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.




    I think this team has the potential to be top five in the SEC. With a returning core of Tilmon, Pickett, Pinson, Watson, Smith, Smith, Suggs and the two incoming freshmen plus anyone else they sign, that's a solid rotation, ASSUMING everyone improves their game from this year to next AND Dru Smith is as productive as this staff believes he'll be. Geist has been MU's MVP this year, but he's the only currently productive piece they lose - Puryear has had a nice career and some solid games this year but he's just not doing much lately - but the returning core, plus newcomers, gives you enough to make huge strides in this league. We saw it with Tennessee from 2017 to 2018. This year we're seeing it from Ole Miss. Both programs made huge leaps from one year to the next without really adding new pieces. I think MU can make that leap next year, provided players stick around and develop.
    Have you gotten any updates on Mitchell Smith's injury? Cuonzo said after the game that he didn't think it was too serious.
    That's the only update we've gotten. Hopefully Martin meets with the media tomorrow before they leave for Florida and we'll know more. I'm not one to diagnose a concussion from my seat at the arena. He looked pretty woozy walking to the locker room, couldn't hold his head up. If not a head injury he might have had some soreness in his neck. Martin thought he would be fine, but again, he's usually pretty vague with injuries.
    Peeler get a jersey retired ?
    There are no plans for that. I'm not sure he meets enough of the criteria. He meets at least three (multiple all-conference selection, All-American, conference player of the year), but he never won a major award in the NBA even though he had a long career and he doesn't set any conference records in college like Chievous did. DC broke the Big Eight free throw record during his career at MU.
    Any updates on D Crockett and his nfl draft training
    I've reached out to him and never heard back. I presume he'll be at MU's pro day on March 21.
    Any thoughts on why Santos had been such a disappointment this year? Is it as simple as the foot injury? I think I saw an article where said Cuonzo called him the most athletic player on the team prior to the injury.
    He missed a lot of practice time and didn't get to get his feet wet in nonconference play. That set him back, especially in the offense. He seems hesitant to do anything on the offensive end. Martin likes his defense. He puts himself in the right positions at the right time, but he doesn't contribute much of anything on offense. The staff might have missed on its evaluation. He wasn't a prolific offensive player as a freshman at Illinois-Chicago. He averaged 7 points and 4 rebounds but shot only 38 percent from the field.
    What you thinking sees wise for women’s b-ball in sec and ncaa.

    Men’s make the nit?
  • With three SEC games left the MU women would be the No. 5 seed if the season ended now, but they have a great chance to move into the top four with three winnable games left against the three As: Auburn, Arkansas and Alabama, though the first two are on the road. MU is 8-5 in the league. Kentucky and Texas A&M are both 8-4 with four games left. Both have much more difficult schedules. UK goes to South Carolina and Georgia and hosts LSU and Texas A&M. The Aggies host Tennessee and Arkansas and play at Kentucky and Florida. 
    How about this scenario: Mizzou sweeps the final three to finish 11-5 ... UK goes 3-1 to finish 11-5 ... A&M goes 3-1 to finish 11-5. 
    Here's the tiebreaker: A&M and Kentucky split two games ... MU beat A&M but lost to Kentucky. Winning percentage against the tied teams is the first tiebreaker:
    A&M 1-2
    UK 2-1
    MU 1-1
    Kentucky would be the 3 seed and Mizzou the 4, and both would get double byes in the SEC tournament. That would put MU's record at 22-8 heading into the postseason. Right now, ESPN bracket projections have MU as a 6 seed with a potential second-round matchup against 3 seed Maryland at Maryland. That's pretty good considering they'd avoid a second-round game against a 2 like Notre Dame or Stanford. Win a couple games in the SEC tournament and maybe you're looking at a 5 seed. Best-case scenario would be you bump up to a 4 seed and you host the first two rounds, but I'm not sure that's possible.
    As for the men, 17 wins has been the threshold for NIT at-large teams for the last five years. I don't see this team winning five more games. At minimum they'd have split the next two at Florida and Mississippi State and then sweep South Carolina (home), Georgia (road) and Ole Miss (home), plus win one in Nashville. That seems unlikely at this point. 
  • Dave can you speak for a moment on WHY you guys have no access to coaches these days? How did that level of paranoia creep into the coaching profession? Doesn't it show massive insecurity on Odom's part?
    That's probably a better question for the coaches. It's not like the media decides the access. Most if not every SEC coach talked to the media on national signing day earlier this month. Granted, most schools, like MU, only signed a few guys, and Odom was dealing with the NCAA sanctions, but MU didn't have a formal press event for signing day back in December either, A handful of the assistants talked about the players they signed, but at least two or three did not. There will be some access once spring practices begin in a few weeks. Access is always the No. 1 source of frustration for reporters who cover college teams. Missouri's access is better than some, not as good as others. There's a lot less now than when I started covering MU back in the late 1990s. Back then we were able to tell some really interesting stories about the players, and sometimes the coaches, too, but access now is much more restricted and the coverage is more superficial.
    Should the men’s b-ball have deal Similar to football were a player can play in X amount of games and not burn his eligibility
    Should basketball have a similar rule? I'm in favor of most rule ideas that benefit the players, but in football you have more injuries so depth becomes a bigger factor during the course of the year. Plus, football players generally need more time to develop physically, so there's more of an incentive to have them redshirt and not use up a year of eligibility, even if they're allowed to play three or four games during their first season. College basketball coaches probably aren't as concerned with a rule like that. Redshirting just isn't as much of a roster strategy in hoops.
    Besides the seniors and Porter, do you think anyone currently on the roster does not return next year?
    I never like to speculate on those kind of questions. Common sense says a bit of roster turnover is inevitable, but I don't have any knowledge of anyone's plans to leave for sure.
    Do you think Cuonzo will look at another combo forward/post player in wrapping up recruiting for next season? Or will they hope improvement from Nikko/Smith/Santos/Jackson/Braun/4 guard lineups is good enough? Would probably be hard to find another decent big guy this late, whether incoming freshmen or grad transfer?
  • Quality bigs are hard to find unless there are some transfers out there who could get a Mark Smith-like wavier. Ideally I'm sure they'd love to add another power forward they could plug into the rotation help with scoring and rebounding and post defense, but I'm not sure how realistic that is. Jackson will have to help next year. No doubt. He had a front-row seat to that four-gaurd lineup the other night, so if that didn't inspire him to hit the weight room and sharpen his game for next year ...
  • In regards to the poll, I don't think he should worry about returning ASAP. My thoughts are rest up and come back for the first game of the NCAA Tourney.
    I'd respect Zion's choice either way. He's clearly benefited from the platform Duke has given him the last few months. He went from being the fifth-rated player in the 2018 class to the a generational type talent that will go No. 1 under any circumstances. On the other hand, he'll only have one chance to win a national championship - and will all but certainly go to a terrible franchise next year. If he'd want to keep playing for free and play in the Big Dance with his college teammates, I'd respect that, too.
    What are some "under or off the radar" issues (that most fans wouldn't think about - aka not how Kelly Bryant is fitting in) that you're interested to learn about the football team in spring practices? Same thing from a player standpoint - Couple/few names of returnees or incoming freshmen you think can make big leaps to win starting jobs or crack the 2 or 3 deep?
    1. Are the seniors certain they won't transfer because of the sanctions?
    2. Who steps up at receiver?
    3. What changes does David Gibbs bring to the defense?
    4. What's the backup plan at QB?
    5. Where's the pass rush coming from?
     
    Not sure what Santos' ceiling is, but hoping his rough year is a product of injury and missed time. Where does he fit long term? His perimeter skills were talked up some, but he seems more built for that Puryear combo forward role moving forward?
    I just don't see much there on the offensive end. He seems to want the ball out of his hands as soon as he catches it. He made a couple aggressive moves with the ball at Ole Miss but was twice called for offensive fouls. He doesn't really rebound and he never looks to shoot. He might have to just start from scratch next year on that side of the ball.
    I have a question about flagrant fouls. Are they supposed to be fouls where the player does not go for the ball but goes for the player? I would love to know how many flagrant fouls have been called on Mizzou and how many have been called on opposing teams while playing Mizzou. It sure seems like any review of a foul by the ref results in a flagrant foul against Mizzou players but just a regular foul against other players. Many of these fouls look very similar to the untrained fan in the stands.

    And if a player gets 2 flagrant fouls, are they out of the game?
    Missouri plays physical, more than most teams I've seen all year. So, yeah, I think it's natural to expect a few more flagrants from this team. Cuonzo teaches them if they're going to foul someone, FOUL them. I thought Pickett's flagrant the other night against Kentucky wasn't nearly as severe as the one he had at Tennessee on a run-out that wasn't called a flagrant. 
    Here's the rule:
    • A flagrant 1 foul: excessive or severe contact during a live ball, including especially when a player "swings an elbow and makes illegal, non-excessive contact with an opponent above the shoulders". This is what used to be called an intentional foul, fouling a player to prevent an easy breakaway score. The penalty for a flagrant 1 is two free throws and a throw-in for the opposing team at the out-of-bounds spot nearest the foul.
    • A flagrant 2 foul is a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct that is extreme in nature, including "when a player swings an elbow excessively and makes contact above the shoulders", or excessive or severe contact during a dead ball. The penalty is immediate ejection of the offender, plus two free throws and a throw-in for the opposing team at the division line opposite the scorer's table.
    Regarding Out of Towner's question about pass rushing, I think it's more about quickness than speed. It's a 10-yard dash, so it's more about steps 1-3. Speed doesn't often have a chance to get involved. But, the roster is clearly ready for our next versions of Charles Harris, Shane Ray, Kony Ealy, Michael Sam, Aldon Smith and Brian Smith.
    Agreed. That's what this team has been lacking since Harris moved to the NFL.
    Has Men's BBall announced which of the remaining home games might be the annual Senior Game and which John Brown's ceremony will be?
    Nothing yet on John Brown ceremony, but the senior game is always the last game, which is March 9 against Ole Miss. The only other option for John Brown's retirement is March 2 against South Carolina. Not sure why that hasn't been announced yet. 
    Speaking of senior day, unfortunately Missouri's first spring football practice is March 3, right in the middle of Sophie Cunningham's final home game. Tough break for the MU women's team because the football practice will get the bulk of the media attention that day.
  • Really enjoyed your Q&A interview and coverage of The Band-Aid Man's jersey-in-the-rafters honor. QUESTIONS about that: 1) Why did it take so long and why this year? 2) Why was Norm not there in person? 3) Your "Starting-5" for Mizzou's All-Time greatest Basketball Players?
    1. Under the old jersey retirement policy, a candidate had to be an MU graduate. Chievous came back to Mizzou and earned his degree in 2000 ... shortly after which he was arrested for stealing from UPS while he was an employee there. I have never been able to find out if he was convicted of any crime, but that was a big story in town at the time and the school was in no rush to retire his number at that point. Then, around 2003-04, the school rewrote the retirement policy in wake of Brock Olivo's 27 getting retired and made it much more difficult for a candidate to have his number retired. Under that policy Chievous wouldn't have qualified - nor would any player in team history for hoops or football. Two ADs later, Mizzou has updated the policy and Chievous now qualified. 
    2. Norm, now 84, spends most of his winter in Palm Springs, Fla. He was very much in favor or Chievous getting his number retired but wasn't able to travel. He filmed a video tribute that was played before the ceremony.
    3. Anthony Peeler, Jon Sundvold, Doug Smith, Derrick Chievous, Steve Stipanovich is my starting five. 
    Coming off the bench, Willie Smith, Ricky Frazier, Melvin Booker, John Brown, Marcus Denmon, Al Eberhard, DeMarre Carroll. 
    Seems like Odom has survived the initial blow of the NCAA bomb and hasn't faced any big time transfers. With spring training around the corner are we getting to the point where the impact seniors are likely staying?
    Not necessarily. They can leave any time. I've said all along I'd be surprised if a senior starter transfers. What's the incentive? They're not going to be a guaranteed a starting job at a better program. It's not like Clemson and Alabama are coming in to raid the roster. Maybe there's a backup or a walk-on who wants to play closer to home or sees a starting opportunity in the Sun Belt or Conference USA.
    Most of Tilmon's fouls are on him but I wonder if you see the same thing that I a seeing. Mizzou's guards are not very good at making post entry passes. For example on his second foul on Tuesday, he has position on his man in the post and Suggs is right in front of him and doesn't throw it in to him instead he dribbles out and Tilmon gets a foul seconds later trying to regain position.
  • It happens. There have been times where a guard doesn't wait for him to get solid setting a screen and it results in an offensive foul. Or a guard lets his man get by him and Tilmon is forced to help and he ends up fouling the smaller ball-handler. The staff evaluates every play, every foul and  not every one is considered his fault necessarily.
  • For his sophomore year, what's a realistic ceiling in terms of point production and shooting percentage for Torrence Watson?
    I don't think it's out of the question to expect him to average 8-10 points per game. I don't see him taking over as a primary scorer. Tilmon and Mark Smith are older and are more consistent on the offensive end - barring Tilmon fouls - and Pickett can score in more ways than Watson. He's a better slasher to the basket and a better 3-point shooter. The big question is where does Dru Smith fit in as a scorer? I wouldn't be surprised if Tilmon, Mark Smith and Pickett are all in that 10-14 point range and Dru Smith is more of a facilitator who can score when needed. Then Watson is the next best-threat. Not to compare MU's talent to Tennessee, but the Vols have great balance, six guys averaging between 8 and 19 points. Kentucky might be a better example. Three guys around 13-15 points a game, one at 11, two around 8.
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