Hello, chatters. Thanks for joining me on a Friday. Lots going on in the world of Mizzou sports. I'll be here for the next two hours to discuss all things Tigers.
I don't see why Jim Sterk would lie about hearing racial slurs during the game. Did the players get spit on? There's no video evidence but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. There's no way to prove or disprove that one fan out of 14,000 did or didn't yell a horrible word, but, again, why would Sterk make that up? I understand that South Carolina and its fans would be defensive against such an ugly charge, but guess what, there are moronic fans everywhere and sometimes they say moronic things. Did Staley promote a raucous environment? Of course. Just last Friday she told reporters, "I think our fans will give the extra stuff, and we’ll let them feed us the energy that we need to win the game." Now, that doesn't mean she encouraged them to spit and yell racial slurs. That makes zero sense.
I don't know the absolute hard number. Teams don't publicize that number because it might affect some recruits' decision. That said, the numbers are always flexible. You can count past recruits toward earlier classes and leave yourself more room for more recruits. Mizzou has about 6-8 spots for the 2018 class. Current players could leave any time between now and the summer. Generally, you'll see some players transfer after spring practices once they realize they're not going to get playing time in the fall.
The criticism has been overblown and most of it, I believe, is based on MU's late struggles against West Virginia. Not his finest moment, but he's been more than serviceable. He's got one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios in the SEC. He's a good defender, he's gotten better at attacking the rim and he can make an open 3. He's not a dynamic athlete, but he's good enough to earn minutes for a good team.
He's talked with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey. My hunch is the commish told him to stop talking about the issue publicly. Missouri isn't backing down on the accusations from Sunday, but there's not much more to gain by airing grievances through the media. I think it would be smart for Sankey to sit down with Sterk, Pingeton, Tanner and Staley after the season and hash it out and put out a public statement that they've cleared the air. It's not healthy for either program, the conference or the sport to be slinging mud back and forth like this. More than anything it's unfair to two great teams and their players.
Between Frericks and Schaefer, Schaefer sold the foul much better. She held her ground and absorbed the blow. It was the right call, but it's fair to wonder if that's the right time to call it, on a game-deciding play with two seconds left in the game. Personally, I'd rather see a team get a shot in that situation to win or lose the game, but there was enough contact on the play that one team or the other would have been upset if it's called a charge or a block.
It's a complicated situation as I've said countless times the last few months. Porter went outside the team's medical/training staff for his surgery, so it's not like Martin can sit down with MU's staff to get his questions answered. When Porter's doctor clears him to play at full-speed and full-contact, then he can practice and eventually play. By all accounts and the visual evidence before every game, that hasn't happened yet. Until Martin gets the green light from the Porters, then he's not available to play.
Disagree. Alabama is very good. Terrible teams don't have the wins Alabama has this year. It's a strong defensive team and an offensive team that relies on inside scoring and free throws. Mizzou executed a smart game plan. They forced Sexton to take difficult shots. They controlled Petty on the outside. They didn't let Bama's other scorers become factors. On the offensive end, Missouri spread the wealth and its core players all had their moments doing what they do best. When you only have eight players and two are freshman bigs who foul a lot, depth is going to be a challenge every night. That's not something they'll fix this season.
It can't hurt to have a high-profile St. Louis area D-tackle on the roster who's so happy at Mizzou that he passed on the NFL draft to return for his senior season. That said, I'm not sure a high school recruit will pick a school based solely on a returning senior. But, again, it can't hurt to have Beckner in your corner on this one.
A handful of 50-50 calls went Mississippi State's way, a couple jump-ball tie-ups and a couple block-charge calls and a couple missed travels by the Bulldogs. But Missouri doesn't have much room to complain. The Tigers get plenty of calls their way in most home games.
Martin kept CJ Roberts, but his staff wouldn't have recruited him if he weren't already signed with the program when Martin arrived. Not saying he doesn't count as part of Martin's first class, but it was a unique situation. Harris clearly didn't work out, but as well documented, he wanted playing time that he hadn't earned - and Martin was not upset to see him go. Jontay and Tilmon are future stars if they continue to develop and already give MU one of the best inside tandems in the league, maybe the best when they're playing at their peak. Michael is obviously another unique situation. You can't blame Martin for the back injury or the uncertainty that's lingered the last few weeks.
I'm not dodging the question, but rosters change so much from year to year and this team clearly has room to make more additions, whether that's high school recruits, jucos or a grad transfer. A team that returns Jontay and Tilmon has a core that any coach would love to have. Geist and Puryear will return to the rotation. Obviously next year's team needs wing scorers and more help at point guard. Once the roster is final we'll have a better sense of what next year's team can be. (Full disclosure, I'm still trying to get a feel for tomorrow's Kentucky game, so ...)
That's always a huge question going into any game. But Kentucky isn't a huge team. There isn't an Anthony Davis or Bam Adebayo or Karl-Anthony Towns on this team. UK has big wing players who can score and rebound, but when Porter and Tilmon are on the floor together, Missouri will have more size up front. I'll get to the matchups more in tomorrow's paper and online.
Not sure if this is a serious question, but reflexively jumping off the bench to celebrate isn't the same as jumping at the rim with a ball in your hand with other 6-10 bodies trying to knock you down. Michael shares videos/photos on Instagram every day, so I suspect when he's ready to play he'll tell the world.
Point taken. The irony of last night's game was South Carolina needed Missouri to win if it has any hope of wining the SEC regular-season title.
Yes. Split with Kentucky, split with Ole Miss, split road games at LSU and Vandy and beat A&M, Arkansas and Mississippi State at home gives you six wins and a 10-8 record. You can't leave out an SEC team with a 10-8 record with wins over Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, A&M, Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina. At 9-9, Missouri would likely still be on the bubble.
It all depends on the scenario. Offense or defense? What's the foul situation? Shooting free throws or need 3s? Robertson is a given. I'd want Puryear on the floor for free throws. If you need 3s or free throws, Barnett should be out there. Porter gives you many options inside and on the perimeter. Tilmon can be a force on both ends.
Williams and Pinson appear to be the top targets that are realistic gets. I would expect Martin to go for two point guards. Getting a high school target like Pinson and a juco like Williams is ideal because they'd be in separate graduating classes.
I wasn't at the game in Columbia, SC, so I can't speak to what the enviroment was like, but Sterk used the word "unhealthy," and I've known him to be a sound and reasonable person, as much as any AD I've come across in college sports. I have no reason to doubt what he said about the atmosphere. That said, as I wrote earlier, I thought he unwisely crossed a line when he pointed the finger at Staley. No reason to think the Gamecocks and Bulldogs can't reach the Final Four again this year.