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, Mizzou fans. Hope your heart has recovered from last night's dramatics. I'll be here to take your questions for the next few hours. Let's get this started.
    I’m a Duke basketball fan but I still follow Mizzou basketball. Tilmon’s career reminds me a lot of Quinn cook from 2011-2015. Their first three years they struggled to meet expectations but in their senior year everything came together. Not just their play on the court but with their leadership as well. I remember the excitement of Mizzou fans when Tilmon signed so it’s been nice seeing him pull through the struggles he had.
    I've got Tilmon on my All-SEC ballot on the second team. He's been very good this year. It's a credit to his maturity and growth off the court. Look for more on the big man in the coming days in the pages of the Post-Dispatch.
    Maybe not the biggest win for the basketball tigers last night (Illinois, Alabama, Oregon) but one of the most important for the season? Can they follow it up against LSU?
    We'll find out in a couple days. LSU scores a lot of points but doesn't play great defense. I haven't spent a lot of time breaking down the matchup yet, but some instant keys to the game:
    * Mizzou can't have live-ball turnovers leading to transition chances. MU has to get its defense set in the halfcourt to have a chance against LSU.
    * MU can't settle for a bunch of 3s. LSU defends the arc pretty well but is much more vulnerable inside. 
    Good morning Dave,

    Two-Thumbs up to the Tiger Basketball Team on their impressive win last night. A veteran team played like seasoned vets and held-off a good Florida team on the Gator home court. If we can continue to get the steady performances from the three guards and some good production from the 4, we can potentially win a couple of games in Nashville and in the NCAA tourney.

    Is Javon Pickett still hobbled? He's my favorite player and it seems his PT has diminished. Or is Coach just going with a shorter bench based on how well the 3 and 4 starters are playing?

    Talk to me.
    Pickett looked more mobile last night but I thought he settled for a couple jumpers that normally he'd pass on taking and instead try to drive the ball. My guess is he's still not close to 100 percent but he's stubborn with injuries and always insisting he can play. He wasn't on the court in the deciding minutes, and the way Mark Smith is playing right now on both ends of the floor, Pickett probably won't play as much in those moments.
    Happy with the win last night, but still a little concerned about Pinson. Most of his points came from the 3pt shot instead of the free throw line and driving the lane. Also, he seems to be a liability on the defensive end and can't keep guys in front of him. What are your thoughts on his recent play?
  • Last night was progress because I thought he was bought in and playing hard and focused. But you're right, he was still reluctant to really get inside the paint and create at the rim. Zero free throws - again. That's three straight games that he hasn't attempted a free throw. That has to be part of his game. But he hit some clutch 3s, didn't take any bad shots that I recall and turned the ball over twice in 28 minutes. You can live with that kind of game from Pinson as long as Dru Smith is playing possessed and Mark Smith is solid on both ends. 
    As for Pinson's defense, he seems to be more engaged on the defensive end when he's scoring. He got caught on some screens last night that led to wide open lanes for the Gators. Mann and Appleby blew by him a few times. For as fast as Pinson is on the offensive end, he doesn't always flash that same quickness on defense. He should get more steals than he does, but more important he should be able to keep his man in front of him more often. 
    Still, though, compared to how he had been playing, last night was promising for No. 1.
    Is there something in Cuonzo’s contract that says his team must let the opposition back into the game in the second half? When it was 70 - 62, I thought they had the game sewn up but I knew it wasn’t. I like this team, I like the players, but I wish they had more killer instinct and were better finishers. Thanks, Dave.
    Things got too close for comfort, and he was frustrated by Florida's last push there in the final two minutes. A couple key breakdowns: Tilmon missed a bunny at the rim that would have pushed the lead to 10 and for all intents and purposes ended the game. Instead, Florida got out running, scored a couple buckets, capitalized on a Mark Smith foul, then a Tilmon foul and made its free throws. Give credit to the Gators for not conceding the game at that point.
    Yes, Mizzou has a habit of making things uncomfortable late, but you can't argue with the success rate. I just posted this in a new story, but this year's team is 6-1 in games decided by five points or less. That's the best winning percentage in five-point games for Mizzou since ... well ... I only went back to Quin Snyder's first season in 1999-2000. So, it's the best for any coach in the last half century not named Norm Stewart. 
    Of the last five MU coaches, Martin has the best record in games decided by five points or less. There's something to be said for managing tight games and coming out on top.
    Wasn’t happy to see Mitchell Smith taking a three from the top of the key with about 2 minutes to go, but he splashed it. Was happy to see Dru Smith to get to the rim with the game on the line. Question is why is Pinson struggling to get to the rim lately? Other question is how can we get the ball inside to Tilman sooner before the double team comes? We seem to hesitate too much.
    Mizzou expects a double on Tilmon every time he touches the ball in the halfcourt, so instead of getting consumed with getting it to him faster - because that's hard to do - he has to be decisive against the double, which for the most part he's done this season. Martin thought Tilmon wasn't aggressive enough against the double teams last night and wants to see him attack those with more aggression whether he passes or attempts to split the double and shoot. 
    As for Pinson, it's not that he's struggling to get the rim. He's just not trying as much. It's not by design. They want him attacking north and south. He was better last night. Not great but better.  
    Who mainly recruits KC for football players ?
    Half the staff has recruiting responsibilities in the KC area, but Casey Woods is the primary contact in KC. MU has two 2022 commitments from the area so far.
    I thought we were a better at shooting FT’s last year in men’s bball. Why do you think that is ?
    I wouldn't say it's a major weakness this year. MU is shooting 69.5%, down from 78%, but the main culprits are Kobe Brown (down from 74% to 53%) and Tilmon (down from 63% to 51%). Dru Smith's percentage is down a bit, but from 90% to 84% - so he's still one of the best FT shooters in the conference. Pinson's percentage is exactly the same, while Mark Smith, Mitchell Smith and Javon Pickett have all raised their percentages.
  • Martin called a quick timeout last night and the team responded with a 10-2 run. I have often thought he does not call TOs as often as he should. Do you agree?
    I'm not a timeout zealot like some folks are. I think there's a time and place to call timeouts but you need to always keep one in your back pocket, as last night proved. He called a couple last night and both times they slowed down Florida's momentum. I think timeouts are more valuable in normal years when the crowd is factor in the game when you're on the road. Otherwise, there are enough TV timeouts that coaches don't need to micromanage every possession with a timeout every time something goes bad.
    If Tillman’s the second team center, who is the first team center?
    Ballots aren't broken down by individual positions. They generally ask for a mix of guards and forwards. Center is a fairly antiquated term anyway. I think there are five players more deserving of Tilmon at this point regardless of position - including one of his teammates. And I don't think a voter can justify having two Mizzou players on the first-team lines.
    Hey Dave. Can't help but think what this Mizzou team would be like, and how the fans would respond, with, say, an EJ Liddell or even a Caleb Love as the featured Tiger. Save for the anticipated Porter year, the fans have not shown up. Liddell had MU as one of his last three and I believe Love had it down to MU and NC. Cuonzo's got to stop being a bridesmaid to these program changers one of these days. Your thoughts?
    Well, fans can't show up this year because of the capacity limitations at Mizzou Arena, but without COVID, I think the arena would have been packed when Mizzou was cracking the top 10 and playing huge home games against the likes of Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas and Saturday's game against LSU. 
    Yes, it's good to recruit great players. I don't think anyone would dispute that, including Martin. I also don't think landing five-star recruits and selling out the arena are mutually exclusive concepts.
    Would Caleb Love help this team? Of course. But his numbers are no better than Mark Smith. Actually, other than assists and assist rate, Smith's numbers are much better. Love is averaging 10.1 points per game for a worse team, shooting 23.2% from 3 and has much worse metrics as a scorer and shooter. But would he bring in more fans? I don't think you can make that assumption. And it's a moot point given COVID restrictions anyway.
    Liddell has been really good for Ohio State. Obvious miss for this staff. He'd help out a lot at the four position right now. Again, no one would dispute that.
    Can bball players come back for another season due to the pandemic ? Ie Smiths ?
    Yes, I don't anticipate any of the current seniors coming  back. Dru Smith has all but said this is his final year. Tilmon won't come back. Mitchell Smith is in his fifth year of college. Mark Smith hasn't confirmed any decision, but again, I'd be surprised.
  • It seems like the men’s bball team seems to watch one player at times make the move to the basket. Are they tired or being lazy
  • I don't agree with that premise. I didn't see anyone who looked tired or lazy last night.
  • ED has definitely brought some recruiting excitement again. It’s nice to see your great stories about incoming players versus seeing a ton do stories of players going elsewhere
    He's recruiting well. Getting a high-caliber QB is critical and he got his No. 1 target.
    Will the real Mizzou Tigers please stand up! What, in your mind are the biggest reasons this team is soooo inconsistent from one game to next? World beaters one night, egg beaters the next! I get the Pinson thing, but, it has to run deeper than just his performance. Thoughts?
  • Because they're a good, sometimes great but hardly elite college basketball team. Seriously. That's it. I'm not as confused by this team as some. This Missouri team is one that needs all of its parts to function well at the same time or the individual talent's not good enough to overcome the faulty pieces. When Pinson thinks he's Ray Allen, they're not very good. When Mark Smith gets lost in a shooting slump, they're not as good. When Dru Smith turns the ball over with sloppy passes or commits dumb fouls, they're not as good. 
    But they've been really good far more often than really bad. With their main core intact, they've lost five games - and I'd only rate three of those as bad losses. Ole Miss at home, Mississippi State on the road and Georgia on the road. Auburn was playing much better at the time Mizzou lost there and teams didn't have an answer for Sharife Cooper yet. The other came at home against Tennessee, when the Vols looked unbeatable. 
  • Are you going to the Mizzou football practice in-person sessions? Do you get to be on the field or elsewhere
    Yes, two of the three practices have been open, but not the entire practice. I've been to both. We can't see the whole field, so it's a limited view. Also, we don't get to see 11 on 11 drills or anything that's close to live hitting. Essentially it's position group drills or some passing drills against air. It's hard to really come away with any insightful observations in those kinds of practices, but I appreciate getting the opportunity to watch a practice in person. There are a few practices that will be fully open to the media, including Saturday's practice.
    Did you get your COVID vaccine yet ? Thanks for all your wonderful coverage.
  • I'm on the list but not qualified yet in our county. Too young and healthy, I suppose.
  • Jekyll and Hyde is alive and well. You just don't know what to expect whenever this version of Mizzou basketball takes the floor. Other fan bases likely feel the same. Florida didn't play a great game, turning the ball over at least 15 times in the loss.. Probably not what Gator fans expected against a MU team that had lost four of five games. Is expecting the unexpected the new norm in college basketball?
    Other than the very few elite teams and then the few truly incompetent teams, most average to slightly above average teams are fairly unpredictable. Alabama and Arkansas are really playing well right now, but neither is immune to having an off night. Same for Illinois. Same for, obviously, Michigan and Ohio State. At this point in the season, as long as you know your team is in the Tournament - and Mizzou is clearly in the Dance - then you just want your team peaking at the right time. Is Missouri? Last night was a good sign. Another win Saturday would qualify as peaking ... or something close to it.
    Initial thoughts on our new defensive football coaches ?
    Hard to say. Drinkwitz doesn't let the position coaches talk to the media, so I'm not sure when - if ever - I'll talk to the new D-line coach and secondary coach. Wilks brings a lot of energy to practice. I think it's interesting that he was dead set on coaching a position group instead of just overseeing the defense. He works with the cornerbacks in individual drills. At this point, I think only two defensive players have talked to the media, so not a whole lot to learn yet on their impressions of the new coaches.
    Is Drink still getting the "new coach recruiting boost" or do you sense he is just better at recruiting than his predecessor?
    Have you had enough time to evaluate the differences between Drink's operation of the program compared to how Odom did things?
    He's done a better job recruiting compared to Odom. There's zero doubt about that. I don't think it's just a honeymoon phase. I think his staff is better at recruiting. There's  more focus and energy. He's done a really good job of capitalizing on the facility upgrade and using technology to get around the NCAA dead period restrictions. I don't see this staff settling for some low-hanging fruit, especially in the state. That's been a problem in the past that's hurt the team's talent level.
    There are a lot of differences in how the program operates. Drinkwitz seems to have a more clearly defined vision and plan. Some of it comes equipped with some corny slogans and acronyms, but I think he's got a stronger sense for how he wants his program to look and feel and how to get that done on both a micro and marco level.
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement