Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

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

    Welcome back, Mizzou chatters. Thanks for joining. I'll take your questions for the next couple hours. Let's get started.
    Noticed MU coaches extending several TE offers. How does Drink's O utilize the TE position? Is the TE a big part of Drink's Zone Blocking scheme or does the TE get more passing targets?
    From some of the App State footage I've seen there's a big role for an H-back, a motion tight end who lines up off the line or in the backfield as a blocker/receiver. That might have been more to do with the personnel he inherited at App State, but this year I think you'll see him adapt to the personnel on the roster then start recruiting and developing personnel to match his style and system. Last year, he didn't have a tight end catch more than nine passes. His last two years at NC State tight ends didn't catch many balls either. But in his first year there, 2016, he had a player named Jaylen Samuels who was a jack of all trades at 228 pounds and played running back, receiver and tight end and was the team's No. 2 receiver with 55 catches.
    I am a fourth generation mizzou graduate. At the 5th down game :( What confidence can I have in the MU football or basketball? Does not seem that they are building an SEC team, but mid-level like MAC.
    The football team is a MAC program? They're not paying the head coach a MAC salary. I think he's done a nice job building on the recruiting class Odom started and should have a bowl team in 2020. 
    As for hoops, there have been some disappointing losses. But the middle third of the conference season just started. The SEC is not nearly as good as it's been the last two years ... but just two wins separate Missouri in 11th place and a pack of teams in fourth place. There's a glut of average teams in the league and Missouri can get right back in the middle of the pack here quickly. Should the program have higher goals than middle of the SEC? Of course, but that's still better than most figured this team would finish this year. This isn't an NCAA Tournament team. That doesn't mean the rest of the season is meaningless. 
    Perhaps not your call, but could you get the website to post next game information - opponent, date, time, TV coverage?

    In this day and age, how can we have a team of non-scorers? Kids on the court do not work on defense. Could the focus on defense make them gun shy?

    I like the way Mitchell Smith plays. Can they teach him to score?
    Smith had three 3s in the Georgia game and played a huge role in the comeback. 
    We have a preview story for every Mizzou men's basketball game and the story includes all the pertinent info: game time, TV channel. There's also a page on the site that includes Mizzou's schedule, roster, standings, etc. 
     

    NCAAB Team Schedule | St. Louis Post-Dispatch & STLtoday.com

    stltoday.comGet the latest team schedule information plus full coverage of the NCAAB from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch & STLtoday.com.
    Great game for Reed this week. 13 points, big dunk and the game sealing block on a certain NBA first rounder. If Tilmon had a game like that everyone would be talking about how he's finally turned the corner and will be an inevitable lottery pick. Does this prove that we're better off keeping Tilmon on the bench?
    I don't know if it proves anything other than the fact that Nikko can be a valuable player in a matchup like that. Georgia doesn't have a classic post player and the way UGA was defending MU's ball screens, that gave Reed chances for post-ups and driving lanes for the guards. Give him credit for staying out of foul trouble ... for finishing plays when he got post feeds ... and for that huge block on Edwards in the final seconds.
    That doesn't mean Tilmon couldn't have made the same plays provided he avoid foul trouble, but we saw Tuesday that MU can still have an effective post game without Tilmon. 
    Even though it was a dreadful loss and MU was overmatched inside, Nikko played well defensively for stretches at West Virginia. Culver really struggled to get going on the offensive end and Nikko was disruptive inside. 
    Any word on the health of Tillman and Michael Smith and when they might return to the court?
    The last time Martin updated Tilmon's status - a week ago today - he said the next step would be some on-court activity with the trainers, not in any kind of 5-on-5 capacity. The most he had been able to do was work out on a treadmill or elliptical. That didn't sound very encouraging that he'd be ready soon.
    I assume you're asking about Mark Smith. Martin didn't signal anything after the game Tuesday on his status, only that he couldn't play in the second half against Georgia. Martin will meet with the media tomorrow morning before the team leaves for South Carolina. 
    whos game do you like the most on this MU hoops team? Who has the highest ceiling?
    Dru Smith has had some off games on the offensive end, but when he's getting into the paint and being aggressive on the perimeter he's an effective offensive player. He's always a strong defender. One of the best defensive guards in the SEC.
    When Pinson's not turning the ball over he's a difficult matchup for any defender. 
    Kobe Brown has shown a lot of upside - at times. 
    Everybody in the regular rotation has had flashes of being a productive player. There's just not much consistency from week to week. 
    Good morning Dave. Hope all is well your way and that your day is going well. With the news that Mario McKinney is transferring to a juco school and will play there all the way through next season, can it be inferred that his problems at MU were more classroom-related more so than on the court?
    No. It was not an academic situation from what I've been told. He played in games after the fall semester. He was eligible to play in the current winter/spring semester. He's at a junior college because he wouldn't be eligible to play at a Division I school this season or at the start of next season per NCAA transfer rules.
    At times during the Georgia, I was thinking maybe Mizzou should just discontinue Men's Basketball. Obviously, I was wrong. What an incredible comeback! I really did not think this team had it in them to do something like that. How do you think this will affect the team going forward? I hope they get at least a momentary boost of confidence from it. If they could have pulled out the Texas A&M game too, they would be .500 in the SEC. Thanks.
  • I know folks are frustrated with this basketball team, but discontinue the program? They've had a few bad losses. They've had a run of bad seasons outside of just two years ago when they won 20 games, Martin was a coach of the year candidate and they made the NCAA Tournament.
    Tuesday's win doesn't mean anything unless it propels this team to more wins. Coming back from a 20-point deficit is hard to do and this team deserves credit for fighting through that comeback to make it happen. But beating Georgia at home doesn't salvage the season or erase the earlier struggles. All it does is stop the losing streak and - maybe -renew some confidence. And the players know that. We'll see if it translates into more success. Really tough game on Saturday. South Carolina was left for dead in December but has since proven that teams can improve over the course of a season. This is a team that's lost to Stetson and Boston U ... and has wins over Virginia (on the road), Kentucky and Arkansas (on the road). If the Tigers wilt on Saturday, Tuesday's win doesn't mean nearly as much other than a feel-good moment.
    Not sure if everyone read this story posted at STLtoday.com last night, but it should generate some discussion here. 
     

    With ticket sales lagging, Mizzou athletics still in the red

    stltoday.com: Missouri operated at a budget deficit again in 2018-19 as ticket sales fell 8 percent.
    Dave, any word on if the transfer receiver from Virginia Tech is immediately eligible? Have heard conflicting reports...

    Any players we should keep an eye on in the spring? Someone maybe under the radar that hasn’t been talked about much? Sometimes a new coaching staff might evaluate a player completely different than the previous one. Maybe time for a breakout for someone like Brendan Scales?
    The Virginia Tech receiver, Damon Hazelton, has already transferred once before, and when that happens you generally need a waiver to become immediately eligible at your second school. On the other hand he only has one year and one season of eligibility left. If he would have to sit out the 2020 season then he wouldn't have a year of eligibility left for 2021. You get five years to play four seasons. He played at Ball State in 2016, sat out at Virginia Tech in 2017, played at VT in 2018 and 2019. That's three playing seasons in four years. That gives him one year left on a Division I team. It wouldn't make sense for him to transfer anywhere if he has to sit out a year. 
    He hasn't returned my messages or done any other interviews that I'm aware of, so there's still some mystery here. Drinkwitz should meet with the media next week for national signing day, so hopefully things get clarified. 
    The financial information you wrote about today is not insignificant. Anyone wondering why we are not at the top of the SEC in FB or MBB need only look at how much more $ the top programs can spend on coaches, facilities, recruiting, etc. Also disconcerting is MU's revenue gap. Has any MU representative said anything to you about how (once the loan to MU is repaid) the athletic department plans to get back into the black and stay there? I don't see an easy path, and see a chronic deficit being a thorn in the legislature's side.
    It's all about ticket sales. That's always the answer because really that's the one revenue stream the school can control that needs to improve. Donations to athletics continue to rise. The fundraising piece of the puzzle has been successful. Now it's all about selling tickets. And with selling tickets and getting bigger crowds at events, you see all the other ancillary revenue streams make more money: concessions, parking, t-shirt sales, etc. 
    Which is true: You need to make more money to fund your programs to be more competitive in the SEC ... or you need to be more competitive in the SEC to draw crowds to fund your programs? The school would tell you that it's the former. The fans (who are staying away from games) will tell you it's the latter. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. More success on the field/court will draw fans to the games and give the department more resources to spend on coaches, recruiting, facilities, etc. At the same time, more fan investment prior to that success would allow provide the resources to spend more and make the teams more competitive. 
    Football is the biggest money-maker in college football and the most expensive sport to fund. So if you view Mizzou's revenue/spending rankings in the SEC through the prism of the football program, it tells me that it's not necessarily all about winning when it comes to making money.
    South Carolina and Arkansas make far more money and spend more money when it comes to athletics - and sell more tickets - but have had less success in football since MU joined the SEC. 
    Since joining the league, MU is tied for eighth in the SEC in football victories with South Carolina ... and ahead of Ole Miss, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Arkansas.
    Even if you start at 2015, after MU's two-year run as SEC East champs, MU is 10th in the SEC in wins, tied with Ole Miss and more than South Carolina, Vandy and Arkansas. But Ole Miss, USC and Arkansas continue to make more money and spend more money when it comes to athletics. There are a lot of reasons for that, but that indicates it's not just about putting a winning product on the field. 
    Mississippi State is another case. MSU plays in a tougher division than Mizzou but has won more games since 2012 (63 to 58) and more games than Mizzou the last five years (38 to 30) yet makes less money and spends far less. Why is that? Again, it's complicated and lots of factors at play, but if you're a Mississippi State fan just saying, "win more games" isn't the answer. It's one of many but not the end-all, be-all answer. Because MSU has won more games than all but five programs in the SEC over the last eight years and still makes less money than all of them. 
    So, while we wait for Signing Day, and for the MBB season to play out, one way or the other, this question has been bugging me about the Missouri Waltz: Should fans start the wave to the left or to the right? Spirit squads start to the left, so I say left. Hey, there's a poll for you!
    Hmm, you don't want my vote because I think it should  be eliminated altogether. They made a smart move for football moving it to the first half instead of playing it between the third and fourth quarters. It's a snoozer. The SEC stadiums that now how to electrify their crowds don't do it with a waltz.
  • Dave going to ask a few questions for you about the 🏀 team that I had typed out (and am just basically copying & pasting) before the game Tuesday vs UGA in what turned out to be a tremendous comeback win for the team. If that win ends up sparking a big turnaround for this team then you can disregard my questions & pessimistic concerns about the team later :)

    Safe to say that the biggest disappointment this season has been the Smith&Smith guard combo, who MU fans were led to believe would strike terror in the hearts of SEC rivals by the two of them raining down 3s game after game? Instead, it seems like on any given night, at best one of them has a decent game while the other struggles, or both of them have a bad game at the same time. Offhand, I can only think of one time this season where both of them have had great games at the same time: the win vs. FLA where the whole team was great. Curious to know what you personally have considered to be the most disappointing aspect of this team so far this year?
    I wouldn't put Dru Smith anywhere near a list of disappointments. He's had two bad games, but he's been MU's best player for most of the season. He's on pace to have one of the best all-around seasons MU has had from a guard in a long time. Up until Tuesday he was leading this team in points, assists, rebounds and steals. (Mitchell Smith has since nudged past him for the rebounding lead.) He's not always a prolific scorer because he doesn't look to shoot very often and they don't run a lot of plays to get him open for shots off screens, but he's a versatile guard, a really good defender and a 37-percent 3-point shooter, which is very solid. Martin and his staff might have done him a disservice with all the hype the last year, but if MU had a better record he'd be under consideration for All-SEC honors. He's still a candidate for SEC defensive player of the year. That award usually goes to a shot-blocker, but here's where he ranks among SEC guards in some defensive stats:
    Steals: 2nd
    Defensive rating: 4th
    Defensive plus-minus: 2nd 
    Mark Smith is a shooter and a solid defender. I don't think anyone ever hyped him to be an All-American candidate. He's streaky from 3. That's not unusual for a high-volume shooter. He's fourth in the league in 3-pointers. He's still shooting 38 percent from 3. Not elite but still good. For him it's about consistency and finding other ways to score, getting to the rim, getting some foul shots. 
    As for the most disappointing aspects of the team, I'd start with ...  
    * Tilmon's production - and now his health, which isn't his fault.
    * Wild swings in production from the 3 sophomores
    * Defensive breakdowns vs. 3-point shooters. That should be a strength. 
    * Struggles to shoot consistently from 3/reluctance to attack inside
     
    What do the advanced analytics say about the scoring abilities of Mark Smith and Torrence Watson, especially in conference play? To the naked uneducated eyeball, it looks like there's a gap between what we see on the court and the recruiting reports.
    Recruiting reports really shouldn't matter once they step on campus. What's the difference if they arrived with five stars or one stars. If they're on the team and getting minutes then they're expected to play. 
    Watson's offensive production has really fallen off. His offensive rating last year was 104.5. This year it's down to 87.4. He's barely shooting 30 percent from 3 and rarely taking any shots inside the arc or getting to the foul line. He's been worse in SEC play: 24 percent from 3, 84.5 rating on the offensive end. His defensive rating is one of the worst among the guards who play regularly. I'm not sure that's a metric the staff uses, but he's also near the bottom of the team for defensive plus-minus.
    If you look at win shares - the number of wins contributed by a player due to his individual production - Dru Smith and Mark Smith are Nos. 1 and 2 in offensive win shares, defensive win shares and total win shares. Next on those lists are Pickett, Mitchell Smith and Brown. 
    Bad year for Mizzou sports. Football and basketball performances are well below expectations, baseball and softball are on probation. Eierman is on an olympic redshirt and then transfers out. So we come to you, Dave Matter, NSMA Missouri Sportswriter of the year: What is the best story right now that would make Mizzou fans proud? Intramurals, club sports, former tigers in the pros, anything you want to mention as long as it's positive.
    A couple former Mizzou assistants might win the Super Bowl on Sunday?
    Honestly, I'm all out of rainbows and sunshine if that's why you're here. I think there are plenty of positive storylines to follow under all the dark clouds. Mizzou's got a special freshman in Aijha Blackwell. Her demeanor through these struggles is really impressive. Yesterday Robin Pingeton said if any player takes the approach of "just wait until next year," then that player won't be on the roster. In other words, yes, losing stinks, but if you're trying to build something for the future, you can't just skip to the future. I asked Blackwell about that.  yesterday why it's important that she and the other young players Here's her answer. I found it refreshing. "We just watched this clip of Kobe Bryant in an interview and he was just saying, ‘Losing is exciting.’ That’s how I feel like. I don't like losing, but it’s not something you should just harp on and just get depressed about or anything like. Losing should excite you and should motivate you to look at your mistakes and look at what you didn't do so you can improve." She's incredibly hungry, incredibly talented. Bright, bright future. 
    Spring football is going to be interesting as ever. New staff, new quarterback, new pieces, new systems, new coaches. I'm hoping there's great media access because they have lots of interesting stories there to tell. 
    Hello Dave! In that breakdown this morning about Mizzou's revenue and expenses it shows $15 Million on Administrative expenses. This isn't salaries or facilities. What is this? Vacations or the board? Parties? Paying players? Seems like a whole lot for 'administration'.
    The NCAA requires schools to categorize every dollar they spend into one of 19 categories. Overhead and administrative expenses is a big category. It's the money you spend to run your organization on a daily basis not related to salary. Utility payments, phone bills, supplies, etc. MU spent $15.3 million on overhead and administrative expenses last year. The category also includes payments the department makes to the university for use of facilities. MU spent $2 million less on overhead this year
    because of decreased use of facilities. Here's how the NCAA defines overhead. 
    Administrative/Overhead fees charged by the institution to athletics; Facilities maintenance; Security; Risk Management; Utilities. ; Equipment Repair; Telephone; Other Administrative Expenses.
    So, with Nikko graduating, if Tilmon leaves, do you see MBB moving more toward a so-called "position-less" style of play? Okongo hasn't been as bad as some feared, but I just don't see him or the recruit playing starter's minutes at the traditional 5 position.
  • Don't forget Jordan Wilmore, the 7-3 center joining the program next season. Mitchell Smith plays as many minutes, it not more, at the five position and he returns next year, too.
  • Last year's promising tandem of Pickett, Pinson, & Watson seem to have overall regressed  in their sophomore seasons instead of progressing. Just a bad coincidence of "Sophomore slumps" for all of them, and if so, are all three capable of getting back on track this year or next?
    I think it's too much of a blanket statement to say all three have regressed. Watson is not the same player that he was in the second half of last season. Pinson and Pickett, though, make more plays now than they did at just about any point last season. It's just not there consistently. Pinson's scoring and assists are up - or at a similar rate - but his shooting percentages are worse. His turnovers are down while his minutes have increased. Pickett 
    MU is still undefeated when Pickett scores in double figures. He can be a valuable third scoring option with all the cutting and slashing he does. The advanced numbers say he's a more efficient player on both ends. And he's definitely a better shooter from all three areas of the floor. Again, it's about consistent production.
    I never can tell these days.
    With donations still on the rise, I was just curious; who are the big donors to Mizzou athletics? I know it might not be public info but thought I'd ask.
    Discontinuing the program was a joke, Dave.
    Mizzou doesn't have billionaire donors who become faces of the program like you see at other places. It's well documented that Richard Miller is a major donor. Bill Laurie is more engaged with the program these days. Others stay out of the spotlight.
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