball inside out and playing patient on the offensive end is definitely a must. Tyshawn Taylor finding lanes to penetrate and create is another thing that can help Kansas. Certainly the Jayhawks would like to see a nice lift from Travis Releford or Elijah Johnson on the offensive end. But what about Conner Teahan?

Teahan has been labeled the three point specialist for the Jayhawks, but lately that just isn't happening. At this point in the season Teahan is shooting 35% from beyond the arc and that number is lower if you look at just the Big 12 schedule. That puts him below Tyshawn Taylor and Travis Releford, but Teahan might be the most important shooter on the court for Kansas on Saturday.

If Missouri goes with a zone defense or even sags to help on the interior, Teahan is a player that Kansas needs to be able to look to for the open three. It's the wild card that can stretch the defense and open things up for the Jayhawks inside where they can really capitalize on their strengths.

Now it's easy to look at other areas of Teahan's game and have some concern and with his shooting slump seemingly getting worse it's hard to get overly optimistic about this possibility. But Teahan is a Kansas City native, he understands this rivalry and he's a Jayhawk through and through. It's that little extra motivation that comes with playing Missouri that makes me want to see what Teahan might provide in this final trip to Columbia.