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The Burn KC College Basketball Midseason Review

The end of January is upon us, which basically means we are roughly halfway through the college basketball season. So far, it's been a season full of upsets, controversy, and craziness, in other words, par for the course for your standard college basketball season. Let's summarize what each major local Division 1 team has been up to.


Kansas Jayhawks

The Jayhawks, being preseason #1, faced a lot of pressure heading into this season. A pressure that they looked like they would be plenty prepared for, with the 1st-ranked transfer Hunter Dickinson, key international prospect Johnny Furphy, McDonald's All-American Elmarko Jackson, and a few other key transfers and recruits filled out the newcomers on this roster that would bolster a roster that struggled mightily last year producing points in the paint and bench points. One of those transfers, Arterio Morris, was arrested at the beginning of the year on charges of sexual assault, and the open scholarship was never filled, which already produced problems for the Jayhawk bench.


The Hawks' nagging problem has still yet to go away. The bench still struggles to produce. In Kansas's two key losses, the bench scored just 31 points, with this past Monday's game against Cincinnati perhaps being the worst performance of the season, scoring just 2. Though they still pulled off the win, they should have won by a lot more, and it's been a long-standing concern. If the Jayhawks don't get any more production from their bench, there's no telling how long the starting lineup can maintain leads and keep this team in the top of the rankings...



Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State's non-conference schedule was full of close calls and disappointing performances. A team that I personally thought would finish Top 5 in the Big 12 is in danger of finishing in the middle of the pack, and losing arguably their top player to Memphis after the craziness that was the Nae'qwon Tomlin situation, things certainly didn't look good. The Wildcats have been better though than what I thought they would be without Tomlin. They've gone 4-2 in conference play so far, with a bench that produces, solid perimeter scoring in Tylor Perry and Cam Carter, and overall solid performances highlighted by a big win over Baylor. They've recovered well but the threat of not finishing in the top echelon of the Big 12 still looms. With Houston, Oklahoma, and Kansas being 3 of their next 4 games, this will be a tough stretch, but a stretch the Wildcats are settling in just in time for.



Missouri Tigers

The Tigers have been probably the most disappointing of the three teams so far. A team loaded with solid transfers, key returners, and solid recruits, almost a Kansas lite in a way, this team should be top 3 in the SEC with the talent and coaching they have. Not so, as they've gone 8-10 and a pitiful 0-6 in conference play. Far from what was expected. The Tigers will need to find answers in perimeter shooting, on-the-ball defense, and sharing the ball, the three things that have plagued this team. Caleb Grill has to get better, Nick Honor has underwhelmed after returning, and the bench has to score more. They've played really good teams close because they have the talent, they just need the coaching and the team play. I still have faith they can save their season, but it will take a big turnaround.



Conclusion

The three local teams thus far have all underwhelmed to a degree and have a lot to improve on, however it's not too late. They're getting into the meat and potatoes of the season, and the time to win and turn the ship around is now. They know what they need to fix, it's just a matter of doing it and living up to their preseason hype.


Burn Notice: 8/10 Gotta catch fire at some time.




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