Sunday, January 14, 2007

Please remain calm...

By Tiger Fan

Ladies and gentlemen of Tiger nation, I implore you: Take a deep breath and calm down. I'm well aware that we have started 0-3 in conference play. I'm aware that ISU and KSU are not good teams. I'm aware that this may be a long season. But didn't we already know this was going to be a long season? How quickly we forget...

Cruising Tigerboard, I'm reading that Hannah (our best player, mind you) should be benched. Anderson (who has coached 16 games) should be fired. His system (which is being run by a very average team) will never work. It's a ridiculous reaction to a few tough games.

Let's a take a step back. The only reason we have these expectations for Anderson is that he came in and started off 9-0. No one expected that, but as soon as it happened, many Tiger fans somehow shifted their expectations from "first-year coach in a rebuilding year" to "conference contender." If you look at this objectively, we have one of the worst teams in the Big XII from a talent perspective. We finished 11th last year, and we lost our top two scorers and only legit big man from that team. Now, we have six new players on the roster and everyone is learning a new system. We have no inside presence. Our best player is in his first D-I season. Our best pure shooter (Matt Lawrence) can't create his own shots.

If anything, Anderson should be lauded for getting to 11-5 with this team. People are all worked up about the five losses, but three of those five games could have gone either way. Illinois came down to the final shot. ISU needed some questionable officiating and a lucky tip-in to win. KSU won by 4 despite shooting 43 free throws. If a few bounces had gone our way, this team could be 14-2, with Tiger fans declaring CMA coach of the century. I'm not trying to make excuses for this team... the losses to Purdue and Texas were ugly, and ISU and KSU should have been wins. But I can promise you this: With this talent, Quin would have lost all these games and probably would have lost to Arkansas, Davidson and at least one other patsy.

The point is, everyone needs to calm down. Before the season started, we all knew it would be a tough year. Then these guys got off to a hot start and everyone determined that Anderson was the second coming. Now Missouri fans have expectations that are impossible to meet with the talent we have.

I also have some bad news: It's not likely to get much better this season. We will get killed on Monday in Lawrence. We may only win 4 or 5 games in conference. We probably won't make either postseason tournament. But you all knew that was likely when the year started... you just got caught up in the hype and wanted to believe Anderson could work miracles. CMA is good, but he's not that good. We're heading in the right direction, but it's going to take time. So everyone needs to take a deep breath and relax. Things will get better eventually.