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 10 a.m. Friday.

    Good morning, chatters. Thanks for cooperating with the schedule change this week. We'll have to adjust for the next couple weeks with Mizzou playing a couple Wednesday SEC games then the SEC tournament in two weeks with MU playing either Wednesday or Thursday depending on how the next 10 days unfold.
    Is it far fetched to think Missouri could actually make the NCAA Tournament if they finish 9-9 and win a game in the conference tournament?
    Is it win the SEC Tournament or bust for Mizzou to make the Big Dance at this point?
    It would take more than three more regular-season wins and one win the SEC tournament. MU is just No. 86 in the NET rankings. You better be in the 50s or 60s to have any shot at an at-large bid. Here's the downside to having a soft finish to the regular season: Mississippi State is No. 54, Ole Miss is No. 95 and Alabama is No. 39. You're not going to get a great win from here on out in the regular season. As of today, MU would play Texas A&M in the second round of the SEC tourney - and the Aggies are only No. 117. Let's just say the current seedings hold up. If you beat A&M the Friday game is against No. 2 seed Auburn (NET No. 27). Saturday's semifinal would be against No. 3 seed Florida (32). Then No. 1 seed Kentucky (No. 18) would be the opponent in the championship game. If Missouri wins out in the regular season, that's 17-14 with a 2-9 record in Quadrant 1 games. All three remaining regular-season games would be l Quadrant 2 games. For the neutral-site games in Nashville, the opponent would have to be ranked No. 1 through 50 to be considered a Quadrant 1 game. 
    All that being said, to earn an at-large berth, I would think Missouri would have to reach the semifinals and maybe even the championship game. Sweep Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama and then win two in Nashville and you're 19-14. A loss in the semis makes you 19-15. Obviously one team's candidacy isn't made in a vacuum. It will depend on how other bubble teams around the country fare over the next two weeks. But the Tigers will have to win at least five or six in a row to have any shot at the NCAAs.
    What if the NIT wants to pair Mizzou and SLU in a first-round game? Will both schools balk?
    Why would they balk? Schools have to tell the NIT beforehand if they're willing to host a first-round game. I would think Mizzou Arena would be the preferred location based on its bigger capacity. That would be smart for the NIT to match two teams from the same region to build some interest for a game that normally wouldn't create any buzz.
    I assume Cale Garrett and Kelly Bryant are attending the NFL Combine. Any other MU FBallers at the combine? What, if anything, are you hearing about where Cale and Kelly where they will be drafted?
    Check out today's story at STLtoday.com.
    NFL teams don't share their intel with me, so I couldn't tell you what's realistic for either guy. Much will depend on their workouts in Indy and private meetings. Garrett goes through his drills on Saturday. I'm not convinced Bryant has the arm to play in the NFL. I'm convinced Garrett can carve out a long career in the league, as long as his medical tests turn out OK. 

    Mizzou's Garrett chases dreams at NFL Combine

    STLtoday.com: Former Tigers linebacker is fully healed from the procedure that cut short his senior season.
    Is it inevitable that one or two on the current MBB roster will be entering the transfer portal?
    I would never say inevitable. Hundreds and hundreds of college basketball players transfer every year, so the odds are high most teams will have a transfer or two.  But if you're asking about any individual player, I wouldn't speculate on that without talking to them about it. And no player is going to say publicly on Feb. 28 that he plans to transfer when there are at least four games left to play.
    Foul trouble aside, who plays more the rest of the year, Nikko or Tilmon? Or too soon to tell?
    Too soon to tell until we see how many minutes Tilmon can stay on the floor with his foot. I thought he looked pretty nimble at Vanderbilt. He was wearing a protective boot on his lower leg as he left the arena, but that's standard with an injury like his. Best-case scenario is you can split the minutes at the five position between the two and that gives you 10 fouls at the spot. Nikko is a far more reliable player now than he's been at any stage in his career. He still fouls a lot - at a higher rate than Tilmon. Tilmon still has more upside athletically and his presence alone makes Missouri more formidable defensively. You could see that when he was on the floor Wednesday in how much harder it was for Vandy to get into a flow offensively.
    Is Scottie Pippen Jr. the next superstar of SEC BB or is he just a passing fancy? From watching him vs Vanderbilt, he looked OK to me, but nothing special. He looked unnerved at the FT line missing several in a row. Overall he scored 19 points, but looked like he has a ways to go before he ready for the next level.
    He had some nice moments Wednesday, but he's not a superstar by any means. If his name was Scotty Matter he'd be just another freshman who's had some decent games. He's had a tough time at the foul line. He can get to the basket and can get hot from 3, but he's not close to Vandy's best player - and they're by far the worst team in the SEC.
    Will FB release a depth chart before spring practice? Would you expect it to be based on class year, 2019, or film evaluation by position coaches? What in time for SEC media days?
    I have no idea if they'll release a depth chart. My hunch is no. Returning starters will work with the first units, but I'd expect every job to be wide open at the start of spring, except for a few obvious exceptions on defense. Nick Bolton, Kobie Whiteside, the two deep safeties, Josh Bledsoe and Tyree Gillespie. 
    MU just released the spring practice schedule yesterday. The first practice is March 7, a few hours before the basketball team's final home game.  Not exactly convenient for media coverage, but I'll manage. They're going back to only opening the first 45 minutes of practice then closing the final hour or so to media. A few of the practices will be closed to any media coverage. Select players will be available for interviews on certain days but it's unclear how many. So, I'm not sure what to expect from coverage. A few days of practice will overlap with days I'm out of town covering either the SEC tournament in Nashville or the first-round NCAA Tournament games in St. Louis, but I'll be at the majority of the open practices. 
    Given that the MBB team has seen some progress in recent weeks running the offense through Pinson and Dru Smith, how do you see the approach changing if Tilmon returns to a normal share of the minutes (15+)?
    I don't think what's working now will change. There was only one possession at Vandy where the ball was worked into Tilmon in the post and he made some moves on the low block to try and score. He slipped past his man along the baseline but missed his shot. They also ran a play for him where he slipped behind a screen for a lob pass from Pinson but it wasn't a clean delivery. I think you'll see more of the latter than the former.
    Hi Dave. We haven’t been a viable NCAA tourney team since Charleston Southern. Over .500 and a 8-10 record in SEC does that get us an NIT bid? I think we get left out. Your thoughts?
    I wouldn't dismiss the NIT chances. You don't need a winning record to make the NIT field any more. If MU wins two of the next three to finish the regular season 16-15 then splits a pair in Nashville that's 17-16. Here are the at-large teams that made the 2019 NIT field. You'll see a lot of similar records: 
    For 5he B&G game, are you anticipating another Odom-style controlled scrimmage, a Pinkel-style multiple point scoring system, or an actual contest?
    Again, no idea. Drinkwitz might meet with reporters next week before the start of spring practices but he hasn't discussed any of that publicly yet.
    Dave
    Your take on Tray Jackson limited minutes
    4 star recruit not developing
    Looks to me like he’s walking
    Talk to me
    John L
    Star recruit? He was a four-star guy, ranked No. 81 nationally in his class by Rivals. I'm not sure I'd put him in the star recruit category. There were a dozen SEC recruits ranked higher - and I don't think we can say there are 12 star freshmen in the league. Maybe three or four. 
    Either way ... Jackson didn't see the floor at Vandy. Why? For one, Martin now has a deeper rotation with Smith and Tilmon back. He played 10 guys in that game. That's a lot for this time of year when most coaches shorten their bench. Parker Braun is coming on. In fact, he was the first or second player Martin mentioned in his postgame comments Wednesday. Braun and Jackson both play the same position. Right now it appears they feel better about Braun on the defensive end. If Jackson was playing over Braun, I'd get questions asking why Parker isn't playing more. Kobe Brown plays the same position. Mitchell Smith, too. Fans don't like how much Martin substitutes because players can't get into a rhythm - but also want him to substitute more to get different players on the court. Bottom line, not everyone can play in every game. This is why Eric Musselman prefers to redshirt a handful of players so he doesn't have two to three guys every game disappointed with their minutes. 
    Which true FR have the clearest shot to the two-deep entering spring practice?
    There are only four true freshmen on campus, and three are at positions where they're probably not getting in the two-deep anytime soon. 
    Kicker Harrison Mevis is probably the exception. He'll be the only scholarship kicker on the team when practices begin.
    With Badie and Rountree back I would not expect Elijah Young to crack the two-deep.
    With Shawn Robinson, Taylor Powell and Connor Bazelak on the roster, though Bazelak is coming back from knee surgery, I'd be surprised if Brady Cook passes any of them.
    Maybe Jay Maclin cracks the receiver two-deep, but MU returns Knox, Banister, Gicinto, Massey, Boone and adds Damon Hazelton Jr. 
    When watching SEC basketball, this time of the year, the talking heads are speculating about what teams are in the big dance and what teams are out. On last week’s Arkansas Missouri game somebody was speculating that Arkansas had a chance to make the tournament, yet Arkansas is just 6-9 in the conference as is Mizzou. They split the two game series and Mizzou will definitely not make the tournament, so why would Arkansas. Isaih Joe put on an impressive 3 point shooting vs MU but I don’t see ARK as a tournament team and it makes wonder what the ESPN announcers are seeing that I’m not.
  • The announcers are seeing the NET rankings and the kenpom rankings, which are used to determine NCAA seedings. Arkansas is No. 41 in the NET and No. 43 at KenPom. They only have four Quadrant 1 and 2 wins combined, but here's what really helps the Hogs: They don't have any bad losses. They're 12-0 in Quadrant 3 and 4 games. That, more than anything, is keeping Arkansas in the conversation. 
    Mizzou has one dreadful, dreadful Quadrant 4 loss and a Quadrant 3 home loss to Texas A&M.
    I live in B1G country (Madison, WI), and in watching bball games in that conference, the number of fouls called seems shockingly different than SEC games (or more specifically, Mizzou games). For example, at halftime of the UW vs. Mich game last night, I believe the team fouls were something like 2 and 4. Do you think (1) SEC refs are over-calling, (2) Mizzou is just an outlier in terms of their tendency to foul, (3) some of both, or (4) something else? I can tell you the B1G games certainly are no less physical or slow; Id say the opposite actually.
    I'm not sure how to explain the foul differences, but here's a fact that a lot of people misunderstand: Officials don't work exclusively for one league. One of the three officials who worked that Michigan-Wisconsin game was Keith Kimble. One night earlier he worked the LSU-Florida game. In the last two weeks alone he's worked games in the Big 12, the ACC and the Atlantic-10. This is not about certain officials calling fouls one way in one conference and other officials calling them a different way in another conference. I think it's more about style of play, coaching styles, player talent, etc.
    How do you think the bball rotation changes with (hopefully consistently) Tilmon and Mark Smith back? Nikko stays starter and Tilmon more in a timeshare or Cuonzo rides hot hand? Think Mark Smith continues to come off bench or does he have chance at starting alongside Dru and Pinson? Which wing's PT changes most with Mark back, or is it something with lots of bodies and Cuonzo plays whoever is playing better that game?
    I think what Mizzou did Wednesday night at Vanderbilt could be what we see moving forward. Both Smith and Tilmon come in off the bench and Martin adjusted accordingly as the game flows. It really doesn’t matter who starts. If they want Smith to play 15 minutes, he’ll play 15 minutes minutes. Martin substitutes before the first media timeout almost every game, so the starters could come out within two minutes anyway. I don’t think Smith’s return impacts Pinson or Dru’s playing time. If anything this just gives Martin more flexibility with his rotations.
    Good that Mizzou football has I believe 6 players at the NFL combine. Earlier in year, thought Trevour Wallace-Simms had good shot at combine invite and being drafted. Seems like his Sr year was rough and not as good as previous couple and he wasn't invited to combine. Think he will still be drafted? Thoughts on why his Sr year didn't go as well? DeMarcus Acy not at combine either - what do you make of his NFL/draft potential?
    I thought the staff did a disservice to Simms by moving him around and taking him away from a position of strength into a new position where he never seemed to adjust. He committed more penalties and gave him more pressure than the year before when he switched to the left side. I didn’t understand the move and the coaches never explained the reasoning. Simms didn’t do many interviews during the year either. I suspect he was frustrated. 
    I would think Acy would have a shot to get on a roster for training camp. He has good size and speed. He had a better junior year than senior year but still was solid on his side of the defense.
    Has the lack of success for Mizzou Men's basketball surprised you since joining the SEC? When they joined I figured they were a tier below Kentucky and Florida of course, but assumed they would be right with the next group of top teams. Is it just the SEC is starting to take basketball more seriously with hiring better coaches, more money being poured in to the facilities, etc. Or is it more on Mizzou for a couple bad coaching hires (Haith and Kim Anderson) and terrible injury luck with Cuonzo Martin at the helm?
    I think it’s a combination of two hires not working out plus the rest of the league or at least a good chunk of the league investing more in their programs when it comes to making hires. Some of the coaches who were at SEC schools when Missouri first joined the league wouldn’t be able to land those jobs in the current landscape.
    Then at Mizzou you have a fan base that hasn’t seen consistent winning for a long time, especially the students. And that makes growing the product more challenging from year to year.
  • Following up on Mizzou-SLU and NIT: Grown men on both sides refuse to talk about the schools playing each other, so what would make us think they WOULDN'T balk about playing in the NIT?
  • The NIT sets the field. I'm not sure how much say the schools have in the matchups.
  • Any guesses on what Mizzou football players could get drafted in 2021? Nick Bolton if he leaves early or maybe Larry Rountree are the only ones that come to my mind. Seems the NFL talent level will be a little lacking for this upcoming season (not that Mizzou is an NFL factory anyway)
  • Gillespie looks like an NFL player to me. If he has the kind of year I think he's capable of having he'll play on Sundays.
    Cuonzo Martin is holding his press conference right now. I'll pass along anything noteworthy
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