Twice as nice: LSU lands pledge from Texas RB, 2nd 4-star commitment of day – Saturday Down South

Twice as nice: LSU lands pledge from Texas RB, 2nd 4-star commitment of day  Saturday Down South

category: Uncategorized

World of college football reacts to tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter in helicopter crash – NBCSports.com

World of college football reacts to tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter in helicopter crash  NBCSports.com

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2020 Notre Dame signee arrested on burglary charges, no longer welcome as part of Fighting Irish football team – NBCSports.com

2020 Notre Dame signee arrested on burglary charges, no longer welcome as part of Fighting Irish football team  NBCSports.com

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Study Hall: West Virginia 74, Mizzou 51

study hall 2020

I can’t imagine many people have pleasant trips to Morgantown, and even moreso when you have to play the Mountaineers.

Easy digs against the good folks of West Virginia aside, yesterday didn’t go well. Namely, there was a segment of about six minutes of game action where West Virginia went from a team threatened by a scrappy underdog on the early card at home, to one running away in a blowout.

It happened fast, too. In a landslide of poor possessions, and an inability to steal a possession or two to keep your head above water, Mizzou went from a single point deficit to behind 22 points. Let’s relive the pain, shall we? Here’s how it all happened (these are strictly the Missouri possessions):

So that’s 12 possessions, six missed threes, four turnovers, two unsuccessful attempts at the rim, and zero points. West Virginia got 9 points off turnovers during the streak, and 10 points off second chance points. Some of those points overlapped, but going into the game we knew what sort of team West Virginia was. They thrived on second chance points and easy baskets, and they took Missouri’s early punch and then laid them up with a technical knock out.

From then on, the margin ebbed and flowed. It ballooned to as big 29 points before a Torrence Watson flurry trimmed it back to 23 at the end. But that six minute stretch was the deciding factor. Mizzou had 12 possessions, West Virginia 13. The Tigers scored zero points, the Mountaineers scored 21.

Team Stats

study hall west virginia 2020

For a while it looked like West Virginia, a team who likes to muck it up, and Missouri, another team who likes to muck it up, would muck each other up enough to have an ugly, somewhat close game. I still expected WVU to win the game, but after the first half the thought seeped into my head... ‘Maybe they can keep this close.’

  • You knew it would be a brutal day on the glass, but this... -9.1 is quite a number. Mizzou has given up 41% a few times (Butler, Oklahoma, Florida), but 51.2% is a crushing number. On the year Mizzou is giving up 28%, WVU usually grabs about 40% (they actually rank first in the country). The Tigers are an average defensive rebounding team actually, but you don’t expect them to get crushed like they did.
  • 3FG% - basically even, FT% - basically even: but we need to talk about 2FG now. I’m sorry. But the Tigers were +7 on 3s and FTs. But the Tigers were -30 from inside the arc. That’s minus 15 made baskets.

So it would appear West Virginia basically just West Virginia’d Missouri by crushing the glass, forcing turnovers, and making the Tigers’ life miserable inside the arc.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: Torrence Watson, Kobe Brown, Axel Okongo

study hall west virginia 2020

On the season: Dru Smith 29 points, Mark Smith 23 points, Jeremiah Tilmon 15 points, Kobe Brown 14 points, Javon Pickett 12 points, Mitchell Smith 7 points, Xavier Pinson 6 points, Torrence Watson 6 points, Tray Jackson 2 points, Reed Nikko 1 point, Parker Braun 1 point, Axel Okongo 1 point

This is how bad it was. Axel Okongo, bless him, played eight nearly non-existent minutes, but because he didn’t do anything bad, he snuck into the trifecta. He had a dunk for his first career points, and that was enough.

Kobe Brown only played 14 minutes, but a single made three, a few rebounds and an assist got him into a clear second.

And if there’s a hope, though it clearly didn’t work the last time around, but Torrence Watson’s torrid finish to the game against an assortment of walk-ons might be enough to get him back onto the right track. He’s made two other trifectas (Chicago St, Oklahoma), but neither has catapulted him into the consistency we hoped for after the way he finished the season last year. But if we’re being honest, 14 of his points came within the last 6:30 of the game. And he hit three 3-pointers within the final 2:02. Cleaning up in mop up time isn’t normally the recipe you use to get right. Maybe it is.

study hall west virginia 2020

These are all ugly too.

It was nice to see Tray Jackson out there. And we were able to see some productivity in the last eight minutes of the first half, when Mizzou outscored WVU 17-4.

For 2:30, Cuonzo Martin ran with an unusual lineup and it made a dent. Pinson-Watson-Brown-Nikko together went on a 7-0 run. The unconventional lineup worked because it increased Missouri’s strength on the glass, and they were able to get a couple made threes from Watson and Brown.

Of all the matchups in the challenge, this was always going to be the toughest for Missouri to pull off.

The good news is— the rest of the SEC managed to tread water in the matchup against the Big 12:

  • Auburn 80, Iowa State 76
  • LSU 69, Texas 67
  • Oklahoma 63, Mississippi State 62
  • Kansas 74, Tennessee 68
  • Oklahoma State 73, Texas A&M 62
  • Arkansas 78, TCU 67
  • Kentucky 76, Texas Tech 74
  • Alabama 77, Kansas State 74
  • Baylor 72, Florida 61

I like the series, I like that it’s in late January, but I wish they could be better about the matchups. If you look at the KenPom ratings of the matchups, only Kentucky-TTU and Oklahoma-Mississippi State were within 10 spots of each other. There were still a few close games, but the intrigue left a lot to be desired.

Part of the issue is the overall quality of teams this year. Both the Big 12 and SEC just aren’t as deep as they’ve been in recently years. The SEC’s challenge of occasionally leaving out some of their better teams didn’t happen this year. Missouri was the lowest rated team in the mix, and of the teams left out everyone is rated below the Tigers. So the SEC got the top 10 teams this year.


category: Uncategorized

Missouri secures commitment from VA Tech grad transfer – Rock M Nation

Missouri secures commitment from VA Tech grad transfer  Rock M Nation

category: Uncategorized

Missouri secures commitment from VA Tech grad transfer

This is Missouri’s 14th commitment of the 2020 class.

While Mizzou Twitter was in the dumps after another loss by the men’s basketball team, this time to West Virginia, on Saturday, the football team had something brewing.

Damon Hazelton Jr. first Tweeted a picture with Missouri graphics, then followed it up about 30 minutes later with the single word, “Committed!” which means Eliah Drinkwitz just nailed down a graduate transfer receiver from Virginia Tech.

Hazelton started his career at Ball State, where he caught 51 passes for 505 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman in 2016. He transferred to Virginia Tech after that season, and transfer rules forced him to sit out 2017. In the next two seasons with the Hokies, he caught 82 passes for 1,329 yards and 16 touchdowns over 22 games, including a team-high eight receiving touchdowns in 2019.

When Jonathan Nance and Kelly Bryant came to Missouri as grad transfers last season, they were able to play right away, just like most grad transfers. However, as The Athletic’s Andy Bitter reported on Jan. 17, because Hazelton has already transferred once in his college career, NCAA rules may still force him to apply for an immediate eligibility waiver.

Either way, with Hazelton’s commitment, Drinkwitz’s promise to add “touchdown-makers” looks to be coming to fruition.

Get to know: Damon Hazelton Jr.

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

High School: Franklin High School

Position: WR

Ht/Wt: 6-2/215

Rivals Ranking: 2-star, 5.3

247Composite Ranking: 2-star, .79

Total announced offers: Five

Offers to note: Ball State

What they’re saying:


category: Uncategorized

Mizzou lands commitment from graduate transfer WR from Virginia Tech – Saturday Down South

Mizzou lands commitment from graduate transfer WR from Virginia Tech  Saturday Down South

category: Uncategorized

Mizzou lands commitment from graduate transfer WR from Virginia Tech – Saturday Down South

Mizzou lands commitment from graduate transfer WR from Virginia Tech  Saturday Down South

category: Uncategorized

WATCH: West Virginia Mountaineers – Missouri Tigers Highlights, Interviews – Blue Gold News

WATCH: West Virginia Mountaineers – Missouri Tigers Highlights, Interviews  Blue Gold News

category: Uncategorized

WATCH: West Virginia Mountaineers – Missouri Tigers Highlights, Interviews – Blue Gold News

WATCH: West Virginia Mountaineers – Missouri Tigers Highlights, Interviews  Blue Gold News

category: Uncategorized

Country Woes

Photo courtesy of Mizzou Athletics

Missouri blown away by West Virginia in Morgantown.

When a team seems to be so competitive in a game, only for it to end in a blowout loss, it results in plenty of reactions, chief among them confusion.

Missouri SEEMED to be competing with West Virginia in the first half Saturday in Morgantown, going into halftime trailing 24-23, despite neither team being able to hit the broadside of a barn.

Down by one in Morgantown. You take that every time.

When you look at how the second half played out, you begin to understand. West Virginia was always in control, but for an end of the first half stretch that allowed Missouri to briefly come back.

The Mountaineers then embarked on a brutally dominant stretch in the second half, outscoring Missouri 21-0 at one point. Ballgame.

Mitchell Smith made a second-chance layup to keep Missouri within one with 18:45 left in the game. The Tigers did not score for the next six minutes. The drought was mercifully ended by an Axel Okungo dunk.

Missouri needed to shoot well from three to have a chance at pulling the upset in perhaps its toughest road test of the year. It did not do that, going just 7-26 from deep.

Torrence Watson was the lone bright spot for the Tigers on what turned out to be a dark afternoon. The sophomore from St. Louis finished with 19 points, hitting 5-8 three pointers. If it wasn’t for him, this would have been an even bigger mess, as hard as that is to believe.

The next-highest scoring outputs for Missouri were six point performances from Xavier Pinson and Kobe Brown.

The box score is full of distressing stats, including Missouri going 4-15 in layup attempts. Outside of Watson, Missouri made just two three pointers, and it needs those to fall going forward to have a chance most nights in the SEC.

The loss drops Missouri to below .500, at 9-10 overall. It’s first time back in the Big 12/SEC Challenge was as big of a disaster as its last one, a blowout loss in Norman, Oklahoma back in 2014.


category: Uncategorized

Contract details emerge for key Arkansas assistants – Saturday Down South

Contract details emerge for key Arkansas assistants  Saturday Down South

category: Uncategorized

GAME THREAD: Mizzou visits West Virginia

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers need a pick-me-up, and a win over the Mountaineers would be just that.

Live updates, analysis

15:53 1H: Missouri has fallen behind 8-2 at the first media timeout. The common theme of almost every first half is the Tigers’ struggling to score, and we’re seeing that tonight. Mitchell Smith has missed a couple of decent looks from deep, and the Mountaineers haven’t allowed anything besides a Reed Nikko turnaround jumper to fall.

Pregame

As Josh pointed out in his preview (linked below), West Virginia is arguably the best team Missouri has on its schedule. The Mountaineers are always a solid defensive squad, but this year’s squad is particularly stingy.

The Tigers are definitely having a disappointing season overall, but they’ve shown a penchant to play up to better competition. They almost took out Xavier on the road, hung with Kentucky for roughly three quarters and obviously their win over Illinois looks better and better everyday.

If Missouri can play to that level against West Virginia, the Tigers will give themselves a shot against one of the country’s elite teams.

Hoops Preview: West Virginia is probably the best team Missouri will face this season

The Details

Opponent: West Virginia Mountaineers (15-3)

Time: 11:00 a.m. CT

Where: WVU Coliseum, Morgantown WV

Is Mizzou Receiving Top 25 Votes? Not this time

What Does Vegas Say? WVU, -12.5

Where To Watch: ESPN | WatchESPN

Radio: Tiger Radio Network // Sirius/XM -119/199

Twitter: @MizzouHoops

Facebook: Mizzou Men’s Basketball

  • If you’re looking to sign up for ESPN+, Rock M Nation now has an affiliate link: click Here for ESPN+ Now! (** RockMNation has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though RockMNation may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.**)

Five Questions!

  1. Which Smith ends up with the most points (and how many points does he score)?
  2. Over/under 4.5 3-pointers for Mark Smith?
  3. Who leads the team in rebounds?
  4. Who is your trifecta for the game?
  5. What will the final score be?

category: Uncategorized

Mizzou football: 4 most critical position battles for 2020 – Saturday Down South

Mizzou football: 4 most critical position battles for 2020  Saturday Down South

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Texas Football: 4-Star RB target Kevontre Bradford leaning to LSU – Hook ‘Em Headlines

Texas Football: 4-Star RB target Kevontre Bradford leaning to LSU  Hook 'Em Headlines

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Texas Football: 4-Star RB target Kevontre Bradford leaning to LSU – Hook ‘Em Headlines

Texas Football: 4-Star RB target Kevontre Bradford leaning to LSU  Hook 'Em Headlines

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Missouri vs West Virginia basketball SEC-Big 12 GameDay: info, where to watch, predictions

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

What’s the best way to break out of a slump? Why, head to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on a top 10 team in the Mountaineers, of course!

If you’re not hopeful about the Tigers capturing a win today in Morgantown, I’d hardly find fault with it. Missouri is slumping offensively, and you’re playing on the road against one of the best and most physical defenses in the country.

But if there’s one thing you expect is Mizzou to be prepared and to play hard. They’ve been this way since Cuonzo Martin stepped on campus, but they just need to start finding some more wins.

Missouri is 9-9 overall, their opponent the West Virginia Mountaineers are 15-3 overall.

Missouri-West Virginia Hoops: Time, Location

TIME: 11:00 a.m. CT

DATE: Saturday, Jan 15, 2020

LOCATION: WVU Coliseum; Morgantown, WV

Missouri-West Virginia Hoops: Follow the game, TV Channel

TELEVISION: ESPN

STREAM: WatchESPN

TWITTER: @MizzouHoops

FACEBOOK: Mizzou Men’s Basketball

ESPN+: ROCKMNATION

Missouri-West Virginia Basketball: Betting odds, predictions

As of Friday evening, West Virginia is a 12.5-point favorite over Missouri, according to VegasInsider.com. The total points (over/under) is 134.5. KenPom.com has 6th rated Mountaineers as a 14 point favorite over the 86th rated Missouri Tigers, 73 - 59.

Read the Preview: West Virginia is probably the best team Missouri will face this season

kenpom preview west virginia 2020

The rest of the Big 12-SEC Challenge

  • 11:00 am - Iowa State at Auburn (AUB +8.5)
  • 1:00 pm - LSU at Texas (LSU +1.5)
  • 1:00 pm - Mississippi State at Oklahoma (OU +1.5)
  • 3:00 pm - Tennessee at Kansas (KU +13.5)
  • 3:00 pm - Oklahoma State at Texas A&M (OSU +2.5)
  • 3:00 pm - TCU at Arkansas (ARK +6.5)
  • 5:00 pm - Kentucky at Texas Tech (TTU +4.0)
  • 5:00 pm - Kansas State at Alabama (ALA +7.5)
  • 7:00 pm - Baylor at Florida (FL +2)

RockMNation has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though RockMNation may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.


category: Uncategorized

Remembering that day Chiefs’ Dave Toub, then with Mizzou, stared down the buffalo – Kansas City Star

Remembering that day Chiefs’ Dave Toub, then with Mizzou, stared down the buffalo  Kansas City Star

category: Uncategorized

PODCAST: Mizzou Basketball isn’t making shots

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Dive Cuts with Sam Snelling and Matthew Harris returns dissecting Mizzou Basketball

Welcome back to another episode of Dive Cuts! Sam and Matt are here to talk all things Mizzou Basketball. They recap, as always, the week that was and the week ahead. The game Saturday against WVU might be a struggle given what we have seen lately from both teams, but there are games next week against Georgia and South Carolina to preview as well!

They also discuss the McKinney transfer news and the roster outlook as it relates to scholarships and what is new on that front. Let’s Dive In.

Episode Breakdown:

1:15 - 9:25: Our Fair Tigers are 1-5 in SEC play and 9-9 overall. Not ideal. Matthew Harris is pleading with Bob Huggins to take it easy on Mizzou this weekend in the Big XII/SEC Challenge. What can we do with this losing streak Mizzou is on? Sam dives into the negative energy that surrounds Mizzou Basketball that he really tries to steer clear of, especially on Twitter. The Tigers aren’t that far off of 12-6 / 2-4. The difference, according to Matt, is another made free throw, or another three-pointer, or a good ball screen. That’s it. Watching Mizzou, you can see what it is they’re trying to do (you can!).

9:26 - 16:38: So what’s the issue if we know the blueprint? The sophomores, for one. Before the season, our hosts talked about about how Mizzou should be in the higher part of the “soft” middle of the SEC. It will be interesting to watch this team down the stretch. Disappointed in his performance at times or not, a healthy Tilmon would likely help some of these outcomes change, but the one thing holding Mizzou back is a reliable wing that can score the ball. Mizzou needs a reliable wing, and we can tell from the current roster construction who’s NOT that guy. A certain relative of someone on staff could really help with this, or finding someone who can be built into this. Let’s talk Torrence Watson. Based on what you saw from him in high school, despite him playing against lower competition, we were cautiously optimistic for some development between his freshman and sophomore years, but he’s really stagnated.

16:39 - 35:11: Last week, the pod neglected to talk Mario McKinney, Jr and his transfer (whoops). BUT, let’s talk McKinney and the roster construction now! As mentioned earlier, Mizzou needs a wing! So where can they find said wing? Sam and Matt take VERY deep dive into Mizzou’s roster (play Trae!) and who they can perhaps target. Matt & Sam are both pro-transfer, but not in Muss’ sense of extreme transfer roster construction. No matter what happens, this roster definitely needs more of a spark.

35:12 - 41:35: Big sigh. Mizzou is now 85th in KenPom. There are not a whole lot of easy ways to climb out of that ranking. They are predicted to have a 14-point difference in KenPom. Is there a silver lining to look at in regards to this West Virginia game? Moving on from that likely loss, let’s look at what’s ahead for the Mizzou Tigers. Looking ahead to Georgia, South Carolina murderball, and Texas A&M. Rally for Rhyan is February 8 against Arkansas, and the Tigers remain unbeaten in this game. (knocks on wood)

41:36 - END: Final thoughts! We’ve ventured into what seems to be a now-weekly venture into Sam’s food choices (who knew we needed this content?), and Matt gets on board recommending some bourbon, that you should keep by your side on Saturday as a coping mechanism. At some point, y’all, it WILL get better. It’s still not as bad as it was during the Kim Anderson era! And we’ll see you next week!

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category: Uncategorized

Free throw psychology- a deeeep dive

Missouri v Xavier Dru Smith, excellent FT shooter | Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

In Josh’s preview of West Virginia game this morning, he mentioned one the few weaknesses of the Mountaineers.

The Mountaineers have one glaring weakness on defense — their propensity to foul. Luckily, this plays into Missouri’s only strength as of late. The Tigers are currently the SEC’s best free throw shooting team, and enough trips to the line could keep them reasonably within striking distance. If the Tigers continue their offensive strategy of getting to the rim and hoping for contact, West Virginia is liable to put them on the line and give Mizzou a chance to rack up free points.

So, if Mizzou is going to have any shot at all of keeping this close or even pulling out a win, playing to their strengths by attacking and drawing contact is the answer. (besides, of course, making other shots, too)

I was glad that Josh mentioned this factoid, because if you checked out my links earlier this morning, I touched on a fascinating piece by Missourian writer, Brian Napier, about the Tigers’ recent D-I record for consecutive made free throws. As he pointed out, usually hitting free throws consistently means winning basketball. He referenced a 2007 study in the International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport that analyzed performance factors that decided the results of basketball games, and found 3-pointers (I see you, Alabama), made free throws, and defensive rebounds most commonly led to wins.

Examining just the free throw aspect here, how does a player become a successful free throw shooter? While I didn’t get into the whole sports psychology of it all in my links, I’d like to do a bit more of a deep (deeeep) dive here.

In a 2013 Bleacher Report piece on Butler’s successful run deep into the NCAA tournament, Dr. Chris Carr, Coordinator of Sport & Performance Psychology at St. Vincent’s Sports Performance in Indianapolis, said that successful free throw shooting ultimately comes down to three things: concentration, composure, and confidence. So how do players keep these factors in check while at the line? One way is to have a routine, a way to control the stimuli. Sometimes they look ridiculous, over-complex, and seem to go on forever, as a 2013 article by Salt City Hoops referenced.

However, Dr. Carr said, there is great power in a routine, no matter how absurd.

“A routine gets a player to an optimal focus,” Dr. Carr explained. “It should be a maneuver that connects him and disconnects him at the same time... It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it gets the player to the right place. It takes him from this situation to the one where he is in control, where he has practiced it countless times, to where he is in control.”

Just for fun, in the video below, a number of NBA players were asked about the most memorable free throw routines they’d seen, and you’ll see one Jerry Stackhouse mentioned— yes, that Jerry Stackhouse— Vanderbilt’s new head coach.

As for the other factors, a 2009 article in the Journal of Clinical Sports Psychology studied various members of three different D-I teams, and their results suggested that a combination of mindfulness, skill (practice free throw percentage), and competitive experience all contributed to a player’s success at the charity stripe.

The mindfulness is key, as it relates directly to the routine mentioned earlier. From the article:

The mental state of an athlete before and during competition is as a decisive outcome factor in competitive athletics, so athletes often develop routines to aid in the mental preparation for competitive performance, and research has indicated that athletes who used preperformance routines are better able to overcome adversity and distraction.

All of this is basically to say, an athlete needs to have strong mind to block out the outside factors that may be going on, and whatever they can do to keep that noise out of their heads directly impacts their success. It also doesn’t hurt if the players are a bit older— perhaps Mitch and Dru being a juniors with significant competitive experience at this level helps. Mitch’s first miss of the YEAR, after all, was in the waning minutes of that A&M game, and research tells us that the environment had nothing to do with it as long as his mind was in order.

My links (and Napier’s post) lightly referenced this, but Dru (12-12 during the streak, 90.4% overall), Mitch (9-9, 94.4%), and X (9-9, 80.4%) are the most productive free throw shooters the Tigers have while JT is on the mend. Trae, though only a freshman, has a high percentage (92.3%), but he doesn’t get to the line much (0.9 per game) or play much, and Mark, though he averages 2.5 shots per game, has a percentage (73.3%) amongst the worst on the team.

Based on this information, perhaps the remedy going forward is to make sure the big three (Dru, Mitch, & X) are given ample chances to attack and draw contact. Attacking oftentimes can also open up the defense for 3-point shooters, which Mark happens to excel at (on most nights). Oh, and just play Trae more, since we know he is capable.

As the Tigers currently sit 1-5 in the SEC and 9-9 overall, it’s clear that the charity stripe confidence needs to extend to other areas of the game. In SEC games, per KenPom, the Tigers are near the back of the pack (11th) in offensive efficiency, effective FG%, and offensive turnover%, but lead the league in free throw%. Throughout the struggles, though, Martin has remained hopeful that the (other) shots will eventually follow suit and start to drop. “You see ‘em fall in practice. We shoot tough shots in practice, deep shots in practice, all kinds of spreading off screens ... all kinds of shots,” Martin said. “I think, again, as we continue to drive the ball, the 3-point shot will fall because as you get to the rim, it loosens up most defenses.”

Let’s hope it all comes together starting tomorrow, shall we?


category: Uncategorized

Free throw psychology- a deeeep dive

Missouri v Xavier Dru Smith, excellent FT shooter | Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

In Josh’s preview of West Virginia game this morning, he mentioned one the few weaknesses of the Mountaineers.

The Mountaineers have one glaring weakness on defense — their propensity to foul. Luckily, this plays into Missouri’s only strength as of late. The Tigers are currently the SEC’s best free throw shooting team, and enough trips to the line could keep them reasonably within striking distance. If the Tigers continue their offensive strategy of getting to the rim and hoping for contact, West Virginia is liable to put them on the line and give Mizzou a chance to rack up free points.

So, if Mizzou is going to have any shot at all of keeping this close or even pulling out a win, playing to their strengths by attacking and drawing contact is the answer. (besides, of course, making other shots, too)

I was glad that Josh mentioned this factoid, because if you checked out my links earlier this morning, I touched on a fascinating piece by Missourian writer, Brian Napier, about the Tigers’ recent D-I record for consecutive made free throws. As he pointed out, usually hitting free throws consistently means winning basketball. He referenced a 2007 study in the International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport that analyzed performance factors that decided the results of basketball games, and found 3-pointers (I see you, Alabama), made free throws, and defensive rebounds most commonly led to wins.

Examining just the free throw aspect here, how does a player become a successful free throw shooter? While I didn’t get into the whole sports psychology of it all in my links, I’d like to do a bit more of a deep (deeeep) dive here.

In a 2013 Bleacher Report piece on Butler’s successful run deep into the NCAA tournament, Dr. Chris Carr, Coordinator of Sport & Performance Psychology at St. Vincent’s Sports Performance in Indianapolis, said that successful free throw shooting ultimately comes down to three things: concentration, composure, and confidence. So how do players keep these factors in check while at the line? One way is to have a routine, a way to control the stimuli. Sometimes they look ridiculous, over-complex, and seem to go on forever, as a 2013 article by Salt City Hoops referenced.

However, Dr. Carr said, there is great power in a routine, no matter how absurd.

“A routine gets a player to an optimal focus,” Dr. Carr explained. “It should be a maneuver that connects him and disconnects him at the same time... It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it gets the player to the right place. It takes him from this situation to the one where he is in control, where he has practiced it countless times, to where he is in control.”

Just for fun, in the video below, a number of NBA players were asked about the most memorable free throw routines they’d seen, and you’ll see one Jerry Stackhouse mentioned— yes, that Jerry Stackhouse— Vanderbilt’s new head coach.

As for the other factors, a 2009 article in the Journal of Clinical Sports Psychology studied various members of three different D-I teams, and their results suggested that a combination of mindfulness, skill (practice free throw percentage), and competitive experience all contributed to a player’s success at the charity stripe.

The mindfulness is key, as it relates directly to the routine mentioned earlier. From the article:

The mental state of an athlete before and during competition is as a decisive outcome factor in competitive athletics, so athletes often develop routines to aid in the mental preparation for competitive performance, and research has indicated that athletes who used preperformance routines are better able to overcome adversity and distraction.

All of this is basically to say, an athlete needs to have strong mind to block out the outside factors that may be going on, and whatever they can do to keep that noise out of their heads directly impacts their success. It also doesn’t hurt if the players are a bit older— perhaps Mitch and Dru being a juniors with significant competitive experience at this level helps. Mitch’s first miss of the YEAR, after all, was in the waning minutes of that A&M game, and research tells us that the environment had nothing to do with it as long as his mind was in order.

My links (and Napier’s post) lightly referenced this, but Dru (12-12 during the streak, 90.4% overall), Mitch (9-9, 94.4%), and X (9-9, 80.4%) are the most productive free throw shooters the Tigers have while JT is on the mend. Trae, though only a freshman, has a high percentage (92.3%), but he doesn’t get to the line much (0.9 per game) or play much, and Mark, though he averages 2.5 shots per game, has a percentage (73.3%) amongst the worst on the team.

Based on this information, perhaps the remedy going forward is to make sure the big three (Dru, Mitch, & X) are given ample chances to attack and draw contact. Attacking oftentimes can also open up the defense for 3-point shooters, which Mark happens to excel at (on most nights). Oh, and just play Trae more, since we know he is capable.

As the Tigers currently sit 1-5 in the SEC and 9-9 overall, it’s clear that the charity stripe confidence needs to extend to other areas of the game. In SEC games, per KenPom, the Tigers are near the back of the pack (11th) in offensive efficiency, effective FG%, and offensive turnover%, but lead the league in free throw%. Throughout the struggles, though, Martin has remained hopeful that the (other) shots will eventually follow suit and start to drop. “You see ‘em fall in practice. We shoot tough shots in practice, deep shots in practice, all kinds of spreading off screens ... all kinds of shots,” Martin said. “I think, again, as we continue to drive the ball, the 3-point shot will fall because as you get to the rim, it loosens up most defenses.”

Let’s hope it all comes together starting tomorrow, shall we?


category: Uncategorized

Tulane officially adds Oklahoma State transfer LB Kevin Henry – NBCSports.com

Tulane officially adds Oklahoma State transfer LB Kevin Henry  NBCSports.com

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Texas A&M officially hires assistant who was at Florida State for a month – NBCSports.com

Texas A&M officially hires assistant who was at Florida State for a month  NBCSports.com

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Oregon State confirms additions of transfers from Florida State, Washington, Air Force – NBCSports.com

Oregon State confirms additions of transfers from Florida State, Washington, Air Force  NBCSports.com

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Oregon State confirms additions of transfers from Florida State, Washington, Air Force – NBCSports.com

Oregon State confirms additions of transfers from Florida State, Washington, Air Force  NBCSports.com

category: Uncategorized

Notebook: Missouri prepares for a strong West Virginia front court

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri travels to Morgantown for perhaps its most difficult test this season

West Virginia’s frontcourt is the backbone of the squad’s offense, with two of its forwards, freshman Oscar Tshibwe and sophomore Derek Culver, averaging double figures for the Mountaineers.

Reed Nikko, who has seen his role increase since Tilmon went down with a stress fracture in his foot, said practice has seen a strong focus on the post game with the major challenge looming Saturday.

“The biggest thing for me is just being ready for the posts to duck in,” Nikko said. “As a big man, I’ve gotta do that. They’re gonna do that every possession, and just be ready for a physical game down low.”

Against Texas A&M, injury and illness robbed Missouri of two of its most important frontcourt pieces, Jeremiah Tilmon and Kobe Brown. Despite that, the Tigers were outrebounded by just one, and hauled in three more offensive rebounds, 12 to the Aggies nine.

Performances like that are an indicator that Missouri, who will most likely have Kobe Brown back but not Tilmon, will likely be able to at least hold its own down low.

“We’ve just got to keep our feet moving at all times and try to outwork them,” Mitchell Smith said.

Better Starts, Better Finishes

The end of Tuesday night’s game felt all too familiar. The recipe has been a close game, and somewhere around the final media timeout, and then the game slips away. Missouri was tied with Tennessee with six minutes to go. It lost by 10. Missouri trailed Alabama by three with six minutes to go. It lost by 14.

In SEC play, faltering near the end of games is a relatively futile approach Missouri simply has to fix. With the score being within two or three points for most of the second half, the Tigers got down by as much as nine before the furious rally to end the game that saw several well-executed plays. It was still not enough in the end.

“One of our biggest problems has been digging ourselves in a hole and then trying to come back,” Torrence Watson. “It’s something that we’re not going to be able to do, especially playing at West Virginia.”

End of game execution must be better, but the Tigers would also do well to avoid the scoring droughts that have occasionally plagued them this season as well. The field goal droughts that can drag on for more than five minutes have killed Missouri in games that otherwise might have ended neck and neck.

“We’ve just got to stay locked in and focused throughout the whole course of the game. I think we’re doing a better job of that, especially with Xavier and Dru talking to us, keeping our confidence up,” Watson said.

Evolution of Dru Smith’s role

Missouri has relied on Dru Smith to be a steady presence on the court, and he has done as much this season. Now, it needs him to score the ball more, while also handling the role of facilitator. He has stepped up for the Tigers on the offensive end as well.

Smith is coming off of back-to-back 18 point performances against Alabama and Texas A&M. 10 days ago, he tied his career high with a 22 point performance in the dominating win over Florida.

“He has a big role for us,” Mark Smith said. “We do rely on him a lot.”

Smith has averaged 12.1 points a game, shooting the ball at a clip of 46.3% from the field. He has been the steady hand Missouri has needed to run the offense consistently, but doesn’t seem to mind the team’s increased reliance on him.

“It’s a little bit of a different role, but I don’t think it’s any more responsibilities than I’ve had in the past,” Dru Smith said.


category: Uncategorized

RB Bradrick Shaw granted sixth season, won’t use it at Wisconsin – NBCSports.com

RB Bradrick Shaw granted sixth season, won’t use it at Wisconsin  NBCSports.com

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RB Bradrick Shaw granted sixth season, won’t use it at Wisconsin – NBCSports.com

RB Bradrick Shaw granted sixth season, won’t use it at Wisconsin  NBCSports.com

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Kansas suspends starting corner Corione Harris following felony arrest – NBCSports.com

Kansas suspends starting corner Corione Harris following felony arrest  NBCSports.com

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Kansas suspends starting corner Corione Harris following felony arrest – NBCSports.com

Kansas suspends starting corner Corione Harris following felony arrest  NBCSports.com

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Mizzou Hoops Preview: WVU probably the best team the Tigers will face – Rock M Nation

Mizzou Hoops Preview: WVU probably the best team the Tigers will face  Rock M Nation

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Mizzou Hoops Preview: WVU probably the best team the Tigers will face – Rock M Nation

Mizzou Hoops Preview: WVU probably the best team the Tigers will face  Rock M Nation

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Hoops Preview: West Virginia is probably the best team Missouri will face this season

NCAA Basketball: Texas at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

With hope quickly fading for the Tigers, WVU offers one last hope at a truly eye-popping win.

If you discount the 2017-2018 season, the turn of the calendar year has not been a kind time for Missouri basketball fans over the last decade.

It feels like year-in-and-year-out that the season is without hope by the time February rolls around. The Tigers have already accumulated too many losses to earn an NCAA Tournament bid on record alone. The quality of play is slipping. There aren’t enough quality opponents to stack wins against.

Whatever way you slice it, Missouri basketball feels stuck in a rut — truthfully, it’s felt that way many times over the past decade.

Only an unexpected shock to the nervous system will wake anyone up at this point. And Saturday’s trip to Morgantown as part of the Big XII/SEC challenge would certainly qualify.

By KenPom, Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers are one of college baskteball’s elite teams. They rank 6th by the overall metrics, placing 3rd in defense and 45th on offense. They’re one of Division I’s youngest teams, but they’ve bounced back admirably after last year’s 15-21 finish and have found themselves in prime position to challenge for the Big XII regular season crown.

Oh, and did I mention that their home court advantage ranks 2nd in D-I according to KenPom, as well? So Saturday should be boat loads of fun, right?


The Scout

Down low, Tsheibwe and Culver rank as West Virginia’s only “Major Contributors” by KP, and their numbers bear out why. Both are elite rebounders on both ends of the floor, with Tsheibwe ranked as D-I’s best overall offensive rebounder. Tsheibwe is the greater offensive threat (62.3 true shooting percentage), while Culver looks to dish more often (16.7% assist rate).

Starting point guard Jordan McCabe doesn’t play as often as you’d think (only 34.4 minutes percentage), but still gets starts. He has the team’s highest assist rate and is more dangerous from the free throw line (85 percent) than anywhere else. Jermaine Haley acts as an oversized shooting guard/wing hybrid and mostly looks to work inside where he shoots around 62 percent. Emmit Matthews Jr. is a more modern wing and while he’s not particularly efficient from anywhere on the court, he has been deadly from deep in Morgantown, shooting over 40 percent.

The strength of West Virginia lies in its bench, whose members get the 7th most minutes in the country. Huggins has a number of options to turn to off the pine. Need a reliable three-and-D guy? Turn to freshman Miles McBride, who shoots over 40 percent from deep while managing good block and steal rates. Sophomore Sean McNeil isn’t a bad option either, as he shoots 37.3 percent from deep. How about a reliable veteran to eat up a good chunk of minutes while taking relatively good care of the ball? Senior Chase Harler is there to play about 40 percent of the time. Need an extra rebounder? Sophomore Gabe Osabuohien has you covered, and senior Logan Routt can fill in as well — both are capable on the defensive glass. Junior Taz Sherman is more of a defender than a scorer, but he’s not afraid to shoot — and we know how those types of guys usually fare against Missouri.

If you look at the individual stats of West Virginia, there may not be a lot of eye-popping numbers. But Huggins has proven his bonafides as a coach, and in this team he’s managed to conjure up a group that is far more than the sum of its parts. Are they flawed? Absolutely. Are they hard to beat? You better believe it.

Note: These starting lineups are projected.

When Missouri has the ball...

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Missouri has been automatic from the free throw line as of late. Will their “get to the line,” strategy be enough against WVU’s stifling defense?

What to Watch | Will Missouri continue getting to the rim?

West Virginia may be the best defense Missouri plays all year. So let that sink in for just one second.

OK, SO! The Mountaineers are the nation’s best team in effective field goal percentage against, which means the Tigers aren’t likely to get many good looks at the basket. However, the Mountaineers have one glaring weakness on defense — their propensity to foul. Luckily, this plays into Missouri’s only strength as of late. The Tigers are currently the SEC’s best free throw shooting team, and enough trips to the line could keep them reasonably within striking distance. If the Tigers continue their offensive strategy of getting to the rim and hoping for contact, West Virginia is liable to put them on the line and give Mizzou a chance to rack up free points.

When West Virginia has the ball...

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
All but one of West Virginia’s players has a better assist rate than turnover rate. Will Missouri force them to cough up the ball too?

What to Watch | Capitalizing on lax ball security

West Virginia’s offense certainly isn’t anything to sneeze at, but the Mountaineers have holes the Tigers can exploit. Most noticeably, Bob Huggins’ squad is loose with the ball, ranking in the bottom 25 percent of Division I teams in turnover rate. Missouri, on the other hand, is the SEC’s best team at forcing turnovers and steals. If Missouri is able to get West Virginia out of its rhythm by jumping in passing lanes and disrupting its young ball-handlers, the Tigers could tilt the scales in their favor.


KenPom predicts...

West Virginia 73, Missouri 59 | With every loss, Missouri’s already dwindling NCAA Tournament chances continue to fade into oblivion. At this point, the Tigers options are these: (A) go on a crazy run to the finish by winning 10 or 11 of their final 13 games (B) stack a number of high quality wins and hope the committee overlooks a lackluster final record. This would undoubtedly be the best win of the Tigers’ season and probably one of the best of the college basketball season overall. But aside from the chaotic nature of the 2019-2020 college basketball season, there’s no realistic reason to expect the Tigers to dramatically shake things up in Morgantown.


category: Uncategorized

Vanderbilt potential landing spot for Clemson transfer QB Chase Brice – NBCSports.com

Vanderbilt potential landing spot for Clemson transfer QB Chase Brice  NBCSports.com

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Report: LSU, Ed Orgeron agree to six-year, $42 million contract extension – NBCSports.com

Report: LSU, Ed Orgeron agree to six-year, $42 million contract extension  NBCSports.com

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Mizzou D-Line commit Benjamin Key is an intriguing prospect with untapped potential

Appalachian State v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

College football recruiting isn’t what it once was. There was a time when “National Signing Day” was truly what it sounds like. That’s no longer the case after the early signing period became a thing.

Nowadays, most prospects available at this time of the year are available for a reason. There are exceptions, of course. And Mizzou’s latest commit is just that.

Eli Drinkwitz landed Mizzou’s 12th commit of the 2020 class on Thursday when 3-star defensive lineman Benjamin Key announced he was pledging his commitment to the Tigers. Key was originally committed to Mississippi State, but a late coaching change by the Bulldogs caused him to look at his options. A mid-January trip to Columbia was enough to convince the East Los Angeles JUCO product to move to the midwest.

Key is an intriguing prospect for a number of reasons. First of all, he’s a native of Australia who moved to the United States at the age of 17 to play football at Cathedral High School in Los Angeles. He grew up playing rugby, and is simply the latest transplant to find some success on the football field.

In an interview with ESPN last year, Key made his goals well known.

“I want to be talked about as a first round pick in the NFL Draft. That’s my goal, to make history in the NFL, make some noise up there and look after my family, for all the days they looked after me,” he says. “I’m just going to take it step by step for now, it’s been a hell of a ride already but after everything I’ve been through to get here, now it’s going to be fun.”

Key’s highlights show a player with an incredible motor that never stops. He also has an impressive burst for a player of his size and stature. He’s listed as a defensive end by Rivals, but most of his tape shows him playing as an interior rusher. Key’s playing style reminds me a bit of what Mizzou’s seen from Kobie Whiteside in his time at Mizzou.

This is the kind of player Mizzou should be looking for this late in the process. He’s available for a reason - the school he committed to last spring fired its coach six weeks after the regular season concluded. He has raw talent that could potentially pay off in a big way with quality coaching. And the downside is minimal - as a junior college player we should expect to see him on the field this season, and he would then have three years to play two. It’s not like Mizzou isn’t burning a scholarship for five years.

Is Benjamin Key going to be a superstar at Mizzou and live out his dream of playing in the NFL? Nobody knows. But he’s an SEC-caliber defensive linemen who flipped his commitment for a clear reason late in the process with loads of potential.

That’ll do, Drink. That’ll do.


category: Uncategorized

Last Chance U star Malik Henry’s time as a QB at Nevada has come to an end – NBCSports.com

Last Chance U star Malik Henry’s time as a QB at Nevada has come to an end  NBCSports.com

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OL Prince Pines set to transfer from Baylor – NBCSports.com

OL Prince Pines set to transfer from Baylor  NBCSports.com

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Missouri corner Christian Holmes dives into transfer portal – NBCSports.com

Missouri corner Christian Holmes dives into transfer portal  NBCSports.com

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A closer look at the loneliest play in basketball

Mizzou News for Friday, January 24

What’s in a record? A closer look at the loneliest play in basketball

That’s what Brian Napier tried to do in his most recent hoops piece in the Columbia Missourian, looking at Missouri’s run to beat this record, and evaluating just how tough it is to do. It really is a well done piece, and it quite fascinating to read.

While on the surface, a free throw seems so easy, right? It’s unguarded, there’s not a big body in your face trying to block your shot, and it’s just you and the ball... Seems simple enough, but in actuality, as Napier said in his piece, “Few situations in sports are as anxiety-provoking, unnerving and intimidating as the basketball free throw.” Why?

From the article:

Basketball is a fast-paced game by nature. Foul shots pause that speediness and instantly thrust a player, ready or not, into the spotlight. Add in external factors — screaming fans, nervousness, frustration, etc., to name a few — and one slip of the hand, one blip in the routine or one distraction can throw the shooter out of whack.

Fans, the players, the SEC, everyone (well, it seems like everyone), is aware that things are not going well for the Tigers so far this season. They are on a three-game losing streak, and it seems the only shots they CAN hit with any consistency is free throws. That’s what makes this even more of a remarkable achievement, Napier said. The Tigers have shown that they can remain calm, cool, and collected when alone at the line with everyone watching. (next step would be extending that OUTSIDE the line, of course)

Here’s a breakdown of the players contributing to the streak:

Dru Smith (16 for 16) carried the heaviest bulk of the load. Then— Mitchell Smith (9 for 9), Xavier Pinson (9 for 9), Torrence Watson (7 for 7), Mark Smith (4 for 4), Reed Nikko (4 for 4), Tray Jackson (2 for 2), Javon Pickett (2 for 2) and Kobe Brown (1 for 1).

Since New Year’s Day, the Tigers rank ninth nationally in FT shooting percentage (82%) and are the best foul-shooting team in the SEC since 2020 began as well. Overall this season, the Tigers rank 16th nationally in FT shooting%.

What exactly contributes to free throw success? Napier detailed a bunch of research in sports psychology that (again), I highly recommend checking out, and I will have a standalone post later about this, along with some things I learned as a results of my own deep (deeeep) dive. (!!!!)

So next time you’re watching the Tigers and cursing Mitchell Smith for missing a crucial free throw that would tie a game (that never should have been that close), keep this in mind. It’s lonely out there. And what the Tigers did, breaking that NCAA record o 54 consecutive made free throws, is not an easy task. There’s a reason that Wake Forest’s record stood for as long as it did.

To the links!


Yesterday at Rock M

I’ve got your back, Zo.

More Links:

Football

  • And the man in charge himself put out this “bat signal”, as Sam so eloquently called it. This was obviously a reference to what became of Key’s commitment. I like it.
  • 2021 East St. Louis QB Tyler Macon will be taking an unofficial visit this weekend.
  • Okay, so this is REALLLLLLLY COOL. So glad Nick Bolton is a Tiger!

Hoops

Based on some of the metrics - and this is hard to believe - you can make a case this is the best defensive team Bob Huggins’ has ever coached. You’re talking about a deserving Hall of Fame coach whose built his career on lockdown defenses - and this could be his best defensive team. Just a few minutes ago on the SEC conference call, John Calipari said he recently told Huggins that this West Virginia team might be good enough to win it all this year.

  • Check out Friend of the Dive Cuts pod, Blake Lovell’s breakdown of net rankings for the SEC-Big XII Challenge for further insight into what could be a rough one.
  • Love to see it, DRU! You know what we’d also like to see though? Less turnovers, perhaps, and some wins for the black & gold.
  • Freshmen Aijha Blackwell and Hayley Frank continue to impress, and could be the best freshmen duo in Mizzou women’s hoops history.

Various Mizzou Sports / Other Mizzou News

Mizzou in the Pros/Former Mizzou Sports figures News

  • If you’re looking to sign up for ESPN+, Rock M Nation now has an affiliate link: click Here for ESPN+ Now! (** RockMNation has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though RockMNation may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.**)

category: Uncategorized

Purdue turns to Air Force for new D-line coach – NBCSports.com

Purdue turns to Air Force for new D-line coach  NBCSports.com

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On social media, QB Jarren Williams confirms intent to transfer from Miami – NBCSports.com

On social media, QB Jarren Williams confirms intent to transfer from Miami  NBCSports.com

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Michigan, USC added to Fresno State’s future schedules – NBCSports.com

Michigan, USC added to Fresno State’s future schedules  NBCSports.com

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Junior college D-lineman flips pledge from Mississippi State to Mizzou – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Junior college D-lineman flips pledge from Mississippi State to Mizzou  St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Junior college D-lineman flips pledge from Mississippi State to Mizzou – STLtoday.com

Junior college D-lineman flips pledge from Mississippi State to Mizzou  STLtoday.com

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Texas A&M pulls LBs coach from Wake Forest – NBCSports.com

Texas A&M pulls LBs coach from Wake Forest  NBCSports.com

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JUCO defensive lineman Benjamin Key commits to Missouri – Rock M Nation

JUCO defensive lineman Benjamin Key commits to Missouri  Rock M Nation

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Missouri gets commitment from JUCO defensive lineman Benjamin Key

football recruiting 2019

This is Missouri’s 13th commitment of the 2020 class.

With February 5th’s National Signing Day right around the corner, Eli Drinkwitz and the coaching staff received some positive news on the recruiting trail tonight – with a surprise commitment on the defensive side.

Eli Drinkwitz tweeted out a good sign this afternoon that a commitment could be coming in the near future.

Turns out it was JUCO defensive lineman Benjamin Key. Key was originally committed to Mississippi State back on December 18th, but with the Bulldogs’ coaching change – he has decided to commit to Missouri.

Get to know: Benjamin Key

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

High School: East Los Angeles College (JUCO)

Position: Defensive Tackle

Ht/Wt: 6-5, 280 lbs

Rivals Ranking: Three-star, 5.5

247Composite Ranking: Three-star, 0.8528

Total announced offers: 6

Offers to note: Mississippi State, Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State

<iframe src=’//www.hudl.com/embed/video/3/10260106/5baa792066558b12ccdde0a2’ width=’640’ height=’360’ frameborder=’0’ allowfullscreen></iframe>

What they’re saying:

Welcome, Benjamin! M-I-Z!


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Mizzou adds JUCO DL commitment – Rivals.com

Mizzou adds JUCO DL commitment  Rivals.com

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What Just Happened? Vol. 79 – Rivals.com

What Just Happened? Vol. 79  Rivals.com

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Billiards on Broadway presents The Chamber – Rivals.com

Billiards on Broadway presents The Chamber  Rivals.com

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Ex-Michigan RB Jordan Castleberry transfers to Maryland – NBCSports.com

Ex-Michigan RB Jordan Castleberry transfers to Maryland  NBCSports.com

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Alabama Set To Host Two Official 2020 Visitors – Sports Illustrated

Alabama Set To Host Two Official 2020 Visitors  Sports Illustrated

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Ruffin McNeill steps away from Oklahoma and football to be with family – NBCSports.com

Ruffin McNeill steps away from Oklahoma and football to be with family  NBCSports.com

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Mizzou defensive back enters transfer portal – ABC17News.com

Mizzou defensive back enters transfer portal  ABC17News.com

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Mizzou football cornerback Christian Holmes will transfer – Kansas City Star

Mizzou football cornerback Christian Holmes will transfer  Kansas City Star

category: Uncategorized

Mizzou football cornerback Christian Holmes will transfer – Kansas City Star

Mizzou football cornerback Christian Holmes will transfer  Kansas City Star

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Report: Mizzou defender enters transfer portal – Saturday Down South

Report: Mizzou defender enters transfer portal  Saturday Down South

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FanPulse CBB: Confidence… waning…

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&amp;M at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

You voted, we counted and it’s just kind of eh.....

With College Football now officially over, we turn our attention to baseball! Am I right, you guys?

Kidding.

It’s still basketball season, though Mizzou Baseball’s prospects are looking slightly better than their basketball hopes right now. There are games to be played, and hopefully Junior Post players health to regain. In the meantime, Missouri is slumping through SEC play, and we have to vote to tell them how un-confident in their season we are.

FAN CONFIDENCE GRAPHICS

fanpulse cbb confidence

Here are the last five weeks of numbers:

  • 68.8%
  • 71.4%
  • 82.8%
  • 77%
  • 50%

50% means we’re split on confidence, but the trends are clear.

While Fan excitement and confidence was high coming into the season, the Tigers’ inability to make baskets seems to be hindering how we all feel about the state of the program.

Overall, I still believe in the talent they have on the roster, getting Tilmon back healthy will help, and I’d like to see certain guys play a little more (**cough** Tray Jackson **cough**), but Martin still needs to solve the riddle of the offense. They appear to move the ball well, and the design works, but everything works better when the shots are going in.

Which is the best conference in College Basketball?

Spoiler: Not the SEC

  • Big Ten - 44.5%
  • ACC - 20.9%
  • Big 12 - 14.4%
  • Big East - 9%
  • Pac-12 - 4.4%
  • SEC - 4.1%
  • Somebody Else - 2.7%

If you voted SEC or ACC, you’re simply wrong. The Big Ten has the best overall Adjusted Efficiency Margin per KenPom, and it’s really quite remarkable. They have two teams (Nebraska and Northwestern) who are sub 100 KenPom teams, and EVERYONE ELSE is ranked inside the top 40. It’s really pretty remarkable. The one draw back is only Michigan State is ranked inside the top 10.

I’d accept votes for the Big 12, with 3 teams in the top 10 in KenPom and an Adjusted Efficiency Margin of 15.79. But they also have six teams ranked below 60 (although none outside of Kansas State at 91). So while the top of the league (Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia) is strong, the overall health and depth of the league is just ok.

The Big East is nipping at the Big 12’s heels with a 15.27 AdjustedEM. They’re good at the top with Seton Hall, Villanova and Butler (all top 20), they’re solid in the middle, and the bottom of the league is decent enough with St. Johns at 79, the lowest rated school.

The SEC isn’t good right now, and neither is the ACC. And they’re both better than the Pac-12. So there’s your order according to me.

REMEMBER: FanPulse submission applications are always open. If you want to vote in the poll you can still sign up: Click HERE to sign up!


category: Uncategorized

FanPulse CBB: Confidence… waning… – Rock M Nation

FanPulse CBB: Confidence... waning...  Rock M Nation

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New deal will reportedly make Auburn DC Kevin Steele the nation’s highest-paid assistant – NBCSports.com

New deal will reportedly make Auburn DC Kevin Steele the nation’s highest-paid assistant  NBCSports.com

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Nick Saban: ‘Internal things’ keeping Alabama from formally announcing Freddie Roach as new DL coach – NBCSports.com

Nick Saban: ‘Internal things’ keeping Alabama from formally announcing Freddie Roach as new DL coach  NBCSports.com

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UConn now up to nearly two-dozen players who have entered transfer portal – NBCSports.com

UConn now up to nearly two-dozen players who have entered transfer portal  NBCSports.com

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What we all want to see from Missouri football in 2020 – Rock M Nation

What we all want to see from Missouri football in 2020  Rock M Nation

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What we all want to see from Missouri football in 2020 – Rock M Nation

What we all want to see from Missouri football in 2020  Rock M Nation

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What we all want to see from Missouri football in 2020

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

There’s 12 months of unknown ahead and it might be a bumpy ride

Rock M’s Fearless Leader made a tradition of this question for the basketball team starting in 2016, and now I have the honor of answering the question for the football side. This first edition of WWAWTSFMFIN20 (clearly we’re still workshopping the acronym....waw-tis-fem-fin-20?) is going to lean heavily into the unknown and skew towards clearing low bars. Why is that? Well, because you might have heard, Missouri has a new football coach! One who has had lots of stops and seen some decent success but has only been a head coach for one year and never really built a program! So the Tigers really need to hope that banking on the unknown pays off, and until we see how Coach Drinkwitz handles an SEC schedule with SEC players and managing a roster and coaching staff, we’ll just have to hope for the best and count on the worst. But enough of that, let’s get into the things that I’m hoping we all get to see in 2020.

Missouri v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Connor Bazelak

Establish a style

One of the issues with the Odom-era was the amount of change around what the Tigers wanted to be on the field. Part of that is an issue with any first time head coach, but it was also partnered with staff turnover. Think of the top programs in the SEC: after 2013, Alabama changed to an up-tempo spread with mobile quarterbacks and a pass-rushing defense. Even with all of their yearly coaching turnover, that approach on both sides of the ball has stayed consistent. Georgia is churning out assistants and coordinators at an Alabama rate and still is a run first-run second-run third offense with a break-don’t bend defense. They both have a style and they recruit to it (that they are elite recruiters is helpful but not pertinent to my point).

What has Missouri been the last four years? With Josh Heupel and DeMontie Cross, Missouri was a warp-speed air-raid-ish offense with a pattern-matching 4-3 hybrid. Then they kept the speed-at-all-costs offense and canned Cross for a move back to the pass-rushing focused 4-3. Once Heupel took over at UCF, they moved to a slower, more complex spread with pistol influences under Derek Dooley and paired it with a kinda-sorta 4-2-5 with 4-3 defensive personnel. Of course, 2019 kept that Dooley offense and fully embraced the 4-2-5 on defense. I’m all about tweaking things and maximizing the athletes that you have, but there is a real benefit to having a style and recruiting to that. It’s how Mike Leach takes a 2-star or unranked quarterback with the exact skills he wants and turns him into a 5,000+ yard passer. It’s how any running back who goes to Wisconsin turns into a 2,000+ yard rusher. It’s how Ohio State constantly fields a defensive backfield of NFL starters. You find your style, find your thing, and recruit to it.

What’s Missouri going to be under Eli Drinkwitz? With keeping Ryan Walters and the defensive staff mostly on board I would assume they keep the 4-2-5, which is good. What will the offense be? Warp-speed? Throw-to-run? Mobile quarterbacks? Downhill running with heavy pistol influences? Whatever it is, make sure it fits and then recruit to that. Make Mizzou a brand in the way they play to get the kids they need to come in and make it successful. And Year One is a great time to figure that out.

Tennessee v Missouri Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Devin Nicholson

Develop a young core

Look at the 2007 Missouri starters that won the Big XII North:

State of Missouri STAND UP

Other than the heavy presence of kids who were from Missouri, notice anything? If not, that’s fine, take a look at the 2013 starters that won the SEC East:

Billings, Montana STAND UP

If you haven’t gotten my point yet, that’s ok, let me lay it out for you:

2007’s roster featured 9 seniors, 12 juniors, 2 sophomores, and one of the greatest freshman performances ever seen at Missouri.

2013’s roster featured 12 seniors, 7 juniors, 5 sophomores, and one freshman.

Both teams also featured an upperclassman quarterback with all upperclassmen in the defensive secondary.

I’m not going to say that recruiting rankings don’t matter, because they absolutely do. I’m also not going to say that a team of upperclassmen will beat a team of underclassmen every single time because they won’t. What I am saying is that, when you recruit at a substantially lower level than your peers - like Missouri does - you rely on down years to build an young roster that sticks together, gains experience, and breaks through all at once. Those surges don’t always work, mind you, because you need some scheduling wins and some local powers to falter:

-Gary Pinkel’s 2004 squad beat Big XII North champ Colorado but lost to ranked Texas and Oklahoma State squads and fell apart down the stretch against Nebraska and the Kansas schools. Oh, and that Troy incident we don’t talk about.

-2007 featured downs years from both Nebraska and Colorado while beating the other North usurper and only faltering against Oklahoma.

-2010 was nearly as magical as ‘07, but the highs of beating Oklahoma led to a slump against Nebraska and Texas Tech before rallying to close the year strong and notch 10 wins.

-2013 featured down years from Florida and Georgia and Missouri neatly filled in the gap. Fluky loss to South Carolina aside, Missouri was an excellent team that was 15 minutes away from an SEC Championship and BCS National Championship berth.

-2018 had the experienced pieces to make an impact and, truly, should have been so much more if they had taken care of business against South Carolina and Kentucky. But Georgia was the king of the East and Alabama was still Alabama and an 8-5 year felt like it could have been so much more.

-2019 was....not good? Yeah, not good.

The point is, you need a young group of guys to play a few years together and take their lumps so that you can field a roster of upperclassmen all at once that are more mature, more experienced, and ready for the rigors of an SEC schedule. Pepper in a few younger, talented, mega athletes in as well and you have a recipe for a breakthrough. But you need to identify that core first and make sure they get plenty of starts and experience. My thought is that we’ll see that youth take the field these next few years in preparation for a breakthrough 2022.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 09 Appalachian State at South Carolina Photo by Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Eli Drinkwitz

Improve on 2020’s Recruiting

As of this posting, Missouri’s recruiting efforts rank 70th in the nation, right above North Texas and right below Louisiana Tech. However, that’s with only 12 recruits, and after the second round of signings, I anticipate the national ranking to jump to the 50s.

When I reviewed the effects of a new coach on recruiting I discovered that, on average, a team’s recruiting percentile will fall 4.5% and the rank will diminish about 5.5 spots. 36th is where Missouri finished in 2019, so the 50s is quite a bit more of a fall than anticipated. The sample size in my previous piece, however, didn’t factor in scholarship limitations, of which Missouri is squarely under.

Therefore, when the 2020 season is drawing to a close and the Early Singing Period is upon us once more, I would like to see Missouri get back to the 40s at least, preferably in the 30s. There’s a lot of things that can happen in 12 months, so who knows how many scholarships will be available or what the rest of the SEC will be recruiting like. But even though Missouri doesn’t rely on recruiting stars to find success, one still needs to have some recruiting successes to either create excitement after a crappy year or add an exclamation point to a victorious campaign. Whether that’s continuing to develop the St. Louis pipeline, make stronger inroads to Texas, or open up other ‘crootin’ avenues... Missouri needs to be better than 50th in the nation in recruiting.

Kentucky v Missouri Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images
This many wins plus one

Get to five (5) wins

Like I said, clear low bars. I’m sure there are a few people out there that will look at Missouri’s schedule and then look at five wins and scoff at the perception that Missouri will have an issue clearing that. And with six home games, five true road games, and a neutral site tilt in Arrowhead Stadium against Barry Odom’s Arkansas Razorbacks, maybe you’re right. But this Missouri starting 22 is getting a significant makeover, particularly in the positions that count the most via quarterback, receiver, and defensive secondary. And they’ll be in a new offensive system with guys who were not good enough to start last year. That includes, unfortunately, a brand new offensive line. The 2020 schedule features:

-8 teams that were in bowl games for the 2019 season.

-A Central Arkansas team that is Top 40 in the FCS SP+, been in the FCS Playoff in 3 of the last 4 seasons, and taken down multiple FBS programs in the past 3 years.

-Vanderbilt, who held a much more talented Missouri offense to 14 points.

-Our real SEC rival South Carolina, who the Tigers have only beaten once in Columbia East.

-An Eastern Michigan program that’s good enough that head coach Chris Creighton was being looked at for vacant P5 jobs. He’s taken the Eagles to three of the five bowl games in program history and taken them from the worst team in FBS to Top 100.

-BYU, in Provo, against the Mormon Manziel and the BYU Cougars.

-Louisiana-Lafayette, whose head coach this author openly opined for many times over to take over the Missouri program and lead his team to a Top 35 SP+ finish and 11 wins.

As far as the rest of the SEC schedule goes, what has Missouri shown in the past four years to make you think that we can guarantee a win against any of our conference or division brethren? A Kentucky team that, let’s face it, is just a better program at this point than Missouri is? Tennessee who recruits at a Top 20 level? Florida and Georgia programs who recruit at Top 10 levels? Maybe Missouri beats Arkansas and Mississippi State as they transition under new coaches but... so are the Tigers. No, I’m sticking to a 5-win expectation and would be ecstatic if Coach Drink & Crew are able to exceed that.

A 5-win campaign with a Top 40ish recruiting class is not an exciting proposition, I’ll admit. But we should - as should Coach Drinkwitz - embrace this year as an opportunity to truly rebuild a roster this regime wants and establish a culture whole cloth. When it comes to program building the old adage goes “lose big, lose close, win close, win big,” I don’t think that’s realistic at all, but the premise is accurate: let’s get our butts handed to us in 2020 but show that a bunch of younger guys get the style and playbook and get the experience in the hardest way possible. I want to see a starting lineup featuring Connor Bazelak, Elijah Young, C.J. Boone, Jack Buford, Kevon Billingsley, Isaiah McGuire, Devin Nicholson, Martez Manuel, and a whole slew of youngsters grasp the new playbook and get their reps against an SEC schedule and tricky non-con. Show improvement over the year, bring in solid recruits in smaller classes, and get ready to breakthrough in 2022 or 2023.

Do I want to see 10 wins, an East Division Crown, and a New Year’s Six bowl in 2020? Uh, yeah, I do. But it’s not going to be in the cards next year or even the year after that. It’s a year of culture building, a year of roster building, a year of losing, yeah, but a year of learning and getting better. It’s going to take commitment from this staff, resilience from the roster, and patience from the fan base. That’s what I want to see from Missouri football in 2020. Show me.


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WR Dominic Stampley tweets intent to transfer from Illinois – NBCSports.com

WR Dominic Stampley tweets intent to transfer from Illinois  NBCSports.com

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Rally for Rhyan Game set for February 8th against Arkansas

Mizzou Links for Thursday, January 23

The Mizzou Men’s Basketball team has set a date for the Rally for Rhyan game.

The fifth annual Rally for Rhyan game will be on Saturday, February 8th against the Arkansas Razorbacks. It will also be a gold rush game, and tip-off is set for 2:30 p.m. CT. More info here:

Missouri is a perfect 4-0 all time in Rally for Rhyan games, including a win over Arkansas.

Sticking with hoops here... while the Mizzou Women’s Basketball team is also going through a challenging season in the post-Sophie Cunningham era, here is an awesome feature on star freshman Aijha Blackwell and her journey to Mizzou. Trust me, it’s a must-watch.

“The sky is the limit for what she can accomplish,” Robin Pingeton said. Blackwell certainly has a bright future ahead.

The Mizzou football coaching staff was on the road recruiting on Wednesday with some IN-HOME visits in the state of Mississippi. Here’s Eli Drinkwitz and Marcus Johnson with defensive lineman target Dylan Spencer.

Spencer is rated as a three-star on 247Sports and a two-star on Rivals.

And here’s Eli Drinkwitz, Brick Haley, and Marcus Johnson with Mizzou commit Montra Edwards, Jr.

Let’s get to the links!


Yesterday at Rock M


More Links:

  • Unfortunately, another Michael Porter Jr. injury update. He didn’t play Wednesday night against the Rockets with back tightness and has been ruled day-to-day.
  • Former Mizzou baseball outfielder Trey Harris is a non-roster Spring Training invite with the Atlanta Braves. Congrats, Trey! However, the recent addition of StL outfielder Marcell Ozuna creates a bit of an uphill climb.
  • Mizzou’s Big 12/SEC Challenge game against West Virginia on Saturday is at 11:00 a.m. CT on ESPN
  • Mizzou Baseball’s first pitch dinner for the upcoming season is Friday night with special guests Randy Flores and Aaron Crow. You can register here!
  • Mizzou Women’s Basketball has an alumni reunion day on Sunday, February 16th against Florida.
  • If you’re looking to sign up for ESPN+, Rock M Nation now has an affiliate link: click Here for ESPN+ Now! (** RockMNation has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though RockMNation may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.**)

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Tennessee officially announces addition of USC transfer WR Velus Jones – NBCSports.com

Tennessee officially announces addition of USC transfer WR Velus Jones  NBCSports.com

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Auburn announces new three-year deal for DC Kevin Steele – NBCSports.com

Auburn announces new three-year deal for DC Kevin Steele  NBCSports.com

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Minnesota’s Phillip Howard shifts gears, pulls name from portal – NBCSports.com

Minnesota’s Phillip Howard shifts gears, pulls name from portal  NBCSports.com

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ACC announces full 2020 football schedule – NBCSports.com

ACC announces full 2020 football schedule  NBCSports.com

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Harold Henry “Hank” Burnine | Obituaries – Richmond Daily News

Harold Henry “Hank” Burnine | Obituaries  Richmond Daily News

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Study Hall: Texas A&M 66, Mizzou 64

study hall 2020

This team is just allergic to shooting.

Poetry can be a lot of different things. It can be beauty or brutality, love or anger, excitement or mundanity, whatever you’re looking for can be found within its definition.

A basketball game was played last night at the aptly named Mizzou Arena in which the subsequent events could be described as poetic. Two basketball teams, largely indifferent to the landscape of college basketball these days, faced off in a game where the outcome was unlikely to matter much to the tepid interest of each fan base. And so as it was, a game was played.

170 miles to the West, two rivals played in a basketball game which rocked the college basketball news cycle. While Missouri was playing its new permanent SEC basketball rival in a league where both schools are still viewed as misfits, Kansas and Kansas State squared off in the Sunflower Showdown. Things turned violent at the end of a KU blowout and everyone expressed equal parts outrage and glee at the brawl. So while the news cycle was buzzing about an incident involving Silvio De Sousa, a stool, an injured K-State reserve, both benches, plus a few fans… Missouri quietly set an all-time record for most consecutive free throws made.

All streaks end at some point. Missouri’s streak ended with a free throw which could have tied the game with 28 seconds to play.

If you’re a Missouri sports fan, you’re likely to be focused on the pure cruelty of sports, and that’s ok if it’s for you. It’s not really for me. Last night was the beautiful poetry of sports. With Missouri in desperate need of a win, playing a team with the second worst KenPom rating in the conference, the longest free throws made streak all hanging in the balance, Mitchell Smith missed.

Team Stats

study hall 2020 texas a&amp;m 1
  • It’s really not hard to figure out how they lost. You basically won every category except for the shooting ones. It’s hard to win when you shoot as poorly as Missouri does, and did last night. With no real possibility of generating twos, the Tigers were stuck shooting far more threes than they wanted, and even by volume it wasn’t enough to make up the ground they needed.
  • The fact Missouri finally cracked a point per possession and still lost is every indication this is a team which is completely scuffling. They’ve been nearly perfect at the line and they’ve had to be because the other shots aren’t falling.
  • Mizzou was losing the turnover battle, then forced 3 turnovers during their comeback. They nearly forced a fourth when Javon Pickett was called for his fifth foul (upon replay it didn’t look much like he committed a foul). But with a slight edge, Mizzou committed its 12th turnover, a charge on Dru Smith, with a chance to win the game. Poetic.

Player Stats

Your Trifecta: Dru Smith, Mark Smith, Mitchell Smith

study hall 2020 texas a&amp;m 1

On the season: Dru Smith 29 points, Mark Smith 23 points, Jeremiah Tilmon 15 points, Javon Pickett 12 points, Kobe Brown 12 points, Mitchell Smith 7 points, Xavier Pinson 6 points, Torrence Watson 3 points, Tray Jackson 2 points, Reed Nikko 1 point, Parker Braun 1 point

Before the season, I think most of us around here looked at the early production from Pickett, the late production from Torrence Watson, and the occasional flashes from Xavier Pinson and thought a breakout from one or all three of the sophomores would be a key for an improved Tigers squad this year. Against Texas A&M here was their line:

  • 79 minutes, 20 points, 2-6 2FG, 3-16 3FG, 7 TOs... for a 66.7 ORtg.

Dru Smith has been good lately. He turned the ball over a lot yesterday, but it’s safe to say he’s not the problem with this team. Mark Smith didn’t have a great shooting day, but also wasn’t the problem. Mitchell Smith didn’t score a single basket and made the trifecta.

The problem is this— the sophomores just don’t provide this team enough to make up the difference. Missouri needed offense from three players last night, they got it from two of them. They nearly had it from Torrence Watson, but after making two of his first four threes, he missed his next four attempts, including the last one which could have won the game.

study hall 2020 texas a&amp;m 1

“The mark of a good offensive night is how many players were 40% or higher in Floor%”

We say this a lot. Reed Nikko got there with a usage of 2%. But Missouri’s high usage players were all below their mark except for Dru Smith. Pinson’s 18% is a big drag, but Watson’s 31% usage rate with a 26% Floor Rate is just as dragging, if not more so.

And no Tray Jackson. I don’t know.

With a short bench thanks to Kobe Brown’s illness, nobody stepped into the void

Keep in mind, Mitchell Smith hadn’t missed a free throw all year, to the point he was 17 of 17. The last free throw left his hand and he knew it missed. He shouted, “It’s off!” which was picked up by the microphones on the floor. Texas A&M grabbed the rebound, then air balled a free throw before missing the second and the Tigers had another chance.

Then after Dru’s charge, Missouri had one more chance. Down two, with 2.1 seconds on the clock, Cuonzo Martin diagrammed his best last second chance. Mark Smith hurled the ball with precision to Parker Braun who deftly caught the ball and kicked to Torrence Watson for an open 3-point attempt.

And in a year where Missouri’s fate has often been tied to their inability to make 3-point shots, in a season where their 30% seasonal rate has been well below expectations, and in a game where they attempted 35 threes and missed 26 of them, their last attempt caromed off the back rim.

Poetic.


category: Uncategorized

Missouri lived, died by the three in loss to Texas A&M – Rock M Nation

Missouri lived, died by the three in loss to Texas A&M  Rock M Nation

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