Recap: Kansas 80 Missouri 77

Real life got in the way of posting a preview of the game yesterday so you'll have to take my word that it would have focused on whether or not Missouri was the worst rebounding team in a major conference (it's early, but yes) and whether they could maintain their level of rebounding futility (apparently not).

Team eFG% OR% TO% FT Rate FT% PPP
MU 44.5 27.1 15.1 23.3 70.6 0.97
KU 56.1 18.9 21.9 28.1 66.7 1.03

Much of the credit for Missouri's atypically effective work on the glass must go to Kalen Grimes. Grimes has always been an effective rebounder when on the court and he got to play a lot more than he had in Missouri's three previous conference games. He's not much of an offensive or defensive player, but the guy can rebound (16.4 OR%, 24.6 DR% on the year playing about 43% of Missouri's minutes.)

Still, on the heels of Saturday's game in Ames--where Kansas joined UC-Riverside, Norfolk State, Savannah State, and SE Missouri State as the only teams who have turned the ball over on at least 20% of their possessions against Iowa State--watching Kansas join Mississppi State, Evansville, and Stephen F. Austin as the only teams to fail to get even 29% of their possible offensive rebounds against Missouri troubles me.

That's two games in three days wherein Kansas has completely failed to take advantage of significant weaknesses exhibited by an inferior opponent. With the Jayhawk offense performing inefficiently over the last 85 minutes (0.995 points per 100 possessions) and the defense all of a sudden unable to force turnovers (14.6% of Iowa State's possessions and 15.1% of Missouri's ended in a turnover. Entering the Iowa State game, Kansas was forcing turnovers on 27% of opponents' possessions.), Kansas's margin of error has almost disappeared.

Neither Iowa State (45.2 eFG%) nor Missouri (44.5 eFG%) shot the ball well. Neither Iowa State (26.1 OR%) nor Missouri (27.1 OR%) got many offensive rebounds. Neither Iowa State (8-19) nor Missouri (12-17) did much damage at the free throw line. And yet, both Iowa State and Missouri had chances to beat Kansas.

In the end, Iowa State and Missouri didn't have Brandon Rush or Sherron Collins or Julian Wright or Mario Chalmers or Darrell Arthur, each of whom made big plays down the stretch of one game or the other or both. Kansas is 3-0 in conference play and has won 10 games in a row. These are unquestionably good things and there is no question that should this Kansss team ever get the quality of its execution to match the level of its effort they would become a formidable group.

But as I wait for that time and I watch the team play, I wonder if (realisitic) thoughts of a trip to the Final Four should be put off until next year.