Friday, February 24, 2006

Huge win for the baseball team!

Going into Friday night, I hoped Mizzou would keep it close against the No. 2 Florida Gators. I figured the only chance for the Tigers to win would be a low-scoring game in which Max Scherzer was dominant. Turns out I was half-right: Scherzer was dominant, going 7 innings and allowing just 3 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 8. What I didn't know was that the Tigers would record 22 hits and roll to a 14-5 victory. What a game! The sad thing is, this win won't get nearly as much attention as it deserves. This proves that Mizzou is an elite program... a similar win by the football team or basketball team would incite pandemonium. Oh well. Baby steps, I guess.

Here are some other stats:
-Florida committed 5 errors

-Jacob Priday led the Tiger charge, going 5-6 with 3 RBI and 2 runs. Hunter Mense and John McKee also knocked in 3 runs apiece.

-Trevor Helms and Zane Taylor each had 4 hits and scored 3 runs.

-Scherzer only walked one of the 24 batters he faced.

-The Tigers led 12-0 after five innings.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Gimme hell!

40 minutes of hell, that is...

I'm tired of hearing about all these investigations and political posturing nonsense. I realize our future is tied to the findings, but I want to generate some words about the future.

I've decided the best coaching candidate for the Tiger boys (other than me, that is) has to be Alabama-Birmingham's Mike Anderson, and he represents the optimum choice for more than his number of wins or recent success in the NCAA Tournament. (In his first three years, three UAB teams have each won 20 or more games, been to the NIT quarterfinals, two NCAA tournament appearances - a second-round finish and one Sweet 16 appearance. And keep in mind, all that came in Conference USA, which used to be a good conference.) Anderson should be the eventual choice because of how his teams play. A protégé of former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, Anderson has players in opponents' faces all game long. Instituting that system allows players of inferior talent (read:most of the Tigers' roster) to excel. Pressing and forcing turnovers, in turn, yields an electrifying game, fast breaks, layups, quick turnarounds. It's attractive to fringe fans, which ishow "die hard" Missouri fans so often act. Anderson would bring fans to fill "The Plage" and get them jumping and screaming. That's what we need.

Weekly report

By Tiger Fan

Tiger notes…

-Leading off this week is the women’s basketball team, which just keeps winning. The Tigers are now 20-6 (10-4) after Wednesday’s 67-59 victory over Iowa State. The best news is that they are now guaranteed to finish in the top four of the league for the first time since the formation of the Big XII. It’s also the first time since 1990 that the Tigers have had a 20-win regular season. It could be an exciting postseason for yet another Mizzou women’s team (hopefully they can duplicate the success that the volleyball team had in the fall).

-So far so good for the Tiger swim team, hosting the Big XII Championships in Columbia for the first time this week. On Wednesday, the Tigers broke two school relay records and an individual record, putting the men in second place and the women in third. Let’s hope this success continues into the weekend.

-Anyone wondering exactly how good Max Scherzer and the No. 12 Mizzou baseball team is will find out this weekend. The Tigers will play one of their biggest games of the year on Friday as they take on No. 2 Florida in Gainesville, presumably with Scherzer on the mound. They will then play Wake Forest on Saturday and finish up with Ohio State on Sunday before coming back to Columbia for an eight-game home stand, beginning with Illinois State on Wednesday. The Zou staff will be on hand next weekend as the Tigers host UW-Milwaukee, so keep an eye out for a full report.

-On Tuesday, Tyler McCormick became the third Tiger this season to be named Big XII Wrestler of the Week. It’s nice to see a highly ranked Mizzou team that actually lives up to the hype!

-Here’s why it stinks to be a Mizzou basketball fan, especially this season: With the Tigers leading Texas A&M by 10 in the second half, I pointed out to Born-A-Tiger that we were still perfectly capable of losing the game. In fact, the disturbing thing was that I expected the Tigers to lose and I really didn’t care. After all, we essentially have a lame duck team at this point… big changes are in store regardless of how the season ends. And sure enough, the Tigers lost. But that’s not the annoying part. The annoying part is that they managed to make us care before all was said and done. When the Tigers got the ball into Gardner’s hands for the final shot, Born-A-Tiger and I both jumped to our feet. We both thought the game-tying buzzer beater was going in. We were ready to go crazy, even though minutes earlier we had been saying that we didn’t care… and then the shot bounced off the front of the rim and it was over. Another Tiger loss. And another clear indicator that no matter how much Tiger fans criticize the team and say we have given up, we always somehow believe that things might turn out differently… and that’s the painful part.

-Speaking of painful, Elson Floyd has now launched an independent investigation into the firing of Quin Snyder. I’m not sure what he hopes to find, but I hope whatever it is results in the removal of Mike Alden, et. al. I’ll be weighing in with more thoughts about Mr. Floyd in a few days… because unlike most, I feel he gets too much criticism in the basketball realm.

Quick-hit non-Mizzou thoughts…

The Shani Davis-Chad Hedrick feud has turned personal for me and my friend Dustin because the Olympic Fantasy Olympic League is going down to the wire. Check it out… I find the epic collapse of Bode Miller to be absolutely hilarious… I find the fact that Isiah Thomas still has a job hilarious. In fact, if I was the owner of the Knicks, Gary Link would be walking up Isiah’s driveway as we speak… For the record, as bad as the Vanderbilt football team is in real life, they are infinitely worse on NCAA ’06… I don’t understand the Bassmaster Classic. What is the athletic skill involved here?... The video of the autistic team manager in New York who scored 20 points when he was put in to his team’s last high school basketball game might be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Sports would be infinitely more exciting if fans always had someone meaningful to cheer for. But instead, we get T.O., Bode Miller, Kobe Bryant, etc…

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Blitzed by the beakers

By Born-a-Tiger:

I was going to attempt a game log for yesterday's contest with the hated Beakers, but decided not to at the last moment. As it turned out, the contest was no contest, so I made the right choice. But here are a few random observations from the biggest massacre in Lawrence since Qunatrill and his merry band rolled that way...

1) So much for the Tigers giving improved effort under Melvin Watkins.
2) In an effort-related topic, if the Tigers players loved Quin so much and were so loyal to him, why did they play like they didn't care during that six-game losing streak?
3) Jason Horton might be the worst point guard I've seen yet... he continually misses wide open teammates in favor of dribbling to the basket, then weakly turning the ball over. Which begs the queston: If you've got a point guard that can't shoot, can't drive and can't pass, is he really a point guard?
4) In a Jason-Horton related topic, if all it takes to get Horton to leave Mizzou at the end of the year was getting rid of Quin, why didn't Quin make a much quicker exit?
5) Missouri's lack of toughness continues to frustrate me... this team can't handle a little physicality on defense. Hopefully, that relic of the Quin Snyder era will soon be gone... you can call Norm Stewart's team a lot of things, but "not tough enough" never was one of them.
6) No matter who the coach is, I don't expect this team to be much better next season... there are serious deficiencies at point guard and center (such as having no viable options at those positions for next season. Unless you consider Horton and Kalen Grimes viable options; if you do, I think you might need your head checked), and the incoming recruiting class doesn't offer much help in those areas. Of course, I don't guess Tennessee fans expected their team to be much improved in Bruce Pearl's first season, and look what has happened there. Maybe I'll be surprised.

Other random thoughts;

I don't know how many of you caught the 48 Hours special on the murder of former Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholdt, but I know I came away from that broadcast with serious concerns about the conviction of Ryan Ferguson. Here are the biggest problems I had:
1) the police feeding details of the case to Chuck Erickson, who didn't seem to know any of the details of the murder and repeatedly questioned whether he had dreamed it all up.
2) The fact the Erickson's entire confession is based on leaving By George (may it rest in piece) around 2 a.m., going to the Trib, robbing and murdering Heitholdt, going back to the club (with no blood from a very gruesome murder on their person?) and going back inside. How can anyone believe this story when it's well known that the bar in question closes at 1:30 a.m. and there is NO way they could have been there that long or gone back?
3) The juror that said his mind was made up before Ferguson took the stand. Yeah, that's a fair and impartial weighing of the evidence.
4) The juror that said her clincher was the look in Erickson's eyes when he looked at Ferguson-as if pleading with him-was the clincher for Ferguson's guilt. Way to go.
5) The complete lack of any physical evidence, despite the fact that this was a crime of passion, to link either Ferguson or Erickson.
6) Erickson being unsure and hesitant in his initial confessions, then being absolutely sure on the witness stand.
7) That 12 people could ignore the several good reasons for reasonable doubt of Ferguson's guilt and sentence Ferguson to 40 years in prison.

Whoo... that was longer than I expected. I guess I'll end this with one 'random thought.'

I'm out.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Weekly Report

Tiger notes…

-The Tiger wrestlers continued an excellent season, beating top 25 foes in consecutive matches on Sunday and Monday. The Tigers beat No. 7 Iowa State 16-15 and No. 25 Northern Iowa 26-10. Also, junior Matt Pell was named Big XII Wrestler of the Week.

-The women’s basketball team continued their march to the NCAA tournament, beating kU 64-57 and Oklahoma State 69-65. The win over kU brought Mizzou to within 1.5 points in the Border War standings.

-The track and field team did well at the Iowa State Classic over the weekend. Senior Ashley Patten qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships by winning the 800m title and sophomore Elisha Hunt broke the school weight throw record by nearly a foot.

-The highly touted baseball team is off to an inauspicious 2-2 start. The Tigers fell to No. 12 in this week’s Baseball America poll.

-Thanks to the newly completed Mizzou Aquatics center, the swimming and diving team will host the Big XII conference tournament for the first time, beginning Feb. 22.

-Oh, and I’m told there was some news this week about the Mizzou basketball team. It hasn’t been talked about much, but apparently Quin Snyder resigned, Chad Moller and friends handled it poorly, the team won on Sunday, the school celebrated its basketball centennial, the athletic department threw Gary Link under the bus, Harpo’s threw the athletic department out on the street and Elson Floyd launched an investigation into how Snyder’s departure was handled. All in all, a pretty quiet week.

-Joking aside, I have to weigh in on the public relations disaster that is the MU athletic department. Quite frankly, I’m not sure how anyone in the sports information department still has a job. Every time there is even a slight problem, they handle it so poorly that it becomes a full-blown scandal… and sometimes, they create the scandal themselves. Remember when they removed Ricky Clemons from a photo in the media guide? Remember when they lied to the press about why the medical examiner wasn’t at the press conference after Aaron O’Neil died? Now, we have a situation where they could have spun Quin’s resignation in a positive light by showing that the program was moving forward. But they are so focused on limiting information and controlling the press that they have turned this into a scandal too. My message to them: You’re not fooling anyone. Dennis Harper obviously got tired of all the lies when he kicked Tiger Talk out of Harpo’s. Maybe it’s time for those in charge of the department to get tired of the lies and do some housecleaning in the MU sports information department. The first shirt I was given when I went to J-School had a saying on the back: “Telling the truth is always revolutionary.” Allow me to be the first to advocate a revolution in the athletic department.

Quick-hit non-Mizzou thoughts…

For my thoughts on the Winter Olympics, go here… How does the vice president accidentally shoot someone? Why weren’t there Secret Service guys standing next to him whispering, “Sir, you may wish to point the gun somewhere else so you don’t shoot that guy”? This is just a classic example of the old adage that guns don’t hurt people, vice presidents with guns hurt people… If Peyton Manning plays in the Pro Bowl and there’s no one watching, does he still stink? The answer is yes… My four No. 1 seeds right now: Duke, UConn, Villanova and Memphis… The most overrated player in college basketball right now is not J.J. Redick. It’s Adam Morrison… While we’re on the topic of college basketball: I was told this week that Tyler Hansborough looks like Cookie Monster… I sure wish Cookie Monster played for Mizzou… Just for the heck of it: Vai Sikahema… Worst trend in sports reporting: Criticizing certain sports and venues. The best example of this is self-righteous columnists who found it necessary to rip on Detroit as the Super Bowl host city and are now getting their kicks from making fun of Olympic sports. I think these people are forgetting that without sports, they would be covering city council meetings and writing obits. Besides, I’d like to see some of these guys try to ski a downhill slope or do a triple axel. Anyone who claims the winter games aren’t real sports needs to get over themselves...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The clouds have to part sometime, right?

By Born-a-Tiger

So, explain this to me: something good finally happens to Mike Alden—Quin Snyder “resigns”—and the MU athletic department still can’t avoid bad publicity.

The whole debacle with Gary Link—was he dispatched to tell Quin he needed to resign? Was he really just seeing how Quin was feeling?—just brings to light how incapable the MU athletic department is of handling public relations. Instead of focusing on the positive—moving forward with the basketball program, finishing the season on strong note, finding a coach who can rebuild the program—we’re all playing the “did he, didn’t he, he said, he said” game. Quin was just the start; Alden and his p.r. department need to go next.

Here’s a bit of advice for Alden and his underlings, while they’re still in power: try telling the truth to the public once in a while, especially when there’s no need to hide anything.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Lowlights of Quin's Career

By Tiger Fan and Born-a-Tigers

As soon as Quin was fired, we knew this list had to happen. But even as ardent supporters of the anti-Quin movement, we were astonished by how long the list is. I've heard some members of the national media criticize the Mizzou athletic department, saying it did not show loyalty and Quin should have been given more time. The list below shows exactly why this is not an acceptable alternative. To be fair, there were some good memories with Quin too... but as you will see, the bad outweighed the good. It is best for everyone for Mizzou and Quin Snyder to part ways.

1999-2000

2/26: Snyder leads the Tigers into Norman and receives the first of six consecutive losses against the Sooners. The 83-56 loss was a sign of things to come, as Snyder would not be able to beat Oklahoma again until exactly three years later on Feb. 26, 2003.

2000-2001

12/21: Snyder’s first loss to Illinois. By itself, the 86-81 OT loss to the Illini wasn’t bad at all. The fact that it would be the first of six straight losses makes it an unfortunate date in Tiger history.

1/16: The Tigers lose by 21 to Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan. It would be the first time we witnessed a signature weakness of Snyder’s teams: the ability to make an opposing player no one has ever heard of look like a superstar. KSU forward Matt Siebrant – whose greatest attribute was that he was able to throw up equally ugly looking shots with either hand – scored 20 points.

3/9: This one isn’t really Quin’s fault, but it was certainly a lowlight of his tenure. With the Tigers leading 65-63 in the waning moments against Oklahoma in the Big XII tourney, OU’s Nolan Johnson went to the line to shoot two free throws. But when Johnson missed his second, T.J. Soyoye dropped the ball out of bounds, giving possession back to the Sooners. OU went on to win 67-65.

2001-2002

12/15: After starting 9-0 and rising to No. 2 in the national polls, Quin’s team manages to lose by 18 points at home to Iowa, whom the Tigers had already beaten earlier that season. (The previous win was in the Guardian’s Classic, the only title Quin ever brought to Columbia). The loss alone would have been bad, but to do it in front of a packed house at the Hearnes Center where fans were literally sitting in the aisles made it even worse. The defeat triggered a 3-game losing streak, with losses to Illinois (again) and DePaul.

2/9: The Tigers lose 81-80 to Baylor on the road, despite getting the ball into the hands of Kareem Rush on the final possession. The loss to the lowly Bears dropped Missouri – remember that No. 2 ranking at 9-0? – out of the Top 25 for the first time that season.

3/23: After a miraculous run to the Elite Eight, the Tigers lose 81-75 to an Oklahoma team they had dominated in Columbia only a month earlier. In the game, the Tigers demonstrate that they are truly coached by Quin as they make only 20 of 34 free throws and 7 of 22 3-pointers. Clarence Gilbert goes 1-for-16 in the game.

4/11: Ricky Clemons is signed to a national letter of intent. In retrospect, no scarier words have ever been spoken by the MU Athletic Department.

5/8: Wesley Stokes leaves the basketball team

5/15: Duane John is dismissed from the basketball team

2002-2003

11/2: The Tigers need a 3-pointer by Rickey Paulding at the buzzer and overtime in order to beat the EA Sports All-Stars in Columbia. We should have known then that this would be a forgettable year…

1/12: Najeeb Echols announces that he will be leaving Mizzou.

1/17: Rickey Clemons is arrested and charged with a felony for allegedly choking his girlfriend.

1/18: Clemons is suspended for the Tigers’ next game – which they lose by 20 points.

1/20: Clemons is reinstated to the Mizzou basketball team.

1/31: Jeffrey Ferguson is suspended for two games

3/16: Snyder’s team only scores 18 points in the first-half of the championship game of the Big XII tourney against OU. Despite a furious second-half rally and a good look for Rickey Paulding with a chance to tie the game as time wound down, the Tigers lost 49-47.

3/22: Snyder manages to waste 36 points from Paulding and 28 points and 18 rebounds from Arthur Johnson as Mizzou makes a second-round exit in the NCAA tournament against Marquette, losing 101-92 in overtime. This loss doesn’t look as bad when you consider what Dwyane Wade has become… but it’s important to note that this was Snyder’s last NCAA tournament game with the Tigers. It also might be of interest that Paulding clearly outplayed Wade that day.

4/9: Snyder and assistant coach Lane Odom are disciplined for making too many calls to Clemons during the recruiting process. Alden suspends Odom from the recruiting trail for five weeks, Quin for three.

4/21: Clemons pleads guilty to reduced charges and he is suspended from the team for one year.

4/25: Mizzou announces the signing of Juco PG Randy Pulley.

7/4: While on work release from his 60-day sentence at Reality House, Clemons attends a party at the home of UM System President Elson Floyd and is injured in an ATV accident.

7/22: Clemons is dismissed from the basketball program

7/31: In depositions, Clemons’ girlfriend alleges that the player received money from Odom and clothing from Snyder.

8/1: Quin admits he might have violated NCAA rules by giving Clemons clothing, but denies the allegations against Odom.

2003-2004

9/23: NCAA informs Mizzou that an official investigation into the allegations has begun.

12/9: The Columbia Tribune reports that recorded jail conversations with Clemons imply that he and other players were given money and told to deny it.

12/30: The Tigers lose to Belmont, 71-67

1/12: Craig Forth continues the Snyder tradition of letting random white guys score a bunch of points as he scores a career-high 18 for Syracuse and the Orangemen beat Mizzou in Columbia 82-68.

2/7: Randy Pulley is dismissed from the basketball team. In his short career at Mizzou, Pulley is most remembered for the night he air-balled a free throw.

3/7: Snyder manages to lose the one game of his career that he absolutely, positively has to win. kU comes into Columbia and wins the last game ever played at the Hearnes Center, 84-82, when David Padgett line-drived a jumper through the basket – and Mizzou’s tournament hopes. Again, Quin found a way to waste a huge game by Johnson, who scored a career-high 37 points.

3/12: Less than a week after the David Padgett disaster, Quin is somehow unable to inspire his team and the Tigers roll over and die in a 94-69 thrashing at the hands of kU.

3/16: After being ranked in the preseason top 5, Quin’s team ends the season with a first-round NIT loss to Michigan.

5/7: NCAA sends a notice of more than 40 allegations to Chancellor Richard Wallace.

5/11: Lane Odom resigns as Mizzou assistant basketball coach

6/19: Assistant head coach Tony Harvey resigns.

2004-2005

11/3: Mizzou and NCAA announce sanctions that include the loss of scholarships for two years and a one-year off-campus recruiting ban

11/19: The Tigers lose at home to Davidson as Matt McKillop – yes, you’ve never heard of him either, have you? – scores a career high 28 points.

11/23: The Tigers lose to Creighton, 78-54

11/24: The Tigers lose to Houston, even though they had beaten Houston by 16 just eight days before.

1/29: Quin’s team loses at home to KSU by 11.

1/31: Mizzou takes an eight-point lead to the half against kU in lawrence. But kU comes out in a 2-3 zone for the second half – which is essentially Quin’s kryptonite – and goes on to defeat the Tigers 73-61.

2/5: Learning from kU the week before, Texas A&M runs the Tigers out of the gym in College Station by playing a 2-3 zone. The final score? 91-63.

3/11: After losing to the Tigers earlier in the season, Kelvin Sampson puts his ego aside and plays a zone against Quin. The result? A 4-point win for the Sooners.

3/15: Quin’s team loses to DePaul at home in the first round of the NIT.

4/22: Jeffrey Ferguson announces that he will transfer from Mizzou

2005-2006

11/14: The Tigers lose their season opener to Sam Houston State, 80-77. This time, Ryan Bright is the scrub that Quin turns into a superhero. Bright finishes with 28 points and the game-winning shot

12/21: The Illini hand Quin and friends the worst loss in Braggin’ Rights history as Illinois wins 82-50. After the game, an enraged Mizzou fan dumps popcorn over Snyder’s head.

1/21-2/7: Quin inexplicably squanders any momentum the team could have had after beating kU by losing six straight games by double digits. The streak includes the worst home loss in 25 years (82-58 to ISU) and a 26-point loss to previously 1-7 Baylor.


2/10: Quin Snyder resigns… or was he fired by Gary Link? That controversy remains to be settled…

Friday, February 10, 2006

And he's gone!

(To keep things from getting out of hand, I compiled all the small comments about Snyder's firing into one post so it is easier to follow... that is, news at the top, commentary at the bottom)

Snyder Steps Down At Missouri

"Quin Snyder's up-and-down tenure at Missouri is over. ESPN has learned that Snyder has resigned as men's basketball coach after six-plus seasons. Assistant coach Melvin Watkins will take over the 10-11 squad. "

-This according to ESPN.com. Time of death for Quin's career: 4:21 p.m. CST

According to Mike DeArmond of the KC Star, Quin resigned after the athletic department told him that he would be fired at the end of the season. I'm sure you can picture this: Mike Alden calls Quin into his office, sits him down for a talk, tells him they've had to make a difficult decisions, etc. But that's apparently not how it went down. Alden apparently sent Gary Link to tell Quin the bad news. Yes, "Special Assistant to the Athletic Director" Gary Link had to do it. I'd make a joke here, but I think sending your radio color commentator to fire your head coach speaks for itself.

Not surprisingly, the AD is denying that it happened this way. They say Q's resignation came as a complete surprise to them. This is classic Athletic Department insanity... they find a way to screw up even when they finally do something right for a change.

Born-a-Tiger's take:

So finally, at long last, Quin Snyder realizes:
1) He sucks at basketball coaching
2) He needs to do the honorable thing and resign... keep your eyes peeled, ladies and gentlemen, for a lowlight reel of Quin's tenure as the Mizzou head coach. We'll pop it on sometime in the coming days.

Tiger Fan's take:

So much for finishing the year. Apparently he didn't want to sit through the All-Century celebration either. Whatever the reason, the wicked witch is finally dead!

In all seriousness, I wish Snyder all the best, but it's time for him to go. He seems like a nice guy and a good recruiter, but he is a terrible basketball coach and he ran our program into the ground. Hopefully Watkins can start turning things around as the team finishes out the year and whoever comes in next year can pick up where he left off. The team certainly can't play any worse than it has in the last six games.

The thing to watch over the next few days is how this affects the team's personnel. Will Gardner and Horton really leave? Will any of our recruits bail? These questions are left to be answered... but whatever the immediate impact, it's a better situation in the long run. It's about time. Now let's start rebuilding this program!

(In fairness, Rocky Mountain Tiger won the "Quin Snyder is gone" race by 2 minutes, but I folded his information into this post. In fact, all major contributors managed to weigh in within 10 minutes of the announcment... which is somewhat crazy.)

And just to clarify...
While TigerFan and Rocky Mountain Tiger are good people and wish Quin Snyder well, Born-a-Tiger would like it to be known that he doesn't wish Quin well. In fact, Born-a-Tiger would like it to be known that he hopes Quin is sucked into a black hole, much like he has sucked the MU basketball program into a black hole.

Yes, he realizes he's a bitter, evil person, but he's OK with that. I hope you are too...

Horton out?? Hooray!!

So a release on MU Tigers declares Jason Horton questionable for Sunday's "All-Century" debacle against Kansas State. The release indicates Horton "is listed as questionable for Sunday's (Feb. 12) All-Century Game against Kansas State after fracturing a finger during Tuesday's men's basketball game at Baylor." It goes on to state the injury is on his right hand and was suffered early in the game...

Some explanation... Here's my interpretation

"Missouri guard Jason Horton is questionable for Sunday's game against Kansas State because of he-sucks-itis, a not-so commonly seen sister ailment of pussy-itis. Horton's playing time will be determined based on how well he continues to kiss the ass of coach Popcorn Head, whose greasy head is on the popping block. Future and more adamant statements of support for the lame-duck Popcorn Head will be rewarded with more playing time."

Or a third...
"Missouri guard Jason Horton is questionable for Sunday's game against Kansas State after coach Popcorn Head fractured Horton's finger. Popcorn said the finger was broken because of Horton's repeated refusal to play hard. This is the first sign of Popcorn attempting to bring discipline to the Tigers' roster."

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Weekly Report

By Tiger Fan

Tiger notes…

-I would comment on the men’s basketball team, but this site exists to discuss Division I athletics and I’m not sure the Tigers qualify. The only remaining question is whether I should wear a paper bag or a popcorn bucket over my head when I attend the last home game of the Quin Snyder era next month.

-College baseball season is here, but it didn’t start exactly how the Tigers had hoped. Mizzou lost its opener against Eastern Tennessee State on Thursday 3-2. But fear not Tiger fans, we’re not alone. No. 1 Texas started the season 0-3 after being swept by San Diego. The worse news for the Tigers is the condition of ace Max Scherzer. He was scheduled to start in the opener until he slammed his pitching hand in a car door Tuesday night. The injury to his middle finger is apparently not serious, but he could be out for at least two weeks. The real question at this point is why someone as good as Scherzer even has to open his own doors. I’m sure this will come to an end soon if there’s any truth to the rumors that he is planning to sign with Scott Boras.

-LaToya Bond was named the Big XII Player of the Week for the second time this season after averaging 25.5 points in a two-game span that kept the Tigers tied for second in the conference.

-The Missouri wrestling team upset No. 10 Oklahoma on Sunday, earning its first win in Big XII action. In the victory, No. 1-ranked Ben Askren became the fastest Tiger wrestler to reached 100 career wins. It was Askren’s 34th straight victory.

-The season is underway for the men’s golf team, but they haven’t fared as well as some of the other non-revenue sports. In their first tournament in Ponte Vendra, Fla., the Tigers finished 11th with UCLA winning the overall title. The highest finisher for Mizzou was senior Chris Mabry, who tied for 19th. The good news? The Tiger golfers got to spend the first weekend in February in Florida.

-As you may know, this is the 100th Anniversary of Mizzou basketball. As part of the centennial celebration, Mizzou will unveil its All-Century team on Sunday as the Tigers take on K-State. Clearly, it makes sense to celebrate this but here are the issues I have about Sunday’s “event”:

1. First of all, the press release begins with this phrase: “It's a game that not only appeals to the senses (after all, Missouri is playing rival Kansas State), but tugs at the emotions as well.” Let’s break this down. How does a game between two mediocre teams -- one of whom has been pummeled in six straight games (Hint: that's us) -- “appeal to the senses”? (Answer: It doesn’t) Since when is Kansas State a rival on the basketball court? (Answer: Never) And finally, the only emotion that will surface on Sunday is anger when Tigers fans see former stars like Sundvold, Stiponavich and Peeler and remember that we used to be good.

2. Why is this being held against KSU? Nothing against the Wildcats, but you either do this against kU or you do it for the last home game of the season. What genius in the athletic department looked at the schedule and thought, “Hey, let’s schedule this big event for the third-to-last home game of the season against a mediocre opponent that will still probably beat us?”

3. The fact that this was poor timing is obvious in the press release. Tickets for Sunday’s “big game” are still on sale for as little as $10. Are you kidding me? 10 freakin’ dollars! Why don’t they just beg people to come? Can you tell they are worried about having a half-empty stadium for the All-Century celebration? I can… and they should be. Happy anniversary, Tigers.

Quick-hit non-Mizzou thoughts…
If you go back and check my Super Bowl predictions, you’ll find that I went 8 for 10. Not bad at all… I find it fascinating that after years of avoiding the international spotlight, a set of cartoons has made Denmark the focal point of an international incident. Yes, cartoons people. CARTOONS. It’s my understanding that Islam is upset about the cartoons because Muhammed is not supposed depicted, but I think they need to lighten up a bit. Other religions (i.e. Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, etc.) are made fun of all the time. A joke is a joke. Ever hear the one about a priest, a rabbi and Angelina Jolie? Okay, I made that up, but you get the point. Should America’s Catholic population riot every time Jay Leno cracks a pedophile joke? Should Jewish people have declared war on FOX after Family Guy’s “When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" episode? The Muslims of the world have a right to be angry. They have a right to complain. They have a right to protest peacefully. But they don’t have the right to kill innocent people because of a cartoon… I shall now descend from the soapbox… I’m not quite ready to join my friend Scott and ESPN columnist Bill Simmons as the world’s only remaining NBA fans, but I have to say that the star power of players like Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant is starting to pull me in. Maybe the league now has 2.5 fans. In any event, I’m by no means an expert, but here are my midseason playoff picks (in order): In the East I’ll take Detroit, Miami, Cleveland, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Indiana and Washington. In the West I’ll take San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, LA Clippers, Memphis, LA Lakers, and New Orleans/Oklahoma City… Yes, it’s true: I have started a Fantasy Olympics league with my friends from Cincinnati. For all the details, go here… I went back to the black background for this site because it seems more indicative of the mood currently surrounding the MU basketball program…

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Game Diary, MU vs. Baylor (sort of)

Sure, Missouri has lost five straight games by double digits... but Baylor's good for what ails you, right? Right?

19:09: First basket of the game: Baylor’s Aaron Bruce makes a nice pass inside for a layup. Kevin Young stupidly fouls the Baylor player, but not hard enough to make him miss the shot. Great start.

18:37: Wow. Rare James Doulgas citing; he grabs an offensive foul and dishes to Gardner for a three. Amazing—maybe he CAN play. Chris Gervino makes reference to “aggressive” Missouri defense. I laugh until I cry.

17:25: Douglas promptly turns the ball over on the break. Maybe he CAN’T play. I realize that if I were Jason Horton, nothing would embarrass me more than losing playing time to James Douglas.

16:55: Another Gardner to Brown alley-oop. How does this play work so often. Missouri does it at least twice a game…

15:40: Why does Jason Horton ever shoot threes?

14:23: Jason Horton commits an obvious offensive foul trying to set a screen. What a player.

13:40: Kevin Young just hit an 8-footer… what? It still disturbs me that he’s Missouri’s second best player. That’s a great sign for the future…

12:20: Missouri has gone to a lineup featuring Douglas AND Horton. Can someone explain to me why this is happening?

10:40: Jason Horton shoots another three. He misses again. Again, why?

9:57: I get bored and decide to lay down while I do this. At least I should be comfortable.

Halftime: I wake up and realize I fell asleep. I look at the score, and its 43-21. How has Missouri surrendered 43 first-half points to a team that AVERAGES 55? I don’t know. I realize only Missouri could allow such a thing. I don’t know for sure, but if I have to guess, this would be my venture: lots of turnovers, lots of missed threes, little defense, little heart. I realize I have no interest in continuing the log. I blame Quin.

End: Final score: I can’t even post this… all I know is only Missouri can give up 90 points to a team that averages 55/game. Quin, you’ve turned this program into an embarrassment. No one out there is playing for him; he has to go. He has to go. I can’t believe this. Is this some bizarre world? So embarrassed, I can’t even describe it.

M-I-Z … F-Q-S (fire Quin Snyder).

(Yeah, I stole that from Bryan, but I don’t care)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Looking toward next year already...

By Born-a-Tiger
So as I sit here for my Super Bowl shift (it's going to be a late one, fella.) I decided that I could use my free time to discuss a subject that frighteningly is the only solace I can take in Missouri basketball: next season.

You see, there are a few positives from this season:
Positive factor No. 1: Quin finally has coached so poorly that Mike Alden can't possibly find a reason to retain his (dis)services.
Positive factor No. 2: Quin has driven enough of a wedge between himself and Thomas Gardner that T.G. wouldn't transfer if Quin leaves.

So I look to next season, when hopefully a new coach will guide the Black and Gold. I don't care if he's young or old or short or tall, etc. All I care is that he inspires his players to play hard, he teaches them and improves their games during their careers, and that he knows how to install an offense that works. Dana Altman would work. So would Mark Turgeon (at Wichita State, even though he's a kU grad.)

The sad thing is, the new coach will inherit a team incredibly decrepit at the two most important—or at least hardest to fill—positions in the game: point guard and post scorer.

Jason Horton hasn't shown anything to make me think he's capable of being a good Big 12 point guard. Unless trying to dribble the ball THROUGH the floor counts. And I don't even know where to go to talk about a post scorer. I don't think there is one to speak of.

I guess there is SOME good news: the new coach can't be worse than Quin. Gardner is a proven scorer. Brown shows flashes, and I think he'd really flourish if he was allowed to play the 3 (that would improve the rebounding significantly, too). Leo Lyons obviously is a great athlete, and he's skilled. If he can get stronger and become accustomed to the college game, he could make a big leap next season. Ty Morrison is a great juco player—and not just according to us. Keon Lawrence IS Jimmy McKinney, from the way it sounds. Hopefully the new coach can develop him.

It's thoughts like these that keep me sane and temper the bitter feelings at least enough to keep me from abandoning all hope for the basketball program.

In other news:
Rock Bridge High QB Logan Gray recently ran a 4.4 40. Hmm... 6-3 QB with great speed and a cannon arm. Sounds like a good fit in that spread offense his hometown college likes to run.

Jerramy Stevens ... way to back up your comments with good play in the Super Bowl. Oh wait. Never mind.

When you see the MU gymnastics, wrestling, swimming and diving and baseball teams all doing great, you have to wonder why Mike Alden can't hire revenue sport coaches.

I think John Madden is about 20 minutes from the rest home. The guy just yammers on... one of these days, he going to forget where he is during a broadcast.

The officiating in the NFL game was horrible, which further proves my point: Ed "I have the biggest muscles ever" Hoculi should have been the referee.

That's all I've got. It's 3:30 in the a.m.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Game recap from Tiger Fan

I was on hand Friday night as the No. 7 Mizzou gymnastics team lost a close match to No. 9 Iowa State, 196.175-195.875

On the Apparatus
-Bunny Schwartzman and Jodie Heinicka really stood out for the Tigers. Schwartzman took home event titles in the balance beam and the floor exercise while Heinicka posted the best score of the night on the uneven parallel bars.

-I don't know much about how to score gymnastics, but I don't see how Whitney Cramer doesn't win the floor exercise every time. She competes with an energy that is fun to watch and gets WAY up in the air on her tumbling runs. Like I said, I have no idea how to score these things, but I was impressed.

-Sometimes these girls make it look so easy that you forget how amazingly skilled they actually are. To me, the most impressive athletic move of the evening was made by Ashley Khederian and it happened when she made a rare mistake. When mounting the parallel bars, she missed the grab and went flying past the bars. If this happened to someone like me, I'd end up 10 feet away on my face. But Khederian managed to complete a flip in mid-air despite the miss and land on the thicker mat. Now that is athleticism.

Crazed Mizzou Fan Notes

-An impressive crowd turned out for Friday's meet with more than 1,000 spectators on hand.

-Super Fan Larry assumed his usual post next to the vault before the match and really helped get the crowd excited.

-Several student groups had made elaborate signs to support the gymnasts as part of the Adopt a Gymnast program. Very classy.

Seen and Heard in the Stands
-I got the impression that heckling is generally discouraged at these events, so I was able to keep quiet for most of the evening. Still, that didn't keep this exchange from happening quietly in the stands while ISU was on the beam, clinging to a tiny lead:

Me: Come on, fall. I'm looking for a Greg Louganis here. Come on, pull a Louganis.
My buddy 'Nidas: What's your point? Do you want her to fall and hit her head or do you want her to become a homosexual?

-Best cheer of the night goes to the MU Ultimate Frisbee team for serenading Nikki Bowman with a redition of "Hey Nikki, you're so fine, you're so fine, you blow mind my mind, hey Nikki."

-Observing some hefty members of the ISU team, my friend 'Nidas chimes in with this: "I don't think this is fair... some of those aren't girls, they look more like thoroughbreads. Seriously, look at their legs."

Irritating/pleasant Athletic Department Decisions
No irritating notes here because the AD actually seems to have this one figured out.
-The Gymnastics Fantastics is a great program because students will do most anything for a free t-shirt.
-The Adopt a Gymnast program also seems to have increased attendance.
-Throwing t-shirts into the stands is a great way to build spirit... and the key is that here (unlike basketball games) they do it BETWEEN events. 'Nidas came away with a shirt while attending his first-ever Mizzou sporting event.
-Having the team enter the arena through a cloud of golden smoke looks very cool. My only question is why we haven't gone to this for basketball or football.


Probably Being Heard Around the Water Cooler This Morning...
-"Well, at least the gymnastics team managed to lose by less than 15. They could teach the basketball team a thing or two."

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Weekly Report

By Tiger Fan

Tiger notes:
-Let's start with the good news. While most Tiger fans were matching the men lose on Wednesday, the women pulled off a remarkable win in Manhattan, Kan. After trailing by as many as 22 points in the first half, the Tigers sent the game to overtime and LaToya Bond hit a jumper with 3.6 seconds remaining to win it. The Tigers (16-4, 6-2) will now be in sole possession of second place in the Big XII when conference leader Oklahoma comes calling on Saturday. The game will be televised state-wide on the Mizzou Sports Network.

-The gymnastics team continues to have an excellent season, achieving the highest ranking in Mizzou history this week when they reached No. 7 in the poles. The Tigers take on No. 9 ISU Friday night and I will be on-hand to give a full report.

-Baseball season is only a week away. The Tigers open the season on Feb. 9 against East Tennessee State.

-Now for the bad news: The men's team is spiraling out of control. They have lost four straight games by an average of 16.3 points, scoring a mere 57 points/game in each of those contests.

-Football signing day was Wednesday and things don't look great for the Tigers. I know rankings don't really matter as much as performance on the field, but I get a little worried when I see teams like kU and Kentucky ahead of us... this isn't basketball, after all. It also concerns me that some of the best players in the state ended up at other schools. But I'll reserve judgment until the players actually take the field.

-Speaking of football, Brad Smith will be going to the NFL combine as quarterback. I wish Brad all the best, but I have to think this is a mistake. He'd be better suited for wide receiver in the NFL. Other players I think could get a look:
Tony Palmer: being a solid offensive lineman in the Big XII goes a long way
Sean Coffey: he never lived up to his potential, but his size and speed might be hard for scouts to ignore. I never thought Pinkel used him correctly and with the right coaching, he could make an NFL roster. The question will be exactly how badly he was injured in the last game of the regular season.
Marcus King: he may have turned some heads with his play in the Independence and Hula bowls.
Jason Simpson: another player who never lived up to the hype, but he could get a late-round shot

-I'd like to weigh in on all the coaching rumors that have been circulating about the basketball team:
Matt Doherty: Wouldn't this be Quin Snyder, Part II? Younger guy who can recruit, but can't coach? No thanks.
Bobby Knight: I think this is hilarious. No way this happens. Period. If he ends up coaching the Tigers, I will eat a stapler.
Bob Huggins: Is that really the best way to rehabilitate a program with image problems? I think not. The scary thing is that this rumor might actually have some teeth.
John Calipari: Again, this is crazy. He's got a good gig at Memphis. I just don't see it.
Kim Anderson: By all accounts, he is a great guy. But I'm not sure CMSU is the best place for the Tigers to go looking for a coach.
The coach of every recent NCAA Cinderella team: If I were a betting man, I'd guess the new coach will come from this group.

Quick-hit non-Mizzou thoughts:
Remember a couple weeks ago when everyone was questioning LeBron’s killer instinct and wondering if he had what it took to be a winner? Since then, the Cavs have won 7 in a row and LeBron wound up averaging 32.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.5 assists in January... I smell a war in Iran and that's not a good smell... Should we even play the rest of the NBA season? Can anyone really win four games in a seven-game series against the Pistons? I doubt it... Did anyone know it was Groundhog Day? Did anyone care? Was Bill Murray involved?... I’m all for Nate Robinson competing in the slam dunk contest, but he better not win just because he is 5’9” and can dunk. Same would be true if he was a girl. I call this the Candace Parker corollary... I find it fascinating that Alito split with the other conservatives in his first court decision. Is it just posturing?... Lindsay Lohan was injured when she fell down the stairs and cut her leg on the teacup she was carrying. I can't make this stuff up… The new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, is from my home district in Ohio. I once tried to sell band candy at his home. The voice on the intercom declined my offer... The rumors are true. My roommate Shawn did recently drop the 2-hunge in a game of NCAA '06 against kU. Yes, 200 points. It was epic. For those who are curious, EA Sports did not have Brad Nessler record "200", so he announced the postgame score as "Mizzou zero, kansas 17"...

Special Edition: Super Bowl Thoughts
-General predictions: Seattle will win the coin toss, with Hasselback declaring that he wants the ball and he’s going to score… but they won’t. I pick the Steelers to score first in this one, on a field goal… I predict that Hasselback will throw for more yards than Rothlstkhalsdkjltburger, but Pittsburgh’s D will hold Alexander under 100 yards… I predict that the commercials will be mediocre, as they have been in recent years… I pick me to hit the bathroom during the Rolling Stones performance… and I pick the Steelers to win, 24-21.

-By the way, if you have made the ill-advised decision to bet based on my uneducated predictions, that means you take Seattle plus the points, assuming the line is still at 4.

-Thanks to my buddy Keegs, I get most of my Super Bowl info here (fair warning: some strong language)

-It seems that I will never achieve my dream of playing in the Super Bowl in my hometown like Jerome Bettis. Not because I’m not a football player, but because Cincinnati is too cheap to build a dome.

-As many of you know, I grew up as a die-hard Aggie fan. That’s why you’ll be surprised by how I come down on the Texas A&M-Seattle 12th Man debate. When I first saw Seattle fans waving towels and raising a “12” flag, my first thought was that it was an A&M rip-off – and it clearly is. But A&M needs to realize imitation is the greatest form of flattery and let it go. Seattle isn’t using the trademarked “12th Man” terminology and this does nothing to tarnish A&M’s tradition. They’ve done enough of that on the field over the last few year

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Game diary, MU-UT

By Tiger Fan
I've decided to keep a game diary when watching big MU games at home on TV. Final score was UT-66, MU-53. Here's how it all went down:


8:03 p.m.: I’m still on the way home from dinner with Tiger Fannette when the games starts, so I’ll listen to the first few minutes with Gary Link and Mike Kelly

8:10: The Tigers are up 5-0 and I just passed a car playing the Andy Griffith Show on its in-car DVD player. I’m not sure which one I think is weirder.

8:15: As we head to the first commercial time out, I miss my exit coming home. Then, I am almost run off the road by a mini-van and hit a curb. Rough timeout.

8:19: Mike Kelly informs me that Governor Matt Blunt is in attendance. Alone in my car, I scream “Why aren’t you at the SMS game?”

8:23: I pull into my parking lot as Texas takes its first lead… now I can watch the game and get some witty insight from my friends.

8:26: Kevin Young just threw down a big dunk while moving. Why doesn’t this usually happen? We didn’t even know it was possible. And this just in: It seems that our friend Yellow Suit Guy has some imitators. Two knock-offs in the front row of Zou Crew.

8:35: After Kalen Grimes passes out of a post move and tries to go under the rim for a layup on consecutive possessions, my friend Scott hits the nail on the head: “Why is Kalen Grimes playing like a girl?” It's truly a sad state of affairs when your team must rely solely on Kevin Young to win.

8:46: Gardner finally scores. Now Ron Franklin can stop calling him “pointless”

8:53: Mizzou trails by 8 at the half when my friend Mike lets fly with this: “Mike Alden should be decapitated and his head should be placed on a stake at the corner of University and College as a warning to all future athletic directors. Even if they don’t fire Alden he should still be kicked in the balls for the way he pronounces Missouri. Good old Alden and Popcorn Head have dropped our b-ball program beyond recovery.” Can you feel the anger?

9:10: A quick third foul on Marshall Brown brings Glen Dandridge back in the game and leads to this exchange between me and my friend Scott:

-Tiger Fan: Why doesn’t Quin ever put Grimes in at power forward with KY at center to get some rebounds?

-Scott: Cuz that would fall under the category of "halftime adjustments" and our coaches don't make those.

9:13: With Mizzou down 13, Scott’s girlfriend Heather weighs in with this gem: “I think I’m going to try to spend the whole weekend drunk. The only way to deal with Mizzou athletics is intoxicated.”

9:18: Now down 16, Mike takes the opportunity to point out that our football team isn’t in much better shape. With the early evaluations in on Signing Day, we were out-recruited by Duke in football. I’m going to go run my knuckles across the cheese grater.

9:21: Kevin Young knocks down two straight free throws, leading to the disturbing observation that he is our second best free throw shooter. We are an injury away from Kevin Young shooting technical free throws.

9:28: With some actual basketball insight, Scott points out that our big men are offering no resistance at all. Any perimeter player who gets past the first line of defense can do whatever he wants. In the meantime, Shawn and I have switched briefly to MTV and are trying to figure out who the “famous” guy is on Cribs.

9:33: Mizzou falls behind 54-35… but as long as we can cut this to 11 with 1:30 to play, we should be fine… right kansas?

9:35: But it appears Snyder has conceded the game with Lawrence, Dandridge and Grimes all on the floor together.

9:43: With this game fully in hand for the Longhorns, we learn that things aren’t much better for the Denver Nuggets. Linas Kleiza has checked in because of foul trouble.

9:47: We come back from commercial to see that a women’s game is now being played at Mizzou Arena. Oh wait, it just looks that way because half the crowd has left during the break.

9:53: Fran Frascilla just went John Madden on us, pointing out that Mizzou isn’t winning because they haven’t made many shots. Insightful.

9:56: Ball game. Shawn points out that if we had actually won the last three games, losing to Texas by less than 20 could be a moral victory. But we didn’t. So its just another nail in the coffin for Quin… er… Coach Snyder.