31 March 2011

Five Prospects

MU releases list of targets
by MizzMatt - 3/31/11 on Twitter @mizzou_matt
Columbia, MO- Matt Painter stays at Purdue.  Mizzou fans wonder if we just got played again.  Apparently, after a "team meeting", Painter changed his mind, while according to PU's press release, Painter was still on vacation in Florida.  Skype must be pretty powerful.

The University of Missouri released it's list of target coaches today.  Shaka Smart of Virginia Commonwealth, Anthony Grant of Alabama, Gregg Marshall of Wichita State, Kevin Stallings of Vanderbilt and John Beilein of Michigan.  "What?  We're not targeting Brad Stevens?"  Stevens has led Butler to two Final Fours in two years, and he is the youngest coach to do so.  For Butler to let Stevens go now would really shock the NCAA mens basketball world.

Shaka "Flaka" Smart has taken his VCU Rams to their first Final Four in school history, in just his second year.  He may wind up to be the next Bill Self, or he may be a one-trick pony.  Only time will tell.

Anthony Grant has taken the Alabama Crimson Tide to a chance to play for the NIT championship.  If they win that game, he can say he's ranked 69th in the nation.

Gregg Marshall of Wichita State.  Who?  Another lower-tier coach being targeted by Mizzou?  Wonderful.  We go from targeting a high-profile coach in Painter to targeting someone hardly anybody has heard of.

Kevin Stallings of Vanderbilt.  This would be a pretty good catch.  Vanderbilt is a Big 6 (Big 12, Big Ten, ACC, SEC, Pac10, Big East) school, and has been a perennial powerhouse in the basketball world....despite them losing to Richmond in their opening game of the tournament.

John Beilein of Michigan.  At one point, many believed that Michigan had set up a coaching pipeline through West Virginia, getting John Beilein, then eventually Rich Rodriguez for football.  We all see how RichRod worked out for them, but Beilein has turned the program around in Ann Arbor.  A school that was once a national powerhouse that was stripped of their accolades because of Chris Webber is starting to get back into the national spotlight.  The Wolverines did make it farther than Mizzou did in the tourney, but with no seniors on the team, and six freshmen, including Tim Hardaway Jr, MU would have to dish out some serious cash to lure him away from what could be a national championship team in the next year or two.

Who should we target?  How about Anthony Peeler?  Peeler is a former Mizzou player under Norm Stewart who has expressed an interest that he would like to be a part of the MU basketball staff.  If not Peeler, who else should we consider?  Anybody BUT Bruce Pearl.

30 March 2011

Mizzou Names Matt.....Wait, WHAT?!?!

Last minute change of heart leaves MU back at square one
by MizzMatt - 3/30/11 @mizzou_matt on Twitter
Columbia, MO- Heartache.  Depression.  Letdown.  Sadness.  Failure.  All those come to a Tiger fans mind when they hear that it's being REPORTED that Matt Painter is staying at Purdue.  Coming just a couple hours after stories broke saying he's accepted the MU deal, new reports are emerging stating that he's signed an eight year deal with the Boilermakers.

And this is my official retraction of any statement I've made regarding the story.  In today's age, one thing gets posted on the internet, and in an instant, it's spread like wild fire.  In this situation, nobody was right, nobody was wrong.  Painter changed his mind at the last minute.  It IS his Alma Mater, after all.  We're still awaiting the OFFICIAL word from Painter himself, and once that word is made, either we'll have a new coach, or we'll be back at square one.  I've said it a lot over the last few days- I'm not a reporter.  I just pass on what I hear from other sources.  My sources include the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Kansas City Star, KOMU-TV8 news, ESPN, as well as individual reporters from those outlets.  I was going off of their word that Painter was a done deal.  I was going off of who I thought were top-notch, reliable sources.  Turns out, they were wrong, which in turn, makes me wrong.

So as of right now, the latest word is that Painter is staying.  The official announcement will come later on this evening.  Either way it goes, we tried.  We swung for the fences, and for a while, it was looking good.  Just as is human nature, Painter had a change of heart.  While it is crushing to hear, he does have that right.  Perhaps we all jumped the gun and jinxed it.  Perhaps it was the thought of his Alma Mater that made him stay.  Perhaps it was nothing at all, and just like Anderson, Painter blew smoke up our rear ends.  Nobody knows for sure.

29 March 2011

CAUTION: Wet Paint

Deadline of noon Wednesday looms for Purdue bball coach
by MizzMatt - 3/29/11
Matt Painter has a little more than 17 hours to make a decision.  At least, according to Mike Alden, that's how much time he has.  Alden reportedly visited with Painter while he was vacationing in Florida to discuss the possibility of him coaching in Columbia instead of West Lafayette.  Now, with that deadline drawing near, reports are coming out of Indiana that Purdue is willing to offer Painter a $2.3 mil/yr contract to get him to stay.  I find this rather odd.

Prior to the talks, Painter was making $1.3 mil/yr base salary as a Boilermaker.  He kept asking PU for more money for him and his assistants, but no money was ever allocated.  He kept requesting an upgrade in facilities.  Again, his pleas went unanswered.  Now that Mizzou has shown a high vested interest in Painter, Purdue is suddenly interested in paying him more.  MU has reportedly offered him a 7-year, $14 mil contract, and has made him Mizzou's Most Wanted as it were.  MU has a new state of the art training facility- the Missouri Athletic Training Center, as well as a relatively new arena in Mizzou Arena (completed in 2003).  With this hard interest, Purdue is reportedly making a desperate move to keep Painter, who has led the Boilermakers to 25 win seasons the past four years, as well as NCAA tournament berths and has finished no less than 2nd in the Big Ten over the last four years, by holding a rally on the PU campus.  Allegedly, only a handful of people showed up to this rally.

Purdue says they're being proactive to try and keep Painter, when it is apparent they're being reactive to Mizzou's interests and offers.  Which way will this turn, with this apparent new development?  I guess we'll have to find out around noon tomorrow.

Follow MizzMatt on Twitter, @mizzou_matt

27 March 2011

Holy Upset, Batman!

VCU shocks the nation with big win
by MizzMatt - 3/27/11
San Antonio, TX- The Virginia Commonwealth University Rams have done what nobody thought would happen.  They've knocked off number one seeded Kansas in the NCAA Elite Eight.  VCU, an 11-seed, will face eighth seeded Butler in the Final Four, the schools first trip to this far in the tourney.  Powered by a 71-61 victory over the Beakers, VCU will certainly have the momentum going into the game, whereas Butler defeated Florida by three, 74-71.

A lot of fans around Mizzou Nation are wanting the MUAD to consider Shaka Smart, head coach of the Rams, for the job replacing Anderson.  After today's decisive victory (they led by 14 at the half and never trailed in the second), I really don't see VCU letting Smart go.  Furthermore, Smart can now join former Mizzou coach Anderson in saying "I've beaten kU once in my career."

Painter Contacted

Purdue confirms contact from MU
by MizzMatt - 3/27/11
West Lafayette, IN- “We have independently confirmed that Purdue's coach (Matt Painter) has been contacted by Missouri and it has been made known that he's the primary target in their search for a successor to Mike Anderson.”  That excerpt comes from Purdue's Rivals.com page, becoming the first outside confirmation of the Mizzou Athletic Department (MUAD) contacting Boilermaker men's basketball coach Matt Painter.

Painter, who is currently making around $1.5 mil/yr with incentives ($1.3 mil base salary), has been reportedly offered a $2 mil/yr contract by Mizzou.  According to a source close to the MUAD, Mizzou and Painter are now "talking seriously."  It's also been rumored that Painter will be in Columbia on Monday, 3/28, to discuss the formalities of the offer.

Purdue is also reporting that should Painter become the new head coach of the Tigers, they may go after former Boilermaker and current Missouri State Bears coach Cuonzo Martin to take the reigns in West Lafayette.  Speculation surrounding Martin being a target by the MUAD was cleared up in a press conference with the Bears' coach, stating that he "has not been contacted by the University of Missouri."

26 March 2011


Please keep this in mind when you view the pages relating to Mizzou Nation-
The information that I pass is information that has either already happened, such as score updates or events that were covered in the news; information that is currently ongoing such as the present coaching search for MU basketball; or are RUMORS and SPECULATION of what MIGHT occur, such as the hiring of Matt Painter as head men's basketball coach.  If you hear something different, please feel free to share, but in this age of technology, no one person is going to have all the answers.  Just because someone hasn't posted it elsewhere, doesn't mean it hasn't happened, or it hasn't been seen or heard by someone else.  Us here at MN encourage open debating about a topic, but to come out and say that it "just isn't true" because someone else hasn't posted it will no longer be tolerated from this point forward.

I merely pass on what I hear/encounter/come across and pass that information on to you.

Matt at Mizzou Nation


READER WARNING: This is my personal opinion on the whole Anderson Scandal.  There may be some foul language contained within, so I'm giving you all a heads up in advance.

by MizzMatt - 3/26/11
Harrisburg, MO- Everything I liked about that man, every aspect he took on the game and what he did for Missouri...gone.  Blown away like a fart in the wind.  I was one of the poor saps that defended him and thought that he'd make the right decision and stay at Mizzou.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  I defended him after the 2009 season, when he shopped around and looked at Georgia.  I defended him when he was eyeballing Oregon last year.  I thought he'd stay a Tiger for life.  He crushed my hopes and dreams with a single whip of the pen.

©Mizzou Nation
Anderson took a contract for a mere $200k more than what Mizzou was offering him.  That's right.  Two hundred thousand dollars more.  That's how much Mizzou meant to Anderson.  Mike Alden at the press conference said that it "has to be someone who WANTS to be at Mizzou."  He went on to say that Mizzou is a "destination program", implying we are not a stepping stone.  Anderson came to us in 2006, and that's all we ever were to him.  After coaching under Nolan Richardson (who was FIRED by UA, by the way), he always said that going back to Fayetteville would be his dream job.  Cue the bullshit lines of "I'm a Missouri Tiger."  "I'm the coach of the Tigers."  "I plan on being in Missouri for a long time."  "I plan on retiring here."  "I plan on bringing a national championship to the state of Missouri."  What a crock of crap.  He knew he was going as soon as he found out that Pelphrey was fired by Jeff Long, Razorback athletic director.  So why did he feed us the lines?

To tell us what we wanted to hear.  To try and keep our respect when he made his final decision of "it's my dream job."  To try and not receive death threats when he says things like "it's great to be a Razorback."  I can't speak for everybody, but the last ounce of possible respect that I may have had for him just blew away in the 30mph winds that are whipping by my house.  Anything he says or does from here on out will be met with the ultimate skeptical eye by myself, and by many others in Mizzou Nation.  Personally, I hope the NCAA finds that he broke the stipulations of his contract and forces the Razorbacks to forfeit all their games that he coaches.  He doesn't deserve to win after what he did.

But also like many Mizzou fans, I view this as an opportunistic time.  His departure opens the door for a REAL coach, with REAL talent.  It opens it up for someone who can recruit post players, rather than relying on the three point accuracy that we so desperately needed in conference play (which was nonexistent, I might add).  We shot an unbearable 32% in the kansas game at the end of the season, and an embarrassingly low 27% against Texas Tech in the second round of the Big 12 tourney.  Main reason for that is he [Anderson] relied on the long-range shots.  We had no post players to speak of.  Bowers and Ratliffe check in at under 6'8".  A good post player is 6'10 or taller.  We didn't have the size matchups down low to sustain a good game in the end.  Anderson set it up that way on purpose.  The next coach will recruit big players...because I think the next coach will be Matt Painter of Purdue.

His "Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball" turned into the "40 Minutes from Hell" at conference play.  We couldn't win on the road, we blew big leads, and most of all- we couldn't close out a game.  Our guys were deep on the bench, and could rotate at any given moment, sure, but for what?  A little extra playing time?  Not like we really hit anything.  Instead of pounding it down low, we stuck behind the arc and clanged ball after ball off the iron.

So, why do I hate Anderson?  That guy flat out lied through his eyed teeth to an entire fan base.  He fed us bullshit on a silver spoon, and we ate it up thinking it was the truth.  He doesn't deserve to win, he doesn't deserve the respect of Tiger fans.  If you're one of those people that roots for two teams, and one is the University of Arkansas, you need to evaluate where your undying allegiance lies.

24 March 2011

Seven Possible Targets, For Good Reason

Many names brings variety of styles
by MizzMatt - 3/24/11
So far, fans around Mizzou Nation have tossed seven coach's names that they would like to see the University of Missouri go after for their new basketball coach.  It gives us variety to choose from.  I covered them in a previous post, but how exactly do the names of Brad Stevens, Buzz Williams, Cuonzo Martin, Jamie Dixon, Shaka Smart, Kim Anderson and Matt Painter compare?  Look no further than these snapshots of their season-by-season records, with postseason experience.
Brad Stevens - Butler Bulldogs
Brad Stevens' record is one to respect, as he achieved 100 victories in just four seasons, compared to MU's previous coach's 5 years.

Brent "Buzz" Williams - Marquette Golden Eagles
Brent Williams has led the Golden Eagles to three straight NCAA tournament appearances, in all three years he's been their head coach.

Cuonzo Martin - Missouri State Bears
Cuonzo Martin is doing great things at MOSU, but is probably not ready for a high profile job like Mizzou.

Jamie Dixon - Pittsburgh Panthers
Jamie Dixon's track record since taking over Pitt in 2003 is very impressive.  Eight straight tournament appearances, including three Sweet Sixteens and one Elite Eight.

Kim Anderson - Central Missouri Mules
Kim Anderson is a local boy, born in Sedalia, MO.  He's currently coaching at the Division II level, but with a record like that, he may be up to the task of D-IA ball at MU.

Matt Painter - Purdue Boilermakers
With the exception of Painter's first year at Purdue (which is always tumultuous, no matter the program), he's notched 20-win seasons since his first head coaching job as a Saluki.  Consistency is key.

Shaka Smart - Virginia Commonwealth
Shaka Smart is in his second year at VCU, and has done what nobody thought would be possible.  He's upset national powerhouse Georgetown and Painter's Purdue, and his team has a date in the Sweet Sixteen against Florida State.

23 March 2011

Basketball Press Conference

Memorable quotes:
"A lot of emotions.  Why us?" -Laurence Bowers

"I'm a Missouri kid, I grew up watching Mizzou basketball." -Marcus Denmon

"We won't stop being his family." -Kim English

"We gotta worry about ourselves." -Laurence Bowers

"I play for Mizzou." -Marcus Denmon

"You have to adapt." -Kim English

"I think we'll reconcile it by winning." -Kim English

Three Tiger basketball stars fought the tears as they addressed the media in a press conference regarding the abrupt resignation of coach Anderson.  Laurence Bowers, Marcus Denmon and Kim English addressed the media alongside Mike Alden about losing Anderson to Arkansas.  Alden had this to say of the next coach for MU basketball:  "It has to be someone that wants to be at Mizzou."

Also according to Alden, the Athletic Department didn't receive the written request to negotiate with other schools until 5p Tuesday.  "Why was that request [made]?" Alden stated to the media.  "We withdrew any offer that was made at the time permission was granted."  Alden continued to drive home the point that it is not just a coach, or a particular program, "They're representing a larger team, they're representing Mizzou."

"An 'I want to win a National Championship' type of level." -Mike Alden

Coaching Prospects?

Names are being tossed around by Mizzou fans...and here's some of the top names I've come across and a brief synopsis of their coaching careers.

Brad Stevens - Butler Bulldogs
114-24 from 2007-pres
NCAA National Runner-Up 2009-2010

Shaka Smart - VCU Rams
53-20 since 2009
NCAA Sweet 16 2011

Matt Painter - Purdue Boilermakers
155-66 overall, 130-61 at Purdue (2005-pres)
5 consecutive NCAA tourney appearances

Brent "Buzz" Williams - Marquette Golden Eagles
83-53 overall record, 69-36 at Marquette (2008-pres)
3 consecutive NCAA tourney appearances

Cuonzo Martin - Missouri State Bears
61-40 since 2008
1 NIT appearance (2011)

Kim Anderson - Central Missouri Mules
185-63 overall
Five 24+ win seasons, two 30+ win seasons
2005 & 2010 MIAA Coach of the Year

And the most controversial:

Bruce Pearl - Tennessee Volunteers [fired]
231-99 overall, 145-61 at Tennessee (2005-2011)
8 NCAA tournament appearances, 1 NIT appearance

I'm personally not a fan of Bruce Pearl, because of the controversy surrounding his termination from Tennessee, but Matt Painter, Brad Stevens and Brent Williams would all be great candidates for the job.

Anderson Heads Home

Official announcement merely a formality
by MizzMatt - 3/23/11
Columbia, MO- The Mike Anderson saga has taken a turn for the worse for Mizzou fans.  It is being reported that he has written permission from MU to talk to the Razorbacks, and the word of Anderson leaving is news to the entire team.  Anderson will likely take a $2.2 mil/year deal that will take him back to the university that he coached at along side former Razorback Nolan Richardson during their 1994 championship season.  UA will have to pay a $500k contract buyout and Anderson will lose out on $400k in deferred funds that would have been his if he had stayed to the end of his contract.

Fans around Mizzou Nation have tossed the names of Cuonzo Martin of Missouri State, Bruce Pearl of Tennessee and Shaka Smith of Virginia Commonwealth as who they'd like to see as the next coach of the "Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball."  Who will get the job?  No word yet from MU Athletic Director Mike Alden, or from anybody for that matter, as the Anderson Saga is finally coming to a close.  For three straight years, Anderson has tossed the idea of leaving for another school, and now that he has his dream job lined up, he's jumping at it.  No coaches around the league have shown an interest in the MU job, but with the official announcement coming either Wednesday night or Thursday, letters of interest may start arriving on the AD's desk.

On March 4th, Anderson stated- "I plan on being at Missouri for a long time, retire here."  He also told the Missouri state senate that he would "bring a national championship to the state of Missouri."  Empty lies.  Broken promises.  Just another sad chapter in Mizzou athletics, as we always seem to get the short end of the stick.  Tony Mitchell, losing out on a BCS bid in 2007, 2008 and 2010, and now losing Anderson to a team that hasn't been good over the years of John Pelphrey, who was fired last week.

What does this mean for the current Tiger team?  There are going to be a lot of questions about who stays and who goes over the offseason.  It is this writer's opinion that Phil "Flip" Pressey will follow 'Uncle' Mike to Arkansas, while Kim English, Marcus Denmon, Laurence Bowers and Ricardo Ratliffe may declare for the NBA draft.

This was a worst-case scenario that has come true, and all of our questions will have to wait months before they're answered.

22 March 2011

Contract Extensions

MU Board of Curators seek to extend Anderson; Pinkel contract
by MizzMatt - 3/22/11
Columbia, MO- The University of Missouri isn't known for big-name coaches.  We have the ability of getting lackluster coaches from smaller universities and turning them into national treasures that everyone wants a piece of.  Two coaches come to mind when talking about this- Gary Pinkel and Mike Anderson.

Pinkel, who came to Mizzou from University of Toledo in Ohio, took over for the retiring Larry Smith in December 2000.  As of the 2010 season, Pinkel is 77-49 overall in the win-loss column.  In 2008, a contract extension was reached which keeps Gary at MU thru the 2015 season.  His annual salary now is around the $2.5 mil/year mark.  He has taken Mizzou football from the mediocrity of Smith and turned it into a top-caliber team capable of producing star athletes.  The crown jewel of the Pinkel era is undoubtedly Chase Daniel, who has a Super Bowl ring to his hand, but it could become Blaine Gabbert, who many are predicting to go as high as third in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Mike Anderson took over in 2006 after coaching the UAB Blazers, and also after years of torment from the previous MU coaching staff.  NCAA sanctions and regulations depleted our basketball to settling for 15-win seasons.  Since Anderson took over, he's gone 111-57, marking him as the fastest coach to 100 victories at MU.  A lot of disgruntled moans have erupted from Mizzou Nation over the past couple of seasons as in 2010 he was eyeballing taking the job at Oregon and even listed Memphis as a possible target.  This year, it's rumored that he's eyeballing Arkansas.  The MU Board of Curators are currently working on an extension for Anderson as well.  In 2009, his contract was extended to a seven-year, $10.85 mil deal, and the new deal will up his annual salary of approximately $1.35 mil to nearly $2 million.  After helping his mentor Nolan Richardson to a 1994 national championship, he's always listed Arkansas, his home state, as a dream job, but after years of being turned down by the Razorbacks, he wound up in Birmingham and now Columbia.  Is he worth the $2 mil proposed extension?  He's taken the program from the cellar and has turned us into a talented team that has been know as the "Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball."

21 March 2011

Reason for Worry?

First local story about the Anderson Saga hits mainstream
by MizzMatt - 3/21/11
Columbia, MO- It was bound to happen.  The national news outlets and some far off distant news agencies like KTUL-TV in Tulsa, OK have had a field day with it.  CBSSports has already said that Anderson has been named the new coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks.  The Kansas City Star and St. Louis Post Dispatch have run stories refuting the claims.  Mike Anderson even told the Columbia Daily Tribune that he "isn't going anywhere"...but now the stories about his possible departure have hit home.

The Tribune ran a story today titled "Mike Anderson is again weighing is options".  According to the Trib article, "The seven-year contract Anderson signed in April 2009 states that the coach must receive prior written permission from Missouri’s athletic director and chancellor before he can “actively seek, negotiate for or accept other full-time employment of any nature” during the term of the contract," but sources inside the athletic department have not divulged if he had requested or received that written permission.

A significant development occurred yesterday, however, when KSFM-TV in Fayetteville, AR reported that Jimmie Sexton (Anderson's agent) had begun talks with Razorback AD Jeff Long.  According to the report, Long had offered Anderson the job that would pay him $2 million annually, but the University of Missouri is currently working on a contract extension with Anderson, who has gone 111-57 in his first five years, including three consecutive national tournament appearances.  A deal such as that would have to be approved by the UM Board of Curators, who are meeting today and tomorrow at the Missouri S&T campus in Rolla.

For the full story from the Tribune, click the link: http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2011/mar/21/mike-anderson-is-again-weighing-his-options/?tigerextra

Tweeting the Night Away

The Twitter post that started a war
by MizzMatt 3/21/11
Columbia, MO- Twitter.  A lot of people use it to constantly update their "followers" as to what they're doing at any given moment, or they use it as a means of getting quick and easy updates to the masses.  Sometimes, what's tweeted isn't always the truth.

This was the case on March 19th when KTUL-TV's sports director Chris Lincoln made the following tweet:
"Reports out of Arkansas say Mizzou coach Mike Anderson to be introduced tomorrow in Fayetteville as Razorbacks new head basketball coach."
There has been no official word from the University or from Mike Anderson himself, other than telling the Columbia Daily Tribune that he "isn't going anywhere".  I know I've posted a lot about it over the past couple of days, but Tiger fans can rest easy.  Mike Anderson is still the head coach of Mizzou basketball.

20 March 2011

Anderson Dismisses Rumors

Mike Anderson to stay at Mizzou
by MizzMatt - 3/20/2011
Mike Anderson is 111-57 at MU.
Columbia, MO- Mike Anderson is staying at Mizzou.  He's not going to be the head coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks.  He's stated repeatedly that he isn't going anywhere.  So why all the hullabaloo over the past few days?

Jimmy Sexton, Anderson's Memphis-based agent, started the rumor that Anderson was leaving to try and get more money from the University of Missouri for his client.  According to Anderson's contract, Sexton cannot legally be in contact with Arkansas.  Missouri athletic director Mike Alden hasn't come out with any information regarding Anderson, and for good reason.  It's not true.

Anderson, who became the fastest coach at Mizzou to reach the 100 win mark in just his fifth season, told reporters earlier this week he "isn't going anywhere", just a few short weeks after he addressed the Missouri state senate stating that he would "bring a national championship to the state of Missouri."


Mizzou on the Diamond

#13 Tiger softball extends win streak to 19, baseball falls to .500
by MizzMatt - 3/20/2011
Infielder Maddison Ruggeberg
Columbia, MO- Spring.  It comes every year, and along with it comes baseball and softball.  The Tigers' softball team, coached by Ehren Earleywine, entered the season with a preseason #7 ranking, and after falling behind the curveball in California, they've been virtually unstoppable.  Missouri softball extends their win streak to 19 straight with the their two victories today.  They won 10-1 over Western Michigan and 2-0 over Minnesota and are now 22-3 on the year.  The shutout today over Minnesota makes 13 on the year, and 12 of the last 15.  They travel to Lawrence, KS to take on the Beakers in their Big 12 opener on March 23rd.

C Ryan Ampleman
The Tiger baseball team has come a long way since starting the season 1-4, and today they split their games today against Central Michigan, ending a 6-game win streak.  After yesterday's 14-7 win over the Chippewas, game two of the doubleheader was postponed to today, where the Tigers notched that sixth-straight win with a 8-6 victory.  Game two against the Chips they fell 1-8.  Coach Tim Jamieson's squad falls to an even 10-10 (.500) on the season and will take on Central Arkansas on March 22 & 23 before taking on the Oklahoma Sooners in their Big 12 opener on March 25.  The conference opener is scheduled for 6p/CT at Simmons Field.

18 March 2011

Tiger Spring Breakdown

Tigers bring depth and experience back to The Zou
by MizzMatt
Columbia, MO-  Gary Pinkel is optimistic about the Tiger football team heading into spring ball.  Coming off of their third 10-win season in four years and sixth-straight bowl appearance, the Tigers are taking a hard nosed approach going into the off season regiment following their loss to Iowa in the Insight Bowl on December 28.  But according to Pinkel, it's no different whether they win a bowl game or not:
“For us, it’s always business as usual, I always take a hard-hat approach, let’s get back to work,” Pinkel said.  “Coming through our Winning Edge program, which is our Tuesday and Thursday morning workouts, and our Monday-Wednesday-Friday weight lifting – that’s what we’ve been doing since we got back in January, and that’s gone really well.  I think we’ve matured and grown as a team, we’re faster, stronger, quicker and a lot of the young players, after going through the Winning Edge program we have in place, they understand a little more about the intensity level at which it takes to compete at this level.  As far as goals, our goals have not changed since we got here – to win a Big 12 championship, compete for a national championship, and to go to a bowl.”

One of the biggest challenges that was presented to the Pinkel staff when he took office in December 2000 was the depth chart, and filling it to the brim.  The admin wanted enough depth to sustain a consistent winner year after year, no matter who was taking the snaps.  They've got the depth (as illustrated by six straight bowl games), but their work is never done:
“One of the great things about our football team I think we have more depth at most every position, and that only leads to the competition being greater than it’s ever been,” Pinkel said.  “I think the beauty of how we do things here, unlike a significant number of other places, is that kids get opportunities here, and they know that the best person is going to play, that there’s no pecking order.  Just because ‘Johnnie’ has been here, he doesn’t have anything handed to him, the guys who deserve the right to play are going to get the job.”

The Tiger football squad breaks down like this going into spring ball:
Total (Incl. Specialists)
Starters Returning___________ 18
Starters Lost________________ 6
Career Starts Returning_______ 355
Career Starts Lost____________ 237
Lettermen Returning_________ 37
Lettermen Lost______________ 12

Starters Returning___________ 9
Starters Lost________________ 2
Career Starts Returning_______ 198
Career Starts Lost____________ 66
Lettermen Returning_________ 25
Lettermen Lost______________ 6

Starters Returning___________ 8
Starters Lost________________ 3
Career Starts Returning_______ 131
Career Starts Lost____________ 158
Lettermen Returning_________ 10
Lettermen Lost______________ 5

Specialists (Punter/Kicker)
Starters Returning___________ 1
Starters Lost________________ 1
Career Starts Returning_______ 26
Career Starts Lost____________ 13
Lettermen Returning_________ 2
Lettermen Lost______________ 1

Year In Review, A Look Ahead

Tiger football records 4th 10-win season, Mike Anderson's 3rd 23-win season
by MizzMatt
Columbia, MO-  It's not often that we get to talk about consistency at MU, unless you're talking consistently bad.  Our major sports are known for being sporadic at best.  An eight win football season here, a four win season there.  25 wins in basketball this year, 15 the next.  The last few years, however, have ushered in a new era of Mizzou athletics.

Gary Pinkel, ca 2000
Gary Pinkel was brought in from Bowling Green State University to replace the retiring Larry Smith (b. Sept 12, 1939 - d. Jan 29, 2008).  Smith, who had only two winning seasons and consecutive bowl appearances ('97 Holiday Bowl vs Colorado State [loss] and '98 Insight Bowl vs West Virginia [win]) in seven seasons.  After taking the reigns in 2000, Pinkel's Tiger career started where Smith's left off, with back to back losing seasons.  Then, something happened in 2003.  We won. 
Not only did we win, but we beat Nebraska for the first time since 1978.  Not only did we beat Nebraska, but we had a 8-5 winning season. 
But alas, in 2004, our sporadic side kicked in again, and we went 5-6 as they tried turning Brad Smith (right) into a pocket passer.  The alumni and the fair weather fans that had haunted Mizzou football all throughout Larry Smith's tenure were starting to get antsy for more wins. 
Bring in 2005, and on the legs of Smith, we did just that.  Win.  We beat Nebraska for the second time in three years en route to a 7-5 season.  Then 8-5 in 2006.  What was happening to Tiger football?  We were starting to become good.

2007.  The Chase Era.  Chase Daniel, Chase Patton, Chase Coffman.  12-2 overall record, and we only lost to one team all year (Oklahoma, twice).  This was unheard of around Mizzou Nation.  A 10-win season in football?  That's only happened once before (1960 under Dan Devine).  A #1 national ranking?  Again, only once (1960).  We've had a couple of 10-loss seasons under Al Onofrio and Woody Widenhofer ('71 & '85), but there was no way we could have multiple 10-win seasons. 
Sure enough, in 2008, we picked up where we left off.  Behind the arm and mobility of Daniel and the leaping ability of Coffman, along with star return man and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, the Tigers went 10-4, for just the third 10-win season in school history, first back-to-back.

2009 ushered in the Blaine Dynasty.  Blaine Gabbert led the Tigers to their fifth consecutive winning season, fifth consecutive bowl game and Gary Pinkel's sixth bowl appearance since coming to Faurot.  Surly we're bound to have another lackluster season, right?  2010 proved us right and wrong at the same time.  Yea, we had our third 10-win season in four years, finishing at 10-3, but we very easily could have been undefeated in the regular season.  We showed our inconsistency,  beating then number one ranked Oklahoma for the second time in 20 years, but then turning around and losing to Nebraska in the first quarter.  The hangover stayed with us through the Texas Tech game as well, losing by 7 after jumping to an early 14-0 lead.  Off to our sixth consecutive bowl game, where we would show yet more inconsistency and fall by three to the Iowa Hawkeyes.  Our three losses in 2010 were by a combined 24 points.  We now have regular season dominance, but our post season still needs improvement.

And that's where we make the jump to basketball.  Mike Anderson came into Mizzou Arena in 2006, following a handful of years under a controversial coach who brought shame to a once great program set up by Stormin' Norm Stewart.  Anderson's squad was coming off of seven years of punishment under the old coaching staff (we shall not name him here, for fear of our lives), but he has turned the program around in a relatively short amount of time.  A team that was notorious for flopping out of the Big 12 tournament in the first or second round did something nobody thought would happen.  They became conference champs in 2009 when they beat the Cinderella Baylor Bears in the championship game.  That year, they made a deep tourney run, before being bounced out in the Elite Eight, just the third time they've made it that far in March Madness. 

Many people think that Anderson, who became the fastest MU coach to reach 100 wins (5 years compared to Norm Stewart's 7 years) this past season, should think about taking a job offer down in Razorback country, which is home for the Anderson clan.  To those people, I ask- "WHY?!"  He's turned a program that was laden with regulations and sanctions from the NCAA back to a team that has national prowess.  This past season (2010-2011) was a bit on the shaky side, as we went an even .500 in conference and lost all but one conference road game (Iowa State), but we recorded our third 20+ win season in three years.  That's not something to shake a stick at.  We've now gone 31-7, 23-11, 23-11 over the past three seasons.  Granted, that's not great, but it's still good.  Besides, wouldn't you like to see Anderson stick his money where his mouth is when he told the Missouri state senate that he would "bring a national championship to the state of Missouri"?

Our futures look bright as far as athletics go, and while we have room for improvement, we've come a long way.  After all, when was the last time we could say we beat Oklahoma in football and basketball in the same year?

17 March 2011

Tigers downed by Bearcats, 78-63

Tigers end season 23-11, 9-9
by MizzMatt
Washington, DC- The Tigers will have to sit out the rest of this Dance, as they're handed an opening round loss against the 6-seed Cincinnati Bearcats (26-8).  Missouri got out to an electric start, but went a full 10:00 without a field goal.  Cincinnati built up a comfortable lead during that time, and when the Tigers started making a run similar to that of the Kansas game, the Bearcat post men were just too tough and kept Mizzou at bay.  Final score in DC was Mizzou 63, Cincinnati 78.

Ricardo Ratliffe led the Tigers with 13 points.  Marcus Denmon, who many were relying on to have an outstanding game, came out lackluster.  Denmon finished with 10 points on 3-11 shooting.  Michael Dixon and Laurence Bowers both finished in double digits, with 11 and 10 points respectively.

Kim English, left, consoles an emotional Michael Dixon.
As a team, the Tigers struggled much like they did against Texas A&M and Kansas.  They struggled from the field, shooting 24-65 (36.9%) on field goals, 6-19 (31.6%) on 3-pointers and even struggled on free throws, going 9-13 (69.2%) from the charity stripe.  Cincinnati pounded it in the paint for 52.1% shooting overall, but only shot 36.4% from beyond the arc.  Missouri was out-rebounded by the Bearcats, 35-28, but the Tigers did have the turnover margin on their side, forcing 10 (well below season average) and coughing up 7.

This was the Tigers' first game against the Cats, but it was Mike Anderson's fourth.  Anderson drops to 1-3 all time against Cincinnati with the loss, and his future with Missouri is one to be speculated.  Rumors have it that Arkansas is now interested in bringing the Razorback native back to his home state.  Arkansas was waiting until after Missouri got bounced out of the tournament before making a move on Anderson, and it is likely they'll move on him hard, despite Anderson saying that he is "not going anywhere."  Also, Anderson did tell the Missouri State Senate that he would "bring a national championship to the state of Missouri", and after a statement like that, he better be ready to produce.

What will the future hold for the Missouri basketball team?  As much as it pains this writer to say it, we must wait until next year.

Gabbert Pro Day

B-Gab lets his play answer questions
by MizzMatt
Columbia, MO- Today was the University of Missouri football team's Pro Day, where NFL scouts come out and see what the players who have declared for the draft have to offer.  Blaine Gabbert earned high praises from the scouts, as Sports Illustrated's Dave Banks had this to say:
"Consensus of NFL scouts here on Gabbert:  'He looked like a franchise QB.  [He] Answered the issues about footwork, being under center and accuracy."
Pretty good for someone who threw 16 TDs and 9 INTs in the 2010 season.  It'll certainly help his draft stock, as well, as teams have been eyeballing him as early as 5th overall (Arizona).

To see a little bit of Gabbert's Pro Day, here is a short video clip:
Of the 49 passes he attempted, Blaine completed about 46 of them, with three downright drops by his receivers.  He really silenced his critics around the league with his performance today.

ESPN Changes MU Football Schedule

ESPN to carry MU @ ASU
by MizzMatt via mutigers.com
Columbia, MO- Mizzou football.  We love to watch it on TV, and this upcoming season, we can add one more national broadcast to our repertoire.  The game that was set for September 10th, against the Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe, AZ, has been moved to Friday, September 9th, to accommodate an ESPN Friday Night Football broadcast.  Kickoff is slated for 9:30p/CT (7:30p/MT).  This will be the first visit to Sun Devil Stadium since the 24-27 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Insight.com Bowl on December 27th.

Mizzou opened up spring practice this week, with the first of 14 practices on Tuesday that lead up to the annual Black and Gold Scrimmage, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 16, at 1p/CT.  Cost of admission is $10 or three cans of food.  All proceeds benefit the Central Missouri Food Bank.  Come out to The Zou and get your first glimpse of the 2011 Tigers.  From all of us here at Mizzou Nation, we hope to see you there.  Come early, stay late, and WEAR GOLD!

Tiger Baseball

Tigers ride three game streak into weekend
by MizzMatt
Columbia, MO- The University of Missouri baseball team heads into the weekend match up against the Central Michigan Chippewas on a three-game win streak.  The Tigers are 7-9 overall on the year, and look to knock off the Chips in the four game series.  Game dates and times are:
Friday, 3/18- 6pm
Doubleheader Saturday, 3/19- 1p and 4p
Sunday, 3/20- 12p
After this series, the Tigers will stay at Taylor Stadium to take on Central Arkansas on the 22nd and 23rd, before opening up Big 12 Conference play with a three game series against Oklahoma on the 25th.

15 March 2011

Departing Tiger

Justin Safford

Career at Mizzou:
123 games played
635 points scored
5.2 points per game
239/548 (47%) FG shooting

(from mutigers.com player profile)

Skilled lefty post player that began playing with more physicality towards the end of his sophomore season ... Has the ability to play above the rim and finish with either hand ... Is a capable three-point shooter and his 13-of-20 triples during his sophomore campaign ... Leads all Tiger post players in game experience and should take the next step this season after two years playing beside DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons.

At Mizzou
Played in 28 games with 23 starts before suffering a torn ACL in the Feb. 24 win against Colorado ... Was enjoying a breakout junior season, averaging 8.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 20.0 minutes per game ... Average improved to 9.9 points in league play ... Shot 42.0 percent from the floor and .758 percent from the foul line for the season ... Reached double figures in scoring nine times, including a career high 19 points at Kansas ... Six of those double-figure scoring games came in Big 12 play, including four consecutive games vs. Texas A&M (12), at Colorado (10), Iowa State (13) and at Baylor (13) ... Would have likely reached double-figures vs. CU in that game on Feb. 24 as he scored eight points in the game's first seven minutes before suffering the injury ... Had successful ACL surgery on March 15.
2008-09 Season:
Played in all 38 games and averaged 3.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 9.4 minutes a contest ... Hit 13-of-20 treys on the year (.650), including 10 of his last 13 tries (.769) ... Hit all four of his three-point attempts during a career high 15-point outing at Texas A&M ... Scored seven points against Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals and nine points against Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight ... Reached double figures three times on the season, with 10 points coming against Illinois and 13 against Colorado ... Started a late-season surge with a pair of treys against #4 Oklahoma ... Also contributed three steals in just seven minutes ... Finished the year averaging 5.3 points on 64 percent shooting from the floor over his final nine games.
2007-08 Season:
Enjoyed a solid freshman campaign, playing in 24 contests, while averaging 8.9 minutes a game ... Saw his play improve in Big 12 action, where he averaged an improved 3.6 points per game, up from his season average of 2.3 points ... Shot 40.0 percent from the floor and 36.8 percent from beyond the arc ... Shot 46.1 percent from three over his final five games, including a pair of three-pointers in a home win over No. 22 Kansas State ... Played a career high 21 minutes vs. the nationally-ranked Wildcats, helping the Tigers to the upset win ... Scored a career high 10 points vs. No. 18 Texas A&M ... Grabbed a season high seven rebounds vs. MEAC Champion Coppin State ... Dished 14 assists on the year, including five multi-assists contests.

#11 Mizzou vs #6 Cincinnati preview - mutigers.com

From mutigers.com:

#11 University of Missouri Tigers (23-10) vs. #6 University of Cincinnati Bearcats (25-8)
  • Tip-Off: 8:50 P.M. CT
  • Arena: Verizon Center (20,600)
  • Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly - Play by Play / Gary Link - Analyst)
  • TV: TNT (Tim Brando and Mike Gminski)
  • Rankings: Mizzou RV/RV; Cincinnati 25/RV in AP / USA Today Coaches Poll
  • Series: First Meeting
  • Coaches:
    • Missouri: Mike Anderson (Tulsa `82); 200-97 overall (9th); 111-56 at Mizzou (5th)
    • Cincinnati: Mick Cronin (Cincinnati `97) 155-100 overall (8th); 87-76 at Cincinnati (5th)
For Openers…
  • Missouri Basketball returns to NCAA Tournament play for the third consecutive season as the #11-seeded Tigers battle the Cincinnati Bearcats for the first time in series history … Missouri and Cincy meet at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., marking Missouri's first trip to our nation's capital since a 63-51 loss at Georgetown on Feb. 20, 1982.
  • Mizzou is making its 24th trip to the NCAA Tournament overall … The Tigers are 22-23 all-time in the Big Dance and have won five consecutive opening-round games dating back to an 84-70 loss to 8th-seeded North Carolina in 2000 … That Carolina team ended up making the Final Four.
  • Missouri is headed to the West Region for the eighth time in school history … The Tigers last went West in 2009 and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight … Actually each of Mizzou's last two trips into the West Region finished with Elite Eight runs, including a surge as the #12 seed before falling to #2 Oklahoma in San Jose, Calif.
  • Here is what you need to know about Mizzou … Missouri's brand of basketball is called The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball and Head Coach Mike Anderson has used it to make six career trips to the NCAA Tournament in nine seasons as a head coach … Missouri ranks #2 nationally in steals (9.8) and is one of the country's most unselfish teams with eight players boasting 29 or more assists … In addition, Missouri set the school record for fewest turnovers per game last year and this season's 12.8 turnovers per game is the third fewest in school history … So while the brand of play is fast, it's fundamentally sound.
  • In addition, Missouri is one of just four teams nationally to have five players averaging double figures in scoring (along with Iowa State, Long Beach State and Detroit).
  • Missouri enters NCAA play as an 11-seed for the second time … The Tigers fell to UAB, 66-64, in 1986 … Missouri was a #10 seed last season and defeated #7 Clemson, 86-78, in Buffalo last year … Missouri is also facing its fourth Big EAST team in NCAA play the last few seasons … Mizzou defeated #6 Marquette in 2009 and fell to #1 UConn in the Elite Eight and dropped a 68-59 decision to #2 West Virginia last year in Buffalo.
  • Thursday's game marks a homecoming trip of sorts for a pair of Tigers … Junior Kim English is from nearby Baltimore, Md., while Ricardo Ratliffe is from Hampton, Va. … Missouri will return to the area next year to face Old Dominion.
Mizzou Quick Hitters
  • For the third consecutive year Missouri is headed to the Big Dance … The Tigers are the #11 seed in the West Region and will face #6 Cincinnati in Washington, D.C. on Thursday evening.
  • Missouri is making its first-ever appearance on TNT … Mizzou alum Matt Winer will host the TNT studio show live from Atlanta.
  • It's a rare trip into the nation's capital for Missouri … In addition to that aforementioned game vs. Georgetown in 1982 the Tigers also faced George Washington in D.C. way back on Dec. 15, 1932, and won 33-30.
  • While Missouri is facing Cincinnati for the first time, Mike Anderson has some familiarity with the Bearcats and Mick Cronin … Anderson was 1-2 vs. Cincinnati while he was the head coach at UAB and his Blazers knocked off Cronin's Murray State Racers 100-80 in Birmingham during the 2004-05 campaign.
  • Mizzou is 0-1 all-time as a #11 seed … The Tigers fell to UAB in 1986, but have been excellent as the lower-seeded team under Mike Anderson's watch … Missouri defeated #7 Clemson last year as a 10-seed and toppled #2 Memphis in 2009 as a #3 seed.
  • Missouri is back in the West Region for the second time in three years … Missouri is 10-8 all-time in the West, including a 6-2 mark during their last two runs through that portion of the bracket.
  • Following its 12-steal effort against Texas A&M on March 10, Missouri is #2 nationally in steals … The Tigers average 9.8 thefts per game this year and that figure is up to 10.8 over their last six outings.
  • Missouri is 4-2 in neutral court games this year … The Tigers won the Cancun Challenge with wins over Wyoming and La Salle and topped Illinois (75-64) in St. Louis … Missouri defeated Texas Tech (88-84) in Big 12 Tournament play, but fell to Texas A&M (86-71) and Georgetown (111-102) at the Sprint Center.
  • Missouri recently recorded its 1,500th win in program history with its 88-84 triumph vs. Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament … The Tigers had 1,477 wins entering the 2010-11 campaign and are 23-10 so far this year … Missouri is 1,500-1,038 all-time.
  • Head Coach Mike Anderson won his 200th career game vs. Texas Tech as well … Anderson won his 100th game at Missouri earlier this season … Anderson won 89 games in four years at UAB.
  • Winning down the stretch was significant for a number of reasons, but the Tigers have 23+ wins each of the past three campaigns for the first time in program history … Mizzou won 31 games in 2008-09 and went 23-11 last season … Missouri has had three consecutive 22+ campaigns before, most recently in 1982-83.
  • Head Coach Mike Anderson continues to build the Tiger Basketball program … Anderson recently recorded his seventh 20-win campaign in nine seasons as a head coach … Anderson enjoyed four consecutive 20-win campaigns at UAB before reviving the Missouri program.
  • The Tigers rank #9 nationally at 81.4 points per game … In neutral court games that figures is a solid 81.8 points per game, including games against NCAA teams Texas A&M, Georgetown and Illinois.
  • Missouri is of course led by All-Big 12 performer Marcus Denmon … Denmon has been one of the Big 12's better scorers over the past month, topping 19+ points seven times in eight games, including 20 points, five dimes and five steals vs. Texas Tech and 22 more vs. Texas A&M during postseason play … That was the first 20-point, five assist and five steal game in Missouri postseason history … Over his last eight games Denmon is averaging 20.0 points on 54 percent shooting from the floor and 46 percent shooting from three-point range.
  • Flip Pressey leads all Big 12 freshmen in assists and steals this year and his 11 games with 5+ assists at Missouri ranks #1 all-time in school history for a freshman … Pressey is tied with Travis Ford (11) on Missouri's list of five-assist games for rookies … However if you dial it up a notch, Pressey is already Missouri's freshman leader in games with 7+ assists (tied with Jimmy McKinney) with four and the leader with three 8+ assist games.
  • Pressey had 62 assists in Big 12 play this year, which is the most ever by a Tiger freshman … The top overall mark in Big 12 play by a Tiger is 72 by Jason Horton in 2006.
  • He is already the Mizzou freshman record holder with 112 assists and is closing in on the freshman steals record as well … He has 56 thefts in 29 games and needs seven more rips to break the record.
  • Mizzou Basketball has 77 victories over its last three seasons, the winningest three-year stretch in school history … Tiger clubs from 1980-83 and 1988-91 won 75 games over a three-year stretch.
  • Missouri has blocked 168 shots this season, a new school record … The previous record for blocks was 160, which was set last season … MU has never led the Big 12 in blocked shots, but paced the league throughout the regular season and averages at 5.1 per game this year.
  • Balanced scoring has been key for the Tigers this year … In fact Missouri has had seven players reach double figures in a game twice this year, including a home contest vs. North Alabama.
  • With that great balance Missouri has used 10 different starting lineups this season … Of course it doesn't really matter who starts, it's about who finishes!
  • Mizzou is #12 nationally in assists at 16.5 per game, so not only can the Tigers score in bunches, but they do it with great efficiency, recording dimes on 60 percent of their hoops.
  • Mizzou has been very good in non-conference games under Anderson … The Tigers are 54-14 (.794), including four NCAA Tournament wins, since his arrival before the 2006-07 season.
  • Missouri has been the ultimate team through 33 games … The Tigers have had eight different players lead the team (or tie for the team lead) in scoring, seven different players in rebounding, seven in assists and eight in steals.
  • Missouri is forcing a turnover on nearly 25 percent of its opponent possessions this year (603 opponent turnovers compared to 1,889 opponent FG attempts).
  • The Tigers have scored 685 points off of those 603 turnovers … So far Missouri is averaging 20.8 ppg off of turnovers, including 41 points off turnovers vs. Central Arkansas.
  • Bench production from the Tiger reserves is nothing new under Mike Anderson … The Tigers ranked #2 nationally in bench scoring a season ago at 31.6 points per game and have averaged 27.1 points over Anderson's five years in Columbia!
  • The Tigers are averaging 25.2 ppg from their bench this season, including a season high 49 points vs. La Salle on Nov. 24 and 42 vs. Oklahoma.
  • Another critical stat for Missouri is field goal opportunities … Missouri thrives on its defensive pressure creating extra scoring chances and so far this season Missouri has taken 193 more shots than its opponents and made 137 more buckets.
  • Missouri has been good at defending the rim though 33 games, averaging 5.1 swats a contest … Laurence Bowers (62) and Ricardo Ratliffe (44) lead the way with a combined 106 total blocks.
  • Mizzou blocked 10 shots at Colorado on Jan. 8, the most since the 1998-99 season for a Tiger team … Laurence Bowers led the way with a school record tying eight total swats.
  • Missouri has typically played some tough schedules over the years and that trend will continue in 2010-11 … Mizzou will have 13 games against teams ranked / receiving votes in the Top 25 … Included in that list are some impressive non-conference games vs. Old Dominion and Vanderbilt at home, neutral site games vs. #19 Illinois, #14 Georgetown, Wyoming and La Salle and a road game at Oregon.
Tiger Tidbits
#1 Flip Pressey, 5-10, 168 Pounds
  • Nicknamed "Flip", but first name is Phil.
  • Mizzou freshman record holder for assists (112) and second among freshman with 56 steals.
  • His 1.9 steals per game rank second in the Big 12 overall this season.
  • His 3.9 assists per game on the season are the most for a Tiger freshman in school history.
  • Big 12's top freshman for assists (3.9), steals (1.9) and assist/turnover ratio (1.8).
  • Scored a career high 17 points to go with six assists and just one turnover at Kansas.
  • Solid all-around game vs. Texas A&M in the Big 12 quarterfinals with nine points, five dimes and a career high six steals.
  • Ripped away five steals in the win over Colorado and hounded senior guard Cory Higgins into eight turnovers … Had 13 points, three dimes, five steals and just one turnover in the start.
  • Missed four games with a fractured right finger, which was suffered Dec. 19 during practice.
  • Scored a career high 16 points at Texas A&M and hit a career-best 4-of-4 treys in the contest.
  • Scored 12 points, dished five dimes and had three steals at Texas, all team highs.
  • Dropped in 13 points, three dimes and four steals vs. #24 Kansas State.
  • Enters the Missouri program as the highest-ranked recruit of the Mike Anderson era, rated as high as #16 nationally by 2K Sports.
  • Is the first Missouri freshman to record 7+ assists in three consecutive games and is the first Tiger to accomplish the feat since Anthony Peeler back in 1989-90.
  • His older brother Matt Pressey is a junior on this year's club and his father, Paul Pressey, is currently an assistant coach for Byron Scott and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
 #2 Ricky Kreklow, 6-6, 195 Pounds
  • Ricky Kreklow became the third consecutive Missouri Player of the Year to ink with the Tigers.
  • Recorded his first career double-double in 20 minutes vs. N. Alabama, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 boards.
  • Scored a career high 11 points on 4-4 FGs and 3-3 treys vs. Central Arkansas on Dec. 18.
  • Outstanding energy player off the pine and had a career high four steals vs. Nebraska.
  • Hit 3-of-4 three-pointers in wins over Wyoming and La Salle, including a then career-best 2-of-3 treys vs. La Salle in the first half.
  • The talented newcomer is the son of current Missouri Volleyball head coach Wayne Kreklow and is a local product that grew up watching the Tigers.
  • He was named the MVP of the Demetrius Johnson All-Star game in St. Louis this June after scoring 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
#3 Matt Pressey, 6-2, 185 Pounds
  • Finds multiple ways to make an impact, including a career high five assists in the win over Oklahoma.
  • Solid all-around game at Kansas State with eight points, three assists, two blocks and two steals in 21 minutes.
  • Big 12 Rookie of the Week for Jan. 3 after averaging 16.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in a pair of Tiger wins.
  • Scored a career high 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting vs. Northern Illinois en route to that honor … Added five boards, three assists and a pair of dunks in the rout.
  • Chipped in 15 points and five boards in the win over Old Dominion.
  • Narrowly missed a double-double vs. Iowa State with nine points and eight boards.
  • Came off the bench to score nine points and dish three assists vs. Georgetown and his first career double-figure scoring night came at Oregon on Dec. 2 with 10 points and two assists in 22 minutes.
  • Was a junior college All-American at Navarro College last year, joining fellow Tiger Ricardo Ratliffe on that first team squad.
  • His younger brother Phil Pressey is a freshman on this year's club and his father, Paul Pressey, is currently an assistant coach for Byron Scott and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
#10 Ricardo Ratliffe, 6-8, 240 Pounds
  • Highly-coveted big man out of Central Florida College, that was twice named a first team NJCAA All-American.
  • Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and an honorable mention all-league performer as selected by the Big 12 coaches.
  • Ranked among the Top 25 nationally in field goal percentage (.575) and is shooting 60.0 percent from the floor in Big 12 games, which was #3 in the league.
  • Had back-to-back double-doubles in Big 12 play vs. Iowa State and Baylor, including 11 points and 13 rebounds vs. the Bears… Grabbed 12 of those 13 boards in the first half to set the tone physically.
  • First Tiger since DeMarre Carroll in 2008-09 to have back-to-back double-doubles in Big 12 play … Carroll did it vs. Kansas and Texas A&M.
  • Has been named Big 12 Rookie of the Week twice this season.
  • Just missed a double-double vs. Colorado with 14 points (6-7 FGs) and nine boards.
  • Was a warrior at Texas A&M scoring 19 points on 9-of-11 FGs to go with a game high nine rebounds before fouling out.
  • Leads the club in rebounding (6.1) and double-doubles (5), including 10 points and 10 boards at Iowa State.
  • His 14 boards vs. La Salle are the most since DeMarre Carroll grabbed 14 vs. Kansas State on Feb. 25, 2009.
  • Fifth in the league in blocked shots at 1.3 swats per game and blocked four vs. Nebraska on Jan. 12.
  • Named to the Cancun Challenge All-Tournament team after averaging 11.0 points and 13.0 rebounds.
  • One of only 13 players in NJCAA history to be named back-to-back first team All-American, which includes former UNLV standout Larry Johnson.
  • Named the Big 12's Preseason Newcomer of the Year by the league coaches.
  • Broke the Central Florida school record with 1,653 points over two seasons.
  • Had his junior college jersey (#20) retired at the school's season-opener this year.
#11 Michael Dixon, 6-1, 180 Pounds
  • Quietly putting together a great sophomore season, ranking #4 in the league in steals per game (1.8) and is fourth in assist/turnover ratio (2.0) … Ranks #9 in dimes (3.6) and #6 in free throw percentage (.818).
  • Had 55 dimes all of last season, but has 112 in 31 games played in 2010-11.
  • Scored 17 points vs. Texas Tech in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament, while adding four assists and a steal.
  • Led Mizzou in scoring vs. Iowa State with 15 points and a career high eight boards in just 18 minutes.
  • Dropped in 16 points to lead all Tigers vs. Oklahoma.
  • Scored a career high 18 points in the win over Old Dominion thanks to 5-of-7 shooting, 3-of-3 treys and 5-of-5 free throws.
  • Great all-around effort in his return home to Kansas City vs. Georgetown, scoring a career-high tying 17 points to go with four assists and four steals.
  • Father (Mike Sr.) left San Jose State as the school's all-time assist leader.
  • Ripped a career high five steals vs. North Florida on Nov. 20.
  • Top returning assist man from last season with 55 dimes and just 32 turnovers.
#12 Marcus Denmon, 6-3, 185 Pounds
  • First Team All-Big 12 selection and the first Missouri guard on the list since Kareem Rush in 2002.
  • First Team all-District by the United States Basketball Writers Association.
  • Tough, gritty guard that was a football standout in high school as a wide out and defensive back.
  • One of just four Tiger guards to shoot better than 50 percent over the last 20 years.
  • One of the Big 12's most underrated defensive players and held Baylor's LaceDarius Dunn to a then season-low 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting … Ranks #5 in the league with 1.8 steals per game.
  • Has scored 19+ points in seven of his last eight games, including back-to-back 20-point efforts in postseason play.
  • Averaging 21.0 points and 3.5 steals per game in postseason action this year, including 20 points, five assists and five steals vs. Texas Tech.
  • Played 14 minutes vs. Oklahoma after suffering an inadvertent elbow from a teammate, which forced him to get stitches … Did score nine points in his 14 minutes.
  • Bounced back from that injury to score 20 points (18 in the first half) and top the 1,000 career point mark in college vs. Texas Tech … Hit 9-of-13 shots in the efficient effort.
  • Poured in 25 tallies at Iowa State on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor.
  • Has 16 career 20-point efforts and Missouri is 13-3 in those games.
  • Enjoyed his highest scoring Big 12 game with 27 points, 8-14 FGs and 5-7 treys vs. Nebraska … Tied a career high in scoring.
  • Named by ESPN as one of the country's Most Improved Players for 2010-11.
  • Named a Mid-Season 2nd Team All-American by Rivals.com.
  • Mid-Season Co-Big 12 Player of the Year from ESPN.com.
  • Mid-Season Wooden Award member.
  • Mid-Season Naismith Award member.
  • Twice named Big 12 Player of the Week.
  • Reached double figures in 26 of his last 28 games.
  • Has 182 career three-pointers in his tenure, which is eighth all-time (nine shy of #5).
  • Leads the team in scoring (17.1) and three-point field goal percentage (.455) … Is #2 in the Big 12 Conference with his three-point accuracy.
  • Initially scored a career high 27 points on Nov. 30 vs. Georgetown on an efficient 10-of-12 shooting from the floor … Hit 5-of-7 treys and 5-of-5 shots inside the arc … Added six boards and two steals as well.
  • Scored 19 second-half / overtime points in the win vs. Vanderbilt, including the game-winner with five seconds remaining.
  • Cancun Challenge MVP after averaging 15.0 points on 8-of-16 treys in two wins.
  • Classroom Champion in the Big 12.
  • Big 12 All-Reserve Team last year as a sophomore.
  • Is back to full strength after suffering a knee injury as a freshman … He fought through soreness in that knee for much of his sophomore campaign.
#21 Laurence Bowers, 6-8, 210 Pounds
  • Honorable Mention All-Big 12 pick in 2011 and was named to the All-Defensive Team in the league.
  • Needs three more steals to be the first player in Mizzou history to record 60+ blocks and 40+ thefts.
  • Is finding multiple ways to help his club and ranks among Big 12 leaders in rebounding and blocked shots.
  • First player in Missouri history with 20+ points, 9+ rebounds and 6+ steals with his 20-9-6 contest vs. Baylor.
  • Nearly topped that feat with 22 points, 10 boards and five more steals vs. Kansas to close the regular season.
  • Scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds at Kansas State.
  • Scored 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting at Iowa State, while also chipping in seven boards and two blocks.
  • Had one of his best offensive nights in the first meeting vs. #2 Kansas to start this great seven-game run, hitting 8-of-11 FGs en route to a team high 19 points … Also ripped down five boards.
  • Second in the Big 12 in shot-blocking at 1.9 per game, including a school-record tying eight blocks at Colorado … The eight swats were the most ever for a Tiger in a league game.
  • Had a terrific all-around game at CU with 15 points, seven boards and those eight blocks.
  • Has reached double figures in scoring 20 times and in seven of his last-10 efforts.
  • Has three double-doubles this season and five for his career, including 16 points and 11 boards vs. North Alabama.
  • Fourth in school history with 123 career blocked shots and needs seven more to pass Doug Smith (1988-91) who had 129 in his career.
  • Named to the Big 12's All-Reserve Team, but finished his sophomore year with six consecutive starts.
  • Tore ligaments in his left wrist down the home stretch of the 2009-10 campaign, but is fully healthy … He will wrap his wrist however as a precaution.
  • Named Academic All-Big 12 last year, as well as All-Reserve.
  • Was one of the Big 12's most improved players going from 3.2 ppg as a freshman to 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds as a sophomore.
#23 Justin Safford, 6-9, 230 Pounds
  • Is healthy after undergoing off-season ACL surgery … Injured his knee on Feb. 24 vs. Colorado, but worked incredibly hard throughout his rehabilitation and is back to near full strength.
  • Great postseason game vs. Texas Tech, scoring 10 points and grabbing four boards in the win over the Red Raiders.
  • Grabbed six rebounds and scored 11 points in 22 minutes vs. Oklahoma and then was aggressive in the post with 8 points, two dimes and a steal vs. Texas Tech … Added nine points in 19 minutes vs. Baylor.
  • Tied a career high with 11 rebounds at Texas on Jan. 29.
  • Incredible run of nine consecutive Missouri points vs. Illinois on Dec. 22 … Finished the game with 11 points, three boards and two assists in 16 minutes.
  • Narrowly missed a double-double vs. North Alabama with 16 points, eight boards and three assists.
  • Enjoyed an efficient day vs. Presbyterian, scoring a season-high 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting in 19 minutes … Added six boards and a trey.
  • Scored 11 points in the win vs. La Salle, including nine of the team's first 10 points … Finished with six rebounds as well.
  • Is the club's lone senior and enters his fourth year with the program, which includes 91 wins during that stretch.
  • Averaged 8.6 points and 4.1 rebounds as a junior, but averaged 9.9 points in Big 12 play before his injury.
  • Made a return to live action in the Black & Gold Game where he recorded a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double on 7-of-11 shooting.
#24 Kim English, 6-6, 200 Pounds
  • From nearby Baltimore, which is less than 40 miles from Washington, D.C.
  • Topped the 1,000-point mark in Missouri's 76-70 win at Iowa State on a pair of free throws at the 13:15 mark of the first half.
  • Has reached double figures 20 times this season, including back-to-back postseason games vs. Texas Tech and Texas A&M.
  • Averaging 13.5 points and 3.0 assists in postseason play thus far.
  • Came off the bench vs. Colorado and dropped in a season high 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting in 24 minutes … Had six boards as well.
  • Scored 16 points on 4-of-6 treys vs. Baylor … Also added two assists.
  • Scoring numbers are slightly down overall, but has become more well-rounded in his junior season, a focus of his off-season workouts … His assist totals are up in 2010-11 … Has 67 dimes in 2010-11 after having just 39 assists all of last season.
  • Scored 20 first-half points vs. North Alabama on 6-of-7 three-point shooting … Took just three shots in the second half with the game in hand.
  • Was very unselfish in the Georgetown contest … Scored 11 points on 5-of-12 FGs, but dished four assists and had three steals … Three of his four assists came to backcourt running mate Marcus Denmon.
  • Came off the bench vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff to score a season high 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
  • Has 161 career three-pointers, 10th all-time in school history.
  • Honorable mention preseason All-American by Sports Illustrated.
  • Returning all-Big 12 Third Team from last year after pacing the club in scoring and tying for the team lead with 68 three-point makes.
  • Named to the Preseason Top 50 for the John Wooden Player of the Year Award.
  • Named to the Preseason Top 50 for the James Naismith Player of the Year Award.
  • Named one of college basketball's top shooters by FoxSports.com's Jeff Goodman.
  • Named one of college basketball's Top 15 wing players by CBS's Gary Parrish.
  • Is of course known for his tireless work ethic and wears #24 because he is thinking about the game of basketball 24 hours a day.
  • Often sleeps in the locker room during the season, which allows him to workout during off-hours.
#32 Steve Moore, 6-9, 270 Pounds
  • A native of Kansas City and played at nearby Truman High School.
  • Statistics don't tell the impact of Big Steve … Is the team's resident "trash man", grabbing offensive boards, dishing assists and playing solid post defense with very little fanfare.
  • Played 14 minutes vs. Oklahoma and had six points, three boards and an assist in the win.
  • Played 13 minutes at Okie State and tied for the team lead with five boards … Also had two blocks and two steals and hit his lone field goal attempt.
  • Solid game at Texas A&M, hitting 4-of-4 FTs to go with two rebounds in 13 minutes.
  • Scored four points, grabbed four boards, blocked a shot and dished an assist vs. Iowa State.
  • Career game in the season-opener vs. Western Illinois, scoring a career high nine points, while tying a career high with five boards.
  • Grabbed a career high seven rebounds vs. North Alabama to go with four points.
  • Third on the squad with 31 blocked shots this season.
  • Spent a portion of the summer playing with Global Sports Academy in Europe.
About Cincinnati
Cincinnati (25-8, 11-7) makes its first NCAA Tournament trip since 2005 and enter the Big Dance as a #6 seed … The Bearcats had an outstanding season and opened the year 15-0, which included quality non-conference wins vs. Xavier, Dayton, Oklahoma and Miami (Fla.) … Cincinnati is a great defensive team and allows just 59.2 points per game … They also have a +4.6 rebounding margin and finished the year strong, winning six of their final eight games, including two wins over Georgetown … Yancy Gates is the team's top scorer (11.8) and rebounder (6.8), while Dion Dixon (11.6 ppg) has a team-leading 48 treys … Cashmere Wright has 125 assists and 44 steals for a club that has nine players in its regular rotation.
Year Opponent Location Result
2010 #7 Clemson Buffalo, N.Y. W, 86-78
#2 West Virginia Buffalo, N.Y. L, 68-59
2009 #14 Cornell Boise, Idaho W, 78-59
#6 Marquette Boise, Idaho W, 83-79
#2 Memphis Glendale, Ariz. W, 102-91
#1 Connecticut Glendale, Ariz. L, 82-75
2006 #8 Kentucky Philadelphia L, 69-64
2005 #6 LSU Boise, Idaho W, 82-68
#3 Arizona Boise, Idaho L, 85-63
2004 #8 Washington Columbus, Ohio W, 102-100
#1 Kentucky Columbus, Ohio W, 76-75
#4 Kansas St. Louis, Mo. L, 100-74
Mike Anderson in the NCAA Tournament
Mizzou's Mike Anderson enters his sixth NCAA Tournament appearance as a head coach and third with the Tigers …  Prior to his three consecutive runs at Mizzou, Anderson guided Alabama-Birmingham to the Big Dance from 2004-06 and boasts a 7-5 all-time mark in the tourney.
  • Anderson also made 15 other NCAA Tournament appearances as a longtime assistant coach for the legendary Nolan Richardson - 13 at Arkansas and two at Tulsa … Anderson's record in those games under Richardson was a sterling 26-14, giving him a combined 33-19 all-time record as a head or assistant coach in the NCAA Tournament.
Final Four Predictors?
We'll have to wait and see just how popular of a pick that Mizzou is for the Final Four among national prognosticators … If they don't pick the Tigers, shrewd observers of history might want to take note of who the Tigers are playing, however.
  • That's because eight of the last nine teams who have beaten MU in the NCAA Tournament have gone on to reach the Final Four … Those include Arizona in 1994, UCLA in 1995, North Carolina in 2000, Duke in 2001, Oklahoma in 2002, Marquette in 2003, UConn in 2009 and West Virginia last season …  UCLA and Duke both went on to win the national title after downing the Tigers.
  • The only time during that stretch where Mizzou's conqueror did not advance to the Final Four was in 1999, when New Mexico downed the Tigers in what ultimately was Coach Norm Stewart's final game of his legendary career …  The Lobos lost to #1-seeded and eventual national champ UConn in their next game, so through a Kevin Bacon-six-degrees-of-separation deal, you could say that MU was still involved in the mix!
Seed Team Region MU Record
#1 Kansas Southwest 0-2
#4 Texas West 0-1
#5 Kansas State Southeast 1-1
#5 Vanderbilt Southwest 1-0
#6 Georgetown Southwest 0-1
#7 Texas A&M Southwest 0-2
#9 Illinois Southwest 1-0
#9 Old Dominion Southeast 1-0
Tigers vs. the Field
Missouri was 4-7 vs. the NCAA field this season, with two losses coming to #1 seed Kansas … Here is a quick rundown of MU's results vs. the field of 65.
Tigers Earn All-Big 12 Postseason Honors
Marcus Denmon, Laurence Bowers and Ricardo Ratliffe picked up some postseason hardware from the Big 12 office as Denmon was named a first team All-Big 12 pick, while Ratliffe and Bowers were named honorable mention selections … Bowers was also named to the All-Defensive Team, while Ratliffe, a junior transfer, was named the league's Newcomer of the Year.
Tigers Claim Win #1,500
Missouri Basketball won its 1,500th game in program history in the Big 12 Tournament, as the Tigers took out Texas Tech, 88-84, in the opening round … Mizzou is the fifth Big 12 program to reach this milestone, joining Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Shooting It Straight
Marcus Denmon is the Big 12's top shooting guard this year with a 50.6 percent success rate from the floor and quite frankly, it isn't even close … Colorado's Alec Burks is second among Big 12 guards at 45.6 percent, well behind Denmon's pace … However Denmon is in rare company at Missouri over the last 20 years as his percentage ranks second among Missouri guards since the 1990-91 campaign … Rickey Paulding is tops at 51.0 percent, while Kareem Rush (1999-00) ranks third (.505) and Melvin Booker (1993-94) stands fourth (.504).
Teaching `Em Young…
It's always better to give than receive and Missouri has two of the country's best young distributors of the basketball in sophomore Mike Dixon and freshman Flip Pressey … Both underclassmen have topped 100 assists this season (Pressey at 112 / Dixon at 112) and they are just the second underclassmen tandem to top 100 assists in the same year, joining Anthony Peeler and current Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford … Peeler had 179 dimes that sophomore season, while Ford chipped in 105 as a freshman … Pressey recently topped the Mizzou freshman record for assists with his five-dime performance vs. Texas A&M.
Year Attend. Record
2004-05 9,543 16-17
2005-06 8,369 12-16
2006-07 8,243 18-12
2007-08 8,060 16-16
2008-09 9,807 31-7
2009-10 10,349 22-9
2010-11 11,112 22-9
If You Build It …
Missouri set a Mizzou Arena record for attendance this season, as the Tigers averaged 11,112 fans per game this year, the highest average attendance since Mizzou Arena was opened in 2004-05 … The previous mark was set last season as MU averaged 10,349 fans during its 18-game home slate.
> During Big 12 games only Missouri averaged a Mizzou Arena record 13,735 fans this season.

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