Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Bring your Tigers football and basketball questions, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Thursday.




    Greetings, Mizzou chatters. Let's talk. I'll be here for the next two hours. Been working on the day-after-postmortem for last night's basketball game, so that should be online shortly after we're done chatting. Fire away.
    Hello Dave. Watched the game last night. It was embarrassing all of the empty seats you could see on TV (mostly alumni I think). Some shots of the upper areas were just as sparse. What is the deal with the fan apathy? Can't use 'holiday break' as an excuse now, nor weather, nor early start time, nor scrub opponent. It's truly embarrassing. This is the SEC.
    Maybe too many people are watching on TV and not attending the game. (Hint, hint....)
     
    This isn't a new issue. We've seen poor attendance figures in that building for years. MU sold out of season tickets last year because of Porter Mania, and then once the team started winning, most of those fans showed up for the games. This year, no Porter Mania, a few nonconference losses and a team that's not as exciting to watch on the floor ... and you're back to a lot of empty seats. I'm not sure there's any magical solution this time. They need to win more games to bring the fans back. It's cold. There's a foot of snow on the grounds. Students aren't back on campus yet. Classes don't start until next Tuesday. Compared to the rest of the league, the crowds aren't that bad.  Heading into the week, MU's average home attendance ranked sixth in the 14-team SEC, behind Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina and Alabama. 
  • Any talks or movement on a possible Mizzou vs SLU series starting up? I've read rumors but seen nothing but that.
    Everyone involved has said they're open to the idea but nothing of substance has come of it.
    If Mizzou basketball sticks with the players it has now and the players on their way for next season, we're looking at being at least a few years away from contending in the SEC. Will the Tigers aggressively pursue a grad transfer or two to help in the short-term?.
    I don't agree that they're a few years away. If they return a core next year of Tilmon, Pickett, Mark Smith, Dru Smith, Watson, Pinson, Santos and you add Mario McKinney and Tray Jackson, plus whatever else arrives in the spring signing period, that's a solid nucleus provided that everyone coming back makes progress. Unless you're collecting one-and-dones like Duke and Kentucky, the best teams in today's game have upperclassmen who have developed over time. Look at Tennessee. Perfect example. Those same guys dominating the league right now we're freshmen and sophomores on two mediocre teams a couple years ago. There's no reason that the combination of some developed veterans and impact additions can't turn this into a competitive team by next year.
    What am I missing when it comes to Mark Smith? There was so much hype about him, but it looks like his contributions are limited to jacking up 3-balls.
    He jacks a lot of 3s - and makes a lot of 3s. He's the most accurate 3-point shooter in the SEC at 47 percent and averaging 12 points a game and six rebounds. What's wrong with that? He's seventh in the SEC in offensive rating. He's been MU's second-most valuable player. On a team starved for offense, he's been a huge addition. 
    Nobody ever expected an All-American. The guy averaged 5 points a game at Illinois and shot 23 percent from 3-point range. He's doubled that so far this year. I think he can afford to be more versatile as a scorer, but he's one guy on this team who has a clear skill and more often than not executes that skill. 
    Would the Tigers in your opinion be a top 25 team with Jontay? Also do you think their is any possibility he returns for a Junior year.
    I would be surprised if he comes back next year. But you never know when it comes to a Porter making decisions about playing basketball. 
    Top 25? It's possible. They'd be a much better team on both ends of the floor. They probably beat Temple at home with Jontay. Do they sweep both Iowa State and Kansas State away from home. Maybe they split those games. Do they beat Tennessee at home? I'm not sure anyone's touching this Vols team, home or away. Maybe they win at South Carolina. They probably beat Alabama. At worst, they still have two or three losses with Jontay. But I'm not sure they'd have any great wins. Right now, Missouri doesn't have a single Quadrant 1 victory. (Reminder, here is what counts as a Quad 1 win using the NCAA's new NET rankings: home win over a top 30 team, neutral-site win over a top 50 team or an away win over a top 75 team). MU's wins over Oregon State (neutral), UCF and Xavier (home) and Illinois (neutral) don't meet that criteria. 
    Who on the team can be the home run deep threat with Emanuel Hall Leaving?
  • Kam Scott or Jalen Knox. Scott has similar straight-line speed that made Hall so lethal. He's got to work on other parts of his game, getting off press coverage and developing chemistry with the quarterbacks. But he's got the speed.
    FYI, Kelly Bryant arrived in Columbia last night according to his Instagram. Classes start Tuesday.
    So if I’m the coach of Mizzou’s next BB opponent is my offensive game plan to spend the first 5 minutes driving right at Tilmon, get 2 quick fouls on him and out of the first half and go from there? How does Mizzou counteract that tactic?
  • It's not always that simple. Depending on how the game is officiated, you don't always get that call if he's playing sound defense - and your strategy risks an offensive foul. Some people focus so much on Tilmon's defensive fouls, but a large chunk of his fouls come on the offensive end. He has to clean up his technique on the offensive end just as much as his positioning on defense.
  • If you could handpick a mizzou football team from past players from any year, what would that team look like and would they be on par with Alabama and Clemson
    Yes, the best Mizzou players from the Pinkel/Odom years would compete with Alabama and Clemson. Just off the top of my head, these aren't necessarily the best players at each position over the last 18 years, but they'd be my team:
    QB: Chase Daniel
    RB: Henry Josey/Larry Rountree
    TE: Chase Coffman/Albert Okwuegbunam
    WR: Danario Alexander/Jeremy Maclin/Emanuel Hall/Bud Sasser
    OT: Justin Britt/Mitch Morse
    OG: Connor McGovern/Tre'Vour Wallace-Simms
    C: A.J. Ricker
     
    DE: Aldon Smith/Shane Ray/Markus Golden/Kony Ealy
    DT: Ziggy Hood/Sheldon Richardson/Terry Beckner Jr.
    LB: Sean Weatherspoon/Andrew Gachkar/Kentrell Brothers/Cale Garrett
    S: William Moore/Pig Brown
    CB: EJ Gaines/Aarion Penton
    On Tilmon’s fifth foul in the SC game last Sunday.p, the replay showed Silva standing on his right leg with left leg a foot off the ground against Tilmon’s body. I don’t know how the ref called an offensive foul on Tilmon. Andy Kennedy was the color man on the telecast and I think he thought Silva committed a foul, but was afraid to come out and say that because he is supposed to be neutral. That would have been Silva’s 4th foul and May have changed the way the rest of the game was played. Tilmon is overalls aggressive on occasion, but it seems to me refs see that he has fouled out in 5 games so far and because of this any fifty fifty call seems to go against him.
    Crafty veteran players are able to earn those calls. They tug and push and pull and get Tilmon in a wrestling match and it's usually the push back that gets called. That's life in the paint. Not every whistle against him has been a good call. And it's impossible for the officials to make the perfect call on every possession. But his number of fouls is staggering: He's got 54, three behind Silva for the league lead, in 61 fewer minutes than Silva.
    I'm in STL and have a job, that's why I couldn'y go. When I went to Mizzou (90's) the games were always full.
    That's fair. But that does that mean only people in Columbia or people without jobs should go to the games?
    I agree that Missouri has a fan problem. It's a big problem, and it's THE reason Mizzou is launching a new campaign hoping to double its donor base. 
     
     
    I think Mizzou basketball's turn around could be tied to the 2020 recruiting class. Right now they are linked to at least 3 top 100 prospects with two of them in the St. Louis area (and the other a cousin of one of the coaches). If they can land at least 2 of the 3, I think '21-'22 could be the start of consistently good, competitive Mizzou basketball.
    Could be. But we've seen this staff whiff on some local targets. There are no givens with recruiting. I think Missouri has the right coach to build a winning program, and I think it can happen quicker than some believe. But it's going to take some work to win over some of those local targets. Historically, Martin doesn't cast a really wide net when it comes to recruiting. He focuses on a select pool of targets - and if he strikes out, it's scramble mode.
    The conferenceBB season is rapidly going out of control in the wrong direction. At TXAM at ARK the next 2 games, MU might be 0-5 real quick. One might have thought TXAM would be a win, but they beat Alabama who MU just lost to last night. I don’t think they’ll go 0 for the SEC, but they have to start winning home games against teams like Alabama. How many conference games do you think MU will win. How many SEC teams will get tournament bids?
  • I said last night that if they lose to Alabama they're going to be staring at an 0-7 start. If you can't beat Bama at home, no reasonable expectation that they'll beat A&M and Arkansas on the road. Both are winnable games, but Mizzou will be the underdog in both. Then you come home and host LSU. As long as Will Wade's team takes care of South Carolina at home this weekend - not a given - I;ll have LSU on my top 25 ballot next week. They're loaded with talent. From there, Mizzou goes to Auburn. That's another likely loss. Lose all four and you're 0-7 when Vandy comes to Columbia on Feb. 2. Where are the other wins? I see five possible, at most: Home games against A&M, Arkansas, South Carolina and Ole Miss and at Georgia. Otherwise, this team will be favored to lose the rest. 
    Now, what if things start clicking with Tilmon and we see more progress from the three freshman guards? Then I could see Missouri becoming more of a dangerous threat over the next couple weeks. A year ago, the more Martin learned about his personnel the more he pulled out of that team in February. Between Jan. 31 and March 3, they won 7 of 10. I'm not sure this team has the talent or depth to do the same in the SEC, but I'm not writing this off as a Kim Anderson-esque type season. 
    This question has nothing to do with the game last night or even for this year or last. Why do so many MU fans seem to think that Cuonzo Martin is the second coming? His track record is a little better than mediocre, he seems to be a sub-par bench coach, and I just don't get the fascination with him. Hey, I really hope he's successful, but I don't think he's the guy.
    He was a very solid hire who did a nice job at Missouri State, brought in some good players and developed them at Tennessee and recruited well at Cal. On the surface, he we was MU's most accomplished hire since ... well, at worst, he's second-most accomplished coach to step into this program.
    Think about it. Norm Stewart had coached at Northern Iowa before he came to Mizzou. Quin Snyder was 32 and hadn't spent one day as a head coach. Mike Anderson had taken three of his four UAB teams to the NCAA Tournament but had never been a head coach in a major conference. Frank Haith had HC experience in a major conference but not a winning track record at Miami. Kim Anderson had coached at the Division II level.
    Martin came to MU with nine years of Division I head-coaching experience - more than any of the previous five - and been in charge of two high-major programs and guided both to the NCAA Tournament. Nobody else hired before him at Mizzou can say the same.
    Now, did he arrive with the most sterling record? No, not necessarily. But comparative to the program's history, yeah, he was a strong hire. 
    But obviously the Porter situation elevated the expectations and fueled some of the Cuonzo hype. And when the program went from eight wins to 20 and the NCAA Tournament, those expectations continued to soar, probably to unrealistic and unfair levels, especially given how quickly things changed when Jontay got hurt. 
    But I don't think the fans who are watching closely and know college basketball and understand the landscape of coaching believe that Martin is "the second coming," as you state. But here's why people like him: He's a man of integrity who can also relate to modern players. He coaches hard. He's not a phony. He means what he says and when you meet him for the first time you're usually left impressed with his demeanor and his genuineness. He's a pro. 
    If he's not the guy, who would you think is a better solution? A realistic option to make this program nationally relevant and competitive in the SEC?
    Do you think there is any more to Crockett leaving than him wanting to avoid a timeshare and/or another year of wear and tear on his RB body? Was his shoutout to Odom, Heupel and Ford really more of a thanks to those who recruited him and not throwing shade at Dooley?
    I don't know. I sent him messages asking him for an interview and he didn't answer. I'm not going to make any assumptions. If he wants to elaborate I'd gladly listen. Maybe he'll talk at Mizzou's pro day. That would be nice.
    i thought the FR WR Thompson made a good impression last year, but his name doesn't seem to be in the conversation so much. Why not?
    Khmari Thompson? The staff clearly liked the other options better. He played in a couple of the early games, but MU has run out of receivers in the past and they clearly believed it was a better idea to preserve that year of eligibility. He'll get a chance to make another impression during spring practices.
    would you be surprised if Bannister got a scholarship if there is an extra one available?
  • I'm not sure the numbers will allow that depending on who leaves and who joins the program over the next seven-eight months. But if scholarships were based on game-day production, then sure, he deserves one.
  • Any chance the Defense improves next year they still give up a lot of points and yards as Odom is supposed to be a defensive guy. I hate how far off our coverage guys look when lined up on receivers.
    Missouri plays far more press coverage than people realize or want to admit. When you've got elite receivers who make a living beating secondaries beat, giving them a cushion off the line of scrimmage makes sense in certain situations. This was the best secondary Missouri's had in several years. Far more blame should be put on the pass rush and the nearly invisible defensive end position. Holmes and Acy made more plays on the ball than any cornerback tandem Mizzou has had in a long time. And you can't make those plays if you're getting beat deep right off the snap.
    Two hoops questions: With Geist leaving, who would you think is the starting point guard next year? Pinson, Dru Smith, or someone not on the roster? Point guard kind of seems like QB for football where it is a position that benefits from the stability of one guy, not to say there won't be multiple ball handlers on the floor at the same time. I am thinking Dru Smith will be a starter regardless but Pinson has impressed and if he adds some weight I think he could be the guy meaning Pickett or Mark Smith may be in line for a role off the bench next year.

    How do you think CM rounds out the recruiting class assuming two open scholarships? A grad transfer or maybe two? I am never a fan of signing a freshman just because there is a spot if it doesn't seem like they can contribute (see Christian Guess), and with the staff so high on the 2020 guys they have targeted grad transfers seem like a good route as they would only be here next year and provide good experience for next years tema.
    Dru Smith can be more of a combo guard, but I think he can be a really good point guard for this team next year if they want to go that direction. Maybe give him the controls for 70 percent of the game and move him off the ball and let Pinson get some chances, too. But Pinson is a long way away from playing 30 minutes at the point in this league. Last night he tried to draw a foul in the paint on a drive, stopped near the low block to absorb contact but couldn't hold his ground against contact and got called for traveling. That's life at this level when you're that light and lean. I would think next year's lineup looks like the Smiths, Pickett, Tilmon and then either Santos or Watson, depending if you want a four-guard look or someone with more size. Either way, unless they add more size in the recruiting class, with a freshman or transfer, this is going to be more of a perimeter-oriented team. But that's OK. Most teams in today's game are just that. 
    Now, obviously, that all changes if Jontay comes back for another college season, but I'm not sure that's remotely realistic enough to waste keystrokes at this point. 
    re: refs. Can we agree that refs around the country have not agreed via some deep dark web conspiracy to call fouls on Tillmon that are not called on other players? Do fans forget that the officials may be inconsistent, but they are giving their best effort and are doing this at least in part out of love and respect for the game? And the ones we get must, by definition, be better than the ones at lower levels, ie, these are the best there are at their jobs?
    Good points all around. By nature, officials watch him closely because he creates contact with his size and strength. And opponents aren't dumb. They engage him and try to get under his skin or they flop. I thought last night was a positive step for Tilmon. Martin will let him know that but continue to push him.
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