Chat Mizzou sports with Dave Matter at 11 a.m. Thursday

Chat Mizzou sports with Dave Matter at 11 a.m. Thursday

Bring your Tigers football, basketball and recruiting questions, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday.

    Happy New Year, chatters. Let's end the year on a high note. I'll be here for the next couple hours to talk all things Mizzou. Brutal game last night. Let the commiserating begin.
    Hi Dave, thanks for the chat. The Mizzou coverage of your paper is the main reason I and many others subscribe. My question today is - do you know how many Mizzou football players opted out of the season but plan on coming back next season? Thanks and Happy New Year!
    Thanks for your support of the paper. It's much appreciated. 
    I'll go through the players who opted out:
    DL Chris Daniels
    OL Thalen Robinson
    WR Maurice Massey ... transfer portal
    WR CJay Boone ... transfer portal
    DB Chris Shearin
    DB Adam Sparks
    LB Aubrey Miller ... signed with Jackson State
    DL Tre Williams ... transfer portal
    A few more entered the transfer portal:
    QB Taylor Powell ... signed with Troy
    WR Dominic Gicinto
    DL Montra Edwards ... signed with Southern Miss
    OL Dylan Spencer ... signed with Jackson State
    I think that's everyone who opted out or left the program since the start of preseason practices in July. I haven't heard anything definitive on Daniels, Robinson, Shearin or Sparks. At this point I'd be mildly surprised if anyone who opts out returns for 2021, though I know the staff liked Shearin going into the season.
    I've heard that Tre Williams could emerge at another SEC program. The school I've been told is Auburn. We'll see if that happens.
    Happy New Year Dave

    I am very concerned about the lack of ball movement, Does coach need to change the line up with Buggs and alter Smith and Pickett. Buggs does not score but at least provides shifty moves and distribution. Talk to me.
    The halfcourt offense sure looked like a mess last night. Give Tennessee credit for some of that. Go back to the numbers I posted before the game: This has the makings of a historically elite Tennessee defense. Yves Pons set the tone early and seemed to intimidate anyone into taking the ball inside with any force. Also, Bradley is one of the nation's best halfcourt defensive teams as well.
    Now, that doesn't excuse some of the issues. A veteran team with this many experienced guards should find ways to get the ball in the basket. This team wants to run at a faster pace and use its transition game as a strength. That's hard to do when the opponent is making 70 percent of its shots. You need to force turnovers and missed shots for that to work - and it never did against the Vols.
    Here's the good news: Mizzou won't face a defensive team that good the rest of the regular season.
    Here's the bad news: There's nothing easy about these next three games at Arkansas, at Mississippi State and home against an NBA minor league team from LSU.
    I don't know if lineup changes will make much of a difference. Pinson needs to be on the floor. He just has to make better decisions.
    Mizzou that unprepared or Tennessee that good? I'm thinking the latter.
    Tennessee is really good. They were the favorite to win the SEC despite finishing eighth last season. A major reason is the recruiting class that Rick Barnes brought to Knoxville. He's got two five-star guards coming off the bench in Springer and Johnson. Most teams can't handle that kind of firepower. Pons and Fulkerson are the SEC's best 4-5 tandem. Vescovi is a savvy point guard. Josiah-Jordan James didn't do a whole lot last night but he's a talented wing. Jon Sundvold said multiple times last night that he thinks this Vols team is better than the 2019 team that had Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield. That team won 31 games and should have made a deeper run in the NCAA Tournament. That's a bold statement from Jon, who watches a lot of NCAA hoops. 
    I'm not sure it's fair to say Mizzou wasn't prepared. It's not like Rick Barnes has a new system. Three of the five starters played in last year's game. Mizzou knew the personnel. If anything, the Tigers just looked sluggish - like Martin predicted after the long layoff - but the Vols came out sharp on both ends of the floor. 
    Should the game last night make us concerned for the rest of the season? It appears that teams have figured out how to beat us. Protect the rim and we won’t score.
    I'm not sure it's just about rim protection. Oregon blocked four shots against Mizzou a couple weeks ago and the Tigers didn't have trouble winning that game. Last night, the Tigers were just terrible in the halfcourt. They took some bad 3s. (Against an elite defense like Tennessee, if you're wide open on the arc, it's on purpose.) They couldn't get clean looks. They hesitated to drive and draw contact. And they turned the ball over a lot. 
  • Does last nights game change your prediction on how mizzou will perform this season?
    I posted my SEC predictions in Wednesday's paper with the caveat that we really don't know much of anything about this league because of the disjointed schedules. Arkansas, Ole Miss and Georgia hadn't played anyone, while Kentucky has played a brutal schedule and Mizzou had the league's two best wins. I picked the Vols to win the SEC and figured the gap between first and second place would be by a few games at least. I didn't think Mizzou would win last night. Now, does the way the game unfolded change my perception of this team? Hard to say. Mizzou still has two of the SEC's three best wins this season. (I'd say Tennessee's 20-point win at MU now counts as one of the SEC's three best wins.) Last night's outcome doesn't erase impressive victories over Oregon and Illinois. We know MU's potential. Most of the league is still a mystery to some degree. So, long way of saying last night doesn't change all that much ... for now.
    Hey Dave. HNY. Do you think last night’s game was an exception or depressing preview of more to come?
    I've got a feeling we're going to get a lot of this question today. Honestly, I don't know. We don't know. I do know Mizzou won't face another team that good on the defensive end.
    It seems extremely hypocritical that the Iowa football team, media and fans are up in arms about Mizzou having Covid when their team halted all activities last week for Covid. I read your article separating fact from fiction on the matter. Are they just looking for someone to (wrongly) blame?
  • It wouldn't be America in 2020 if we weren't looking for someone to blame. The problem here - like most problems in this country - starts with an inability to listen and read. Folks in the media make these mistakes all the time, too. Trust me. Here is what we know about the situation, based on what I've reported. 
    1. Mizzou DID NOT pull out of the bowl game because it had too few players. This was not a depth problem, a roster problem, a threshold problem. The team/the organization/the program would be ruled a public health risk if it continued to gather together because its collective case number was too high, including coaches and staff. If you can't gather as a total team then you can't practice, travel on a plane or stay at a hotel. This wasn't because Mizzou didn't have enough linebackers or running backs.
    2. The positive cases that led to the public health ruling were traced back to the weekend trip to Starkville, not the result of sending players home for the holiday. 
  • Dave: Thank you. What happens to the playoffs if one of the 4 finalists gets COVID problems. If it's Clemson, does Ohio State get a bye or are they out too? Is there a contingency plan for a later date? How about when it gets to the finals just before the Championship game?
  • Good question. Here is what ESPN's Heather Dinich reported yesterday:
    Paraphrasing here: If both semifinal games have to be postponed, the CFP has targeted Jan. 11 for the Rose Bowl  and Jan. 12 for the Sugar Bowl. The makeup date for the College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T is Jan. 18.
  • Lots of returning FB players, 21' class is solid, 22' class is ranked 12th currently. Thats a good end to 2020. Enjoy the Happy Ending Dave!

    Any recruiting news? Any high profile recruits deciding soon?
  • Mizzou will look to add around five recruits to fill out the 2021 class over the next five weeks.
  • Cant get a good read on Mizzou Basketball or Missouri Football - regarding hoops, The Bradley game and the TN game really confused me as a fan, what's the deal with the offense, they seem totally out of sorts, and as for Football, year 2 looms large with Coach Drink, yes a .500 season during 2020, when 3-7 was expected, but what about next year, is this a 7 or 8 win team or a 4 or 5 win team, thanks for chats.....
    We've touched on the offensive hoops struggles a lot already. It starts on the defensive end. Get some stops and generate transition chances. Then it comes down to better ball movement. Way too much dribbling and watching last night. Give Tennessee credit for some of that. Finding open shots against all that length is hard. It's an elite defensive team. It's like trying to run the ball against Georgia. It's hard to do. 
    As for next year's football team, here's the schedule as we know it today:
    Nonconference games:
    Central Michigan
    SEMO
    North Texas 
    Boston College (away)
    SEC home games:
    Florida
    South Carolina
    Tennessee
    Texas A&M
    SEC road games
    Georgia
    Kentucky
    Vanderbilt
    Arkansas 
    Getting to six wins for a bowl game shouldn't be a major challenge. Don't overlook Boston College. Not a great team but a competent ACC opponent on the road. 
    South Carolina, Tennessee, Vandy, Kentucky and Arkansas are clearly winnable games - but not gimmes.
    What's Florida going to look like with all those playmakers gone? What's A&M going to look like with a new QB and some other new pieces? Until Missouri finally beats Georgia I'm just going into each season assuming that's a loss. 
    Here are my biggest questions for Mizzou's roster in 2021: Who are your offensive playmakers around the QB? Is there a No. 1 running back? Is there a receiver that scares a defense? What's your strength on defense? What do you have at safety? 
    Hi Dave, really enjoy your writing on Mizzou. Last nights game really shows the difference between a top 10 team and a wannabe. Mizzou has no outside shooters besides Mark Smith and he has a way of not being consistent. Hopefully somebody has been recruited who can shoot 3's.
    I can't understand how Mark Smith plays 27 minutes and doesn't attempt a 3. Pinson needs to rediscover his 3-pointer, like he did in SEC play last year.
    Last night's Bball game reminded me of the Alabama football game. The talent differential was so obvious. I have expectations that Drink has an executable plan to narrow that gap. Not so sure about Cuonzo. Do you think there is a pathway for Martin to close the gap?
    Yeah, we saw it against Illinois. You push the tempo and empty your bench and get contributions out of 10 guys. You play solid team defense and take away something from the other team and adjust to adversity in the course of a game. This team doesn't have stars. You need your role players to do what they do best. Pickett, Mitchell Smith, etc. I've said for months, this team has to play to its strength, which is its experience. Experienced teams make good decisions with the ball, don't turn the ball over and overcome rough patches in games. Tennessee played that way last night. Missouri did not.
    Do we lose our next game against Arkansas and start a downward slide? Or is Cuonzo able to make adjustments so our offense isn’t held to 4 points in 10 minutes?
  • Here's one thing about the 2020-21 hoops season: Forget about homecourt advantage. It's not a thing. And that's a factor that could benefit Mizzou more than hurt Mizzou. When Mizzou goes on the road and plays in front of a mostly empty arena, that's going to neutralize some of the normal disadvantages MU faces at places like Fayetteville, Auburn, etc. On the flip side, Mizzou wont' have big crowds at home - but that's hardly a new development.
  • I realize Tennessee is a very good basketball team and will likely deal other SEC opponents similar loses. But this is the second straight game MU has scored in the 50's and was fortunate to win one of those. CM's recruiting failures have resulted in offensively challenged players that have to grind out wins to be successful. Isn't that too much to ask on a regular basis in today's game?
    It's not something you can fix midseason. Yes, it's not ideal to have a roster that lacks the dynamic playmakers you need to win championships. It puts stress on everyone to play their role nearly to perfection. MU's style of play and personnel can work. We've seen it work this year. We saw it work in fits and starts last year. Those wins over Florida and Auburn last year were impressive offensive showings. But this program and this collection of players is still fully capable of mucking it up like we've seen the last two games. They've unlocked it before with the same lineup. Can they do it again and do it consistently?
  • How does mizzou penetrate the paint and score at the rim again? I saw some stat saying that Mizzou scores about 80% of their points near the rim and from behind the 3 point line. Relying on 3 point shooting is obviously not working (18% and 14% the last 2 games).
  • 3s and layups is the most efficient offensive strategy in basketball. Smart coaches know that midrange jumpers are not ideal. And Martin has said this team only has a couple players who can consistently hit a pull-up jumper. Create 3s within the flow of the offense or attack the rim for layups and free throw chances. Smart teams - like Bradley and Tennessee - will clog the paint and make Mizzou shoot 3s. Again, it's not a coincidence that Brown and Mitchell Smith were getting wide open looks last night, nor a coincidence that teams hound Mark Smith from getting open looks on the perimeter.
  • I’m not buying your and Sunvold’s prediction of a third place finish for MUBB this season. Last night’s game was over early with a 23 -4 deficit in the first 10 minutes. There is no shame in losing to Tennessee who is so talented that 2 5 star freshman do not even start. It would be nice if the Tigers defended the home court and made a game out of it. (Same comment for MUFB vs ranked opponents at home). The Tigers FG shooting was 20%vs Bradley and 36% last night. I’m guessing they’re out of the top 25 next week since they go out of the frying pan abd into the fire when they travel to Arkansas Saturday. Missouri is the show me state and the Tigers are going to have to show me a lot more to convince me they will finifh third.
  • I made my SEC predictions with the caveat that we don't know much about these teams yet, but based on what WE DID KNOW going into last night, how can you not have Mizzou slotted high in the league?
    I have LSU second ahead of Mizzou - the same LSU team that got worked over by an undermanned SLU team.
    Alabama has some nice pieces but lost by 18 to Stanford lost at home to Western Kentucky.
    Prior to last night, Arkansas' best opponent was North Texas or Abilene Christian.
    Kentucky is an absolute disaster right now.
    Ole Miss beat ... UNC-Wilmington?
    Florida and South Carolina haven't played in three weeks. 
    Mizzou beat nationally ranked Oregon and Illinois and had solid wins over Liberty - which beat two SEC teams - and Wichita State. So, I have no problem with slotting MU in the top four heading into the start of SEC play based on what we knew. 
  • I'm not disappointed that the Mizzou bowl game didn't happen. In fact given the circumstances even without the Covid issues I didn't see the benefit. Having said that how much monetarily did the program lose? Was that the only reason to play the game? Seems like a likely loss and 5-6 record that would undo much good work?
  • It's uncertain how much money was lost, but keep in mind, by staying home Mizzou also didn't have to spend money on travel and hotels, etc. Part of each team's bowl revenue covers expenses, but on a mid-tier bowl game like that, MU usually hopes to break even financially. 
    I think it's just fine that Mizzou is heading into 2021 without having to play another game. This was a weird year. Take your losses, take your wins and move forward. 
  • The Big 10 is the best basketball conference in the country this year. They have 9 teams in thr top 25. If the Big 10 gets 9 NCAA bids that is going to reduce the number of at large bids available to SEC teams like Mizzou. Do you think the Big 10 will end up with 9 bids? I think someone said the Big East got 9 bids one year in the early 2000s.
    The Big East has the record with 11 bids in 2011 - in a 16-team league. The ACC has had nine teams make the tournament a few times. Math tells you that more bids from one league means fewer bids for other leagues, but the selection committee always insists that they don't consider conference affiliation when choosing the at-large teams. Here's what Joe Lunardi had on his latest Bracketology projection on Monday: 11 teams from the Big Ten, nine from the ACC, five from the SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12. 
    From the SEC, he's got Tennessee as a 2 seed, Mizzou as a 4 seed, Arkansas and Florida as 8 seeds and LSU as a 10 seed. 
    Obviously, a lot of season left. 
     
    Devonta Smith WR of Alabama was named the player of the year by the AP. He is going up for the Heisman Trophy against 3 QBs. Tradionally the Heisman trophy is awarded to a QB or an RB. Only 1 other WR has won the Heisman - Tim Brown of ND back in the late 80s. Does the AP player of the year have a legitimate shot at the Heisman or will one of the 3 QBs win it. I don’t know if the AP voters also vote for the Heisman.
    The AP voters for player of the year and the All-American team is a group of 50 media folks from around the country. That's a small group of voters compared to the Heisman electorate, which consists of 870 voters divided into six different regions across the country. 
    I'd say Smith winning the AP award is a decent signal that he's got a chance to win the Heisman. 
    I'm a Heisman voter, but we're prohibited from disclosing our ballot before the awards show. I can tell you that my ballot included two teammates and two quarterbacks. 
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