Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Bring your questions and comments about Mizzou sports, and talk to Post-Dispatch beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Thursday.




  • Howdy, folks. Thanks for coming back for another chat. I've got to leave shortly before 1 for Kim Anderson's weekly press conference. I'll take your questions here up until then. Let's do this.
  • Do you see KA getting let go at the end of the season?
  • I would be surprised if he's back for another season, barring a sudden turnaround by this team in the next few weeks, which I don't see happening.
  • Tough break for the women's team on Sunday (and with injuries in general this year). Do you think they're a tournament team this year?
  • They're a tournament team, but not the NCAA Tournament. They're going to struggle to win road games in the SEC, and when you lose a home game against Alabama your margin for error gets paper thin. This team is competitive and will win a handful of SEC games but I'm not sure they've got the depth to make an NCAA run at this point. As of yesterday the team's RPI was No. 64. That would put them right around the NCAA bubble, but they can't afford more losses like Sunday's to stay near the bubble.
  • Your thoughts on these coaching candidates: Buzz Williams (va tech), Rick Stansbury (W. KY), Kenny Payne (asst @Kentucky).
  • Buzz has something going at Virginia Tech. Not sure he'd want to start another rebuilding job for what's probably a horizontal move at this point. Stansbury knows the SEC. He can recruit. If he's ready to jump from Western Kentucky, I imagine he'd have his eyes set on a better situation  - otherwise he could stay at WKU for a bit and continue to recruit well there, pile up some wins and improve a resume that took some hits when Mississippi State fizzled on his watch. As for Payne, I think Missouri needs to hire someone with HC experience, someone who's managed a program on his own.
  • I heard the SEC is considering taking away the SEC BB tournament in St. Louis in 2018 if upgrades are not made to the Scottrade Center? Any truth to that?
  • I haven't heard that. Maybe the Blues and folks who want the upgrades are floating that rumor out there, but I haven't heard that from the SEC. The SEC played that tourney in the Georgia Dome for years, so it's not like they're accustomed to hosting the event in some sparkling facility.
  • Of MU's starting 5 in BB how many would get significant playing time at another Div I school?
  • Come on now, there are 351 Division I schools. They'd all be able to play somewhere. Now, would any of them start on a high-major team that's competitive in its league? I think Puryear, Phillips and Barnett are talented enough to be regulars on a good team's rotation. I don't think they're go-to players on a strong team, but they'd have roles. Walton has some skills that a good team would use. Frankie Hughes has potential to be a productive player, but he's got to hone his skills, learn the game a little better, too.
  • The first 3 SEC games were all winnable games, but shooting 6-36 for 3 point FGs and actually ranking 351st out of 351 division I BB teams, I am wondering if any SEC has gone 0-18 for the conference season or if Mizzou will be the first?
  • SEC teams didn't start playing 18 league games until 2012 when Missouri and A&M joined the league. Before that they played 16 teams. No team ever went 0-16. Prior to 1964-65, they played 14 league games. As far as I can tell from some quick research, in 1953-54, Georgia Tech went 0-14. Obviously Georgia Tech later moved out of the SEC. In the 1960s, LSU and Alabama both had 1-15 seasons. That's the worst I can find in recent years.
  • So do you have any good suggestions for alternative names for Mizzou's new beer section at Taylor Stadium? Since Mississippi State is probably going to make them cease and desist using "Left Field Lounge"?
  • That caused quite an uproar on my Twitter feed last night. Mississippi State fans take their facility names fairly seriously. From what I understand, Mizzou submitted a handful of ideas to the powers that be and that's the one the decision makers liked, most likely without any idea that the name already exists in Starkville. (Let's be honest, it's not like Left Field Lounge was all that catchy and clever to begin with.) How about just something simple like, Beer Here ... or  Booze County?
  • This is something I've wondered - much has been made by some about Barry Odom and Co. re-establishing the "Texas pipeline" for recruiting. Why did Mizzou football break the Texas pipeline in the first place? Was it just an atrophy over time with the move to the SEC, or was it a conscious decision by the coaching staff not to recruit there anymore?
  • The staff felt it needed to capitalize on the SEC's exposure and popularity in the traditional southeast states and decided to pull some resources from Texas and push more toward Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. It was probably a miscalculation. The idea was that Texas would forever be more of a Big 12 state, but that just hasn't been the case. You can get the occasional Florida and Georgia kid to come to Mizzou, but the geography is hard to overcome. Those recruits are still closer to so many more SEC and ACC schools, whereas Texas recruits that want to get out of the state of Texas have fewer nearby options among the major conferences.
  • Missouri's football and basketball teams are woeful. How did this happen. Who is responsible? Is it Mike Alden? Can't recall. What's he doing now at the university, and how much does he earn? My point: anyone pay the price for inept management?
  • You can't just blame one person when two multimillion dollar programs go through hard times. The football program underwent a recruiting transition when MU changed conferences and a few classes suffered major turnover. You had a major quarterback problem that deeply affected the offense. You had other personnel issues that affected the general consistency the program had over time. The coaching change. The boycott. (None of which happened under Mike Alden's watch, by the way.) When you have three ADs in less than a two-year span, you're going to have some adversity within your company. As for hoops, when you make two head-coaching hires in a row that don't work out, you're going to have problems. The roster became a quagmire under Haith and hasn't improved under Anderson. There's no simpler explanation.
  • Good morning Dave. Regarding a question you were asked last week about how much more eligibility does Jordan Barnett have remaining to play for Mizzou, you said that he just had the rest of this season plus next remaining. He played one whole season at Texas his freshman year, than half a season there last year, correct? Now he's playing a half season here this year. That just adds up to two whole seasons he will have played going into next year--so are you sure he doesn't have two seasons left to play after this season as opposed to just one?
  • Those half seasons count as a year of eligibility. He's a junior this year and will be a senior next season.
  • I don't see MU going after a Gregg Marshall or Matt Painter this time... a better bet would be a up and coming mid-major coach ala Keatts, Bennett, Musselman or Jankovich. But given the poor choices that have been made in choosing Men's Bball coaches Sterk, would you say that Sterk will have a lot riding on this decision? Who, in your mind, would be leading consideration?
  • Yes, there's always a lot riding on a revenue sport hire. I don't think anyone here knows what Sterk is thinking on this hire. There are plenty of attractive mid-major coaches who would probably be interested in this job. As a newcomer to the area and to MU, I don't think he'll be inclined to hire anyone with Mizzou hires - or necessarily regional or SEC ties. I imagine he'll use a search firm and seek advice from an inner circle that knows the industry. Brian White, his assistant AD for external relations, knows the hoops scene well, being the son of a blueblood AD (Duke AD Kevin White) and the brother of a high-major coach (Florida's Mike White.)
  • Is there a reason as to why HCKA can't keep players from transferring? This was the year we were supposed to have JW III, Clark, Gant, Wright & MGC (?)...
  • It's obviously a trend. It's worth wondering how well Kim (and his staff) can relate to modern players. You have to coddle kids to some degree. Missouri isn't the only team that's had transfers, but there are certainly many more teams that have disgruntled players that somehow find ways to keep them from leaving. Maybe it's a communication problem.
  • Any buzz around Steve Forbes? He's an Iowa native and coached in Illinois, Arkansas & at Wichita St as Gregg Marshall's right hand assistant. He's great in interviews & seems charismatic - plus he's currently in first place at ETSU.
  • He's not a name I've heard from any connected sources, but that doesn't mean he won't be considered for the job. He knows the SEC. He's worked alongside some proven head coaches. He's done a nice job as a head coach. He's got the kind of profile that would fit for a job like this.
  • Looks like we have 21 commitments for the football team, as of today... have you heard of any that are planning early enrollment for spring training?
  • Yes, three will be enrolled early: offensive lineman Pompey Coleman, running back Isaiah Miller and junior college offensive lineman Yasir Durant.
  • I see so many comments from fans that our bb team has no talent. I don't want to believe that. Seems like many of them (such as Puryear and VanLeer) are not productive as they could be because of mental stuff. Is there a sports psychologist or any other help available to the players for the mental aspect of the game? I'm guessing they are all struggling with depression/discouragement at some level which would affect their performance on the court.
  • I wouldn't be that worried about Puryear. He's a 6-6 power forward who struggles to score inside against bigger teams. He's a tough-minded kid. He'll get his points against better matchups. But Anderson is concerned about how players mentally handle the struggles, hence his "cleanse the soul" comment that fans quickly ambushed on Twitter after the game. Maybe not the best choice of words, but it's easy to understand his point. They've been practicing shooting so much since school let out in mid-December, that maybe they needed a day away from the game to help restore some confidence.
  • Obviously, CKA has not succeeded at Mizzou, not all of it is his fault, but much is. He has had failure recruiting and keeping players. Is that his fundamental problem? I just don't get the sense that he is really able to coach in game either. That can't all be player quality problems.
  • I think he knows the game, but he and his staff obviously haven't come up with ways for this team to improve offensively - for two years running. And this comes in an age when the NCAA is tweaking the rules to encourage more scoring. I think the real undoing has been evaluating and recruiting talent. Maybe another staff gets more out of this roster but I wouldn't expect a dramatic improvement with the same personnel.
  • IMO that the Mizzou BB team may be playing under a lot of stress because of their head coach's job status. They can see it in their coach who is trying to save his job and it affecting their performance on the court. They come out in the 1st half playing well then in the 2nd half they fall apart. That to me is when the panic sets in trying to close out the game. What do you think? I for one believe give the coach the opportunity to coach after spending 2 previous years cleaning up the Frank Haith and asst coach Fuller's mess. Why would another coach come here when the previous coach cleans up the mess and then you dump him when he is actually in his first year building the program? BTW Frankie Hughes and Willie Jackson were #74 and #76 in top 100 recruits in the country. So their is recruiting progress going on!!
  • I get the theory that the team is struggling because of the stress on the staff ... but games unfolded the same way two years ago in Anderson's first year when there wasn't the same scrutiny/pressure on the head coach. This team isn't good enough to beat decent teams and they're not capable of maintaing any shred of momentum when shots fall.
  • Dave, For the past three years I have been amazed at the Tigers' poor shooting. The offense puts them in position to score, yet we miss good shots time after time. It does not seem to be one or two players, but the entire team. Is this more of a confidence thing or a coaching thing? I don't believe I have ever witnessed such a poor shooting team. I live near Moberly, maybe they could get some pointers from our Greyhounds team.
  • I don't think it's one factor to blame. Confidence. Coaching. Talent. Blame it all. Maybe they shoot well in practice because they don't face good defense in practice. Maybe they can't handle the pressure of playing under the spotlight. Maybe the staff isn't teaching proper shooting fundamentals. Maybe they're just not very good shooters and can't get off good shots against the size and athleticism you face against high-major D-I defenders.
  • Thanks, as always, for these chats. I know it's WAY early, but any insight on MU baseball and its new HC? The SEC is a real meat grinder in baseball, much like football, but it doesn't seem to get the PR since it's not a money maker--that and MU's weather can make baseball difficult to succeed at over the long haul.
  • Missouri baseball doesn't get much coverage because there just isn't much interest in college baseball in the local market. Trust me, I've written my share of baseball stories since I came to the P-D, but those stories don't generate much traffic at all. The home games don't draw crowds unless it's an NCAA regional or the team is competing for a conference title. Mizzou baseball just doesn't have much of a local fan base. Weather is probably a factor, but more than anything for all the great baseball fans in the state of Missouri who cheer for the Cardinals and Royals, that fandom doesn't naturally overlap to college baseball. I'm not sure that's something Mizzou can fix short of building a program that wins on a national level - and I'm not sure that's possible in the SEC. That said, baseball has been off my radar since the start of football and hoops seasons. I'll have some stories once we get closer to the season. I'm interested to see if Bieser can get some scoring out of this team. That was his speciality at SEMO. He brought in a well regarded pitching coach - and we know he's got one of the game's best pitchers in Houck. Should be an interesting season.
  • Dave: Have you ever seen a Groundhog's Day season like this one with Mizzou hoops. You can write the story before the game even stars: Mizzou hangs around for 35 minutes, then hits a scoring drought to fall behind. Opposing team hits high percentage of late-game FTs to pull away. Another L.
  • It's not all that different from last year. Many games played out the same way. I imagine it's going to happen in just about every home game - except Kentucky. Not sure how Missouri keeps pace with UK at any point.
  • Dave, Lovie Smith at Illinois presents a different set of issues for Mizzou in recruiting. He has NFL head coaching experience, was a well known assistant in St. Louis, wants to make a mark in the St. Louis area, while mizzou has undergone turmoil. What does Odom sell that Lovie can't(other than SEC) to St. Louis recruits?
  • No. 1, Odom can sell offense. Illinois' offense was terrible last year. No. 2, the SEC. The Big Ten has recovered from its struggles a few years ago, but playing in a division with Northwestern, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota might not carry the same prestige as selling a kid on the chance to play Florida, Georgia and Tennessee every year. (Yes, I know the SEC is coming off a bad season and the East has flopped the last few years, but it's still a strong selling point.) If he's recruiting a Missouri kid, Odom can sell the home-state pitch. Maybe that doesn't resonate with some recruits but it means something to others. But, I agree, Lovie's presence makes Illinois a player for local recruits at a different level from what Mizzou has faced from Illinois in a long time. Though if Lovie goes 3-9 again, he loses some credibility on the recruiting trail. All that NFL experience won't mean much after two bad years in Champaign.
  • Are you excited about the upcoming game against Kentucky?
  • Sure. I like to see good teams play and I'm looking forward to seeing Cal's latest NBA draft picks.
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