Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Bring your questions and comments about Tigers basketball and football, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Thursday.




  • How much do you think the committee takes into account close losses/close wins? Doesn't the BPI take margin of victory into account? It sure seems like Mizzou losing on the final play to Florida and @ Arkansas, and a game in which they arguably outplayed West Va for the majority of the game should be worth something (I hope). And several of their wins have been by double digits. Either way, I think Mizzou should be in decent shape for the tourney if they keep playing .500 ball in conference play due to depth of SEC. Thoughts?
  • It's been a while since I dug deep into what criteria the selection committee considers closely - for obvious reasons on this beat. The BPI measures margin of victory, so those close losses would be reflected in Mizzou's score at least to some degree.
  • Hi David, I know it’s not really on your radar yet, but here’s goes anyway. Do you know if Trey Harris has been reinstated to the baseball team? Also, do you know if the baseball field went completely to field turf, or was it just the infield?
  • Trey is with the team as far as I know. He's been used in all their preseason promotional tweets and videos. I know there's been some uncertainty about his position. He wants to find a spot on the field that will enhance his draft stock. Could be as a second baseman, but I'm not sure what the plan is for the season. I'm fairly certain the plan was for the whole field to move to turf.
  • If they lose these next two games on the road is the big dance dream over?
  • No. Again, it's not about which games you win or lose. It's about winning games in the SEC, period. So many of these opponents are all bunched together in the RPI that losing or beating one isn't all that different than losing or beating another one. There are a few outliers, but not as much as in years past.
  • Any idea on what Cuonzo trying to implement and run on offense? I don't think I have seen a guard dribble the ball up the court and call a play on offense all season. Usually just a high ball screen with a big and wings standing around. Doesn't seem like much movement at all.
  • It's essentially a 4-out, 1-in offense with a lot of actions on the perimeter to create ball screens for shooters, plus post feeds for kick-outs.
  • Looking at Watson's performances in his senior year of high school, his scoring is great. However, he doesn't seem to shoot, or make, a lot of 3s. Does the staff envision him as a 3 point threat? He seems to get to the line a ton, so do the staff see him as more of a slashing scorer?
  • It's not something I've really discussed with the staff at length to this point.
  • As HCCM apparently told him, Tilmon’s problems are on him, right? There is no big conspiracy by SEC referees, is there?
  • There have clearly been some bad calls on Tilmon, but not as many lately. That's why Martin is trying to make him understand that he can't just blame the officials for everything. He has to control his body and his aggression and make good decisions on the floor.
  • Dave -- I am not giving up on the season by any means. But I think it's fair to say Missouri's margin for error as far as making the NCAA Tournament is about gone. Yes, there are some very winnable games left -- although I would classify the games at Kentucky and Alabama as long shots -- but this team's weaknesses really have been exposed. It's not hopeless, but I have a bad feeling we're going to look back at the games against Illinois (a truly bad loss) and Florida (a game Missouri easily should have won) with regret on Selection Sunday. I hope I am wrong. What say you?
  • Not a whole lot more to add that hasn't been said. When you lose three of four there's  not a lot of reasons to  be too hopeful ... but don't forget this same team beat South Carolina on the road - look at what Frank Martin's team has done lately with wins over Florida, Georgia and Kentucky - and beaten a really good Tennessee team. There's no reason Mizzou can't give UK a good game at home and beat Texas A&M in Columbia. Auburn throttled Martin's team last night, but nobody else in the league is playing like Auburn right now.
  • Body language by Jontay late last night: discouraged.
  • No more discouraged than the fans who left with 8 minutes left. I mean, he's 18 and struggling in the national spotlight. I would be concerned if he wasn't discouraged, right?
  • Dave: Are you the only STLPD writer assigned to Mizzou? I ask because the women's BB team coverage is fairly lacking. That is in no way a shot at you. You're one man trying to cover as much as possible with depth, but the women's team is ridiculously good, and, in my opinion, should have write-ups for each game the way the less-good men's team gets. I watched the women step all over Arkansas and then looked for the write-up of the game the next day and there wasn't one. I appreciate that some of the columnists chime in on occasion, like BHocman did earlier in the week, but these ladies deserve a beat writer.
  • I am the Mizzou beat writer. I can't be at every event. We had a columnist at Mizzou's game against Arkansas when I was traveling home from the men's game. Before last season do you know the last time the P-D sent a columnist to a Mizzou women's game? I'm not sure it's ever happened. Last week we had a 50-inch story on Sophie Cunningham. We had a 40-inch story on Pingeton at the start of the season. We've covered this program more in the last two years than ever before. Bottom line, as a company we have to make business decisions. The women's team coverage does not drive traffic. Those stories are read at a very small fraction compared to stories on the men's team. It's not financially feasible to travel to road games to cover the women's team. I don't think fans realize this but most newspapers across the SEC don't travel to cover MEN'S games. Kentucky and Missouri and sometimes Arkansas and Tennessee are the only SEC teams that have writers on the road for all men's games. Tennessee's paper covers their women's games on the road, but no one else does across the league. At the end of the day we have to devote our resources to the events that make sense for our company. That said, we'll continue to cover the team the way we have. We'll have a preview story for Sunday's game against South Carolina and, as always, a recap of the game in the next day's paper.
  • I agree with your assessment of Jontay. I've wondered about his somewhat timid approach near the basket, and, really, I think a lot of it is that he's not an explosive athlete the way Tillmon is. While Jontay's game needs more polish, he needs to get physically stronger and more explosive. The lack of those two physical traits is where his youth is most evident to me.
  • Agreed. Plus, he just hasn't spent much time playing with his back to the basket. It's new territory for him.
  • Dave, gunna need you to start shutting down/banning people from the chat who bring up MPJ playing this year.

    HE HAD SPINE SURGERY PEOPLE.
  • It hasn't been ruled out that he could return. But, again, it's not a given.
  • HAHAHAHHAHA just imagined Jontay trying to contend downlow with Draymond.

    Thanks Dave.
  • One other thing from me today: I don't claim to know much about women's basketball, but it is so much fun to watch Sophie Cunningham play. She plays with so much confidence -- and I mean that as a compliment. She walks out there like she knows she is going to kick your backside. I laughed out loud when I saw the comments from the South Carolina coach. Finally, a Missouri team getting under the skin of a successful coach so bad, he or she is talking about publicly. What is your take? Call me crazy, but I think this team is a Final Four darkhorse, especially if it can go through Kansas City in the tournament.
  • Possibly. They have a lot of weapons. Their guards are bigger than most teams they play. They could have a great road, but there are about a dozen tradtionally elite teams in WBB that will be in any team's way to the Final Four. There's a glass ceiling in WBB, to borrow a bad phrase. Cracking it isn't easy, but I wouldn't count out this team if they get some favorable matchups. It's a fun team to cover because they're entertaining to watch and they're absolutely great with the media. Not just friendly but engaging and thoughtful.
  • What do you think of Martin as a coach so far? I can't say I'm impressed... Doesn't seem to utilize players to the best of their ability (take advantage of their strengths). They have problems inbounding the ball cause they don't set screens to get open... These are just a couple things I see. Your thoughts?
  • I think he has a lot of great qualities. I imagine the tone of this chat would be different a day after Mizzou beats Tennessee instead of losing badly to Auburn. Any coach whose roster is so limited that he has to give minutes to some of the guys who are playing is going to have some rough times. It'll be fair to measure Martin once he gets more of his players on the roster. He's gotten more out of Barnett than any of his three previous head coaches have gotten out of him. Tilmon and Porter have struggled lately - but it seems more dramatic because they were playing so well earlier. And if Martin gets blame for the way they're playing now, I guess he gets credit for how well they were playing earlier. He has established philosophies. He's smart. He's intense. I think he's got the personality to get the most out of players willing to work.
  • Pretty obvious to me that our coach is lacking in intensity and coaching his team up against ranked opponents. They pulled within 2 last night and all of the sudden when a timeout and some smart offensive playcalling could have tied the game, it was like the coach and players just wanted to watch auburn play... He is not impressing me on court...
  • You lost me at Cuonzo lacking in intensity. I'm not sure I've ever been around a more intense hoops coach. Sometimes you have to give credit to the other coach, too, and Bruce Pearl is as good as there is when it comes to Xs and Os and building a style of play based on personnel.
  • OK, folks, we've gone overtime. We'll do this again next week. I'll be in Starkvegas for Saturday's game at The Hump. Believe it or not, Starkville is the only SEC town I've yet to visit since Missouri joined the SEC. The cycle is complete Saturday.
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