Join Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter for his live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday

Join Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter for his live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday

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

    Greetings, chatters. I'll be here for the next couple hours. Let me refill my coffee while the questions pour in.
    On the headphones today: Zach Bryan. I'm slightly obsessed. Check him out if you dig good music. 
    Do you have any insight why our former punter Stonehouse left for another team after Drink gave him a chance to walk on and then started him. I am sure he would have been given a scholarship.
    Are you sure about that? Here's what Stonehouse recently told Mike McAllister, who covers Syracuse for FanNation: "One of the main reasons was I wanted to find a scholarship. After the season of playing, I didn't feel as though I was going to get a scholarship. I thought maybe my best chance was in the portal. I got some film, I got some stats and I really took a chance. I went into the portal just looking for a scholarship to be honest with you. When I went to Syracuse, it was head over heels. It was way more than I expected. I'm really happy about it. I think I made the right decision to better myself as a punter, start over, start from scratch. I think I took a chance and I ended up really happy with it." 
    Stonehouse was OK for Mizzou this year, hardly an all-conference candidate. Among SEC punters with at least 20 attempts this past season, he was ninth in punting average. I never thought it was a given he'd get a scholarship for 2023. We'll see if the Towson transfer is an upgrade. 
    Good morning, Mr. Matter. Thank you for the chat and your outstanding coverage of Mizzou, it's one of the main reasons I have a digital subscription to the Post-Dispatch. I love the energy Coach Gates is bringing to Mizzou basketball, but hopefully he is recruiting some big men who can rebound and play defense. I realize that traditional roles in basketball are changing, but while munchkin basketball may beat mid-major teams, but it won't cut it in the SEC or the NCAA tournament. And playing in the NIT isn't anything to brag about. (Which was the last team with a center 6-foot-9 or smaller to win the NCAA?)
    Baylor in 2021 won the championship without a traditional big man playing major minutes. Virginia was built the same way when it won it all in 2019. Same for Villanova in 2018.
    I wouldn't give up on Mo Diarra as a future piece to the frontcourt. He needs to spend a full year in the weight room. Incoming freshman Jordan Butler is close to 7-foot tall but plays more of a stretch-four/stretch-five role, so I don't envision him patrolling the low block as a freshman. 
    Hello Dave....should be an energetic chat today....

    So....the issues this Mizzou team has had all year reared it's ugly head again...bad rebounding, too many 3-pt shots taken (1-16 at one point last night), and bad 3-pt defense (gave up 10 to A&M). On top of that, their shooting has been cold. They are 1-2 in the last 3 games. Gave up a 17 point lead to Arkansas. Almost lost at home to a bad Vanderbilt team. Got destroyed by A&M and were down by 20+. Come on! A&M lost at home to Murray St., Boise St., Colorado and Wofford. Seriously....if this trend continues...they may not win another SEC game.

    Just think....everyone was ready to give Gates a lifetime contract.......
    Fan reaction to last night's game was ... interesting. Buckle up, folks. College basketball is a bumpy ride, especially when you go on the road in this league. It's a long season. Other teams have good coaches and good players, too.
    Full disclosure: I wrote about last night's game from home and will do the same Saturday for the Florida game. For now, I plan to cover the rest of the road games in person (Ole Miss, Miss St, Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, Georgia, postseason). But when I'm on my couch instead of in the arena, I might glance at Twitter mentions a little more frequently. Man, I'm not sure how some folks can do it. Each possession, each half, each game is like riding Space Mountain on psychedelics. Fans go from one minute terrified Gates will leave for another job to declaring the program fraudulent ad irrelevant the next. Long season, folks.
    This is a crucial four-game stretch. Missouri is better team than what we saw last night - but probably not as good as the team that dominated Illinois for about 35 minutes last month. They have to overcome their limitations by being great in other areas: create turnovers, limit turnovers, play fast and drill 3s. 
    Please....Please...tell me why Houston is #1? Their SOS is 111. Only 1-1 against AP top 25 teams. Alabama is 5-2 against AP teams and their SOS is #1 and SOR is #2. Even Kansas is 4 and 1 respectively. Houston plays in the AAC and no team there has fewer than 4 losses (conference is ranked 10th right below CUSA).

    Houston's only halfway decent win is at Virginia. I just don't see how they should even be in the top 10, except for their 17-1 record....but those were against TERRIBLE teams. I mean Mizzou started 11-1 after playing a similar schedule and hadn't sniffed the top 25 until they beat Kentucky. Not saying Mizzou should be...there
  • Houston's credentials are better than you've noted. Very good win at Oregon. Good win over St. Mary's. Great win at Virginia. Solid win over UCF. Watch Houston play. They pass the eye test. 
    The metrics love Houston because they play the game REALLY WELL. No. 2 defense in the country and No. 9 offense. They're elite on the offensive glass and on the defensive end, both protecting the rim and the 3-point arc. They have really good players and a great coach. I don't have Houston No. 1, but they're one of the five best teams in America - in my opinion - along with Kansas, Alabama, Purdue and Tennessee. 
    I am curious about your guide lines in answering questions from readers regarding Missouri football. Last week I asked what your thoughts were on what personal would have made the biggest difference in being able to win the games the team lost by 10 points or less. Your response was they could have lost the games that they won by 10 points or less and moved on. Am I correct you either felt you could not answer the question as being too broad or under your guide lines you will not give an opinion in this forum that may require an analysis of each game we lost by a close score.
    Apologies, but I get a lot more questions in here than I have time to answer in a three-hour window, so I don't always get to every question with a thorough answer. 
    My only chat guidelines are to delete and ban the trolls and the chatters who make personal attacks or are racists/misogynists. There are more than you might believe.
    OK, let's look at last year's close games: Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky. 
    I'd say in the Auburn game, Mizzou struggled with pass protection on the edges against Auburn's outside rushers, while outside receivers really struggled to get open and create big plays in the passing game.
    Against Florida, Cook and his receivers were out of sync. He made a couple regretful passes but more than anything his receivers struggled with physical play from UF's secondary. 
    Against Georgia, MU's line of scrimmage players eventually ran out of gas on both sides of the ball. Protection and running lanes broke down in the second half. Mizzou's front six/seven got pushed around in the fourth quarter by Georgia's O-line.
    Against Kentucky, again, Mizzou struggled to generate chunk plays on offense in the passing game. Kentucky specializes in limiting those kind of explosive plays and forces you to dink and dunk - and Mizzou didn't have enough in the dink and dunk game. The secondary had some breakdowns, too, on crucial third downs in the red zone. 
    I'm not sure there are too many common threads in those four losses other than not having enough firepower at the outside receiver positions  and losing the line of scrimmage along the O-line. 
    Hi Dave. I have accepted the reality that looks like this will be a rollercoaster season for the Tigers, especially losing games when their shooting does not offset their poor rebounding, Do you concur?
    Outside of the very few elite teams, most college hoops seasons are a roller coaster. If you split most weeks, don't lose to bad teams at home and pick off a couple on the road, you're in good shape. The good news is Mizzou has't lost to a  bad team yet. KU is elite. Arkansas has slipped some lately but is still a top 25 team. A&M might be one before the season is over. I like Buzz's team.
    Is Mizzou being "figured out" or is it just that conference play is more difficult than non-conference play? Thanks, Dave.
    I don't think it's a matter of being figured out. You just have to take away their strengths and expose their weaknesses. And it's not like coaches have just figured those things out. The strengths and weaknesses were clear all along. They don't defend great in the halfcourt if they don't get a steal. They really struggle to rebound on the defensive end. They foul a lot because they put so much pressure on the ball. Like Gates said last week, their only course is to overcome weaknesses with strengths. They have to generate turnovers and limit their own turnovers to make up for the extended possessions they allow on the glass.
    Gates has done a tremendous job restoring interest in the program. We are to small and get destroyed on the boards. No one's fault , 6 7 good players going against 6 10 good player . Beating Kentucky was great but not as good as we thought. I have always believed in the SEC we will go 7 and 11. 18 and 13 before SEC TOURNAMENT That will be a great step forward in Gates first year. We will win 6 SEC home games and steal one on the road. Football wise , still hoping for SEC type lineman out of the portal. The guy they just signed his stats aren't good on sacks and hurries allowed. Obviously drink is going with cook and horn. Cook improved and with a better Offensive coach coming in he might do much better.
    What's your take on the whole Isaiah Mosley situation? Why does he travel with the team if he isn't going to play or even why is he allowed to travel. If he isn't I'm shocked he hasn't transferred to another program. Also is all the found we're making by being out of position ? I think Gates has done of hell of a job and still think we make the Big Dance.
  • I've asked Gates repeatedly about Mosley's situation and status. He's not budging. I've asked others. Folks around the program either don't know or insist on keeping things private. I'll keep asking, but I don't expect any clear answers.
    It put kind of a bad taste in my mouth when Gates basically said that his team wasn’t going to rebound. Now that bad taste has turned sour. What’s your take on his comments? Doesn’t seem like something a sec coach should have in their vocabulary. Work on boxing out and rebounding in practice, don’t just count on steals and what not to help counter the lack of rebounding.
    He never said the team won't rebound. He acknowledged that it's not one of their strengths. He's just being realistic. He has said countless times they have to rebound by committee. The guards have to rebound. Kobe has to avoid fouls so he can stay on the floor and rebound.
    I don't think Mizzou got destroyed by A&M. When they got the deficit down to four in the second half, I thought they had a chance to win. Unfortunately, they fell apart from there.
    I think it's probably a different game if Gates backs off the defensive pressure and lets A&M settle for 3s instead of putting so much heat on the ball, which put the Aggies on the foul line time and time again. He admitted after the game he should have called a timeout and turned down the ball pressure.
    Why hasn't Mo Diarra played more thus far? Is he just not performing well in practice? Also, what is it going to take to NOT have Kobe Brown get early fouls every game. Twelve points against a mediocre Tx A & M team is pretty bad. What happened to the 30 and 31 point Kobe?
    Kobe was shooting more 3s when he had those big scoring games. He's not taking those shots in the road SEC games.
    Illinois: 3 of 4
    Kentucky: 4 of 8
    Arkansas: 0 of 0
    Vandy: 2 of 6
    A&M: 1 of 3
    So, give credit to the Hogs and Aggies for limiting his open looks on the perimeter. 
    Diarra finally got off the bench last night and took some of DeGray's minutes. He's just not very strong or physical yet. I imagine we might see him getting 10-12 minutes going forward. 
    This season is giving me major flashbacks to 2020. We had early wins against good teams who were playing at a much lower level than they would later in the season. Was the experience that our guys had allowing us to win and now that other teams have developed chemistry that doesn’t matter as much? Did we just happen to catch Illinois and uK at the right time this year?
    I think you mean the 2020-21 season.
    Two very different teams. Remember, that season essentially fell apart when Tilmon left the team for a few games. Pinson didn't help matters with his play down the stretch. 
    I think some folks are overreacting some. Mizzou lost two SEC road games. It's really hard to win on the road in this league. The Arkansas game was a two-possession game with two minutes left. MU was in position to win that game. Last night, bad shooting night all around and too many fouls - against a team that's playing much better now than it was in November/December. If MU comes out flat Saturday at Florida and against Arkansas on Wednesday, then it's fair to be concerned. But a little early to sound the alarms, in my opinion.
    Big picture, it's a good thing that folks are nitpicking a 13-3 team and worrying about NCAA seeding. I did not expect Gates' first team to be in this position midway through the season.
    Have you heard of any quarterbacks from the portal that have visited Mizzou?
    How many roster spots does Drinkwitz currently have open for transfers? Is it realistic to hope for an interior offensive lineman, tight end, defensive end, and running back?
    It's always a fluid number with the portal. A few more players will likely transfer either in the next week or when the portal re-opens in May. As of now, there's not much wiggle room on the roster for more additions, but once a few more players leave - the running back room still has some pieces probably moving along, maybe the O-line, too - then they can be more aggressive in the portal. I would think tight end and defensive end.
    A couple of weeks ago re OC & Hamden you wrote in the chat " From what I understand is Drinkwitz couldn't promise him the OC job here and he couldn't make Boise wait any longer when the job was offered. I like Hamdan. Smart, personable, genuinely good guy." WHY couldn’t he offer the OC job at that time. I would have preferred to keep someone who was performing than a new guy.
    Drinkwitz explained why on Saturday when I asked him: "I was very adamant with our coaching staff and with everybody that I was not going to make any firm decisions until after the bowl game and felt like I needed to have that chance to step away from the emotion of the season and really try to figure out exactly what we needed to do moving forward. That's just kind of my process in making decisions. I don’t want to make emotional decisions."
    I understand that decision. When Hamdan got the Boise offer the second week of December, Mizzou was heavily recruiting the portal, getting ready for the early signing period and preparing for the bowl game. Drinkwitz was juggling a lot of balls in the air at that point - and wanted to get through that hectic time before deciding on the coordinator position. 
    I hear that all the time...the road is difficult. It doesn't seem to bother elite teams like Kansas too much, and it didn't bother Alabama last night either. Good teams rise up and meet the challenge.
    Missouri isn't an elite team like Kansas or Alabama. 
    That's the whole point. 
    You tweeted out some statistics on the new OL transfer from E. Michigan that were not too flatering. Do you see him as an upgrade to what we have?
  • If you buy into the PFF stats, then he didn't have a tremendous season compared to Mizzou's O-linemen. But ... big but here ... that doesn't mean this staff can't get more out of him. Kristian Williams didn't do much at Oregon, then flourished in Mizzou's defense this year.
    Dave, how do you rate the football Tigers portal action so far? Good, bad, or...? thanks.
    For this cycle, Mizzou lost one scholarship starter (Lovett). I guess you could say two if you include Dove, but there was never much expectation for him to come back - and I think they upgraded there with the addition of Theo Wease. So far, I'd say portal shopping has been a net gain in terms of losing impact players versus adding potential impact players. But Mizzou lost some young backups who never developed into productive players. So do you knock the staff for recruiting players who weren't cut out for the SEC or for not developing them sooner - or do you cut your losses and just look to add more than you lose? I think it's the latter. When the season kicks off, you want to have added more quality via the portal than you lose. I'd say Mizzou did that last year - and could do the same again this year.
    His point was that you can analyze all of their close losses and how they could have won them, but then you would also need to analyze their close wins and how they could have lost THOSE.
    So it's all a wash.
    Circling back here ... but yes, that was my point overall last week.
    I love what MBB HCDG has been doing with the program but the one thing that has me a bit surprised is how poorly this team rebounds. I realize it's not a tall/long team but - unlike other hoops skills like shooting or ball-handling - rebounding is one that is much more dictated by your effort desire and, simply, smart placement of your body. I'm a little surprised this team hasn't gotten better, since most of those things are teachable.
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