There isn't much to say when your team gets taken to the woodshed the way that Missouri was last night. In every aspect of the game that Missouri needed to be competitive, they just weren't. Quite honestly, this is a Kentucky team that is one of the best defensive teams I've ever watched, when they want to be. And they wanted to be last night.
So, I think I'll keep this pretty brief, so we can turn our attention to games we have a shot at winning. At one point last night even Dick Vitale lamented that Missouri just ran into Kentucky at the wrong time. And he was right. Ole Miss and A&M didn't provide the blueprint to beat Kentucky, they just pissed them off. There was a moment early on, I think the score was 12-10 when I allowed myself a glimmer of hope. Shortly after Kentucky used a 9-0 run to put Mizzou down and the worst fears were realized. At that point the one thing that Mizzou needed to happen had happened. They couldn't come out and shoot poorly, and let Kentucky get open looks to build their confidence. They did, and it all turned to... well, you know, right after that.
Let's revisit our 3 keys... I mean, why not?
1) Hit the Offensive Glass H-A-R-D
Missouri had 12 offensive rebounds, which is good on a normal shooting night. When the shots are going up and you're hitting about 28% of those shots, 12 isn't enough to overcome the terrible shooting.
Definition of getting crushed on the glass RT @Dave_Matter: Kentucky outrebounds Mizzou 46-27— Sam Snelling (@SamSnellingRMN) January 14, 2015
I mean, oof.
2) Turn them into a Jump Shooting Team
Weirdly enough, I thought Mizzou's overall defensive effort was pretty good. Kentucky shot well.
3) Make your open shots count
Not many open shots. 1-18 from 3?
Missouri needed those three keys and a below average shooting performance from the Wildcats, and they didn't get any of it. All you can really do is move on, and try to get better next time out.
A brutal shooting night will make these things all tick down a bit. Let's hope this is the Kentucky blip, and not a trend.
For anyone not already convinced that Wes Clark can be good, you need only look at this game for evidence. Clark was the only player on the floor who could create his own shot when he needed to. Granted, UK's defense on the perimeter isn't as good as the defense on the interior, but it's still pretty good, and nobody could guard Clark last night. If he could learn to make shots on a more consistent basis he'll be one of the more dangerous guards in the league. And he played absolutely fearless against the Wildcats.
I like Shamburger as a PG on this team, but he was overmatched athletically last night. Isabell can maybe get there, but both were a little overwhelmed by Kentucky.
Much of the roster looked too intimidated to gin up enough effort to compete. JW3 felt like he was giving it his all, and bless that kid, but he didn't have it last night. Overall I felt like the team was trying, but they just weren't ready for what UK was capable of. This is the difference between a young team of 5-stars, like Kentucky has, and a young team of 3 & 4 stars that make up much of Missouri's roster.
It seemed pretty apparent that Kim Anderson was just playing the young guys even though they looked so badly outmatched. The 4 minutes that Rosburg played seemed to be the most disinterested minutes by any Mizzou player. He seemed to want no part of that game, and it showed with the pass to Coach Anderson towards the end of the game.
Ryan Rosburg just isn’t ready for this.— Sam Snelling (@SamSnellingRMN) January 14, 2015
- Keith Shamburger: 33 minutes
- Wes Clark: 27 minutes
- D'Angelo Allen: 25 minutes
- Jakeenan Gant: 24 minutes
- Tramaine Isabell: 24 minutes
- Keanau Post: 21 minutes
- Johnathan Williams III: 21 minutes
- Namon Wright: 20 minutes
- Ryan Rosburg: 4 minutes
- Hayden Barnard: 1 minutes
- Montaque Gill-Caesar: DNP (injured)
- Deuce Bello: DNP (suspended)
It would have been nice to have MGC, but it wouldn't have made a difference. Not last night.
That's 3 straight games where Allen has not looked very good. Oddly enough it was against the 3 conference foes. He's been able to make a good play here and there, but for the most part he's been playing more minutes with less contribution. That's not the sort of progress we were hoping for.
Allen wasn't the only guy who didn't provide production in his time. Namon Wright has been starting, and really not giving the team much for two games. I don't know that I would switch to putting Isabell in the lineup, but Wright has to find a way to provide something when he's on the floor.
Jakeenan Gant has bounce, and he's got the ability to be a really good player. Let's hope he's a hard worker because he was one of the few guys that belonged on the floor last night from an athleticism standpoint.
And I'll gladly take 8-12 points, 6-10 rebounds from Post the rest of the way. It sure would have been nice to see this guy all season.
This is just who Kentucky is.
Derek Willis just hit that 3, He’s appeared in just 7 games this season, buried on the UK bench. He was the #115 ranked recruit 2 years ago— Sam Snelling (@SamSnellingRMN) January 14, 2015
Missouri has some highly regarded recruits on their roster. JW3 was just outside the top 40, Clark was in low 70s, Gant was just outside of the 50s, Wright was in the low 70s as well. Kentucky's 11th best player was a top 150 recruit, and would probably be starting for Missouri. He had offers from Indiana, Purdue, Louisville and Xavier. And he can't even break the 10 man rotation at Kentucky.
How does Missouri recruit to combat that? How you beat Kentucky is through experience. You have to have talent, yes. Missouri has the makings of a talented team, but if they want to be on the big stage against a team like Kentucky, they'll either need to recruit like Kentucky (which isn't going to happen), or they're going to need to develop. They're developing and the true test of Kim Andersons ability to coach isn't going to be when he calls a timeout or makes the right sub, but how much better the players he has improve from one season to the next. To get where we want to be, this group is going to have to get a whole lot better.
EDIT: The full game below