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Baylor vs. Missouri Postmortem: Live by the Zone, Die by the Three

Baylor men's basketball team lost its fourth game of the season today at Missouri 72-57. That score is about as close as the game felt once Missouri popped in the GameGenie and turned off missing shots completely. A team that was 5-12 from 3-point territory in the first half ended the game 14-28 (for a convenient 50%) after scoring 21 of 23 points off made 3s at one point in the second half. After that 28-12 run, the game was essentially over and Baylor never got the deficit under 12 again.

I'm actually not mad about this game like I was about Kansas; Mizzou obviously beat the pants off of us today and ended just about any argument we could have for a top-2 seed as well as a chance at a conference championship, but they did it through ridiculous shooting. As much as I hate it when people do this, you just have to tip your cap to them and move on. The only real question I have is why we never seemed to decide that enough was enough. Why didn't we abandon the zone finally and mercifully to stop them from shooting over the top? It is the next great mystery of our time.

The bottom line of Baylor's season so far is that we're just not as good as the teams we were chasing. Kansas and Missouri are the clear elite in basketball in the Big XII. They are the top tier where we thought we might be. Baylor is probably the very best of the second tier, which I think includes Iowa State, but Missouri and Kansas are legit #1 tournament seeds and we're not. We're staring at a 3 seed, which would be our highest ever, I believe, and a probable matchup in the sweet 16 with the 2 in our region.

We can do without the lengthy discussion of whether Scott Drew was outcoached today-- I'm not sure either way-- and I'm in a slightly better mood than after the Kansas game, so I think I'll focus on the positives.

Positive 1: Baylor outrebounded Mizzou 35-22, including 15 offensive boards to Mizzou's 6.
Positive 2: Baylor ended the game with only 12 turnovers, which is actually quite good for us.
Positive 3: Baylor had 7 steals to Mizzou's 2. Makes me turn a quizzical eye to the turnover count, but we're being positive here!

See, once you put things that way, everything looks a lot better, right?

Let's look at the notable personal performances from today's game after the jump. The more theory-oriented of us can chime in and break down the team effort (and I mean that as a synonym of "performance," not as an attempt to say our guys didn't play hard).

That'll Do, Kid: Quincy Miller-- The true freshman turned in his best game in a while, scoring 20 points on 7-10 shooting (1-1 from 3) and 5-5 from the line. His 20 points was 13 more than the next-closest Bear, a stat that should highlight the offensive futility we saw on display today in addition to an extremely porous zone.

Ugggghh: Perry Jones III-- I am out of ways to say that Jones' performances of late have been utter and complete disappointments, but unlike in games past where he disappeared, Perry at least showed up even if his stat line doesn't look all that good. He finished the game with 4 points on 2-12 shooting, but also had 7 rebounds (5 offensive). I don't know what Perry does after this season, but his stock can't possibly be headed up, right?

Double Uggggghh: Gary Franklin. When Mizzou was going on their NBA Jams-like run, we countered with ... Gary Franklin? 4 missed shots out of 4 taken and 4 fouls in 10 minutes. 4 fouls in 10 minutes?

Not To Be Left Out-- A.J. Walton. 20 minutes, 2 points (1-5 shooting), 2 fouls.

It's Good To See You Again-- Brady Heslip, aka DowntownCanadian. Heslip only scored 6 points on 2-5 shooting from 3, but Baylor at least got him the open looks that he needed and hadn't been getting in the past few games. That was one positive adjustment I saw on offense that I really hoped to see.

Saw Too Little Of-- Deuce Bello. He's incredible raw, I get it. He does stupid things and can't really shoot; I get that, too. But I like watching him play, I like that he got to the FT line 4 times in 3 minutes, and I like his speed and athleticism on defense. I wish we could have seen more of it against Mizzou's guards, fouls be damned.

Mama, There Goes That Man-- Phil Pressey. He's just really, really good.


UPDATE: Texas just knocked off K-State 75-64 at home. That's a big win for Texas for their tournament resume, and the victory might have something to do with Texas shooting 48 free throws to KSU's 12. 48 FTs in a college basketball game!!!