Hey, folks. Hopefully, you've recovered from the Braggin' Rights Game. I'm playing hurt today. Nasty cold and cough, but I'll battle through for the next couple hours. Let's get to your questions.
Disclaimer: I'm more than willing to admit this regime is heading down the wrong path and at this rate, I'd be surprised if Anderson gets a fourth year at Missouri. But it serves me no interest to start speculating on replacements in a public forum. I'll gladly entertain questions about specific coaches you have in mind, but understand where I'm coming from on this one, too.
He was on the hot seat when the season began under a new AD. The scrutiny and pressure seems to be at all-time high.
The last time they missed the NCAA Tournament and a bowl game in two consecutive school years came in the 1970s. Anderson had deferred to his "veteran" players all year when it comes to the starting lineup but he seemed to come to the realization last night that it's time to shake up the lineup. Although, I assume it's going to be Frankie Hughes who doesn't start when the season resumes. He took some awful off-balanced shots early in the shot clock last night. VanLeer couldn't shoot straight either but he at least took good shots in the framework of the set.
I don't envision Missouri winning enough games in SEC play to convince Sterk to bring him back. That's not based on anything I've been told from the AD, but it's becoming obvious that progress has stalled.
Hell no. This series has historically been streaky. That's part of what makes the games mean so much to the players, because one side or the other usually enters the game looking to end a long losing streak.
K did the right thing suspending Allen. I suspect the ACC might have helped sway his decision. The kid has problems. I'm all for guys being scrappy and getting under their opponents' skin, but he's not right mentally. I hope he gets his head on straight because he's a great player.
The D-line will be a work in progress until all the knee ligaments heal. As I wrote yesterday, Odom expects some D-ends to play D-tackle during spring ball out of necessity just because they're so thin at tackle. I like the way Frazier played down the stretch last year. Tre Williams has a lot of potential as an edge rusher. If he can stay healthy, Terry Beckner has a chance to become a great player. Odom absolutely loves TBJ. Yesterday he called him the team's best leader. Really high praise. But they're going to need some of the junior college additions to adapt quickly and work into the depth. As for the secondary, they'll be young at corner, but there's no shortage of candidates at safety. I like Hilton and Perkins as safeties. I think they showed the most this year from the four guys that played in the rotation and have the most upside.
Hard to say because as of last week they hadn't hired architects, and whoever they hire will have a big say in those plans. If they really want to be aggressive they could start the process this spring and summer and play the season with the south end under construction. The team might have to use a makeshift locker room on game day this season and next, but that's not that big of a deal.
He played 24 minutes in his first game and 15 last night. He looks a little uncomfortable out there offensively. His impulse is to shoot from 3, but he's an athlete and a slasher and the staff wants him to pass on contested pull-up 3s and attack the rim. I think he'll play more as the season goes on. He did an OK job on Malcolm Hill a few times last night but got beat a few other times. They need his athleticism and rebounding.
The team is losing the fan base is apathetic, but whoever replaces Anderson, whether that's in March or a year from now or two years from now, I don't think they'll have to clean up to the same degree that Mike Anderson did post-Snyder and Anderson did post-Haith. They'll need players. But Haith left a program that was under NCAA investigation and a roster with a bunch of transfers who didn't really want to be here.
I just don't see the upside of firing him now or before the season is over. Attendance won't go up. I don't think this team will start playing harder or shooting better under Fulford or Shields. If Sterk decides to make a change, he can make a change after the SEC Tournament and will have no shortage of candidates.
They need Curator approval in February and then it's a matter of wrapping up the funding, getting architect plans settled and moving forward with the initial stages of deconstruction of the south bowl. They have some utility work to do before anything else gets started, and that can begin in the spring. Sterk doesn't drag his feet. I think this will move at a swift pace.
I was baffled by the decision to keep Geist on the bench. He brought energy, toughness and shooting. He should have been on the floor until he needed a breather. Anderson admitted as much after the game, but by then it was too late. To some degree that should also fall on the staff. Someone should get in Anderson's ear and say, 'Uh, coach, Geist is the reason we're back in this game. He's doing us no good on the bench.' Hughes and VanLeer established themselves as the team's "shooters" when the season began, and Anderson seems reluctant to detract from his original script, even when the results aren't happening. He seems to think those guys are one good look away from figuring out their shot and getting hot. Obviously it didn't happen. I'm sure they shoot better in practice, but bad teams look better in practice because they're practicing against the other half of a bad team.
I thought the Big Ten had a better season mainly because it's stronger at the top. I'll take the mix of Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin over Alabama, Auburn, Florida and LSU. Alabama's the best team overall, but I think those other top Big Ten teams have fewer flaws - and better coaches than the top SEC teams. The middle tier might be better in the Big Ten, too. Indiana, Northwestern, Iowa, Nebraska. I just wasn't very impressed with the SEC this year outside of Bama. Some teams had great units and great individual players: LSU's defense, Ole Miss' offense, Vandy's defense, Mizzou's offense. But you didn't see many complete teams in the league. (I probably just had my SEC credentials revoked for next year.)
As far as ranking the leagues, I'd go with Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big 12.
Well, you just brought it up but I won't. I don't understand why he plays so many heavy minutes. He looked tired last night late and his jump shot looked like his legs were shot. Anderson trusts him to make fewer mistakes than other guys, but they're just not getting much production from the wings, CVL included.
I understand their reasoning, but I'm concerned what it's going to do for college football. I like bowl games. I don't mind there being so many of them. I like to see great players play in those games. At what point do players from teams that are 8-3 decide to pull out of the final game of the regular season because they're out of contention for their conference. What if a junior standout running back for Auburn decides he won't play against Bama in the Iron Bowl because he doesn't want to hurt his draft stock. If anything, I think players should have to make these decisions before the bowls make their picks. I feel bad for the good folks at the Sun Bowl who put on a great game. They chose Stanford thinking they'll be getting one of the game's most exciting players to market their game around, and then he pulls out of the game. Again, I understand where the players are coming from, but where do we draw the line on this?
I agreed with Hochman's estimate that it was about 65 percent Illini fans in the house. Mizzou bought 2,850 of its allotted 8,000 tickets. There were barren sections behind the basket in the Mizzou section. They absolutely need to lower the prices for this game. The schools don't set the prices. To sit in the arena's highest row in the mezzanine level costs you $47. You think a family of four wants to pay $200 for tickets for the worst seats to see two unranked teams?
I'm not sure how that works in this case. They might just give back the unsold tickets and don't have to pay for them.
Too much time has passed to keep blaming Mike Anderson for the roster situation. Haith chose to go the transfer route, and he also struggled recruiting impact high school players. That set the program back considerably. Kim Anderson inherited some malcontents and let his associate head coach bring in some more. But now he's got the roster he put together on his own, and while young they're just not getting much better.
Anderson didn't specify how he's going to change the rotation, but I think Missouri might want to consider starting Geist at point guard and Phillips off the ball. Phillips is the team's best 3-point shooter and it's not even close statistically. When it's time to sub, you can flip those two at the point, but I think Geist should be seeing the floor more.