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.

  • Happy Thursday, chatters. I'll be here for the next 90 minutes or so until I have to get over to Kim Anderson's weekly press conference. I'll take as many questions as possible until then.
  • Would Travis Ford have any interest in the Mizzou job?
  • Possibly. I wouldn't completely rule out that he might be interested. I think a lot of coaches in mid-major conferences would be interested in a high-major job that has good facilities and tradition.
  • Can Mizzou basketball rebound in our lifetime? Get back where we were even just 5 years ago?
  • Absolutely. Basketball doesn't require five-year rebuilding projects. Look around the SEC and you'll find teams that have made quick progress under new coaches. Tennessee, Mississippi State, Alabama. South Carolina, too. You hire the right coach, find a new blend of players and you can get things moving in the right direction quickly at a high-major program that has good facilities, strong administrative support and reliable fan support.
  • Dave, first of all your coverage of Mizzou is excellent! Humor me for a moment. Lets imagine Mike Alden hires Bill Self and after a long run Self decides to coach a NBA team. Mizzou has been great during his tenure. Mizzou decides to bring in Kim Anderson to replace Self. Do you think under those circumstances that Kim Anderson succeeds? The poor guy inherited a total mess.
  • Interesting scenario. Would Kim be able to recruit at this level if Missouri was an established winning program when he took over? Here's why I hesitate to think the results would be drastically different: Missouri was the No. 2 seed in the tourney just two years prior to Anderson's arrival. He didn't inherit the best roster situation but the program was far from broken. Player development and retention have been problems. Would those problems exist if Missouri was an established nationally relevant team when he took over? I'm not sure.
  • What was the skinny on Tate leaving MU for SLU. Did he see the writing on the wall.....fall out with Kim? Is he responsible for the load of talent SLU has landed?
  • For Mizzou football's defense it seems like we are loaded at linebacker and safety, not necessarily with elite players but with serviceable to good players. Given this and the fact that d line depth is thin do you see Odom using more 3-4 looks and other unique schemes?

    Also, name a senior on defense next year who you predict will have a big year (besides Frazier the obvious first choice)
  • I don't agree that the defense is loaded at any position group. Yes, they have some experience at safety but I'd hardly call it a strength of the team. Same for linebacker, where they have to replace Scherer and Newsom. I like Perkins and Hilton at safety over the other older guys. Cale Garrett played well for a freshman at linebacker. Beisel had some decent games late in the year. Who else can we identify as established players? Brandon Lee? Terez Hall? Joey Burkett? I don't know about this group. They need some impact, reliable playmakers there. On that note, no, as long as they add some depth at D-tackle and returning guys heal this offseason, I think they'll stick with a 4-3 base but continue to mix in three-man fronts like they have the last two years.
  • Thanks for taking my question Dave. Could you walk me through the offseason plan for Drew Lock? What specifically will/can they do to help him improve? You can't teach size (he's 6-5, he's got it) and arm strength (plenty of that, too), but he doesn't seem to be quite the quarterback everyone thought he was going to be when Mizzou signed him.
  • He's got a lot of football left, and he clearly made big strides as a sophomore. As for his offseason plan, I can't really say. We don't get any access to the team until spring practices. I'll talk to the coaching staff next Wednesday for national signing day, but those talks will center around the recruits they just signed. I'll have plenty of Lock coverage in the spring.
  • Dave, I have only watched a little Mizzou basketball this year, some of the games being when we had a halftime lead. Last night we got outworked in the second half. Mizzou is failing to make halftime adjustments to maintain a lead. That's being outcoached by your opponent. I know this isn't a question. But the KA advocators have to understand this. Yes, he inherited a mess but he has made it worse.
  • I don't disagree, but when you've played well enough to lead at halftime in four of seven SEC games, should you spend halftime changing everything? If anything, Missouri might struggle to adjust to the other team's adjustments. And let's be honest here, they're just not an overly talented team. You need great shooters to be a  great team in today's game - and they've never had great perimeter shooters under Anderson. They've got a handful of guys who can get hot every couple weeks, but not a single shooter who an opponent fears going into a game. When you're as bad offensively as this team is, you better be able to lock down on defense, play good transition defense and keep the score in the 60s or 70s. This team isn't good enough defensively to make that happen against decent competition.
  • When you find yourself having to spend a couple of hours at Mizzou Arena on a random weekend night, what do you do to pass the time?
  • Let's see. I've already re-binge watched the entire "Breaking Bad" series during games this year. I've read Springsteen's bio cover to cover six times. Kidding aside. As bad as the team has played, they keep me busy writing and tweeting and writing some more during games.
  • What was the purpose of publishing how much Mizzou athletics gets and spends?
  • Really? I get asked at least once a week by multiple fans how much money Mizzou makes in the SEC and where all the money goes. People are curious. I think it's important for the stakeholders (the fans paying for tickets, cable subscriptions, parking passes, scholarship donations) to see how that money is spent from year to year.
  • Teams come out flat against the Tigers and Tigers perform well in first half. Opposing coach lights fire at half-time and teams talent takes over. Do you think the misleading first halves will convince decision makers that Tigers are close to turning it around and therefore Anderson needs one more season?
  • Halftime scores are just an arbitrary measure of what's happening in a game at a particular time. It doesn't really mean anything. Final score is all that counts. Smart ADs know that.
  • Its amazing how this team can look so good for the first half and than in the second half get blown out. Who should the blame fall on ?
  • The players and coaches. Who else? Obviously the players don't shoot well enough or run the offense well enough or play well enough on defense to finish games. And ultimately if the team isn't playing well enough to win, it falls on the coaches to fix that.
  • Dave, interesting piece on the Mizzou athletic budget. When you look at recruiting spending, any idea how that ranks with other potential peers? I'm assuming Ohio State and Michigan for example spend far more than Mizzou, but thinking about maybe target football programs historical ranking just below the top 15 (maybe OK State, Iowa, Wisconsin, as well as SEC East peers Kentucky, South Carolina?) Is Mizzou putting enough resources into the process?
  • Those figures are available through the US Department of Education, but they only break down recruiting expenses per school for all male sports and all female sports - not by the individual sports. You'd have to submit FOI requests to look at each school's recruiting budgets for specific sports. Recruiting costs including transportation, lodging and meals for official visitors. To some degree there shouldn't be a drastic discrepancy in some of those costs because teams are only allowed to host a certain number of visitors per year. If your school is centrally located and your mostly recruit players from your region of the country, you don't have to spend as much on travel. Now, some schools with more money can spend more on food and other luxuries during the visits.
  • Kim Anderson is a bad coach. In any situation. Period. Sure he had a bad situation when he started, but he has done nothing to improve it.
  • I'd quibble with the simple comment that he's a bad coach. He knows the game. He knows what works and what doesn't. Otherwise he wouldn't have won a national championship. I don't care if it was Division 1, 2, or 100. You can't b e a terrible coach and lead your team to the national tittle and sustained success. Now, he hasn't done a good job with Mizzou's program in terms of recruiting and developing talent or getting his players to execute well enough to win. It's true he hasn't done anything to make his teams better over the course of three years, so it's been a failed regime.
  • Assume KA gets the boot. What happened to him is so pitiful, a nice guy who finally got his dream job, has been akin to water-boarding where no guilt exists. What does he do? Move to mid level job, retire, or stay in some administrator position or ???? Thanks.
  • I'm  not sure. I think he can get a job in college basketball with a conference or maybe an administrative role at MU or somewhere else. He doesn't have to retire altogether yet. He knows enough people in the industry that he should be able to find something that makes him happy.
  • Even with all the losing, I have to say I like this team. It appears they really play hard and have not given up. If Phillips could stay out of foul trouble, I really think they could build around him. One thing I do not understand is how Mizzou guards the 3-point line. It seems like every game someone on the opponent gets insanely hot and just fills it up. Often it appears this is because no one is up in his grill when he shoots. What percentage are they Tigers allowing to shoot from the 3-point arc? It's got to be pretty high. Have they thought about double-teaming some of these guys when they get hot or having multiple guys running at them? A lot of those shots looked almost uncontested. Thanks.
  • Missouri has allowed teams to shoot 32.6 percent from 3-point range, which ranks No. 82 in the country. Not good but not horrible. The 3-point defense has dropped off in league play. SEC teams are shooting 38.6 percent from 3, which ranks 12th in the SEC. I think sometimes the players are so cognizant of not fouling that they haven't figured out how to play tough perimeter defense without crossing the line.
  • Do you see a step forward in the football program for the next season? Everything seems pretty positive...but I always worry about everything being a lot of smoke and mirrors....what should our expectations be for next year?
  • The schedule is about as favorable as it gets in the SEC with trips to Vandy and Kentucky among the four SEC road games. Offensively, the expectations will be high with a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher, 1,000-yard receiver and the entire O-line back on campus. There will be concerns about the defense and deservedly so. Who plays corner? Who plays along the front four? Who emerges at linebacker? What's the scheme? It's always a good thing when you play in the SEC East, but this team faces its share of questions again. And, remember, just because you return a chunk of players from a decent unit doesn't mean you're going to automatically improve. Last year's defense was the perfect example.
  • I'm very interested in the whole situation with Cross and the Missouri football defense and would like to get your thoughts on it. He gets hired to run a certain defense that required change of technique premised on stopping the run. That defense plays well against Georgia against stopping the run. Missouri's offense struggles to do anything against real competition other than Vanderbilt and Arkansas and the defense can't get off the field. The head coach decides not only to run a different defense but to strip Cross of play-calling duties. The defense doesn't improve under Odom's direction. The linebackers are frequently out of position, and no one in the secondary can tackle properly (especially the safeties). And there's major resistance on the part of some of the players to running Cross's defense.

    It seems like an unfair situation for Odom. I don't think Cross or his defense is to blame for the struggles. Even with Scherer in there, the players just weren't that good in my opinion and they didn't improve when the defense was switched. If Cross has any head-coaching aspirations, it can't look too good for his resume that in his first year on the job at Mizzou, a decision was made midstream to strip him of his role. Wouldn't it be reasonable for him to make a move elsewhere so he can do the job he was hired to do? And what's your opinion of the whole situation with the defense and the choice to strip him of his duties. For me, until the linebackers quit taking themselves out of running plays and getting just blown off the ball and until the secondary learns proper pursuit angles and wrapping up instead of going for the home run shot, it won't matter who calls the plays.
  • Cross didn't exactly do anything last fall for me to believe he had offers from other schools - in better situations - to become a defensive coordinator. He's still going to be paid really well - ridiculously well for a position coach - so I can see why he had no intention to move along this offseason. Odom made the midseason move because he believed his team needed a jolt, something to shake things up and salvage the season .His pride and reputation as a defensive coach were on the line, too. Some D-linemen were resistant to the changes and there was an obvious disconnect between those guys and parts of the staff. Odom didn't have a lot of great options, and after the Middle Tennessee loss, he had to roll the dice on something. I think going into year two he'll have a better sense for what his players can  handle and what kind of system works best for this group. It was a unique situation to say the least.
  • Your best guess: Hypothetically, Mizzou basketball plays each team in the SEC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 10, ACC and Big East at home. How many games do they win?
  • They'd beat Oregon State, maybe Rutgers, maybe DePaul - though DePaul has been competitive against the best teams in the Big East. Colorado's not very good. Neither is Boston College or Pitt. Otherwise, MU might be underdogs to the rest of the field.
  • Hey Dave, what do you expect to happen on Saturday? I feel like it could be a classic instance where Mizzou wins a game they have no business winning, but I could also see frank Martin wanting revenge from last year. Think they have any real shot or is hoping for a win a waste?
  • No shot. This is an elite defensive team. I know they lost to Kentucky, and I know this is a road game for the Gamecocks, but Missouri struggles to score against average defensive teams, much less lock-down teams like South Carolina. It's a bad matchup. Last year's game swung in MU's favor thanks a crazy FT discrepancy.
  • McDermott from Creighton, St. Mary's coach? either possible candidates?
  • McDermott had his shot at Iowa State and failed. I think he's got such a good thing going at Creighton, which is now part of a power conference, that I don't see that being a good match. Randy Bennett knows the STL area from his time at SLU, but he's a Western Time Zone guy living in northern California. Would he leave there for another job in the Midwest or wait out something better on the west coast? One big negative for Bennett: He was hit hard with NCAA recruiting violations a few years ago. Missouri is already on probation and could face more penalties with the tutor investigation. I'm not sure someone with NCAA baggage is right for this job right now.
  • Does Jafar Armstrong sign with the Tigers next week?
  • Uhhh, ask me Wednesday. He's still taking visits. Notre Dame could be next after he went to Minnesota last week. He's clearly not 100 percent committed to Missouri. He might say he is but not if he's got travel plans. Wait and see.
  • Dave, do you think Conzo Martin will be interested in Mizzou BB job? Will Mizzou be interested in him.
  • I can't say that I know if Missouri will be interested - but it should be. Timing has been the only thing that's kept him from being a major candidate in years past. He had just taken the Tennessee job when Missouri was in the market for Mike Anderson's replacement and he had just taken the Cal job when Frank Haith left MU. Mike Alden liked Cuonzo - a lot. Will Sterk? He'd be crazy not to give him a hard look. With someone like Martin who has a good job in a power conference, MU would have to indicate that he's a top candidate - and not just a guy on their list.
  • Dave, I was talking with a UT-Austin alum on what do they spend their money on Mizzou has a much smaller budget yet we have a better basketball arena (I've been in the Frank Erwin Center, not a fan), we have made updates to our football stadium (although UT's is obviously much bigger). The Longhorns have so much money from athletics and the LHN as you know, where could they be spending it on do you think?
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