And we’re down to three.
Missouri’s 75-59 loss to Kansas State on Saturday dropped the number of unbeaten college basketball to No. 1 Syracuse (held off Marquette), No. 4 Baylor (winners against Texas Tech) and No. 19 Murray State (beat Austin Peay by double-digits). That’s it. It’s a fairly standard number for this time of year and one that figures to shrink in the next few weeks. It always does.
The Tigers’ loss won’t go down as a huge shock, either.
No. 7 Missouri (14-1) was favored by just one point. Kenpom had it winning by two. Yes, the Tigers’ awesomely efficient offense has been nearly impossible to stop, but it met its match (and then some) against the No. 23 Wildcats, who exploited their superior size and forced them into contested shots that just didn’t fall.
Their 39.7 FG% was 20 points lower than their average. Hitting 29 percent from beyond the arc marked a 13-point drop. The only thing that did fall was free throws.
(Missouri also got killed on the boards, but that’s nothing new. Even when the Tigers’ frontcourt isn’t devoid of size – the transfer of freshman Kadeem Green leaves them with just two regulars taller than 6-7 – they rarely rebound well.)
If the Tigers had won at K-State (12-2), it would’ve cemented them as the Big 12 favorite. Conference road wins are a precious commodity, particularly in places like Bramlage Coliseum. But to write them off would be foolish. They remain one of the nation’s most dangerous teams because of their offensive capabilities and guard-heavy lineup that could just start ripping off made shots. (Hey, sometimes this just happens to guard-heavy teams. Ask Florida.)
Missouri can regroup, adjust and will remain among that list of Big 12 contenders that includes Baylor, Kansas and K-State. If the shots fall, it could end up as the best of ’em.
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