29 February 2012

Senior Night

Tigers honor winning-est seniors
by Mizzou Matt
COLUMBIA, MO- Coming off of a week in which they lost two consecutive games, the University of Missouri Tiger basketball team defeated the Iowa State Cyclones by the score of 78-72. The senior class, comprised of Steve Moore, Kim English, Ricardo Ratliffe, Marcus Denmon, Andrew Jones, and Jarrett Sutton, close out their time at Mizzou Arena with a 67-4 four-year overall record. The win, their 26th of this season, puts them as the top class in Mizzou program history with 13 conference wins. With one more game left in the regular season, the Tigers are now 26-4, 13-4 in Big 12 Conference play.

Following the game, the Mizzou seniors addressed the crowd that remained and thanked them for the past four years.

"Frank Haith is the best coach I've had in my four years here," said Kim English, from Baltimore, MD. "Thank you all, you're the best fan base in America!"

"When I first got here, I wasn't good at all," joked big 'STEEEVVVEEE' Moore, who had a superb dunk late in the game.

The Tigers clinch 2nd in the Big 12 with the win, and become the only team in the league to sweep Iowa State (21-9, 11-6)this year. Mizzou closes out their season at Texas Tech on Saturday, March 3rd. Tip off is set for 3p/CT on the Big 12 Network.

27 February 2012

Don't blame the Refs

That's right. Don't blame the refs for Saturday's game against Kansas. It's not entirely the refs' fault we lost. As much as it pains me to point out, Mizzou did give up a 19-point lead in the second half. Instead of blaming the refs, focus on what lies ahead- March and the NCAA Tourney. This team has the ability to make a deep run in the tournament. Besides, if we blame the refs, we're no better than Kansas fans.

20 February 2012

Faurot Changes

Proposed and expected 2012 modifications
by Mizzou Matt via mutigers.com
COLUMBIA, MO- University of Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden announced today what many Tiger fans have hoped for- changes to Faurot Field. Among the major modification of a new $1.5M (approx) playing surface, this is what Mizzou fans can expect going into next season:
  • Larger Tiger logo at midfield
  • SEC conference logos
  • "M-I-Z-Z-O-U" endzone diamonds instead of "MISSOURI"
  • Touchdown Terrace Seating- new seats, more seats, which will also slightly raise the capacity of 71,004.
  • Visiting team ticket allotment increased from approximately 3,800 to 6,000
  • No re-entry. Once you're in, you're in.
  • New football uniforms that will be unveiled at the Black & Gold Spring Game on April 14th. The new unis will focus more on the Tiger logo instead of the block "M". Alden reports that the University has been working with Nike for the last 18 months on a new design.
  • Marching Mizzou will be moved from the south endzone, above the locker room, to the southeast corner of the student section on the east side of the stadium. Convenience for halftime performances and acoustics are the reasoning behind this move.
Alden expect Mizzou to sellout Faurot Field for 2012, which isn't that far-fetched, given the SEC fan bases travel notoriously well. The University will also be resealing a number of parking lots, which if you have tailgated recently, you know they are in desperate need of repair.

You, the fan, can also expect an increase in ticket pricing. Tiger Scholarship Fund (TSF) members will see an increase in minimum donations to keep their Priority Seating. The increases will be across the board, and there will also be an increase in TSF/Donor Priority Seating.

Weekend Review

Men, women win; baseball, softball start; hockey...?
by: Mizzou Matt
COLUMBIA, MO- It was a wide world of sports for the University of Missouri over the weekend, with both men's and women's basketball seasons winding down on the road, and baseball and softball seasons just starting up.


Men's basketball traveled down to College Station, TX to take on Texas A&M for the last time as members of the Big 12 conference. Missouri's Kim English led the way for the Tigers with 21 points in the 71-62 win. Marcus Denmon also had 14, Phil Pressey with 13, and Mike Dixon had 15 off the bench as the fourth Tiger in double-digits. Ricardo Ratliffe, who was on pace to set a new NCAA record for field goal percentage, went 2/5 last night for 4 points. The Tigers (25-2, 12-2) kick off Kansas week with a visit from the Wildcats (18-8, 7-7) on Tuesday the 21st, then travel to Lawrence for the final time to take on #5 Kansas on Saturday. The Tigers lost the first contest in Manhattan, 75-59.

Women's basketball, led by second-year coach Robin Pingeton, finally grabbed their first conference win with a 70-65 win over Kansas in Lawrence. The win is the first for the Tigers since closing out non-conference play in January. Christine Flores led Mizzou with 24 points in the win while both Sydney Crafton and Kyley Simmons both scored 13. The Lady Tigers improve to 11-14, 1-13 on the year.

Baseball kicked off it's season on Friday down in Auburn, AL to take on the Auburn University Tigers. They started off their season on a sour note with a 5-2 loss. Saturday's game was rained out and postponed to Sunday for a doubleheader, which Mizzou swept 4-3 (7) and 6-4. Mizzou now carries a 4-1 series lead against their future SEC conference rival. Mizzou is 2-1 on the year and will take on the San Francisco Dons for a three-game series on the 24th-26th.

Softball also started their season over the weekend in the Quality Inn Classic, starting with a doubleheader on Friday. The Tigers won 3-2 over Ball State and 4-0 over host school Troy (AL). On Saturday, the 5th-ranked Tigers were upset by Eastern Kentucky 6-5 in 10 innings, and rebounded on Sunday with a 9-3 win over East Tennessee State. Ashley Fleming had two home runs over the weekend as Ehren Earleywine's team is 3-1 to start the year.

Mizzou hockey...yes, hockey...are the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association (MACHA) champions! The Tigers defeated Iowa on Saturday in the semifinals with a 5-3 win, then defeated Illinois State in the finals 4-1 to grab the championship. The club team, run through the Rec, finishes off their season with a stout 15-2 record.


You can find the official Facebook page, Mizzou Nation and also on Twitter @One_Mizzou and the author, @RealMizzouMatt.

12 February 2012

#4 Mizzou over #6 Baylor

Tigers tie 2010-11 win total

COLUMBIA, MO- Flashback. The Bears make a 3-pt shot as time expires to lose 89-88. Present day. Mizzou doesn't let it come down to a final possession.

The last two games for the Tigers prior to the game against Baylor on Saturday, 2/11, came down to one shot. One shot to tie. One shot that clanged off the rim. Elijah Johnson's one shot was off target in Mizzou's 74-71 win over Kansas on Feb. 4th in Columbia, and Steven Pledger's one shot missed it's mark in the Tigers's 71-68 win over Oklahoma on Feb. 6th in Norman.

Phil Pressey took the game over and the Tigers extended their lead with a record-tying 14 3-pt shots made on 28 attempts. Final score at Mizzou Arena: 72-57. Pressey led the Tigers with 19 points while Baylor's Quincy Miller led all scorers with 20. Marcus Denmon only needed 9 points to pass Jon Sunvold for 10th on Mizzou's all-time scoring list. Denmon finished with 16. Michael Dixon also finished with 16 off the bench and Kim English was the fourth Tiger in double-digit scoring with 12.

Next up for the 4th-ranked Tigers (23-2, 10-2) is Oklahoma State (12-13, 5-7) on Wednesday, Feb. 15th. Game time is set for 8p on ESPN2. In the first match-up in Stillwater, the Cowboys defeated Mizzou 79-72. Kansas defeated Oklahoma State 81-66 in Lawrence while Baylor survived 64-60 in Stillwater. Mizzou's Feb. 25th showdown in Phog Allen Fieldhouse plays an even bigger role in the race for the regular season conference title.

05 February 2012

GameDay, Revisited

For just the second time in school history, ESPN came to campus for a live broadcast.

It started for the 99th Homecoming, Mizzou vs Oklahoma, when 18,000+ packed the David R. Francis Quadrangle on the University of Missouri campus. Desmond Howard, Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, and Lee Corso; along with Erin Andrews and Trevor Matich; used the historic Columns as a backdrop for the GameDay broadcast, "one of the greatest," according to Fowler.

Among the thousands of fans were fellow student athletes to the football team, namely, Kim English. English was milling about with his GameDay sign, hoping to get recognized.

How about another visit to campus from ESPN?

"GAMEDAY, COME BACK 4 BASKETBALL"

The request was simple enough, ESPN had to grant it, right? In October, 2011, right around the start of the college basketball season, the announcement was made on mutigers.com: "College GameDay is coming to Mizzou Arena."

Your wish is ESPN's command, Kimmie.

ESPN was going to make their return, this time for basketball, to Mizzou Arena for what could turn out to be the final meeting between Missouri and Kansas in Columbia for a long time. The Tigers are slated to transfer to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) on July 1st, 2012, leaving a bit of emptiness among fans of the traditional conferences and rivalry setup.

"It's the fans that have the most angst toward Mizzou for going to the SEC," said Kansas head basketball coach Bill Self in an interview prior to the 266th meeting between the two schools. Missouri, as many may or may not know, extended the offer to Kansas to continue the rivalry, but Self, along with KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger, stated that there is no point in continuing if Mizzou is just going to abandon the conference. Other ESPN analysts such as Doug Gottlieb, say that Texas A&M, Mizzou, and their fans "overreacted" to the possibility of the Big 12 collapsing, and were the some of the more "self-absorbed" in the league. (Texas and Oklahoma both flirted with the PAC-12, along with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, which led to former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe to make a deal with Texas called the Longhorn Network, which included no profit sharing among the conference members. Point this out to Gottlieb, and you're responded with "Get over yourself." Gottlieb is also an avid Kansas bandwagon rider, and is not afraid to admit that fact, despite attending and playing basketball for the Cowboys in the late 1990s.)

This point was made during the GameDay broadcast, after which it was met with a chant from the Mizzou crowd in attendance: "KANSAS WON'T PLAY! KANSAS WON'T PLAY! KANSAS WON'T PLAY!" The small contingent of Kansas fans that made the 164-mile trek from Lawrence and braved the hostile crowd at GameDay could only just sit back and take the brunt of the anti-Kansas sentiment that dates back to before the Civil War.

Rece Davis (L) with Mizzou head coach Frank Haith
"We would like to continue to play [Kansas]," said Missouri head basketball coach Frank Haith, "Rivalries should not, and are not bound by conference affiliation." This statement was collaborated by the GameDay hosts- Rece Davis, Huebert Davis, Digger Phelps, and Jay Bilas.

Tigers' head football coach Gary Pinkel also showed an interest in keeping the 100+ year old rivalry alive. "They [Kansas] are our biggest rivals. It'd be a shame to end that."

"We would like to continue the rivalry, with either a home-and-home, or a conference tournament in Kansas City," said Mizzou athletic director Mike Alden, back when the SEC switch was announced in November. The stage was officially set for the biggest, most anticipated, and most talked about basketball game between the two schools.

Dozens braved inclement weather to get good spots in line for the best seats in the house. The line started as early as 4pm on Wednesday afternoon, and by the time the doors to Mizzou Arena opened at 7am Saturday, the line wrapped around the block. Mizzou was trying for another GameDay attendance record. (The 18,000+ is still a standing record for football GameDay.)

Small splotches of blue and red were found in a sea of gold inside Mizzou Arena, as some Kansas fans went as far as wearing gold sweatshirts over the top of their Jayhawk pride. Once inside and seated, surrounded by thousands of Mizzou faithful, they shucked their gold and a thunderous "BOOOOO!" cascaded down from the rafters. Some were seated directly behind the GameDay desk. Others were stuck off in a corner with signs that read "171-94, you call that a rivalry?" talking about the series lead Kansas has over Mizzou in basketball. Tiger fans in the vicinity responded to the sign with "Try playing another sport!"

True, the series was 171-94 prior to Mizzou's 74-71 win, but in other sports, it's a different story. In football, Mizzou leads the rivalry 57-54-9 (KU disputes it as 56-55-9 MU). On the baseball diamond, Mizzou's lead is 212-123-6 (also disputed). The overall series in the M&I Bank Border Showdown Series has Mizzou holding a dominant 7-2 advantage in taking home the hardware. They're en route for their 8th, and possibly final Border Showdown trophy.

To add to the hype, Mizzou, when GameDay is in attendance, is 2-1 overall. The first of the two wins being when College GameDay built by the Home Depot broadcasted from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, when the Mizzou and Kansas football teams were ranked 4th and 2nd. Mizzou won 36-28 and moved into the BCS #1 spot. The second being Oct. 23rd, 2010, when "big, bad" Oklahoma came to town. Mizzou was 11th, OU 1st. Mizzou won 36-27, knocking the Sooners from their perch. Their lone loss was when GameDay was in Norman back in 2007 for Oklahoma's Homecoming celebration. After this weekend, you can improve their record to 3-1 when ESPN is in the house.

Marcus Denmon, Kim English, Phil Pressey and the rest of the guys knew the hype leading up to the game, and pleaded with fans in the week leading up to the game on Twitter and Facebook, saying "Please don't rush the floor. Act like you expected us to win." Those were almost their famous last words. With KU up by 8, with 2:22 to go, the Jayhawks' Conner Tehan had some jack-jawing to do with Denmon after a KU basket. Denmon responded to Tehan with scoring nine points as a part of an 11-0 Tiger run at the end to put the Jayhawks out of their misery, 74-71. Denmon lit up the scoreboard for 29 points, while English brought home 18 and Dixon netted 15, respectively. 

The big story of the game on the Kansas side was Thomas Robinson. After a quiet first half, Robinson exploded in the second, getting Kansas out to their largest lead of the game, 11. Robinson finished with 25 points while Tyshawn Taylor contributed 25. A last-ditch effort and a desperation 3-pt shot at the buzzer sealed their fate, and as Marcus stood in front of the student section, referred to as the "Zou Crew", telling them to stay in their seats, it was literally one versus one hundred. Imagine Denmon being King Leonitis staring down Xerxes' army in the movie "300". It'd be something like that.

Marcus and the gang prevailed, improving their season record to 20-2, 8-2, and move into first in the Big 12 standings, but there is one question that remains, however- Will Jay Bilas follow @Englishscope24 on Twitter?

04 February 2012

DO YOU BELIEVE?

Denmon overcomes "slump"
by Mizzou Matt
COLUMBIA, MO- By the numbers: 11. The number of times Missouri has knocked off a top-25 ranked Kansas since 1990. 7. The number of regular season Big 12 titles that Kansas has either won or shared. 4. The number of wins for Kansas in the last 5 meetings in Columbia. 3. The number of times Mizzou and Kansas have met when both have been ranked in the top 10. 171-94. The series lead for Kansas entering tonight's installment of the Border War.

Marcus Denmon pleaded with fans to NOT rush the court at the conclusion of the game, a change from years past when Missouri does the seemingly impossible- beating Kansas.

That's exactly what Mizzou (21-2, 8-2) did tonight, for the 12th time since 1990, with Denmon going for 29 points in the Tigers' 74-71 victory in what could be the last time that the two teams play in Columbia. Kansas (18-5, 8-2) almost edged out the win, but a Tyshawn Taylor charge late led to Mizzou's second win over Kansas since 2009. Kim English had 18 of his own. Thomas Robinson netted 25 to lead the Jayhawks. Taylor also had 21 for Kansas.

"I took the same shots I always shoot. I knew those shots would fall," said Denmon following the game.

The series is now 171-95, in favor of Kansas.

With the win, Mizzou now creates a three-way tie for first in the Big 12 with the Tigers, Bears, and Jayhawks all sporting 8-2 records:
  • Mizzou- 21-2, 8-2 (K-State, OKST)
  • Baylor- 21-2, 8-2 (Kansas, Mizzou)
  • Kansas- 18-5, 8-2 (UK, Duke, Davidson, ISU, Mizzou)
Here's how the three teams' play out:
  • Mizzou plays Baylor in Columbia (W 89-88 in Waco), Kansas in Lawrence (W 74-71 in Columbia).
  • Baylor plays Mizzou in Columbia (L 88-89 in Waco), Kansas in Waco (L 72-94 in Lawrence).
  • Kansas plays Baylor in Waco (W 92-74 in Lawrence), Mizzou in Lawrence (L 71-74 in Columbia).
By the virtue of heads-up play, Mizzou is now 1st in the Big 12. They've defeated both Kansas and Baylor, and Kansas has beaten Baylor.

01 February 2012

2012 Signing Class

Mizzou football welcomes 2012 signing class
by Mizzou Matt
For most, today was just another day. February 1st. The day before Groundhog's Day. For the others- the sports freaks who eat, breathe, live, and die by ESPN and college athletics, today was much more than "just another day". Today was National Signing Day. Hundreds of recruits signed their letters of intent to play for 120 NCAA D-I (FBS) schools. The biggest catch of the day? Dorial Green-Beckham to Mizzou. But there were many more that slid under the radar, tucked away in the corner while America awaited the #1 recruit's decision. They may have gone largely unnoticed in the national spotlight, but they still deserve their credit.

Dorial Green-Beckham. 5-star, ESPN 150, #1 rated wide receiver from Hillcrest (MO), and many tout he's the #1 recruit in the nation. Holder of national high school receiving records.
Evan Boehm. A 4-star offensive lineman from Lees Summit West (MO), the #2 offensive guard overall, and a member of the ESPN 150 along with Beckham.
Maty Mauk. 4-star, quarterback from Kenton (OH). Mauk set Ohio state football passing records (breaking his older brother's records) en route to being named Ohio's "Mr. Football".
Torey Boozer. 3-star linebacker from Everman (TX).
Donavin Newsom. 4-star inside linebacker from Parkway North (MO).
Michael Scherer. 3-star linebacker from St. Louis.
Jordan Williams. 3-star offensive tackle from Denton, TX.
Ka'Ra Stewart. 3-star safety from O'Fallon, IL.
Morgan Steward. 3-star running back from Kansas City, MO.
Russell Hansbrough. 3-star running back from Arlington, TX.
Sean Culkin. 2-star tight end from Largo, FL.
Levi Copelin. 2-star safety (Mizzou lists him as a wide receiver) from Broken Arrow, OK.
Chaston Cuffee, Evan Winston, John Gibson, Rickey Hatley, Harold Brantley, Markus Golden, and Darius White round out the 21st-ranked recruiting class.

Still awaiting word on Ed Ray, a 3-star defensive tackle out of St. Louis, who is still listed as "committed" on Mizzou's ESPN website.

Updates will be passed along as they're received. "Like" Mizzou Nation on Facebook to stay up-to-date.

NATIONAL SIGNING DAY

Mizzou picks up new batch of Tigers
Maty Mauk, Edmund Ray, Evan Boehm, Morgan Steward, Donavin Newsom, Ka'Ra Stewart, Sean Culkin, Rick Hatley, Torey Boozer, Evan Winston, Levi Copelin, Michael Scherer.
QB Maty Mauk (Kenton, OH)
What do all those names have in common? They're all officially Mizzou Tigers. Boehm is an ESPN-150 recruit, Mauk is a record-setting quarterback, and all bring their own unique talents to the football field. There is one name that stands alone from that list, however. The #1 rated wide receiver and ESPN-150 recruit Dorial Green-Beckham. He needs no introduction. His record-setting season put him on the national map as far as recruiting goes. Mizzou, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma all made a push to get the receiver from Missouri's Hillcrest High School, but in the end...."I will be continuing my education and my athletic ability at the University of Missouri," said Green-Beckham, as he donned a Black & Gold Mizzou cap.
WR Dorial Green-Beckham (Hillcrest, MO)
Until recently, many experts believed he would be going to Arkansas, due to the close proximity of Fayetteville to the rest of DGB's family. Mizzou would have the last laugh, however, as over the weekend of January 28th, the Tigers hosted the Beckham family on Dorial's official visit. According to recruiting expert Pete Scantlebury and John Hoover of the Tulsa World, Mizzou made the jump to the top of DGB's list coming out of the visit. This morning's announcement completed the recruiting journey for Dorial, in what is being called the biggest recruiting pickup in Mizzou football history.

With Green-Beckham's announcement, Mizzou moves to #21 nationally in recruiting, picking up two ESPN-150 recruits.

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