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.

    Greetings, chatters. I'm here for the next couple hours to talk all things Mizzou
    With Alabama having the highest ranked recruiting class “ever”, what do you think it’s going to take to end their dynasty? I don’t know about you but I’m tired of the lack of parity in college football.
    The run will end when Nick Saban retires or finds another team to coach. Otherwise, there's no reason to expect the Tide to take a step back. I hear you on the lack of parity, but I don't think it's fair to blame the monolith powers like Bama and Ohio State and Clemson. Its on everyone else to catch up ... and the conference commissioners to expand the playoff field to eight or 12 teams.
    Have you ever thought about writing a book about all of the heartbreak at Mizzou? Seems like there would be a long list to write about, starting with the 5th down and flea kicker?
    As a general rule I'm not sure it's the best business model to pitch a book about only bad things that some fans don't want to relive, but I did cover all of the heartbreaking moments in my last Mizzou book that came out a couple years ago.
    Good morning Dave,
    The last three games are an indicator that the Tigers have a lot of work to do on the defensive side of the ball. A consistent pattern pattern has developed with the other teams guard play exploiting our guards defense. Tough defense is key to our success in the SEC and NCAA tourneys. How is Coach going to address this? Talk to me.
    John L
    I didn't think the defense was bad last night. Kentucky hit some open 3s, but the UK guards didn't get many clean driving lanes to the rim. The dribble penetration off the ball screens didn't work for UK like it did for TCU and Auburn. Mizzou trapped UK's screens with a second defender most of the night and it seemed to disrupt the flow of UK's attack. A couple times UK shooters who aren't usually good 3-pointers got loose and knocked down some shots, but if you play the percentages, those guys (Mintz, Boston) are the ones you let shoot from outside.
    Thanks as ways for the chat. Dave. When Mizzou plays Alabama, what weakness of the Tide do the Tigers most need to exploit and what strength of Alabama does Mizzou most need to minimize?
  • Alabama doesn't really have a glaring weakness. They play at a a blistering pace and take (and make) a lot of 3-pointers. They're essentially a mini NBA team built on 3s, layups and free throws - and very little in between. They have five guys who take a lot of 3s - so you have to be aware of the perimeter at all times. Mizzou has defended the 3 pretty well under Martin the last few years and this year have held teams to 30-percent from deep. 
    Mizzou's best bet is to slow the game down, play through Tilmon and not try to turn it into a 3-point shooting contest. 
  • One of the huge advantages of having such a deep bench is that when a player or two have an off night someone else can step up and fill their shoes. However, it seems like almost every night at least one player has an off night and this would make it hard for a tournament run in March. Do you anticipate that as the season progresses we can count on more consistency game after game? If everyone played to their potential we would be even more difficult to beat.
    I don't think Mizzou has a deep bench necessarily, and the tighter the game, Martin tends to stick with his seven core players, unless there are foul problems. Once this team gets into tournament play, it's going to be Dru Smith, Pinson as your ball-handlers with Buggs getting a few minutes here and there; Mark Smith and Pickett on the wing; Kobe Brown and Mitchell Smith at the four; Tilmon at the five, Smith as his backup. Parker Braun played extended minutes last night. But that's essentially the rotation. You can't expect everyone to be productive in terms of points every night, but this team has more balance than it does depth. You don't need both Dru or Pinson to play like an All-SEC guard every night. You don't need both wings to score in double figures every night. You can win without Tilmon scoring 30 points. But you need at least two guys to have strong games - sometimes three. Far more often than not, that's taken care of itself during the course of the game.
    Is it possible for Sean durugordon to play at all this season without losing eligibility for future seasons? Or is he just a practice participant only?
    He could play this season and still be a true freshman in  the 2021-22 season but they don't plan on using him this season. He's on campus to get assimilated to a college program, use the weight room, etc.
    Saban really doesn't have to recruit except to say 'we will championships'. If you swapped Drink with Saban right now, don't you think Saban would be a 7-5 team and Drink would be a top 5 team? Saban is not that great.
    Disagree 98 percent. 
    Yes, Saban gets to sell the Alabama brand that gets him in the door of the nation's best recruits, but you don't win seven national titles on brand alone. Otherwise Mike Shula, Mike DuBose, Dennis Franchione would have recruited better players to Alabama. 
    I was surprised Mizzou had so much trouble with Kentucky last night given this is a down year for the Wildcats although the betting line was 4 1/2 points. Kentucky did a good job neutralizing Jeremiah Tillmon. How should Mizzou respond to Kentucky-like tactics in the future besides making more outside shots? Thanks, Dave.
    Mizzou never trailed and led by double digits for several stretches. So, I'm not sure I'd say MU had trouble with Kentucky.
    Kentucky doesn't have a good record, but the Cats have been competitive in almost every game this year. UK isn't a great matchup for Missouri. They play good defense. They have big, physical athletes, the kind that give Tilmon trouble inside. I wasn't surprised it was a close game at all. 
    You have to be as physical and win the boards. UK actually finished with more rebounds, but MU did a great job on the offensive glass and converting second-chance opportutnities. That's how you beat that kind of team.
  • Good morning Dave and hope all is well your way. It seems like everything has improved about Tilmon's overall game except his Free Throw shooting, which has obviously regressed. Without having his actual numbers in front of me, I'm pretty sure best I can recall that his FT shooting was really bad his freshman season, but gradually improved over his sophomore and junior seasons. If I'm right about that, any theories as to why he's struggling so badly from the FT line this year?
    Here are his FT numbers from the last four years:
    Freshman: 52.6
    Sophomore: 68.1
    Junior: 62.7
    Senior: 48.4
    He began the year much closer to 70 percent but has fallen off since the start of league play. I know it's something he's worked on a lot, mastering the same routine over and over again. One theory: He's playing far more minutes than he's ever played and attempting more field goals than he's ever attempted. That means he's absorbing more contact. It might be a matter of fatigue - and when he gets to the line his form and focus aren't at their best. 
    I thought the refs last night were horible for both teams Mizzou and Ky. What's your take?
    Well, they called far more fouls on Kentucky than on Mizzou - just like the TCU game. I thought there was a stretch starting early in the second half where they were calling way too many touch fouls on both sides. Those are two physical teams that play in-your-face man defense. I thought the game would have had more flow if they would have swallowed their whistles more often, not necessarily at contact plays under the rim but in the open court.
    Mitchell Smith is a great player and has a huge impact on the court but has not regained his ability to knock down the 3's this year. This is why he is often left open at the 3 point line. Why is Cuonzo so insistent on him continuing to shoot these? I know he shot around 44% the last 6 weeks of last season, but it doesn't look like it will be the same this year.
    Ben Frederickson and I just discussed this at length on the podcast, which will be up and available later today. Ben suggested Mitchell should have to stop shooting 3s once he misses two straight. I don't have a problem with the corner 3s that are taken in rhythm when the defense is late to rotate over to his side of floor. The plays are designed for him to take that shot. It's the pull-up 3s on the wing or at the top of the key that are especially ill-advised. Also, when your second-best rebounder is hoisting 3s he's not in position to grab the miss.
    I thought I was witnessing MUBB history Saturday vs TCU- MU scores 100+ points, 2 MU players score 30+ points in the same game and MU loses the game. TCU was behind 3 points with 12 seconds left. DA Dru Smith FT made it a 2 possession game and thanfully MU won the game. This made me wonder if MU had ever lost a game when they had score 100+ points. I did a little research and was surprised to find that MU lost to Georgetown in the 2010 season 111-102 in another overtime game. MU occasionally scores 100+ points in the December pre conference suspects that they schedule like Wisconsin Green Bay. For all I know TCU may have had a season high shooting percentage, but the game was much tougher than most MU fans thought it would be.
    Good research. It was just Mizzou's third 100-point game in four years under Martin.
    Any word on the Javon Pickett ankle injury? I don’t remember him coming back in the game last night... any chance he isn’t ready to go Saturday?
  • He came back in the game late after appearing to roll his ankle. It didn't appear to serious.
    Do you think by March that MUBB will be able to put together 40 minutes of excellent basketball day after day? Often when there is an opportunity to put the game away there is a stretch where we let the other team come back.
    I thought Mizzou did a great job of putting away their last two games. Yes, they were close, but Mizzou just doesn't have the kind of prolific scorers who can put a game out of reach against teams that are decent defensively.  So most games are close. But Mizzou has done a credible job of managing situations late in games. They're 5-0 in games decided by five points or less and 7-1 in games decided by single digits. That's the sign of a team that can put the game away.
    How do you see the Alabama game going for the Tigers?
    If Mizzou can control the pace and limit the damage on the 3-point line, I think it can be similar to the Illinois game. Two good teams going at each other, not necessarily the same styles. Tilmon has to be a major factor. This Bama team isn't all that different from last year's team that also featured a first-round NBA draft pick in Kira Lewis - and that team lost at Mizzou when it shot just 4 of 25 from 3 and finished with a season-low 50 points. Unplug the offense and you can beat Bama.
    Hi, Mr. Matter. Thank you for your time and the chat. What is your opinion of Mizzou's football recruiting class? I see where Sports Illustrated had eight other SEC schools rated above Missouri.
    It's in the neighborhood of the best Mizzou class in terms of national rankings in the age of the modern recruiting sites - so the last 20 years. I think it's best to wait a few years to truly measure a recruiting class, but I thought on the surface it's a successful class for three reasons:
    1. It attracted local players who had other strong offers.
    2. It addressed glaring needs on the D-line and in the secondary.
    3. It included a QB whom the staff envisions as an SEC starter. 
    I get less consumed with the national rankings, but the fact that MU's class ranks higher than teams that traditionally recruit better than MU - Penn State, Florida State, Auburn, South Carolina - is very promising. (Keep in mind, Auburn and South Carolina were caught in head-coaching transitions, and that impacted their rankings.)
    After absorbing all the losses to KY over the years, it was fun watching them struggle in COMO last night. One of the announcers on last nights telecast was hinting that Calipari did not have his usual recruiting class of one and doners like he usually does.i think one years had their entire starting five drafted in the next NBA draft most going in the first round. Are any of this years KY players projected to go in the next NBA draft and any in the first round?
    Brandon Boston is a projected first-round pick. Olivier Sarr, the 7-foot transfer from Wake Forest, has been projected as a second-rounder. Terrence Clark has been hurt for the last four weeks, otherwise he might project as a draft pick. 
    This year's roster just didn't work out for UK. But don't feel sorry for Calipari. He's got the No. 1 rated 2022 class in the works - and landed the best transfer in the market from West Virginia. The luxury of Kentucky's system is you get to reload your roster essentially from scratch every year. 
  • For the game Saturday, I think it is so important to run through Tilmon, as you mentioned. I am not sure Alabama has a big that can contain him. Herb Jones is a good player and is long but he is more of a perimeter big than a big body down low kind of big. How do you like Mizzou's chances of beating Alabama? I think they have a really good chance to beat them. Thanks as always Dave!
    Again, you better hope Alabama misses some shots. They don't even have to make a high percentage. They just get so many chances because of the tempo. Tilmon has to stay on the floor like he has most of the season and be an advantage for Mizzou.
    Why is Tilmon so bad with free throws? Does he put in extra work with it? Can't go to the NBA shooting FT like that.
    I touched on this earlier. He's been much better the  last two years and through the first month of this season.
    Where do you rank Mizzou if they beat Alabama this weekend?
    Ballots aren't made in a vacuum. It depends on who else wins and who else loses. I had Mizzou No. 12 this week, higher than most. Not sure I'm prepared to be put MU back in the top 10. All depends on the entire picture - not just one game.
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