[Bumped to the front page.]
Had to pay the Mrs. some attention on Saturday, so I just watched the game on ESPN3. Kansas got their 71st point on a Taylor dunk with 3 minutes and change left. They never scored again. Wow. Just. Wow.
1. Missouri as Andre Miller: Any Way You Wanna Swing It. I'm old enough to remember venerable NBA guard Andre Miller when he played at Utah under Rick Majerus. He has always been one of my favorite basketball players. Never overly athletic, Miller has the rare ability to play any sort of style: outside-in, inside-out, fast, or slow. My buddy Tee dubbed Miller an "any way you wanna swing it" guard. Miller is an apt metaphor for what I love about this Missouri team. They're an "any way you wanna swing it" team. What makes Missouri special--and see, I'm ready to declare them special rather than have that be determined by their performance in a single elimination tournament--is that they defy trite description. They don't have to play one way to win.
2. Give Love to Kimmeh! Denmon will (rightly) command most of the ink, but Kimmeh! was the quintessential "glue guy" in the game. If you're gonna be an "any way you wanna swing it" team you must have guys with serious versatility, who can put something in every column of the box score. Kimmeh! was that guy. He really kept it together tonight from the opening tip to the final whistle. Kimmeh! hit a couple big threes, but more importantly was 6-6 from the line. He only had 1 assist (was it the ball he lost that Moore gathered in for a flush?), but often he was the guy who swung the ball to make the defense move. He only had 3 boards, but his last (on the missed FT by Taylor) was the biggest of the game. He also rendered Withey an almost complete non-factor. Did you see him pull STEEEVE to the side after Robinson drew a grabbing foul to tell him that he needed to take T-Rob's shoulder in the chest? (Of course, that's exactly what STEEEVE did to draw a huge late charge on Robinson that replays showed to clearly be a legit call--ticky-tack perhaps, but they'd been calling charges all night.) I love what he brought to the game, and really, to this entire season.
3. Bonus Thought: Marcus Denmon. Feel good for him because he made shots last night, but love him because the other stuff, for the most part, has been there throughout his slump--the defense, the rebounding, the leadership. (He had nine boards last night, and not one was cheap.) In a quiet moment I wonder if Conner Teahan will regret woofing at Denmon on that sequence where he stole a Matt Pressey swing pass and hit the three on the other end. It may have been coincidence but after that moment Denmon took over the game.