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.

  • Who have been the most influential sports writers in your career.
    Good question. 
    If we're talking about people I've worked with or alongside it starts with Joe Walljasper and Vahe Gregorian, two people who are incredibly gifted in their own ways. For different reasons I learned a lot from Bernie Miklasz, Bryan Burwell and Joe Strauss. They all approached the same job different ways and left lasting impressions on my style and technique. Derrick Goold is one colleague I admire tremendously. I've never worked with someone who is more of an expert on the subject he covers - and it comes form tireless reporting and research. Ross Dellenger is a former colleague who's gone on to great things at SI and whose reporting skills I greatly admire. 
    If we stretch things out more broadly and look at writers I've never worked with but have helped influence me ... Peter King, Austin Murphy, Pat Forde, Dan Wetzel, Dana O'Neil, Tom Shatel, Lee Barfknecht. There are dozens more but that's who comes to mind first. 
    What’s your mizzou men’s b-ball win prediction for the 20-21 season. I’m thinking not much better than this year and more liken.500. Which is really frustrating
    I haven't come to a prediction for Saturday's game, much less next season. Let's wait and see who's on the roster first then I'll have a prediction next summer.
    Do you know how the new football coaching staff feels about player's antics on the field? I'm talking about how some of our players lose sight of even when trailing in a game they flaunt after a routine stop as if they just saved a national title game. Jarvis Ware was the biggest culprit at this. Too many times after a hit or defensive play the player would say something or look to the crowd for approval, when in fact the Tigers were trailing in the game or the play still allowed a first down. I hope they reel this type of behavior in.
    Well, for one, the holdovers are on the defensive staff, specifically Ware's position coach and defensive coordinator. 
    Maybe things change under a new head coach. We'll see. 
    Who would you say are the top three football assistants and men’s b-ball assistants in the past twenty years at mizzou.
    For football, I'll go with David Yost coaching quarterbacks ... Jon Hoke coaching the secondary ... Craig Kuligowski coaching the D-line. ...   Lots of others to choose: Christensen did a great job coaching the O-line and as coordinator. Andy Hill will be elected to MU's athletics hall of fame and did great things with MU receivers. Matt Eberflus has become a respected NFL coordinator. Dave Steckel led some very good defenses. Alex Grinch and Barry Odom were both good assistant coaches. Andy Moeller ran the O-line under Larry Smith. 
    As for hoops, it's harder to credit success directly to an assistant coach. Quin had some good assistants like John Hammond and Jeff Meyer. Dave Leitao has had a solid career. Matt Zimmerman was a good right-hand man for Mike Anderson. 
    Is legs to Walters to Colorado?
    Not much has been reported lately and I haven't heard anything from Mizzou's front that Colorado will go that direction. Not sure where I heard or read it the other day, but CU is putting a high value on head-coaching experience. If so, that would eliminate Walters as a serious candidate. Bret Bielema has been mentioned as a candidate. I think he'd be a great choice for the Buffs. He's already a better coach than the guy who just left Boulder for Michigan State and he'd be the fourth or fifth-best coach in the Pac-12 before the first ball is kicked off.
    Congrats on your award. Well deserved. If there were national rankings, you would get my no 1 vote

    Do you think the porters coming to mizzou May have indirectly hurt us. I get, it helped enthusiasm, ticket sales etc. but it seems like we didn’t really capture the wins or recruits with poor seasons afterwards.
    I don't think the Porters coming to Mizzou hurt the program. The Michael saga provided more drama than it was probably worth on the court, but what negative impact did it really have? Mizzou made a lot of money that year and the Porters coming to Mizzou helped land Tilmon, Pickett and, most important, Kassius Robertson. Without those additions Mizzou is one of the worst teams in the SEC that year and the rebuilding project is that much more difficult. 
    Jontay Porter was a major piece to that 20-win season. He got hurt and couldn't play him again, but without all those players who arrived three years ago, things would probably look a lot worse than they do right now. 
    Do you expect Smith and Tilmon to return this season?
  • I'm going to answer with three words that a lot of reporters are afraid to say: I don't know. That's all. We ask Martin and the team at every given opportunity and all we can do is report. At this point there's no indication that these are season-ending injuries. When Mark was done for the year last season, MU made that clear distinction. The team has not given that same definitive answer for these two guys. Obviously the window is starting to close.
  • Dave,
    The 3 freshman have all shown signs of promise and have all played inconsistent minutes. Assuming they all stick around, who do you see as the most valuable player come senior year/which player has the highest ceiling? Kobe Brown, Parker Braun, or Tray Jackson?
    I'm not sure about the highest ceiling. Jackson can become a valuable stretch four. A guy big enough to grab rebounds and get points inside but also play on the perimeter and score from 3. 
    All of that is true for Brown, too, but I think he can be more dangerous off the dribble, can be more of a playmaker, play better as a ball-handler and a more versatile defender.
    If Braun adds some bulk he can play the four and the five, become a serviceable rebounder and valuable shot-blocker. 
    I'd be interested in reading a story during spring FB practices about how Woods helped resurrect UAB. I am assuming they started with zero players and were limited to 25 scholarships a year? If so, how did they accumulate enough good players so quickly to have the success they achieved on the field? Woods would seem to deserve a lot of credit for this.
    Yes, he's got a really interesting back story.
    Dave, what does Cuonzo do if & when Smith and/or Tilmon get healthy and return to the lineup? Put them back in the starting lineup and take the chance of messing up what's currently working for the team w/out those 2 playing? Or use them as reserves off the bench for the rest of the season as long as this current lineup continues to succeed the way it has been?
    I don't know what he'll do, but as long as the current setup is working, I don't think you mess with the core rotation or the starting lineup. As noted earlier, a healthy Mark Smith might take some minutes from Pickett and/or Watson, but I wouldn't mess with Pickett's role too much. Tilmon can be an asset defensively without a doubt. He can help on offense, but his turnovers on that side of the ball can make him a liability. Nikko and Tilmon both commit a lot of fouls, but more of Tilmon's come on the offensive end, which can be more costly because you automatically lose a possession with every one.
    What is the story with Okongo? Will he be a good player? Does he have a future on this team next year? Was it a mistake to recruit him? I may be wrong but wasn't he a major work in progress?
    He'll have one year remaining of eligibility. If Tilmon returns for his senior year I'm not sure if there's an upside of bringing back Okongo next year. Tilmon and Wilmore can play the five, along with Mitchell Smith and Braun in smaller lineups. Without Tilmon, you're forced to play smaller all the time or insert a freshman in a huge role. Otherwise, I'm not sure if there's a real benefit of keeping Okongo at the end of the bench and using up the scholarship.
    Any updates to how Kelly Bryant is doing? He and other early underclassman looking healthy for the combine ?
    He started the East-West Shrine Game and had decent numbers. He'll be at the combine in a few weeks. I'm sure I'll catch up with him at MU's pro day, whenever that is.
    Dave, is it fair or unfair to say that it is no coincidence that with Tillman and Mark Smith out, the Tigers are playing better? I have never seen any reason to have Smith start, his 3 point shooting is erratic and Tillman can't stay out of foul trouble. Had Smith not played every game early, is it possible that McKinney would have played more and still been around. Love watching this recent version of Tiger Hoops play and can see some level of excitement at least! Thank you
    There's a myth that Tilmon was somehow more of a foul machine than Nikko. Not so. Tilmon fouled out of one game this year and averaged 20 minutes per game. Nikko has fouled out of five games this year in 15 minutes per game. 
    Tilmon: 5.8 fouls per 40 minutes
    Nikko: 6.9 fouls per 40 minutes
    So, with that out of the way, I'd say the core difference is Missouri doesn't go into games expecting Nikko to be the centerpiece of the team. His production is valuable and he's become an asset. But he's averaged 6 points and 4 rebounds in the last two games - and both were quality wins. So, as long as this team continues to run through Dru and Pinson, there's no reason Tilmon can't plug back into the plan and make this team better. 
    As for McKinney, maybe he was unhappy with playing time, but his departure started with a suspension that wasn't related to playing time. Does he get in trouble if he's playing more? That would be just speculating. 
    Will Coach Drink run pretty much same offense as last year or does his style different?
    The same offense that he ran at App State? He's got an established system in mind but he'll have to adapt to the personnel on this team. I don't think you'll see an offense that looks dramatically different. It's a no-huddle spread attack. He might employ tight ends/H-backs differently from what Missouri did the last few years.
    Dave, hi! A few years ago when Mizzou football agreed to a 2 game home & home series with Middle Tennessee for 2022 & 2023, I recall hearing that Mizzou put in out clause language if games with Kansas became available. Any truth to that?
    Here's what I wrote about that last year:
    Mizzou’s previous administration scheduled a home-and-away series with Middle Tennessee for 2022 and 2023 with the first game in Murfreesboro, Tenn. But the contract included a clause that MU could opt out and reschedule the road game if MU also schedules a game at a Big 12 school. Mizzou did just that, landing a 2022 game at Kansas State. But MU had to notify MTSU of the change by 2016. The K-State series wasn’t finalized until last year. Joos said the schools might be able to revisit the conversation and flip the years with MTSU.
    To date, MU still shows the 2022 game being at Middle Tennessee, which would give MU two nonconfernece road games that year, also at Kansas State. That's not ideal but I haven't been told of any changes. 
  • I have no idea why but I was just wondering what Curtis Berry is doing these days. Evidently, he is a high school basketball coach in Atlanta (seems fitting). Is he ever around the program, Dave?
  • Okongo? For the sake of the kid, I really hope he gets to stick around next year because it sounds like he's got some specific circumstances that may make relocation more difficult than your average player. Plus CM will probably just fill the spot with another Okongo (or Guess/Santos/Wilmore...) But what a head scratcher. Misses on Love, Liddell Fletcher and the random wasted years on the previously mentioned folks really make me skeptical about Martin's recruiting process, but Okongo is by far the strangest to me.
    It appears to be a miss, but as of late spring they weren't going to use the scholarship. In hindsight maybe they go after someone else during the late signing period.
    Hey Dave,

    I was wondering if you had reasonable win total expectations for coach Drink's first year at the helm. In my opinion, anything less than 7 wins would be a disappointment.
    Seven should be a reasonable expectation. 
    Missouri will be underdogs against Georgia and Florida and likely at Tennessee. Everything else is winnable. That's not to say the others are absolute losses, but those are the three hardest games on paper. 
    Winning at South Carolina and BYU won't be easy. Louisiana-Lafayette is one of the best Group of Five programs in the country. MU hasn't beaten Kentucky in a long time. But it shouldn't shock anyone if Mizzou finishes 7-5. That's only a one-game improvement from a season that was a major disappointment. 
    At the end of last season, Torrence Watson really played well-- driving and creating, initiating contact, getting to the free throw line, playing defense... I was really thinking he would be the man on this year's squad. What the heck has happened? He has regressed so much, and he looks completely lost sometimes.
    Watson was definitely scoring more and shooting better, but I wouldn't say he was consistently attacking the paint and getting to the foul line. In MU's final 13 games he took all of 18 free throws and didn't get there once in six straight games. In those final 13 games when he started to play more, he took more than three 2-point shots only twice. He was mostly a 3-point threat. And the shots were falling. This year, they're not falling. And he's never really expanded his game to do more things offensively. I said this last week but I don't think it's for a lack of effort or work. When a player isn't working on his game Martin usually makes that clear, though sometimes with subtle signs. I haven't seen those signs with Watson. He's getting fewer minutes, which is the opposite of what you'd expect with Mark Smith out, but he just hasn't produced enough to take away minutes from other guys.
    Hi Dave. STL Mizzou Alumni are having a Trivia Night at Moolah Shrine in Creve Coeur on Saturday February 29th. Benefits local scholarship students. Www.mizzou.com/stltrivia. Thanks!
    There's your plug. Thanks for the info.
    Coach Drinkwitz is in KC tomorrow for happy hour, any questions you want me to ask him?
    Is he going to be on the record? Doubtful. 
    But thanks for the offer. 
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