21 March 2012

Border War Champions. Again.

Tigers clinch 6th-straight Border War Series Championship
by Mizzou Matt
COLUMBIA, MO- The rivalry has been around since the 1850s, but since the 2002-03 athletic season, the University of Missouri and Kansas University have battled for the Border War/Showdown Series Championship. The Tigers won the first, by a tally of 32-8.5. The two schools flipped-flopped the next three, trading back and forth, each winning by narrower margins than the first year. Since then, Mizzou has been unflappable and the Series trophy has resided in Mizzou Arena since 2006-07.

With the Tiger softball team's three game sweep of Kansas last weekend, the Tigers have clinched their 6th-straight Border War/Showdown Series, and their 8th overall. Holding a 21-4 lead, there are only 15 points remaining in the season.

The clinch is for what will likely be the final in the Border War/Showdown Series. Year-by-year results, since 2002-03 inception:
2011-12: Mizzou 21-4 (as of March 21, with 15 points remaining)
2010-11: Mizzou 23-16
2009-10: Mizzou 23-16.5
2008-09: Mizzou 23-17
2007-08: Mizzou 24-15
2006-07: Mizzou 25-14
2005-06: Kansas 23-17
2004-05: Mizzou 22.5-17.5
2003-04: Kansas 21.5-18.5
2002-03: Mizzou 32-8.5

Results table via mutigers.com
Day DATE EVENT LOCATION WINNER POSS.
PTS.
BONUS
PTS.
POINT
TOTALS
MU KU
Wed. Oct. 12 Volleyball Columbia, Mo. MU, 3-1 1.5
Fri. Oct. 21 Soccer Columbia, Mo. MU, 3-2 3.0
Sat. Oct. 29
Big 12 Championship
Men's Cross Country
College Station, Texas MU, 6th 1.0
Sat. Oct. 29
Big 12 Championship
Women's Cross Country
College Station, Texas MU, 4th 1.0
Wed. Nov. 2 Volleyball Lawrence, Kan. MU, 3-1 1.5
Fri. Nov. 11 Women's Swmming & Diving Lawrence, Kan. MU, 185-102 1.5
Sat. Nov. 26 Football Kansas City, Mo. MU, 24-10 3.0
Sun. Jan. 15 Women's Basketball Columbia, Mo. KU, 72-63 1.5
Sat. Feb. 4 Men's Basketball Columbia, Mo. MU, 74-71 1.5
Sat. Feb. 18 Women's Basketball Lawrence, Kan. MU, 70-65 1.5
Sat. Feb. 25 Men's Basketball Lawrence, Kan. KU, 87-86 (OT) 1.5
Fri.-Sat. Feb. 24-25
Big 12 Championship
Men's Indoor Track & Field
College Station, Texas MU, 8th 1.0
Fri.-Sat. Feb. 24-25
Big 12 Championship
Women's Indoor Track & Field
College Station, Texas KU, 3rd 1.0
Wed.-Sat. Feb. 22-25
Big 12 Championship
Women's Swimming & Diving
Columbia, Mo. MU, 3rd 1.5
Fri. Mar. 16 Softball Columbia, Mo. MU, 10-0 (6)
1.0
Sat. Mar. 17 Softball Columbia, Mo. MU, 5-0
1.0
Sun. Mar. 18 Softball Columbia, Mo. MU, 9-0 (6)
1.0
Fri. Apr. 13 Women's Tennis Columbia, Mo. 3.0
Thu.-Sun. Apr. 26-29
Big 12 Championship
Women's Tennis
Lubbock, Texas 0.5
Fri.-Sun. Apr. 27-29
Big 12 Championship
Men's Golf
Trinity, Texas 3.0
Fri.-Sun. Apr. 27-29
Big 12 Championship
Women's Golf
Lawrence, Kan. 3.0
Fri.-Sun. May 11-13
Big 12 Championship
Men's Outdoor Track & Field
Manhattan, Kan. 1.0
Fri.-Sun. May 11-13
Big 12 Championship
Women's Outdoor Track & Field
Manhattan, Kan. 1.0
Thu. May 17 Baseball Lawrence, Kan. 1.0
Fri. May 18 Baseball Lawrence, Kan. 1.0
Sat. May 19 Baseball Lawrence, Kan. 1.0
Wed.-Sun. May 23-27
Big 12 Championship
Baseball
Oklahoma City, Okla. 0.5
Mizzou clinches TOTALS 14.0 1.0 21.0 4.0

18 March 2012

Tigers Hunt for Goose Eggs

Tigers blank Jayhawks in three game set, baseball, tennis, women's swimming updates
by Mizzou Matt
COLUMBIA, MO- The University of Missouri softball team, which entered the 2012 campaign with a preseason rank of 5th nationally and 1st in the Big 12, posted 24 runs in three games over arch rival Kansas University. 24 runs, and the Jayhawks struggled to produce any offense whatsoever. The final, cumulative score was 24-0. Goose eggs across the board for KU as the Tigers, led by senior Chelsea Thomas, continued their quest for the Big 12 title on University Field.

Kansas, riding a 20-game win streak entering Friday's game, only managed seven hits in all three games. In game one, a 10-0 Tiger win, Thomas pitched 5.2 innings, only giving up one hit and striking out four. After game two was rained out and postponed to Sunday, the Tigers' offense kept rolling to a 5-0 shutout. Thomas again pitched 5.0 innings, with two hits, three walks and nine Ks. As for game three, the second of a Sunday double header, the Tigers didn't let up at all in their 9-0 win to complete the sweep. Danielle Nottelmann pitched a 6.0 inning, two hit, seven K game to win their 15th straight. The Tigers are now 20-3 overall and 3-0 in Big 12 league play.

BASEBALL
High Point came to Taylor Stadium to take on the Tiger baseball squad, who entered Friday's game on a nine-game win streak. The Tigers took every bit of the game to get past High Point as Ben Turner cranked a walkoff single in the 9th that brought in Blake Brown from second. Tigers win game one of the series, 8-7. Game two was a slightly more defensive showdown, though Brown hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning to help give the Tigers the 4-0 shutout. The win extended their streak to 11 games, their best since 2008. The winning pitcher, Blake Holovach, pitched the first complete game for the Tigers since Nick Tepesch in 2010, and the first complete game shutout since Kyle Gibson in 2009.

Game three was a streak-breaker, however. The Tigers fell to High Point 13-7 due in large part to a 7-0 lead after two innings. The Tigers (12-6) were led offensively by Brown again, as he drilled his sixth home run of the season and the fourth of this week alone.

TENNIS
The 56th-ranked Tiger tennis squad fell to the 8th-ranked Texas Longhorns, 5-2. Mizzou is now 5-6 overall and 0-2 in Big 12 conference play. The Longhorns on the other hand, improve to 9-4, 2-0.

W. SWIMMING
Mizzou women's swimming and diving finished 14th at the 2012 NCAA Championships. The Tigers' 98 points landed them their first top-15 finish in program history. Along with the record finish, seven new team records were set, and six were named as NCAA All Americans: Dominique Bouchard, Shara Stafford, Lisa Nathanson, Cassie Cunningham, and Emily Doucette all made 1st Team, while Amanda Masters' participation in the 400m medley earned her 2nd Team honors.

16 March 2012

A Day of Upsets

Mizzou downed by Norfolk State on Bracketbuster Friday
by Mizzou Matt
OMAHA, NE- 86-84 and a last second Phil Pressey shot that went off the short side of the rim. That's how Mizzou's season ended. 15-seed Norfolk State became just the sixth team in NCAA tournament history to knock off a 2-seed. The last time it happened was Hampton over Iowa State in 2001.

The Tigers were led by the Big 12's 6th Man of the Year Michael Dixon, who had 22 points. Two other Tigers netted 20- Marcus Denmon and Flip. Ratliffe chipped in a well-earned 14 of his own, while English struggled to get going, only scoring 2. Matt Pressey had 6.

The Spartans, on the other hand, were lights out. They also had three players with at least 20 points. Kyle O'Quinn led all scorers with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Chris McEachin and Pendarvis Williams had 20 each, respectively. Marcos Tamares was the fourth Spartan in double digits with 11.

Both teams appeared to have lived and died by the 3-pt shot. Mizzou shot an impressive 13/29, but Norfolk State was electric, shooting 10/19 from beyond the arc. During the regular season, the Spartans only averaged five 3s a game.

They were not alone in their upset, however, as Ohio defeated Michigan 65-60, a 13 over a 4. Lehigh had their time in the spotlight as they became the second 15-seed to knock off a 2 in the same day, a tournament first. Lehigh beat Duke 75-70. Purdue (10) topped Saint Mary's (7) and Show-Me State's own St. Louis Billikens defeated the Memphis Tigers. Mark Gottfried's 11-seed North Carolina State Wolfpack also upset the 6th-seeded San Diego State Aztecs. Yesterday, Colorado won over UNLV, an 11 over a 6, and 12-seed Virginia Commonwealth Rams played "shocker" over the 5-seed Wichita State Shockers.

What many experts called the "biggest upset in tournament history", Norfolk State over Mizzou, was quickly overshadowed by Lehigh over Duke, at least on the scale. Duke, former national champions and perennial NCAA powerhouses, loses to Lehigh. But if you were to watch ESPN, all they're talking about is the Spartans over the Tigers. What will it take to get the monkey off Mizzou's back?

Detroit defeating Kansas.

11 March 2012

The Grand Hoedown

Mizzou draws #2 in West
by Mizzou Matt
COLUMBIA, MO- The Big Dance, The Grand Hoedown, March Madness, or simply the NCAA Tournament. Whatever you choose to call it, it's here. A journey that started back in November will only take two more weeks to complete. At the end, one team will have that One Shining Moment.

With their successful 30-4 season and a Big 12 Championship, the University of Missouri hosted a watch party, and another excellent crowd showed up at Mizzou Arena for an event other than basketball or a concert. Much like when College GameDay sponsored by State Farm came to the University of Missouri, fans showed up in droves to find out where their Tigers would be seeded and who they would face in the first round of the NCAA National Tournament. They needn't wait long.

The Tigers will take on 15-seed Norfolk State in Omaha, NE on Friday.

Three of the four 1-seeds in the tournament lost their respective conference tournaments; Kentucky, Syracuse, and North Carolina. Michigan State, the fourth overall 1-seed is the only conference tournament champion in the bunch. Syracuse lost to Cincinnati in the Big East semifinals, Kentucky lost to Vanderbilt in the SEC championship game, and Florida State defeated North Carolina in the ACC Championship, while Michigan State defeated Ohio State in the Big Ten.

College basketball analyst Dick Vitale (@DickieV) has bought stock in Mizzou in this year's tourney. "My Final 4 UK-Mizzou-FL ST-UNC!"

Boos rang out in Mizzou Arena when Michigan State was announced as the fourth 1-seed, but a member of the student cheering section affectionately known as The Antlers held up a sign that read "#2 is Good Enough". "Faith in Haith" was on the latter side.

The Big 12 Tournament Champion Tigers took time before the CBS Selection Sunday broadcast for a special presentation. Kim English, Marcus Denmon, Steve Moore, and Jarrett Sutton all addressed the crowd.

"I just wanna thank my teammates and you guys, the fans," said English. "We may not have won the regular season, but we took care of business in Kansas City."

Coach Frank Haith also addressed the crowd. "We didn't get the regular season championship, but we gave it a heck of a run," he said. "We're not done yet. When I got here, I said I wanted to win and I wanted to cut down nets. We're not done. We still have six more wins to get."

Full tournament bracket can be found here:

10 March 2012

pHaith

30-4 in first year at Mizzou
by Mizzou Matt
Head coach Frank Haith at his introductory press conference, April 5th, 2011
COLUMBIA, MO- April 5th, 2011. "We are proud to announce Frank Haith as the 17th coach of the University of Missouri," said Tigers' Athletic Director Mike Alden to much criticism from fans and the media alike. What? How? Wait...huh? Who is this man you call Frank Haith?

Frank Haith, the man who took Miami to a .500 season in conference play a year ago, just took Mizzou to a 14-4 Big 12 record and a conference championship in his first season. Haith, who was named by ponzi schemer Nevin Schapiro in a "pay for play" scandal, turned around and took a group of guys with amazing potential and turned them into something great.

"This is the best team we've seen all year," said ESPN commentator Bobby Knight. "They have some of, if not the best guards in the country."

"If this Missouri team can keep up this kind of play, they're going to be scary good," added Brent Musberger in another broadcast.

Hundreds were jumping on the Mizzou bandwagon, though much of ESPN were not.

"I'm just not convinced that they can compete in this league," said analyst Doug Gottlieb, an Oklahoma State basketball alumni. "They're good, but they're not great."

All these were said before Mizzou's impressive conference tournament run that culminated in a championship, their second since league inception in 1996-97, and their final one before leaving for the SEC. But back to Haith.

April 5th:
"You lied to me, Mike. They don't love me just yet," said Frank at his introductory press conference. "I don't look at the negativity I'm hearing so far as a negative, I look at is as a positive because that's why I'm here. That's what I want. I want that passion because I want to win.

"I want to cut down nets."

Haith, 340 days later, at the Sprint Center in Kansas City
What did he just say? That's a bold statement from the new guy in town. That statement resonated around the league. His team had the potential, sure, though the guys are the remnants of the previous coach. Not once did Haith say that, however. Not once has he said "Wait til my guys get here." He has given credit where credit is due, and he's taken this team leaps and bounds above the league with his style of offense.

"Frank Haith is the best coach I've had in my four years here," said senior guard Kim English.

30-4. Let that sink in for a moment. Thirty wins. The last Mizzou team to win 30 games in a season was the last time they won the Big 12 championship- 2009 when they went 31-7. That's the ONLY other time they've passed the 30-win milestone in school history. That year they advanced to the Elite Eight, just the third Elite Eight appearance in program history.

While many teams would try to stop the Haith Train, only three would succeed. Oklahoma State upset the Tigers in Stillwater, Kansas State swept, and Kansas needed overtime to knock off Mizzou by a single point in Lawrence. Many said it was because of the weak strength of schedule that led to Haith's stellar first season. Many others will state it's one thing- the team.

Marcus Denmon finished second in the Big 12 in scoring. English was the team's best 3-pt shooter. Michael Dixon was the 6th Man of the Year. This team is so well rounded and so capable, it just needed a good system to take it somewhere. Step in Haith. He took what I liked to commonly refer to as "40 Minutes of Slop" and turned it into "40 Minutes of Awe". He took the same squad as last year, minus Justin Safford and losing Laurence Bowers to an ACL injury, and made them a team. After losing Bowers, he didn't panic. To my recollection, there has only been a couple of recorded jacket throws by Frank this season. Compare that to Anderson, who has recorded jacket throws in just about every game he's coached.

"I want to cut down nets," Frank said on April 5th, 2011. 340 days later, his wish came true on the floor of the Sprint Center in Kansas City. He went from wanting to doing. All he needed was a little pHaith.

Mizzou to Big 12: "S-E-C ya!"

Mizzou takes conference hardware as parting gift
by Mizzou Matt
KANSAS CITY, MO- For the second time in the Mizzou senior class' career, they found themselves facing Baylor for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament Championship. For the second time in their careers, they defeated Baylor for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament Championship. In 2009, they knocked off the Bears 73-60. Tonight, in front of a crowd heavily in favor of the Tigers, they walked away with a just as decisive 90-75 victory. The Tigers forced a turnover on Baylor's first possession, scored on their first possession, and never relinquished the lead.

Kim English, coming off a thigh contusion against Texas, jettisoned Mizzou (30-4) to their second Big 12 title with 19 points to lead all scorers. Ricardo Ratliffe fouled out with 4:04 to play, finished with 15 points. Marcus Denmon, who suffered through a rolled ankle against Texas and went 0/10 for 2 points, turned it around for 15 on 4/10 shooting, but a perfect 6/6 from the stripe. Phil "Flip" Pressey netted 15 of his own, while Michael Dixon, the 6th man yet again, contributed 17 off the bench. Matt Pressey and Steve Moore each chipped in 5 and 4 of their own, respectively, but Moore's statement dunk and a block on Baylor's next possession were huge as he replaced Ratliffe for the final 4:00 of the game. Jarrett Sutton, Andrew Jones and Andy Rosburg were not utilized in tonight's game.

Mizzou kept Baylor (27-7) at arm's length for most of the game, but after Ratliffe fouled out, the Bears started to claw their way back in, taking a 12 point deficit down to five. The parade of fouls to stop the clock are what did Baylor in toward the end, despite Flip missing the front end of consecutive 1-1's. Following those misses, Pressey nailed four straight to help clinch the win.

Perry Jones III led Baylor with 16, most of which came in the second half as he exploited Missouri's lack of height in the post. Brady Heslip, "The Canadian Sniper", scored 14 in the contest and Deuce Bello netted 13 off the bench. Pierre Jackson had 10, Quincy Acy with 7, Quincy Miller with 6, A.J. Walton scored 8 before fouling out late, and Anthony Jones scored a free throw to get into the stat book.

While Baylor struggled shooting, only 39.7% for the game, Mizzou torched the nylons for 53% (50% on the year) before cutting them down. The Tigers dominated in the 3-pt department, outshooting Baylor 42.9-26.3%. The Tigers also went 80% from the charity stripe.

In five games at the Sprint Center this season- Cal, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Baylor; the Tigers have gone an impressive 5-0, winning by a combined 115 points. The wins are highlighted even more so after Kansas University placed a billboard in Kansas City, emphasizing the first half of the city's name. Mizzou, however, had other plans.

After Baylor knocked Kansas out of the tourneys in the semifinals and later lost to Mizzou, Kim English had this to say: "This is OUR city. No one else's," poking fun at a comment Jayhawk head coach Bill Self said earlier this week.

"It's great. It's really great. Just...talk to the guys," said an emotional Frank Haith, who led the Tigers to their impressive year in just his first season. Haith will have coached in three different conferences in as many years starting next year as Mizzou makes the switch to the SEC.

Missouri's decisive victory raises some eyebrows, especially with three of Joe Lunardi's projected 1-seeds all losing in their respective conference tournaments. Kansas, Duke, and Syracuse were all knocked out of contention for the conference title, and it opens the door for teams like Missouri and Michigan State to move up in the brackets. Following in NC State's Mark Gottfried, English made a plea to ESPN's Lunardi...
Holly Rowe: "Kim, you analyze college basketball, what do you have to say about tonight's game?"
Kim English: "Joe Lunardi, make us a 1-seed."

The championship is just the icing on the cake for Mizzou, as fans started chanting "SEC! SEC! SEC!" with time winding down. After splitting the regular season with Kansas and having a stellar tournament performance, it was their championship to lose. They carried their momentum from game to game, and capped it off with something that will likely linger as a bad taste in the remaining Big 12's collective mouth.

Thanks for the trophy, Chuck [Neinas], now if you'll excuse us...hello Mark Slive.

Big 12 Tourney: Semifinals

Mizzou, Baylor set for rematch
by Mizzou Matt
KANSAS CITY, MO- The semis were filled with excitement as Baylor took on Kansas and Mizzou took on Texas. However, the big game is set. The Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament final will feature a rematch from the 2009 game between the University of Missouri Tigers and the Baylor University Bears. The Tigers won the '09 meeting, 73-60. The game will be a test, considering how tough it is to beat a team three times in a season, plus given the fact that the Bears knocked off top-seeded Kansas.

GAME 1: For the second time since 2008, Baylor upsets the top-seeded Jayhawks 81-72 to advance to the finals. Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor led all scorers with 20 points while Perry Jones III led Baylor with 18. Baylor moves to 27-6 on the year with the win, and Kansas' season comes to a close until the national tournament with a final record of 27-6. 

The Bears do have history stacked against them, however. No Texas-based team has won ever won the Big 12 basketball hardware since the league's inception in the 1996-97 season. The winners of the tournament (defeated):
1997: Kansas (Missouri)
1998: Kansas (Oklahoma)
1999: Kansas (Oklahoma State)
2000: Iowa State (Oklahoma)
2001: Oklahoma (Texas)
2002: Oklahoma (Kansas)
2003: Oklahoma (Missouri)
2004: Oklahoma State (Texas)
2005: Oklahoma State (Texas Tech)
2006: Kansas (Texas)
2007: Kansas (Texas)
2008: Kansas (Texas)
2009: Missouri (Baylor)
2010: Kansas (Kansas State)
2011: Kansas (Texas)

GAME 2: After upsetting Iowa State and co-coach of the year Fred Hoidberg, Rick Barnes took on his protege Frank Haith. Haith served as an assistant from 2001-2004 before going to Coral Gables to coach the Miami Hurricanes. Enough background, it's game time. The Tigers got off to a sluggish start...except Phil Pressey and Kim English. English and Pressey would combine for 46 points before the game was over. Held to just a seven point advantage at the half, the Tigers erupted to an 81-67 victory.

A scary moment in the game for the Longhorns when J'Covan Brown went down hard, holding the right side of his neck. He laid on the floor before being helped off, only to return a few minutes later.  Later on in the second half, the Tigers had their chance at a scare when English went down to a contusion on his thigh after inadvertent contact.

English finished the night 9/10, his only miss was after his injury. Pressey went 8/13 and had 4 assists. The story of the night was Marcus Denmon. 2 points, NO FIELD GOALS. Both of Denmon's points came on his two free throw attempts. Michael Dixon earned the 6th man of the game with his 10 points coming off the bench, while Ricardo Ratliffe tossed in 18 of his own.

Mizzou improves to 29-4 on the year, while Texas drops to 20-13, and will await to see where they will be placed in the field of 68 for the national tournament.

08 March 2012

Big 12 Tourney: Quarterfinals

Mizzou, Baylor, Kansas all advance
by Mizzou Matt
KANSAS CITY, MO- Last night, it was Oklahoma versus Texas A&M and Oklahoma State facing Texas Tech. TAMU and OKST both advanced to the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament in the Sprint Center. Today's quarterfinal match-ups were entertaining to say the least.

Baylor and Kansas State kicked it off this morning as the 4- and 5-seeds in the conference tournament. The Bears (26-6) were sporting their neon yellow uniforms and walked away with a 82-74 win over Frank Martin's Wildcats (21-10). Perry Jones III led all scorers with a career-high 31.

Top-seeded Kansas took on Texas A&M in game number two. Kansas (27-5), ranked 3rd nationally in the most recent poll, advances to take on Baylor in the next round with a 83-66 win over the Aggies (14-18). Elijah Johnson led the Jayhawks with a career-high 26 while Khris Middleton scored 24 to lead Texas A&M.

Game three featured 2-seed and 5th-ranked Mizzou and Oklahoma State. During the regular season, the Tigers (28-4) split the games with the Cowboys (15-18), losing in Stillwater and winning decisively in Columbia. On the neutral floor, it was still no contest. The Tigers used a 21-6 first half run to open up the game en route to a 88-70 victory. Kim English led all scorers with 27 and Marcus Denmon tallied 24 of his own. Their career totals climb as a result, putting English at 1,526 career points and Denmon to 1,738. Denmon needs 21 points to tie Arthur Johnson for fifth on Mizzou's all-time list, and 98 to tie Steve Stipanovich for fourth. Mizzou will face the winner of Iowa State and Texas, the fourth and final game of the night.

Three-seed Iowa State, led by co-coach of the year Fred Hoidberg, takes on Rick Barnes' Texas Longhorns in the final game of the evening. The Cyclones are led offensively by "Rolls" Royce White, while the Longhorns have J'Covan Brown.

05 March 2012

AP, Big 12 Honors

Frank Haith named Coach of the Year
by Mizzou Matt
COLUMBIA, MO- The Big 12 and Associated Press released their yearly accolades for the basketball portion of the academic year. It's really no surprise who won the National Coach of the Year. The University of Missouri's own Frank Haith. Haith wins the national award despite finishing behind Iowa State's Fred Hoidberg and Kansas University's Bill Self in Big 12 Conference voting.

"[Fred] Hoiberg wins coaching accolades after leading the Cyclones to the greatest turnaround in Big 12 history. Iowa State won nine more games than a year ago and earned the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 Championship. [Bill] Self is named top coach for the third time in the last four seasons and fourth time overall after leading KU to its eighth consecutive Big 12 regular season crown," cites big12sports.com on the reasoning behind Haith's exclusion from the voting.

The Tigers' awards didn't stop there. Michael Dixon, Jr was named the unanimous Big 12 "6th Man of the Year", averaging 13.3 points in 31 games off the bench. Down the stretch, he finished in double digits in 10 games, and shot an astounding 57% or better in seven games. Dixon becomes the second Tiger to win the award. Dixon also earned a spot on the All-Big 12 Defensive Team.

Marcus Denmon was awarded with All-Big 12 First Team honors. He joins Thomas Robinson of Kansas, "Rolls" Royce White of Iowa State, Tyshawn Taylor of Kansas, and J'Covan Brown of Texas.

Ricardo Ratliffe made All-Big 12 Second Team along with Quincy Acy of Baylor, Pierre Jackson of Baylor, Rodney McGruder of Kansas State, and Keiton Page of Oklahoma State.

Phil Pressey and Kim English earned All-Big 12 Third Team honors alongside Perry Jones III of Baylor, Scott Christopherson of Iowa State, and Jeff Withey of Kansas.

03 March 2012

2012 Big 12 Champs

Wrestling brings home first conference championship
by Mizzou Matt
COLUMBIA, MO- The Big 12 wrestling championships were in the Tigers' backyard- the Hearnes Center. It was fitting that the last year in the Big 12 conference is the first year Mizzou won a conference championship. Making it even better is the fact it was on our home floor.

Volunteer asst. coach Joe Johnston with Big XII trophy.
"It is an accomplishment of so many people though that put some put effort in," said head coach Brian Smith. "I thank all the wrestlers that wrestled for me and all the people that donate to the program and make it get to where it is, all the trainers and doctors, there are so many people.  I am just really, really proud of everybody.  This team did an amazing job today."

Alan Waters, top seed at 125, won his match to get Mizzou started. Drake Houdashelt added another Mizzou win over OU's Nick Lester. The biggest win of the tournament for the Tigers was Zach Toal's upset over ISU's Andrew Sorensen..the top seed in the tournament and fourth nationally.

The final team standings:
1. MIZZOU- 77.0
2. Oklahoma- 73.0
3. Oklahoma State- 56.0
4. Iowa State- 21.0

Game 31: Mizzou @ Texas Tech

Season finale on the road
by Mizzou Matt
LUBBOCK, TX- The University of Missouri basketball team has already accomplished a lot this season. They've matched their 2nd-best start in program history at 17-1. They've made it to the top-2 in the country. They've won more conference games than any other team in program history, and with a win today, they will have more regular season wins than any other team in program history.

That's right. #7/8 Mizzou (26-4, 13-4) is just one win away from setting a new school record for wins in a regular season with 27.

Texas Tech kept the game close in the first half, keeping the deficit to four 32-28 at the break. A strong start to the second half by the Tigers catapulted them to an 18-pt, 58-40 with about 12:00 to play, their largest lead of the game. The Raiders kept Mizzou's leading scorer Marcus Denmon scoreless longer than any other team this year. For the entire first half, Marcus Denmon went 0/4 and no points. The Tigers were carried by Matt Pressey and Kim English in the first half, but in the second half, Denmon exploded on offense, scoring all 17 of his points in the final 20 minutes. By the time the game finished, Mizzou (15-pt favorites) would lead by as much as 22. Final score in Lubbock: 81-59. Mizzou improves to a school-record 27-4, 14-4 on the season, and will face the winner of Wednesday's Big 12 Championship 1st round game between Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.

Final stats: English finishes with 20, Denmon exploded for 17 in the 2nd half, M. Pressey finished with 14, Ratliffe and Dixon with 13 each. Flip and Moore had 3 and 1 point, respectively. Tigers set a season-high on 3s, going 16/27 (.593) and shot 27/53 (.509) from the floor.

At one point in the game, Ricardo Ratliffe had as many rebounds by himself as the Red Raiders had as a team. Ratliffe recorded a double-double on the night.

The Tigers carry a distinct advantage over Texas Tech that the Raiders will carry over another team in the next four years- experience. Mizzou has 135 minutes played by their leading seniors of Denmon, English, Pressey, Ratliffe, and Steve Moore. By contrast, Texas Tech has 165 minutes by freshmen.

Tigers on the Diamond

Baseball, softball update
by Mizzou Matt
The University of Missouri baseball and softball teams come a little closer to home after starting the season on a road trip. After taking two of three at Auburn, the baseball team lost three straight in San Francisco. The Tigers (2-5) are home for the first time this season to start off a home stand against Ball State. Game one of the three game set was held on Friday, March, 2nd, a 5-2 Tiger loss.

Softball (6-3) started off their season in Troy, AL and Palm Springs, CA. This weekend the squad is in Kansas City this weekend for the Coaches vs Cancer Tournament before coming home to Columbia next weekend for the DeMartini Invitation against Alcorn State, Boise State and Northern Illinois.

Pigeon-toed

Women's head coach offered extension
by Mizzou Matt
COLUMBIA, MO- Mizzou women's basketball head coach Robin Pingeton is in her second year at the reigns of the program after being hired to replace Cindy Stein, and she's already being offered a second contract extension.

"We are excited to extend Robin's contract," said Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden. "She and her staff have continued to take the program in the right direction on the court, in the classroom and out in the community. They know how to build a program the right way and we're excited about the future of Mizzou women's basketball and thankful to have Robin as a representative of the Athletic Department and the entire University of Missouri."

Pingeton, who was named head coach on April 8th, 2010, will see her current contract expire on April 8th, 2016. The proposed extension will keep her on the MU sidelines through the 2017 season. 

"I am extremely grateful and appreciative of Mike Alden and the administrators at Missouri for having the confidence in me and my staff to lead the Missouri Women's Basketball team and for having the confidence to extend my contract for another year," said Pingeton.

Coach Pingeton also served at St. Ambrose from 1992-2000 where she amassed a 194-76 record, and at Illinois State from 2003-10, where she went 144-81 overall. In her two years at Mizzou, she has accumulated a 13-18, 5-11 record in 2010-11 and a 12-16, 2-15 record in 2011-12, prior to Saturday's season finale in Stillwater, OK.

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