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 chatters. Big week, huh? Let's not waste any time and get to your questions.
    According to the paper the past few weeks, both SLU and MU have described how hard it was to line up opponents for basketball, but I've seen no discussion about playing each other. Since this should be one of the biggest annual events in St Louis, and assuming each wins their share, a tremendous recruiting boost for both in the area, there must be somebody at one or both schools who is opposed. Do you know who that is? What can a fan of both programs do to get this scheduled?.
    Ben Frederickson wrote about this recently. He talked to folks within both programs. Missouri offered SLU a three-year deal last season (two games in Columbia, one in St. Louis) and SLU wasn't interested. I've talked to people within both programs in recent weeks and there wasn't mutual interest in playing this year. Folks always assume it's Mizzou who doesn't want to play SLU, but that hasn't always been true - and isn't true this time around. Martin was certainly interested last year, but when those talks didn't go anywhere, Mizzou wasn't in a rush to try again this year. 
    What is with Torrence Watson’s lack of playing time? Is there something more to read into it or is he just fallen out of the rotation? Do you foresee a transfer if things continue?
    Not everybody can play  in every game. He's the odd man out on the wing right now. Mark Smith is going to play as many minutes as humanly possible because he's such a good two-way player. Javon Pickett does a lot of good things on both ends of the floor as the first wing player off the bench. They're better players than Watson, who is almost exclusively a catch-and-shoot shooter who couldn't catch and shoot last year. The coaches like him. By all accounts, a great team player. But for now he's the 10th man on a team that's only going nine deep. There was some thought from this offseason on the staff that he might even redshirt this year, but when the NCAA ruled that this season doesn't count toward eligibility for all  winter athletes there became no sense in redshirting anyone. He could work himself back into the rotation, but for now I'd say they don't need to fix something that's not broken.
    When was the last time Mizzou had this big of a sports weekend? Any word on Tre Williams?
    Any word on Tre as in what? Why he quit the team? I don't know. I left messages with both Tre and his mother and haven't heard back. He hasn't started the last three games. A walk-on started over him at South Carolina. He's clearly behind Jeffcoat at the Buck position. Mizzou in no way pushed him out. I'm fairly certain he would have been welcome to play again next year if he wanted to return. (Seniors who come back for 2021 to take advantage of the NCAA eligibility rule won't count toward next year's 85-man scholarship limit.) But it appears he wants to either get ready for the NFL or move on to another program. I'm skeptical that he'd want to transfer. This is his fifth year in college. Does he really want to spend another year in college? Not sure. This is about the time of year when draft-eligible players get draft grades from the NFL. He could be waiting on that feedback so he can start preparing for the next level. 
    As for this weekend, all I can think of is the first December weekend in 2013, when the football team was playing for the SEC championship in Atlanta and the basketball team was hosting nationally ranked UCLA. This is obviously different with the games taking place across the street from each other. 
    Good how long will it take before Eli is seduced away from Mizzou?
    No idea. Depends on what jobs open and who might be interested in him. Hard to predict those things. 
    I always look at it like this: It's a good thing when other schools want to hire your coach. It means things are going well. 
  • Flying back for the game this week for the first time this year. With Covid, are the traditional spots - shakesphere's,booches, still the places to hit - is there a pre-game place everyone goes since there's no tailgating....thanks Dave! Greeting from the Florida heat!
  • Gotta be honest, I haven't been eating indoors at local restaurants since the second wave of cases hit Boone County hard. We do takeout meals from all the great places around town. I would call ahead to see whose dining rooms are open.
    What's up with Lovett? I've heard a lot of rumors recently about him possible flipping.
    This is a question about Dominic Lovett, the four-star receiver from East St. Louis who committed to Arizona State in September. There have been some rumblings that he could decommit from the Sun Devils. I asked someone close to the situation this morning if Mizzou is in the mix for him. Answer: Yes. 
    That source indicated there could be news soon.
    Stay tuned. 
    Does that mean an official decommitment is looming? Perhaps. A commitment to Missouri? Not sure, but it appears Drinkwitz and his coaches are working on a flip. 
    Drinkwitz said last week his staff is having "side conversations" 2021 recruits who are committed to other teams but might have doubts about their situation and said, "We throw seeds into those doubts and see what happens."
    Keep in mind, the early signing period begins next Wednesday. 
    We'll let some more chatters enter the room before I post what I think should be an interesting poll question today.
    I know it's basically impossible to be able to tell who's going to decommit or transfer, but are there any that you are aware of that Drink may pick up within the next week?
    No, impossible to predict that without any intel and I don't speculate on players who might transfer unless they or someone close to them have made that indication.
    Thanks for the chat. Love what you're doing here.

    I know that Illinois is playing really well right now, but I haven't had a chance to watch them play yet this season. What must Mizzou do well in order to beat them? How close do you expect this game to be, and what aspects will determine the outcome?
  • The Illini are loaded. 
    Ayo Dosunmu is going to chase Luka Garza for national player of the year and might be the clubhouse leader through two weeks. Who guards the 6-5 All-American guard. Dru Smith opened on him last year if I remember correctly. (Jordan Geist played a great game against Dosunmu two years ago.) The Kofi Cockburn-Jeremiah Tilmon matchup will be a brawl inside. Illinois added some really impressive freshman guards in Adam Miller and Andre Curbelo. Then there's Trent Frazier, one of the best veteran guards in the country. Loads and loads of talent. 
    But Martin gets his guys up for this game. It's personal for Pinson, Tilmon, Mark Smith and Pickett, being guys from Illinois who either grew up idolizing the Illini (Pinson), once committed/signed with the Illini (Tilmon, Pickett) or actually played for the Illini (Smith). I hate that fans won't be able to attend this game, but I just hope it's a good competitive game in the empty arena. 
    I've seen a handful of the country's best teams on TV this year. Gonzaga is crazy talented and deep. Baylor is Final Four good. I think Illinois is right there in that next tier. Lots of teams have young talent, but this is a year where veteran players, especially veteran guards, are going to be invaluable with all the chaos happening off the court. That's the great thing about Mizzou and Illinois. Lots of really good veteran college guards. 
  • Count me in as one who has enjoyed the competitive games MBB has scheduled this year. Even with a more seasoned team these opponents are helping all of them get better and will help them as the season progresses.

    Not to mention being able to watch them on TV.
  • Agreed. These have been good tests for Mizzou. The four-game stretch has been as challenging as any SEC team has played - and it only gets tougher with Illinois.
  • Comment on how a victory over GA would likely affect Mizzou's bowl invitation.
    It's going to be a strange year for the bowl bids. Remember, everyone is eligible - except LSU, which gave itself a bowl ban yesterday. Mizzou will be right in the mix for the SEC's Group of Six bowls: Music City, Duke Mayo, Outback, Texas, Liberty and Gator. 
    Best-case scenario ahead of those six bowls would be the Citrus Bowl, which has first choice of SEC teams after the New Year's Six games. If Florida loses to Alabama next week, the Gators will surely be in a New Year's Six bowl. Same for Texas A&M if the Aggies finish 9-1 or 8-1. If Georgia wins out, the Bulldogs would be in the running for a NY6 bowl, too. After those games are filled out, the Citrus picks - and it would have the choice of Auburn or Mizzou. The rest of the SEC is sub .500 for now, so if it's not the Citrus for Mizzou, count on one of the better Group of Six bowls, maybe the Outback or Gator. 
    What do you make of Torrence Watson's minimal play time? Do you anticipate that it will increase or will he become frustrated with it and potentially transfer?
    I touched on it earlier. I don't know about a transfer, but he's clearly out of the core rotation right now.
    Keep in mind, guys have drifted in and out of Martin's core rotation every year. A couple years ago Jordan Geist couldn't get minutes ... then became the starting point guard. Mitchell Smith had to earn a role, now he's the first big off the bench. Players can work themselves into or out of the rotation. 
    After waiting all season, it was great to see both Hazelton and Chism finally contribute in a big way to the nail biter win over the Hogs. They're obviously capable receivers, who I hope will show up again this weekend vs. Georgia. Also, love the "Thicker Kicker" nickname for Mevis, who should go down as one of the all time great Mizzou kickers by the time he's done.
    Don't see a question in there, but I appreciate the comment. Hazelton has been dealing with injuries all year. Then he needed some time to get back into the rotation. Chism has been on the field all year - other than his contact tracing game - but it's just taken a while to establish himself in the offense. He's a very solid possession receiver.
  • Hate to see players leaving the FB team this late in the season. I don't understand their situations but with only two games and most likely a good bowl game why cut the season short? They've gotten this far in a season many thought wouldn't happen and the team is showing tremendous success. Even if they finished the year they get another season of eligibility.
    I don't exactly understand the moves (Tre Williams, Adam Sparks), but we're not talking about starters. Sometimes when you're not contributing as much as you expect, other factors come into play when making decisions, especially if you believe you have a future in the sport.
    Why would SLU turn down a 3 game series with 2 in COMO? Do they want 2 in St. Louis and 2 in Columbia? Kentucky would never play Louisville until they played one year in the NCAA tournament in the early 80s. Now they play every year and it is usually one of the most interesting games of the non conference season. Rivalry games are always fun for fans regardless of where they are played. That will be proved again Saturday night.
    I don't know, but I assume SLU would prefer a 1-for-1 or 2-for-2 deal. Mizzou already plays a game in St. Louis every year and I can see why they're not going the extra mile to have two games there every year if SLU doesn't want the deal that was offered - especially considering MU is also sensitive to the KC area and understands the fan base on the west side of the state wants to have games there, too.
    The announcer in the Wichita St game Sunday made the comment that HCCM said “Dru Smith is the best 2 way player offensively and defensively in the SEC”. I was a little surprised to hear this statement. I looked for the preseason all SEC team to see who on MU was included. They showed 20 players - 10 on first team all SEC and 10 on the 2nd team. Out of those 20 players, only one player is from MU. That one player is Dru Smith. So is Dru Smith the best player on the team?
    Near the end of last season Martin began to campaign for Smith to earn All-SEC honors because he believes he's the most complete guard in the league when it comes to his defense combined with his all-around game on offense (scoring, playmaking, free throws, shooting, etc.) Smith also had the best overall stats last year, so it made sense for him to be the guy Martin and the team pushed for All-SEC honors. Is he the best player on the floor every night? No, not this year. Mark Smith is that guy some nights. Pinson was against Oregon. Tilmon can be in flashes. So, I'm  not sure there's an absolute No. 1 player on this team. But I'd say the list starts and ends with those four guys.
    Two converging football events: The NCAA "sixth year" option for players, and the reactivation of the XFL in Spring 2022.

    Are we going to see a lot of players wanting to play year six for their school, to use it as a warm-up for tryouts in the XFL?

    Will this burden Div. I coaches with "too many players" hanging around?
    I really don't think any current college players are thinking about the XFL. They all want to make the NFL. The XFL can be a nice fallback option.
    What do you make of Nick Bolton's ejection? Each year more players appear to ejected for 'targeting' calls even when reviewing video evidence doesn't support it. Do you anticipate any adjustments to the rule in the near future?
  • If you read the rule and you're a strict constructionist - you apply the text only as it's written - then you can make a case Bolton's hit was indeed targeting. You can judge that he made forcible contact with the "neck area" of a defenseless player (John David White) by striking him in the upper chest/shoulder area. Personally, I wouldn't make that case, but it's close enough if that's the penalty you want to call. At some point, I'd like to see the officials take into account that it's just a good football play that had an unfortunate outcome for the receiver.  A targeting foul has to hit on one these or other indicators:
    • Launch-a player leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make forcible contact in the head or neck area
    • A crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area, even though one or both feet are still on the ground
    • Leading with helmet, shoulder, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area
    • Lowering the head before attacking by initiating forcible contact with the crown of the helmet
    Bolton left his feet, which is considered a launch. 
    I agree with Drinkwitz. This appeared to be a case of "big dude hits little dude at high velocity." 
    You referenced the block M on the helmets of the football team and I have been missing seeing these since we joined the SEC. Should we expect to see it more regularly?
    They've worn the Block M for six straight games. Seems like more than a coincidence at this point.
    Dave you have probably answered this in a previous chat.But who did CM replace MIchael Porter Sr with on his staff? Did he promote or bring in a new face? And was it an upgrade in your opinion? Thanks
    Going into last season, Porter was essentially moved off the bench into a non-coaching role and swapped positions with Marco Harris, who took his place as one of Martin's three on-the-floor assistants. He did not add anyone to the staff payroll in the role that Porter held last season unless there's been a recent change the team didn't announce.
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