Ten Thoughts for Monday Morning
1) We're going to start with two regressions to the mean in basketball this weekend. First, on the men's side, Missouri beat No. 15 Alabama 92-86. We'll get into some more specifics about it in a bit, but the overarching picture is that Mizzou won a game absolutely nobody thought it was going to win. That's going to happen over the course of a 32 game season. I don't know overall what Saturday meant for the year, other than this: The hyperbolic foolishness of "this is Kim Anderson bad" can end now. Missouri is 7-7. It's lost some blowouts and it's lost a couple of games that nobody thought it should lose. The season has been disappointing. It will not end up as what anyone would term overly successful. But it's not historically bad. Anybody making those claims--and, yes, there are some people who have been making them--should be ignored.
2) The women's team also moved closer to the middle, although that movement came in the opposite direction. In their first game after beating No. 1 South Carolina, Missouri struggled some, but managed to beat Auburn. No such luck on Saturday in Fayetteville. Arkansas raced out to a 17-point halftime lead and beat Robin Pingeton's team 83-73 in a game that Missouri never really had a chance to win. The Tigers just dug themselves too big a hole. Missouri turned the ball over on 19.7% of its possessions and shot just 52% (13-25) on layups. That's not gonna win you many games, especially when the opposition turns the ball over two (TWO!) times. Arkansas scored 13 points off turnovers. Missouri scored three. The final margin was ten. Like the men weren't nearly as bad as they looked, the women aren't quite as good as beating the top ranked team in the country and taking another top five team to the wire. Don't get me wrong, they're having a good year and the NCAA Tournament should be the expectation. I'm just not sure that being a host in the NCAA Tournament should be the expectation or that anyone should be TOO outraged that they aren't ranked in the top 25.
3) I want to go back to the men's win over Alabama because that's the one I was at. It was probably the best I've seen a Cuonzo Martin team look on offense, and it was definitely the best I've seen a Martin team that I didn't already think was pretty good offensively look on offense.
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