1. Kimmeh's! Really a Forward. What a great all-around game we saw from Kimmeh! yesterday in College Station. As I watched the umpteenth Mizzou game with Fran Fraschilla I noticed that he continues to beat the "Bowers'-injury-made-all-this-possible" drum, a story that I believe to be well-intentioned but false. I love that Fran is a big Mizzou fan. (Remember how much he, Bob Knight, and Jay Bilas all gush about Mizzou the next time you're belly-aching about Gottlieb.) But, I really disagree with a couple of memes that Coach Fran harps on continuously both of which involve Kimmeh!
Meme 1: Bowers' injury made Missouri faster, because it lead to Meme 2: a four guard lineup where Kimmeh! is the fourth guard. Admittedly that's poetic, but it's also wrong.
Why Coach Fran is Wrong. First of all, just on speed, Kimmeh! is NOT faster than Party Starter with the ball in his hands. When either of those guys has the ball in his hands in the open floor we all hold our breath, but for very different reasons. Kimmeh! brings better perimeter shooting and better spacing, but not speed. No. Second, Fran is convinced that Kimmeh! replaced Bowers because they both (technically) play the power forward. In truth though, Big Pressey replaced Bowers. Kimmeh! was always going to play for Haith, who recruited him and knew how to use him.
Add to that, Missouri doesn't really play four guards. Regardless of how he may be listed, Kimmeh! is a forward not a shooting guard--and the distinction is important. Moving Kimmeh! to forward was a brilliant move by Haith. Kimmeh! lacks quickness and ball handling when matched up against traditional shooting guards. He is a natural small forward though, a bit undersized but offsets that to some degree with his strength. He may be matching up against power forwards this season but that's not really a stretch for his skill set and his body type. (I joked in yesterday's game thread that Kimmeh! has a power forward's butt.) The overlap between college small forwards and power forwards is pretty substantial. Kimmeh's transformation has been a natural fit for him and fun to watch, but he's not playing out of position this year. He was playing out of position the other years. I also strongly suspect this transformation would have occurred regardless of Bowers' injury. Had Party Starter played, Big Pressey's minutes would have suffered more than Kimmeh's!
I harp on this point, because the story here isn't so much about Kimmeh being willing to sacrifice by playing out of position (and Mizzou getting lucky it's worked out so well). The story is about Haith recognizing his skill set and the matchup possibilities.
2. Keep an Eye on Turnovers. Dumb turnovers are something to watch. On a smart team that generally values the ball they can be a tell-tale sign of team-wide fatigue. What we saw yesterday early on weren't the "trying-to-make-the-spectacular-pass" turnovers that we can see from this club sometimes. There were quite a few lazy, telegraphed passes. These are the dog days. Haith has taken to the old Coach K strategy of playing stall ball after the under 8 minute time out, as a way of getting in-game rest.
3. Bonus Point: Ratliffe Looks Tired. I am hoping Ricardo can find his second wind this week. He looked generally beat yesterday in the second half. He really got pushed off his spot. I wonder if Haith will consider trying to steal a minute or two with Andrew Jones somewhere along the line.