Monday Musings

Could be a long one today...lots of sports out there which are starting and also some which have not yet ended.  Not a bad weekend all in all for Mizzou, at least not from what I remember in checking out things randomly through the weekend.  One of the great things about doing this from week to week is that it forces me to pay attention...and you all reap the benefit by reading my moments of learning.

Football

I had a thought creep into my head right about the time I was getting ready to walk into the game on Saturday.  Any other game this season in conference would have raised some level of concern.  Even if I had a good amount of confidence in the weekend, I still gave the thought of us losing some time in my head.  Before the game this weekend, the thought of us losing never entered my mind....until I was walking in.  And then I thought, "You know...THIS is probably the game where Mizzou pulls an "us" and does not get the win."  And then, "eh...that won't happen."

Well, aTm held us on the first series, and got a little confidence.  And then a WR broke up on a 60 yard pass play, and they got a little more.  Then we tipped a ball right to a guy who broke one for about 50 more yards, and then they got a little more on top of that.  And then the third quarter happened, and THAT was the way aTm should have been playing all season long.  If I was an aTm, I would have fired Fran on the spot after the game for showing them how it should have happened and then getting away from it.  In the end, and more important to us, Mizzou showed some more mettle (people forget we showed it against Illinois and Ole Miss way back when) and did what they needed to do.

Chase Daniel was great, though it did not look like it, but given how everyone else in the country has been (save for Tim Tebow) he keeps taking steps towards the invite in NYC.  One big thing would be if Tony Temple is about to regain his end of the season form for which propelled him to pre-season honors for this year.  Certainly looks like he made a step towards that, as did Jimmy Jackson, for he seems destined to salt away the short-yardage and 10 TD's a year roll.  Jeremy Maclin showed why he is going to be quite the talk of the country in 2009, and Chase Coffman showed why he is going to put the receiving TD record out of reach for awhile.  The defense was there when it needed to be, but the secondary will need to step back up in coming weeks, as they did not look strong against a not-strong passing team.

K-State lost by 40 or something...guess I should probably start thinking about us losing now before we get all the way to Saturday morning and I need to drink myself off that ledge :-)

Volleyball:

Mizzou did what they needed to do Saturday night in sweeping Texas Tech to get back to sole possession of 6th place in the Big XII.  Sophomore Amanda Hantouli had probably the best night of her career with 16 kills on ZERO errors.  Na Yang added 17 kills and Mizzou hit as a tem .338 on the night (that is very good for those not volleyball-inclined).  Mizzou beat up on a 1-conference win Tech team to move to 15-10 overall and move into a VERY important week.

On Wednesday night, they will take on the Cyclones who sit at 9-7 overall.  It will be "wear gold" night on Wednesday night at the Hearnes Center, and tickets for the event will be only one dollar.  Getting past that game, Mizzou will head down to aTm for the weekend against the currently 7-9 Aggies.  Winning both games is of the utmost importance for Mizzou's NCAA hopes.  We will know more about those hopes, and whether or not Mizzou will really NEED to beat a very good OU team on the road next week when we check back in.

Soccer:

Mizzou headed down to the Big XII Tournament in San Antonio as the 4th seed, taking on 5th seed Texas Tech on Wednesday.  A strange and probably tell-tale game, as Mizzou got out to a nice 3-1 lead with about 7 minutes to go in the game, and then gave it right back.  Headed into the 2nd OT, Mizzou got the game winner from Kristen Andrighetto, her 2nd of the game, and team-leading 14th on the season.  That bought them a semifinal game against #2 seed and #2 nationally ranked Texas A&M on Friday, and Mizzou jumped out to a lead 15 minuets in with a goal from Alysha Bonnick.  However, that was the last the Tigers would score on the regular season, and aTm pulled away for an easy 4-1 win.  They would go on to lose the championship game to Texas 2-1, and now all these teams will wait to get the call from the NCAA later tonight (7pm central on ESPNews)

Wrestling:

More on the Wrestling team to come tomorrow....STAY TUNED!!!  (Cop out, yes I know, but I plan to have something written up for them either today or tomorrow as I hope to go match by match writing up recaps since Wrestling is one sport I believe I know more about than any other contributor here at the Nation)

Men's Golf:

The fall season came to an end for the Men last week down in Florida as they took 7th place at the Wolverine Invitational in Howey-In-The-Hills, Florida....yeah....you would have thought the Wolverine Invitational was going to be in Ann Arbor, and I have NO CLUE where that city in Florida is.  Ironically, someone from Michigan took the tournament, as well as the team tournament, so I guess the name was fitting.

For Mizzou, junior Peter Malnati carded a nice set of rounds and took home 16th place, with the highlight being a final round 72.  Freshman William Harrold took 2nd for Mizzou, which was good enough for 29th on the tourney.   Two juniors and a sophomore were the other three place-takers for Mizzou, who will now take the winter off before coming back to links in the North Texas Classic, which is somehow played in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, which is neither Texas nor is it in Texas.  Men's golf....funny sport.

X-Country:

The season came to a close for all but one of the men's and women's harriers this past weekend, as both teams placed 8th in the NCAA Midwest Regionals this past weekend in Illinois.  On the ladies' side, senior Kate Greer took home 1st place for the Tigers, taking 27th in the race in her career-best race.  Freshman Farren Kinsey continued to impress and give the Tigers good hope for the future as she took home 38th with a race just 6 seconds off of her personal best.  The Tigers also got nice finishes from junior Ellen Ries and sophomore Emily Baker, showing well and beginning to build for the future.  For the men, sophomore Dan Hedgecock will run one more race this season, as an at-large berth winner in the NCAA Championships next Monday in Terre Haute, IN.  Hedgecock paced the men with a 13th place finish, matching former Tiger Tim Ross's accomplishment from last year.  The Mizzou men also showed why the future is bright, as the remaining runners to place in the top 5 were two juniors, a freshman and a red-shirt freshman.  Congrats on a great season and best of luck to Dan Hedgecock next week.

Men's Basketball:

The 102nd season of Men's basketball will kick off tonight as Mizzou takes on Central Michigan in the 1st round of the CBE Classic.  But before that, Mizzou finished up their exhibition season against another in-state foe, this time taking down MO West 113-55.  The Tigers came out firing in the 1st half and used their pressure defense to force MWST into about 63 first-half turnovers.  No one played more than 25 minutes in the game, and Keon Lawrence made the most of that time with 15/9/9.  Demarre Carroll also made good use of his time with a perfect evening from the field in only 22 minutes.

This team will once again be fun to watch, as their energy and effort continue to rise.  They will need for it to, as rebounding will continue to be an area where they will likely give up extra possessions, so steals and TO's will be important for them to generate to keep the lines balanced.  Once again, I will leave the in-depth stuff to our resident basketball expert, and for The Boy as well, as I believe he plans to be in attendance for both regional games this week (Monday and Tuesday).

Women's Basketball:

Mizzou kicked off their season after just one exhibition game against Pitt St. (a win) with a win over Murray State this past weekend 74-63.  The names you need to get to know will be freshman Shakara Jones, who will play power forward in Mizzou's three-forward set, and Jessra Johnson, a sophomore forward who can go inside (8 rebounds) and outside (can knock down a 3 pointer).  The two for the game combined to score 48 points on 20-27 shooting and 22 rebounds (14 of those to Jones who went 27 and 14 in her first Mizzou game ever.)  For the team, only one senior logged any minutes (Nicole Wilson who played 2 minutes).  The starting lineup only features one junior, Alyssa Hollins, a guard who had a tough shooting night going 2-13.

Not much is thought of the team from the Big XII, as they are predicted to finish towards the bottom of the conference.  In year's past, Coach Stein has been able to parlay this into bigger finishes and even NCAA berths, but given the EXTREME youth on this team, I believe such a goal this year would be a stretch.  It will be interesting to track the growth and maturation of the team with 3 starting sophomores and the highly touted freshman in Jones.  Their next game will be at home Thursday night against Eastern Illinois, game time 6:30 p.m.

Random Thoughts:
*    My Jets helped themselves out by NOT playing yesterday...keeping pace and the Rams tied them with their strange win over the Saints.  Miami is still in the driver's seat though, could they be the team to be 16-0 and 0-16?
*    Green Bay....I just don't get it, but they are damn near in the playoffs already
*    Best weather for an entire season of Mizzou football ever...Saturday clinched it.  Probably means it will rain for the bowl game though :-)
*    Kudos to the AD and all involved for working to get that crowd in Faurot on Saturday.  Most Mizzou fans to see a game in probably 25 years.

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