Greetings, Mizzou fans. A bit of breaking news to report as the chat gets started. Albert Okwuegbunam is returning to MU for his junior season. I'll get to your questions here shortly.
THey should win at South Carolina? I'm not sure I agree with that. The Gamecocks beat Florida and just beat Mississippi State in overtime. This is no gimme for the Tigers. Right now, Missouri has to protect its home court and steal a few on the road. That won't be easy. Road wins are going to be hard to come by in this league, as we've already seen since Saturday. A league record of 6-12 or 7-11 might be realistic.
Two early fouls. And the second one was a cheap push-off on a jumper. He never got into any rhythm offensively. He'll have better games.
I'd say Jordan Geist is this team's MVP and most improved player, no doubt. He's handling the ball better than ever, shooting well and doing a great job of leading a young team. His assists are up, too. Without him, this team might be 4-9 instead of 9-4.
I had reason to believe there might have been a staff change last summer if Jontay stayed in the draft - and perhaps even by mutual decision. Stay tuned to this summer. I've come to realize there's no sense in making predictions when it comes to the Porter family. I like Michael Sr. I wish we got a chance to interview him more often.
It wouldn't surprise me if Garrick McGee becomes the permanent TE coach. He'll add value to this staff wherever they assign him if he stays.
Matt Eberflus didn't get the Cleveland Browns head-coaching job but it might not be long until he gets a HC job in the NFL. He's done a great job in Indy this year.
Big difference between Nikko and Smith. Nikko is a five. Smith is a four, if not a three. Nikko can give you 7-8 productive minutes off the bench in the low post. He'll grab some rebounds, play some post defense and put in a basket or two. Smith isn't physically equipped to play that role inside. And he's apparently lost ground in the rotation for the 3/4 combo forward position and came in during garbage time on Tuesday, well behind KJ Santos. Smith can bring some energy off the bench, but he's not very polished and doesn't seem to have any one clear skill that brings obvious value when he's on the floor.
Annual rebuilding is more the rule than the exception in today's game with so many transfers impacting so many rosters. That's what makes Tennessee's roster so unique. Also, when it comes to Tennessee, this hasn't happened quickly. Barnes is in year four. Those first two years weren't very pretty: 15-19 and 16-16. Those veteran players on the floor for the Vols now were the young guys two years ago on a team that didn't even make the NIT. By that standard, Martin is well ahead of Tennessee's pace.
Their only regular-season game is Jan. 21 in Columbia, S.C. on ESPN2.
If you look closely at what separates the teams in the high 20s and 30s in the recruiting rankings, the point differences is pretty marginal. Missouri recruits the 4 and 5 stars in the region, but there's not a lot of them in the state of Missouri most years. And MU has historically struggled to land 4 stars, much less 5 stars who are from outside the state or well beyond the state border. A lot of it comes down to branding and national appeal. A five-star recruit in Florida or Georgia or Texas or Ohio is exposed to so many other high-profile schools compared to a program like Missouri. It's hard to crack that market when you can't pitch proximity.
The staff really loved working with Ted Monachino, the defensive analyst, who's now the new coordinator at Kansas State. He brought a lot of NFL concepts to scouting and personnel evaluation. As for Ryan Walters, I thought his defense made progress this year - and had to do it without any whiff of pass rush from the defensive end position. Trying to play defense in today's game without an edge rush is like playing baseball without a pitcher who can throw strikeouts. It puts so much pressure on the rest of your defense to make plays all over the field on balls in play. MU went from first to 12th in the SEC in tackles for loss this year. A lot of that falls on not having anything more than ordinary play at D-end. This was the best secondary play MU's had under Odom. The bowl game was rough, but for most of the regular season, that unit played well enough to win games. (By their season averages, Oklahoma State had just an average day against Mizzou's defense.)