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

    hey dave, I was just wondering your thoughts on the tigers bench depth. I feel braun and watson add a lot of solid minutes off of the bench. Braun with his length and his ability to rim run and space the floor, and watson with his ability to knock down the open corner three and his defensive energy. What do you think the reason is they still ride the bench most of the time? Are they just on the outside of the rotation? Or is braun too much of a on ball defensive liability?
    I think it's fair to say Watson is limited athletically. He's not much of a defender and he's very one-dimensional offensively. He just doesn't have the strength or quickness to be anything but a spot-up shooter - and he's only a 32-percent career shooter from 3. He just doesn't have as much value on the floor as Pickett or Mark Smith, who are better athletes and can drive the ball, even though Smith is extremely streaky and he's been on a bad streak lately. Pickett is the guy I think can be more of an offensive threat. He's quietly improved his 3-point shot a lot over the last year. He shot 40 percent in SEC play and for the entire season (36) is second only to Dru Smith among the regulars. I'd push him to shoot more.  
    I'd give Braun more minutes, too, but he's also limited athletically on the defensive end and can be overmatched with power or quickness. 
    Interesting article in today’s PD about the 4 St Louis area basketballers in the NCAA tournament. It would be even better if any or all were playing for HCCM. This year’s up and down team made the tournament, but their goal should be winning a couple of games. With so many people picking Gonzaga to win that’s going to be impossible if Mizzou beats Oklahoma ( which beat Alabama) a month ago). Inalso heard that another St. louis basketballer who went away, Camron Fletcher is going into the NCAA transfer portal. I don’t know if he considered Mizzou or would consider transferring here, but would HCCM be interested in him?
    Mizzou is not interested in Cam Fletcher. I know there was a tweet that MU might have reached out - the reporting was fairly sketchy on who made contact with Fletcher - but I was told definitively and adamantly that Mizzou wasn't going to consider Fletcher. I wouldn't report that if it was something I heard in passing from some random source close to the program. Interpret that how you wish. 
    Mizzou wants to add impact players. On the worst Kentucky team in nearly a century, Fletcher couldn't get minutes on a team incredibly short on established players. And that was the case before his blow-up at Calipari in December. I don't see him as a player that fits what this team needs. He's a 6-6 forward who isn't a 3-point shooter. Maybe he'll end up being a productive player somewhere else, but from what I've been told this week that won't be at Missouri. 
    Have you or do you release your 2021 NCAA MBB bracket?
    Yes. You can check it out here, fill out your own to win some money and compete against VIPs like myself and the rest of the P-D staff. It is the only time of year anyone considers me a VIP. 

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch $1,000,000 Bracketball 2021

    Here's my Elite Eight with my projected winners in bold:
    Gonzaga vs. Oregon
    Florida State vs. Alabama
    Baylor vs. Arkansas 
    Illinois vs. West Virginia 
  • Great job by martin moving forward with only brown. Pickett, brown,watson coming back and chang and Witmore non factors and 5 3 star recruits to me the only way to stay competitive is in the transfer portal what are your thoughts thanks
    Thoughts on what? Next year's roster? I'll know a lot more when it's done being built. I like Kobe Brown's upside. I'm not sure Watson plays a huge role next year. Same for Chang and Wilmore. I think Pickett adds value to any team he's on, but not someone I'd count on to be a primary scorer every night.
    What do you think will be the biggest factor in the game Saturday? Does OU have the depth to make up for the player they will be missing?
    They have bodies but they don't have anyone as good as Harmon to fill his role. It'll be by committee.
    I think it's all about Mizzou's defense. Can they figure out Manek and keep him from getting hot from 3? Can they defend Reaves without putting him on the foul line? Offensively, Mizzou shouldn't' count on many transition chances because OU doesn't turn it over, which means lots of halfcourt sets. When Manek is on the floor, Tilmon has to outmuscle him inside and win that matchup. 
  • Good day to you Dave--hope all is well your way. This might be leading to a dumb question, but as much as I truly admire Cuonzo Martin for his emphasis on teaching his players life lessons off the court, does it come at the expense of him perhaps not "living and breathing basketball" (if that makes any sense) enough compared to some of his peers in the coaching industry who have proven to be more successful than him record-wise, NCAA Tournament-wise, etc?
    (And no, I don't mean having to resort to cheating like so many other coaches are obviously willing to do).
    No, I don't think you have to compromise your role as a coach teaching the game of basketball while also teaching your players about things outside of the sport. Those two roles aren't mutually exclusive. NCAA rules limit the time teams can spend coaching their players on the floor, watching film, organizing workouts, etc. Trust me, Mizzou exhausts those hours on basketball. They don't shortchange any parts of that process when it comes to the game. They're not spending those accountable basketball hours on history class or book reviews. 
    If anything, I think Martin gets his team to invest more on the basketball side of things because of his commitment to making them better citizens and more informed young men.
    Dave
    Have you ever seen a player get blocked more than Mark Smith? What was with his attempt to dunk from the free throw line?
  • Hey, I give him credit for being aggressive. For three years he's heard everyone say he's too one-dimensional as a spot-up shooter. He's trying to draw fouls and make plays through contact. He's strong enough to do that.
    Hey Dave,
    What is CM's ceiling? He's a career .600 (slightly below) coach. In his three stints at power 5 schools, he's never won a conference championship, regular season or post-season. In year four, he's had an experience-laden team that had nice wins, but was a hair's breadth from being a .500 team given all the leads and late-game collapses, some of which they pulled out of the fire. Two career tourney wins. One season in which he has lost fewer than 10 games (26-9 at MO ST), no record of stacking recruiting classes. The situation at Mizzou now kind of reminds of his last year at Tennessee: his best season there, but all the scoring departing, and not much of a recruiting class coming in. Maybe that was because he knew he was leaving there thanks to the horrid treatment he got, but the program here looks like it will take a step back next year due to its roster being so inexperienced. The constant chat questions about firing him are ridiculous, but I do think it's fair to wonder if he really can elevate the program to what the clear expectation for football is: consistent top 20 presence, competing to get into the SEC championship game. I think there's been this assumption that since CM has never stayed anywhere long enough to build a program, that once he did put down roots, his teams would achieve a new level. That didn't happen this year--it's been pretty a typical CM year record-wise, and it certainly isn't going to happen next year, which will be a rebuild. So, you're really looking at three more years to judge if he can actually elevate the program to a more consistent, top 20 level. When he was hired, I thought that was possible. Now, I'm not so sure. What about you?
  • Fair points. I still don't think we know what his ceiling is, because as you pointed out, he's never truly established roots at one place, for a variety of different reasons. I believe he can consistently put Mizzou in position to compete for a top-four seed in the SEC tournament, which means you're an annual contender in the conference, and putting the team in the NCAA Tournament far more often than not. (Had this year's team had the two games against Vandy and A&M and won both and maybe split the two games Tilmon missed, they're probably a top-four SEC seed.) Is he going to bring in a top-10 recruiting class loaded with McDonald's All-Americans? Probably not. He's only had four of those caliber players in his career. But there's a belief within the program that his new offensive approach and some things he's done off the court with players is making MU more attractive to recruits, especially with players in the transfer portal. 
    It's all about getting the right players and developing them into productive players. It's fair to question some of the choices and some of the results on the recruiting trail. I do think he and his staff deserve credit for player development. Martin inherited guys like Barnett, Geist, Nikko and Mitchell Smith and developed them into much better players than they ever showed they could be before he arrived. 
  • I think there is a definite fatalistic attitude in Mizzou basketball fans. For those of us old enough it starts with the Norm Stewart teams that would win the Big 8 regular season or tournament, get a high seed and then lose to Xavier, Rhode Island or Northern Iowa in the first round. The loss to Norfolk State only made it worse. Then signing Michael Porter and having him get hurt two minutes into his career. Then Jontay Porter getting hurt. We've had a lot of reason to be fatalistic. Then again, I've learned not to base my happiness or unhappiness on 18 to 22 year old young men that aren't my sons. Win or lose against OU, the sun will still come up!
    I understand the scar tissue. Trust me. It was the entire theme to the introduction in my last book. I get it. Fans of a certain age have been through a lot. But the past doesn't create the future. It only shapes our vision and perspective - and I think it clouds the way some fans are able to process good news, because some of them are instead waiting for the raincloud to arrive again. It's human nature. I get it.
  • I'm not worried about Gonzaga in the second round because I'm looking forward to the 2012 revenge game!
    OK then. I've got plenty more to write about the matchup. I reached out to a handful of coaches in the Big 12 for scouting reports on the Sooners. Some preferred to share some anonymous comments. One coach literally shared with me his team's scouting report on the Sooners. Interesting stuff. Story in tomorrow's P-D and online at STLtoday.com later tonight.
    Men’s basketball team seemed to play much better earlier in year than lately. Well coached teams seem to improve rather than go the other way. Comment?
    So they were well coached in December and January but not in February and March? The players get all the credit for the wins early in the season but then it becomes the coaches' fault when the losses occur later in the year? 
    If I do recall they had an impressive win at Florida on March 3. Was that good coaching or good playing? The bad coaching came back against LSU three days later?
    Most seasons have peaks and valleys. The better teams and the better players are more consistently good than bad. I don't think the level of coaching fluctuates as much as the results fluctuate. If anything I think Mizzou's experience advantage became less of a strength later in the year when teams had more time to play together. 
    Over / Under on Tilmons rebounds this Saturday ------------1
  • I'll go over. It's pretty amazing that he didn't have any rebounds against Arkansas, but a couple factors can explain it ...
    There weren't a lot of missed 2-point shots in that game, specially by Arkansas. The Hogs shot 50 percent from inside the arc. And when they did miss, Kobe Brown was the guy cleaning the glass. Arkansas missed 20 shots from 2 - and Brown had 11 defensive rebounds.
    He had Neither team shot great from 3 (both at 33 percent) but missed 3s turn into long rebounds, and that helps explain how Mark Smith had nine rebonds from the perimeter. 
    Either way, you want Tilmon getting rebounds, but when Arkansas missed shots, Mizzou got 26 of the 34 available rebounds. The problem was MU only got five offensive rebounds on more than 30 chances.
  • Isn't the big from Desmet hurt? If so, do you know what is injury was?
  • Yaya Keita missed De Smet's season with a torn ACL but he has rehabbed and returned to practice from what I understand. Mizzou expects him to be fully recovered by the fall.
  • What do you think Mizzou's defensive strategy will be vs. Reaves from OU? Dru Smith guarding him? Is there a good SEC comp and, if so, how did we fare against him?
    I'll have a lot more on Reaves in tomorrow's story. He's a bigger point guard at 6-5. He takes a lot of shots. A lot. And he gets to the FT line a lot. He might be similar to Florida's Tre Mann, another big guard who draws a lot of contact. Mann is a better 3-point shooter.
    Hi Dave. Regarding the negativity around the Mizzou basketball program I think it is exaggerated. A small vocal minority does not speak for the entire fan base. The one thing I think Coach Martin could do is sell the program. Granted this year is a wash because of COVID, but to compel people to drive 2 hours on a weeknight for an 8 pm game is what a head coach needs to do. Your thoughts? Thanks
    How do you think he should sell the program? I'm genuinely curious what he could do to attract more fans. Even if MU is a top 20 team I'm not sure a lot of fans are making the two-hour drive for the weeknight games when every game is televised. That's bee a challenge for many teams that rely on fans who live out of town.
    Had there not been COVID restrictions this year I'm confident Mizzou Arena would have been packed for some of the Saturday games this year: Illinois, Alabama, Arkansas, especially. 
    How does your coverage work for the tournament? Are you allowed in the bubble? Seems like it would be really hard to be a reporter at this event considering how looked down it seems.
  • This year the tourney is especially unique for media. There are no on-site press conferences. Everything is done virtually. Teams are allowed to grant only five media members press credentials for the first two rounds. Then as far as the game goes, reporters are not allowed in the arena except to cover the game their team is playing. In fact, we have to clear the arena exactly 45 minutes after Mizzou's game ends on Saturday, which is about when the postgame Zoom will end. Not sure how they expect us to write stories if we have to scatter from the building - on deadline no less. But I'll figure out a way. No worries here. 
    I'm glad they're allowing us to cover live events during a pandemic, but I'll borrow a phrase from a colleague at last week's SEC tournament: Some of the protocols seem to be "COVID theater." Protocols for the sake of having protocols. I've had to take my temperature before entering some facilities the last few months and my temp has been read from anywhere between 87 and 94 degrees, which would be considered hypothermia. And the folks didn't seem to mind that their devices were clearly not working right. But as long as they get a reading and we're nowhere near the players and coaches, it's all good. 
  • Do you think Mark Smith will bounce back and put up some better stat lines during the tournament? I've been seeing a lot of comments about benching him and playing Watson, but I don't agree.
    Smith is by far a better defender and can do more things offensively even if his shot isn't falling from 3. I don't see him playing fewer minutes. If anyone should get more of his minutes it's Pickett, not Watson, in my opinion.
    Any thoughts on women's team in the WNIT? I was looking at the bracket and it seems like they could make a little run??
    I'll have a short story in tomorrow's paper. I have to be honest, I can't muster a lot of excitement for a double-elimination unseeded 32-team WNIT field full of teams with losing records. Nice achievement if you win, which means you're the 65th-best team in the country, right?
  • Do you anticipate Mizzou being able to take advantage of any of the talent coming out of St. Louis? There are so many hometown players playing for other schools in the tournament. If we could keep a couple at home it would drastically help the talent level on our teams. I know that Tilmon is local, but after that there isn't anyone. How does Mizzou attract these star players?
    Mizzou has four players on the roster from the St. Louis area: Watson, Mark Smith, Pickett and Tilmon. Another St. Louis player joins the team next season, Yaya Keita. Martin recruited Love, Ramey and Liddell extremely hard but came up short. MU landed Pinson in the same class that Texas signed Ramey. This year, their numbers aren't that far off:
    Ramey: 12.6 ppg, 4 apg, 42 3-point %
    Pinson: 14.1 ppg, 2.8 apg, 34.4 3-point %
    Liddell is the big miss. Yes, Kobe Brown has developed into a quality SEC power forward, but Liddell is a legit All-Big Ten player. 
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