Preview: Mizzou Basketball Travels to Morgantown to Take on West Virginia

Take that image you had at the beginning of the season out of your head. Seeing the West Virginia game on the slate brought a guarded optimism that Mizzou could pull out a win against a relatively consistent program.

Come Gameday however, it doesn’t have the same fuzzy feeling we were all hoping. Mizzou moral is low, but there is a silver lining to all of this, in that the Tigers would have a lot to gain from what is now a ranked West Virginia team.

The important thing to remember while the Tigers seem to be in a free-fall is that this isn’t a Kim Anderson squad. These teams aren’t losing games they should be in by 20, 30 points. I remain absolutely resolute in my stance that this team is talented enough to play with the majority of the SEC, they’ve just happen to lose a lot of games.

The scouting report on the Mountaineers is pretty intimidating given the Tigers recent weaknesses. Success begins and ends with two of their forwards, Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver, both of which nearly average a double-double every game. Tshiebwe is 6’9″ and listed at 258, while Culver is only 6’10” and weighs in at 255.

One of their primary three-point threats is a freshman they’re big on, Miles McBride. He’s currently better than 40 percent from 3-point range on the season. Over the last three games, shooting percentages have been 71, 73 and 57. So if you plan on somehow establishing a physical game, you’re going to have to contend with McBride on the outside.

So is there a hope? There is if Mizzou can meet three major criteria, and they will probably have to pull every one of them off to even have a chance.

One, shoot lights out from three. We will have to have another “Florida game” from behind the arc to be able to stay level.

Secondly, we’ll need to continue the absolutely red hot pace from behind the line. We need to get to the line often, hopefully establish foul trouble for their forwards, and keep netting free throws.

Finally, and yes I mean this, something is going to have to happen that takes one of their players out of the game. Whether it’s a freak illness, or somebody accidentally pulling a muscle in warmups, Mizzou will also need the benefit of some freak bad luck.

The odds aren’t good, but that’s why they play the game. West Virginia has an excellent coach in Bob Huggins and a bench of very big, talented guys. The Tigers have leadership and talent as well, it’s just going to take every bit of it for Mizzou to come out with a victory on Saturday.

Obnoxious Mizzou Fan can cook things but sometimes prefers cheese and unwarmed bread. Follow him on Twitter.

Free Throw Record a Bitter Consolation Prize

Mizzou took an odd streak into Tuesday night’s game against Texas A&M. It didn’t come along with winning any games, so there just wasn’t any real excitement about it. Acknowledgement? Sure, but more of a sarcastic excitement almost.

It was a team record, which should be a bigger deal, but following the 66-64 loss, the only thing the team really wanted was to have won the game.

And the fans, too, for that matter.

But, just as a “win is a win” I guess a “record is a record” as well. We’ll all be able to look back fondly years from now and remember the time where the team was still terrible but they at least got that record.

The season presses on. The Tigers next play at No. 14 West Virginia on Saturday at 11:00am Mizzou Time.

Blake Harris Transfer Means Less Than You Might Think

It’s the start of an unassuming Friday right before a huge game against Florida on CBS tomorrow, and everything was feeling good. Even listened to Keep Their Heads Ringin’ by Dr. Dre this morning while driving, just because everything was feeling like a good Friday.

But now the news about Blake Harris, a former ESPN Top 100 guard who came to Mizzou from the basketball-entrenched land of North Carolina, purely to play with Michael Porter, Jr.

Now a lot of people are beginning to hit the panic button quickly. Why? Aside from leading the team in assists with moderate numbers, his points and productivity during minutes isn’t going to be a very big loss at all.

And of course, any “glass half empty” fans will tell you we lost *another* four-star guy, and that doesn’t look good. I get that, but they’re leaving for different reasons (C.J. Roberts and Blake Harris), so I’m not to worried about the culture of the team falling apart, and I just don’t buy into the “Cuonzo has lost the team” sentiment either, there’s no proof of it. Even Harris, who could have really taken any kind of shot he wanted on his way out, said there was nothing wrong with the program (h/t @DaveMatter), and I belive him.

So what does this all mean?

Well, it means that a guy who didn’t have the best attitude about already being “the man”, and finding a way to blame his surroundings, is gone. He was also not likely to stay longer than Michael Porter, Jr’s career at Mizzou anyway, was probably going to transfer afterwards. This means fewer team resources and assets going into a player who ultimately won’t be helping Mizzou.

The big question moving forward is can Terrence Phillips and Jordan Geist step up to lead this team. Both players have had their inconsistencies, but have great speed and defense as well. The success of the team moving forward depends on them more.

As for Harris, he’s probably headed to N.C. State…or kansas if he really wants to try to stick it to Cuonzo.

Mizzou’s Mt. Rushmore, Who Are the Four Heads?

Tiger Athletics has a strong tradition that spans back well over a century. With all the iconic names that the school is known for, we narrow down to the four obvious choices, as well as discuss those who didn’t make it.

If you build it, they will debate. Seeing something like this would be fantastic, but I’m not sure where you could put it so that most of Columbia could see it? In any event, here are the four heads.

Head No. 1
Don Faurot

It seems perhaps a foregone conclusion that the man who invented the “T-style” offense would be included. The ‘Wild Hog’ formation that Arkansas ran with Heisman winner Darren McFadden in 2007? That was the style Faurot invented. He pioneered the option. And when Faurot got his boys running with it, it was hard to defend.

Faurot’s inclusion on the list is almost a necessity. Anytime the home football field is named after you, probably a good indicator you’ll be included on a school’s Mt. Rushmore list.

Head No. 2
Norm Stewart

Stormin’ Normin wasn’t just a coach that ran with a fierce attitude on the sideline, he was someone that preached the fundamentals of basketball, with defense being at the core. He could recruit, he could teach, and he could beat kU, solidifying his legend year after year.

It’s hard to see a coach coming in and taking over Norm Stewart’s win total. At one time, Stewart was involved in over half of the games Missouri basketball had ever played, either as a coach or as a player. Tiger basketball wouldn’t be where it is today without Coach Stewart, an easy shoe-in on this list.

Head No. 3
Dan Devine

It’s a name that immediately commands respect. Coach Daniel J. Devine, Sr. had a presence that didn’t have to be loud to get your full attention. His achievements at Notre Dame were amazing, but it was taking a lackluster team and turning them into one of the great powers of the 60’s that shines as far as his Mizzou resume is concerned.

Orchestrating the two greatest seasons of Mizzou football all-time in 1960 and 1969 respectively, Devine earned the respect of his players and of his peers. That talent couldn’t be contained in Columbia forever, as he was called to South Bend where he won National Championships. Coach Devine, a well deserved inclusion into Mizzou’s Mt. Rushmore.

Head No. 4
Gary Pinkel

So I went back and forth on this one for a while, not because I don’t think Coach Pinkel deserves it, but I’m just wondering if I’m getting caught up with recent emotion in including him on a historical list like this. And really, I don’t think so.

Pinkel is the winningest coach in Mizzou football history. He slayed the mighty beast that was Nebraska, and he took Mizzou to a No. 1 ranking near the end of the season. A number of division championships and chances at a conference title, Pinkel made Arnold Palmer’s out of lemons while at Mizzou. His inclusion was debated but verified in being on this list.


The ‘almost’ guys are there, but not in stone just the same.

Chase Daniel
It really was between him and Pinkel for me, plus there’s not a player on the list. At the same time, though, I found it silly to leave Pinkel off. In any event, Daniel was the first out and certainly wouldn’t look bad chiseled out.

Quin Snyder
just kidding…
Anthony Peeler
Hard to think of a basketball player that played so well for Mizzou, then went on to have such a strong NBA career. Peeler had an innate ability to see the floor, and was money at the free throw line. His Mizzou record of 20-20 free throws in a game still stands.

Roger Wherli
This guy was just a flat-out interception machine, like no one you’ve ever seen. His Mizzou accomplishments are one thing, but you end up in the NFL Hall of Fame and I’d say your pro stats have all the weight they need. Wherli being on Mizzou’s Mt. wouldn’t be a bad thing, but he doesn’t quite make the cut.

John Kadlec
“The Coach” or “Mr. Mizzou” as he’d become affectionately known, was the color commentator for Tiger football for several seasons. It was his long-time service and dedication to Mizzou that earned him his monikers, ones he’ll never be forgotten for.

Mad I didn’t include your guy on this list? Good. Come at me, bro. Either on here or on Facebook or Twitter.

Obnoxious Mizzou Fan is this guy named Dan Irwin. He forgets things a lot and can’t remember what is and isn’t laundry. He can still outcook most people, including your uncle. He’s on Twitter.

An Open Letter to Coach Kim Anderson; We Believe in You

To say this year has been tough is obvious, and everyone knows it. Professionalism demands performance, and when you don’t have it, it’s hard to stay in business.

Kim Anderson knows all too well about demands and such at this point. Three years into his dream job and it’s turned into an absolute nightmare. Players are transferring like crazy. Writers are bashing the ship as it sinks. His team is “there” in the sense that they show up to practice and go through the motions like a normal team would, but what has happened to them is not normal.

Yet, through all of this, Anderson has a job to do in maintaining control and teaching his players. Given the circumstances and the pressure, I don’t know that I can think of anyone who’s done it better at this point while having the clouds of judgement and blame hanging over their head.

In that spirit, I think it’s entirely fitting at this point that TigerNation write an open letter to Coach Anderson. Although this letter is from an author, comment at the bottom to add your sentiment to the message:

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Dear Coach Anderson,

Thank you so much for continuing your quest to make Mizzou a better team and teach the young men under your guidance about life. Skilled teachers and strong men make strong communities, so your simple presence in Columbia helps the growth of a stronger community.

Undoubtedly as you have progressed through your third season at the helm of Tiger basketball, you realize that you are dealing with some of the toughest times any coach at Mizzou has ever had to endure. We all see the struggles, and there is nowhere for you to hide as you attempt to explain the downfall of the program. You’re the one who has to answer for every single loss, and do it with joy in your heart that the latest loss will somehow teach the team to progress and turn the whole thing around.

Kim, you’ve done everything. You’ve cared about every player the best way you know to care for them. You wake up early, look at film late, and try to make your guys feel good. It’s just not translating to wins. Many fans and donors are upset about the state of the program, but to be honest, those who have given up at this point don’t see the full vision.

We, the true fans of someone who is a True Son at this school, have something to say about what’s happening here from a third person perspective.

I refuse, against the common rhetoric, to call you a “bad coach,” because I simply don’t believe that. I’ve detailed in many of my previous articles what I believe to be the root of the program’s problems, and they begin with the lack of loyalty and the diminished culture within the team. No one cares and so no one wins.

Coach A, you care. You have worked hard in changing the culture of the personalities involved in the program, something that has gone completely unheralded by the local media in Columbia. You’re a humble guy, so I’ll be the one to stand up and toot your horn on that incredible achievement.

Many players have left as a result of your necessary changes. What would typically have been the upswing year in your third season has turned into what would be a normal first year. Players simply trying to know each other and play in a unified fashion on the court have not played up to expectations, but have done very good in many cases. But almost doesn’t count.

You may have already convinced yourself or fallen victim to the idea that you’re toast at this job, but I’m here to tell you that that is hogwash. I don’t care if Donald Trump has already told you, “you’re fired,” if you finish strong, there’s no way you won’t be retained one more year.

We believe in you, Kim. We know your history as a player and your credentials as as coach, and all of it meets the grade, despite what the skeptics have said. I’m standing behind you, and I speak for many other proud fans who haven’t given up and are right there hanging on every moment. Things are obviously not great right now, but there’s no question that this very difficult situation is headed in the right direction under your guidance, given the opportunity for you to continue to steer the ship. Thank you and just know that your efforts are appreciated beyond words by those that follow this team and know what it can become.

Sincerely,
Dan Irwin & Many in Mizzou Nation

Kim Anderson Doesn’t Need to Go Anywhere, Period

Mizzou men’s basketball coach Kim Anderson didn’t take the job in Columbia because of any promised glitz or glamor. He stepped in to the role fully—well partially—aware of the caliber of mess he’d have to fix upon his arrival.

To say that the past couple seasons haven’t gone well would be accurate. Sure fans knew there would be a rebuilding time, just as with any new coach, but boy things sure have looked awful. Landslide losses in big games. Losses at home to near unheard of teams.

Patience in Columbia is running thin among many, and it’s becoming a gaining sentiment among fans to fire Anderson. Not at the end of the season, but right now. The cries for this move haven’t come over Anderson being a bad coach or a bad teacher, but because he isn’t winning, which is what he’s there for.

But before we go and grab our pitchforks and torches, let’s talk for just a moment about the root of this whole fiasco, the state of the program.

Let’s go back in time to 1999. Quin Snyder is coming in to follow up Norm Stewart. He’s a young guy with a major drug problem who recruits the Ricky Clemons’ and Kalen Grimes’ of this world. He destroyed the moral fabric within the program and had clear social issues because of his cocaine use. He was never loyal to Mizzou and he was never going to be.

Snyder’s disregard for being a winner off the court soon doomed the culture of the team, meaning losses were dealt with in much more immature ways.

Former star Kareem Rush, the golden recruit and player for Snyder, almost didn’t play in the Big 12 tournament one year because he wanted his Infiniti SUV back that was towed from the Hearnes Center parking lot. He literally held out until his demands were met. Think this is something Norm Stewart would have tolerated?

Snyder’s firing should have come sooner, but at least it didn’t come later. In the end, former athletic director Mike Alden hired Mike Anderson, an unknown name really but someone who worked under Nolan Richardson at Arkansas during their national championship in 1994, so that commanded respect.

Mike Anderson was all smiles as he crookedly promised the hopeful crowd that he was going to save the program with his branded “Forty Minutes of Hell,” where the defense was going to be full-court man-to-man the entire game. It was an interesting idea if nothing else, and it did translate to some success.

Sadly though, just as Snyder lacked the loyalty, so too did Mike Anderson. With no warning to anyone at Mizzou, on March 23, 2011, Mike Anderson destroyed the integrity of the program and ducked reporters at Mizzou Arena so he could leave and announce he was now the coach for Arkansas.

He ripped potential recruits and set Mizzou back significantly.

Really you can say at this point that the culture of the team and program are so far removed from what they used to be, it’s almost unrecognizeable. Alden did try for some time after this to hire Matt Painter from Purdue, but ultimately they went with the bargain hire of Frank Haith from Miami.

Haith was a uneasy hire at the start, but most of that sentiment cooled down when all the W’s began to pile up. Following that 2011-12 season up with NCAA Coach of the Year and beating kansas, Haith like all of his predecessors seemed as if he could do no wrong.

But, his associations with booster Nevin Shapiro, someone who has his own Wikipedia page to describe the depth of his Ponzi schemes, would prove to be destructive to Tiger athletics as well. Haith’s exit from Mizzou under pressure solidified the idea that Mizzou basketball offers a watered-down head coaching job that is more yesterday than today.

Just like the two before him, Haith lacked any type of loyalty, and simply bolted for lukewarm waters. He was followed by potential recruits, and took one of the very smart minds in the game with him on his coaching staff in Kim English, someone who will be a head coach some day.

Players left. They hired Kim Anderson, former Mizzou player, Big 8 Player of the Year, assistant under Norm Stewart during some of Mizzou’s most winning years, Big 12 administrator and NCAA D-II national championship winner.

More players left. The team had to go through a purging process in order to have the quality of men that Kim Anderson was looking for to achieve success.

The first year out of the gate was awful. It was everything a rebuilding year is supposed to look like. Kim Anderson started out his career losing to the UMKC Kangeroos. “We we tried, but they just played really well,” a lot of people said of UMKC that night. Unfortunately, that has become the mantra of his coaching legacy.

Year one’s star was Jonathan Williams, III, a mediocre player at best but sadly he became Mizzou’s best attacking option after the wave of exits. Postseason wasn’t even an option as Kim found out that violations occurring before his tenure were about to affect his ability to recruit with an overall scholarship reduction.

Year two yielded much of the same, with Williams, III transferring to Gonzaga, leaving Wes Clark as the best player on the team. NAIA-level center Ryan Rosburg was really all the threat that existed in the middle, along with newly emerging freshman Kevin Puryear.

The local press from 1580 KTGR and the Columbia Daily Tribune began to baste Kim Anderson and stir up sentiments that he was the center of the struggles Mizzou was having. Their efforts worked as many people find themselves all wanting to get rid of Anderson, but not really knowing what to do or where to go from there.

The perception that some new guy is just going to step in and re-establish these shattered recruiting trails is laughable. The amount of time that would have to go in to building a new structure from the ground up would mean resetting all the things Anderson has done to fix things that weren’t his fault at all.

So as the third season began, out are the players who were really fillers more than anything. Mizzou has a cast of stronger players now, without question. Terrance Philips plays with an unrivaled passion that you can’t help but love. He’s aggressive on defense and a leader on the court…as a sophomore.

Frankie Hughes might finally be that solid outside threat that Mizzou had craved. There is actually size in the middle now to the point where it’s not visibly laughable before the start of each game to see how much shorter Mizzou is.

K.J. Walton is a fantastic slasher, Willie Jackson has all the makings of being a young Jevon Crudup, and Jordan Geist has shown he has fantastic effort at all times, all over the court.

This is one of the hurdles. Winning doesn’t just come to you, it’s a process. Mizzou basketball was like that beaten dog at the humane society that has to go through several phases of fixes before it’s a “good dog” again. It has to establish trust, then companionship, loyalty and love, all things that take time. While the dog is learning loyalty, you could look at that dog from the outside and say, “That dog is never going to be right, he’s a lost cause,” but in reality he’s just a couple steps away from having it together.

Losing to teams like Eastern Illinois sucks. It’s not fun, it’s embarrassing, and it makes people emotional. Don’t go off and abandon the one man who’s finally had loyalty towards Mizzou, and was always going to. It’s the only thing saving the program from years of calculated destruction. He will make the Tigers a winner again if fans will only have the patience.

What’s Happened to Mizzou and Will They Recover

So, let’s no try to get cute on this thing all of a sudden. It’s not good.

Mizzou football in its freshman season under former player Barry Odom, has turned up a complete dud of a season in a league division that’s already judged by many to be on the level of Mountain West teams.

If you look at what the team is putting together on the field, it’s a shameful offense of limited leadership and no consistency, coupled with a defense that hasn’t lived up to its potential. Serious injuries have also put a damper on longer short-term hopes of some kind of revival.

Coaching is certainly under question, but only one season in it’s hard to say he’s under fire or anything like that. While Odom does have his share of those who disapprove in how he’s done so far, the overall consensus is that he needs another year or two to show what he can do.

I’m not going to get as political about this as you might think and blame things on the happening from last November, but that obviously didn’t help matters. The team just isn’t very good.

Drew Lock has absolutely no pocket presence. He’s quick to hurry and make a bad decision if defenders can just get close to him. Tackling has become a joke on the other side of the ball, and with the emotional leader Michael Scherer out for the rest of the way, look for someone to hopefully step up and take charge.

Another reason that this team isn’t as successful is that they aren’t as close. Even before their unexpected SEC success in 2013, the Tiger football team had a sense of togetherness and family that wasn’t artificial, and it was helping them win games. It started with Gary Pinkel, but Odom won’t have a problem getting these guys together, once he gets nestled into place.

The answer is time, Mizzou needs it to rebuild. These are ugly words to some, that we will have to hear for some time before we begin to see winning ways again. Time will have to be invested in ideas, the ideas will have to be acted on and then hopefully the ideas pan out into things that make Tiger football a winner again.

Drew Lock Clearly Not the Answer for Mizzou Football

You can’t start out your defense with, “It wasn’t pretty, but,” and then transition into supplying all the excuses you can think of to support Drew Lock. It doesn’t work anymore.

This wouldn’t be an issue, except you can see the clouds gathering if you have an eye on the liberal barometer. The same cast of disconnected kids with a degree who write about Mizzou football, seem to all be rushing to Lock’s defense even before the game was half over.

The guy who likes to go by Oscer Gamble from Rock M Nation couldn’t be a more mindless dingleberry in his analysis; no particular data point provided, “Drew Lock is not the problem.” Really? Because the way you say it makes me think you’re already aware that he is the problem.

Same thing from Matt Michaels of KTGR when he said, “Can’t see Lock grading out better than Zanders unless you use a curve.” Curve what?! Zanders hardly even had an opportunity to throw the ball! I mean seriously, are you being paid for what to say? That is unfortunately a serious question.

This is just the tip of the problem now for Mizzou. The offense—although I am judging from the first game—has become completely comfortable with the same Larry Smith-style screens that got him fired.

If that wasn’t bad enough, every fan’s worst nightmare was revealed when Ish Witter got somewhere in the area of ten thousand carries. Sitting in the visitors section of Milan-Puskar Stadium, I heard many fans plead multiple times, “Please don’t hand it to Witter again,” only to be sitting with their hands over their face seconds later.

Most people are trying really hard to church everything up. But this Missouri team (not just the offense) is a huge turd that no one will be able to polish…at least on its current track. Alex Ross was “meh” at best behind an awful offensive line. Chris Black looked good, but his potential wasn’t realized since offensive strategy chose to focus on being the 1999 team.

Essentially, what happened to Missouri was the absolute worst-case scenario. Yet, because of professional persuasion, everything is allegedly going to be just fine…if Lock is the quarterback and people stop realizing he is the problem.

In the author’s opinion, the one-sided onslaught from those named, as well as anyone who works under Joe Walljasper at the Columbia Daily Tribune, has been the problem since the feminist-led protests on campus. (Whole other piece coming out on this subject soon, you won’t want to miss.)

So where does Mizzou go from here? Barry Odom coached a very tough game against a good team. He made decisions like attempting to score at the end of the half, which was refreshing. But his product on the field was 100% shameful, there’s no other way to put it.

Mizzou is going to have to find an offensive identity, and fast. I understand that the players have to play within themselves and their abilities, but if being an FBS player in the SEC means that you’re cool with just bubble screening and Ish Wittering your opponent to death, then someone turn on the Sun Belt or something.

In any event, I’m sure the normal cast of clowns will dig deep to try and defend Lock to the death, but I’ve been talking about how Marvin Zanders needs to be the other guy since he arrived on campus. Now it’s clear that he needs to be the primary guy, but his haters will help the rest of the SEC.

Did J’den Cox Just Announce He’ll Play Football for Mizzou?

Mizzou senior wrestling star and bronze-medal Olympian J’den Cox was met in Columbia by a mob of fans as he returned, which moved to campus where there was a ‘welcome home’ themed event and an autograph session.

Cox has been blown away and humbled by the media attention, as well as the response from his hometown of Columbia, Mo. in cheering him on during his time competing in Rio. But it was Cox that blew away those in attendance with what he said.

“The new plan is to play football for the University of Missouri after I get done with wrestling here for a year,” Cox told a room of spectators and journalists that included ABC17’s Andrew Kauffman.

“The rule here is you can play a sport for four years, and then your fifth year, you can go and play another one.”

Cox’s explanation strongly indicates that he has had some degree of planning and communication about such a move, but those affiliated with the team didn’t have any immediate reaction.

You can bet fan support for Cox’s decision would be strong as he was an exceptional linebacker for the in-town Hickman Kewpies. His entrance right when standout senior Michael Scherer would be departing the program, might be just what the Tiger team needs on the second layer.

You can guarantee that this story is just getting rolling. Stay close to the Mizzou Report for updates into a potential roster spot for Cox.