Insider Intel: An early look at Mizzou-UConn

Can Missouri make a mess of UConn, or will the Huskies clean up?

Originally Published: March 27, 2009
By Elena Bergeron | ESPN The Magazine

Like a kid dressed up for Easter dinner, Missouri is the mess you can't avoid. Forty minutes of hell and mother-in-law D (constantly nagging) -- and Memphis should've expected it all, mostly because the teams are twins. Same perimeter D. Same mascots. Same lousy free-throw shooting (they both shot under 50 percent in the first half). And so what progressed in their Sweet 16 matchup -- a 102-91 track meet -- was as sloppy as one would expect from two toddlers in front of a sticky ham. With the 26 collective turnovers and insane circus shots (Marcus Denmon's half-court heave? Tyreke Evans' dreidel maneuvers through the lane?) it seemed like two teams egging each other on.

Only Memphis obliged more than it provoked. During the first two rounds, Memphis had scored the most points (95) on jumpers in the tournament, making 37 of 80 jump shots; in this game, they took just 29 jumpers (seven in the paint). Worse, Memphis was uncharacteristically inefficient defensively, yielding perhaps the worst defensive effort of the tourney after having been the best lockdown team in the country over the regular season.