Special SUNDAY Musings (and POLL!!)

So, I am out of town starting tomorrow, so getting to these would have been impossible from the road.  And so while watching the Mizzou Hoops game, I will throw these together.  I "think" it was a pretty slow week for Mizzou with the holiday, I guess we shall soon find out. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a special edition of the Musings.  And as always, please treat this as an open thread and tell me how and where I am dumb, and please check out the poll (assuming I was able to create it correctly :-)

Football:

Not much left to be said about the effort Mizzou put up last night in Kansas City.  I thought early on it was simply going to be a case of the first team to pull their own head out of their own rear and get back to playing their game, and Mizzou did it first and best.  I was shocked at how kU could not run the ball against us.  And my angst against the polls notwithstanding, today is some sort of special day for all Tiger fans.

By the way, if you want to see how close I came to nailing this one, check this out here:

So...on to this coming week.  If you recall, I did not see one minute of the OU game since I was out east that weekend.  And nothing could display that fact in that while watching Game Day this past weekend, I finally realized we were wearing black pants for that game.  Much has been said about cleaning up the penalties (though I think the officiating is in DIRE need of being cleaned up...John Bible has been KILLING us this season) and the secondary (wow did Justin Garrett have a bad 4 quarters last night), our run defense will need to be stout again vs. OU, as even with losing one of their top RB's, they still ran up and down the field with the #2 and #3 guy vs. OSU.  Keep the no turnovers and lessen the penalties and extra chances and I think we have a great shot, though I will be VERY curious to see where the line starts and ends on this one.

Volleyball:

A split week for the ladies likely spells an end to the season for Mizzou, as they fell at OU earlier in the week in straight games, but came back on Senior Day and the regular season finale, crushing the CU Buffs in three.  Seniors Na Yang and Tatum Ailes went out in style, each notching double-digits digs in the game, and Yang added double-digit kills.  Frosh "Wendy" Wang had nothing short of an amazing afternoon, taking 19 kills with ZERO errors on 27 attempts, which gives her a hitting percentage of over. .700  Mizzou finishes regular season play at 10-10 in conference and 17-12 overall.  Unfortunately, some early season matches which saw Mizzou blow a lead to lose in 5 will likely come back to haunt the team as they learn their fate this evening on ESPNU at 7:00 p.m. (will post updates as we get them)

For next season, Mizzou will have to replace Yang and Ailes, along with part-time setter Luiza Jarocka who served to spell Lei Wang during the season and at times allow us to take advantage of her athleticism.  I see Caitlyn Vann moving over to the Libero position, which means we will need one of four Defensive Specialists to step up.  As for Yang, Julianna Klein should return to take off some of the sting there, as well as the rest of the squad who moved around to cover Klein's knee injury this past season.  I would hate to see the run of consecutive NCAA berths end, but Mizzou should look to return stronger next season with what will be a team with juniors and sophomores.

Men's Cross Country:

A quick finish to the season as Dan Hedgecock finished 125th at the NCAA X-Country Meet last week.  The sophomore outplaced former Tiger Tim Ross who finished 126th last season, while Matt Noonan still holds the best finish of late with a 90th place finish in 2005.  With a sophomore making the NCAA's, clearly the future is bright for Mizzou in not only cross country, but certainly in the distance routes for indoor and outdoor track.  Congrats to Dan on a great season!

Women's Basketball:

Well...a split out of their trip to Boca Raton, FL for the ladies...and the win came in very exciting fashion, as Alyssa Hollings hit a 3 pointer with 2 seconds left to get Mizzou a 75-73 win over Robert Morris.  Jessra Johnson and Hollings each had 20+ points for Mizzou in the win.  The previous game for the Tigers showed a loss to Samford by double digits....65-49.  Bench player Amanda Hanneman was 4-6 from 3 point range on her way to a team leading 16 points.  This was an interesting stat when you see that she outscored four Mizzou starters 16-12 (all told, the starters combined for 23 with Alyssa Hollings 11 before she fouled out).  Mizzou now sits at 2-2 on the season.

This coming week, the ladies will return home for a border showdown against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Wednesday night.  Mizzou will also take on Texas State at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday at home, and then host their annual Tiger Classic the following weekend.  As we have talked about, Mizzou is an extremely young team with some potentially promising talent, but it will be interesting to see if Coach Stein can survive the season or not given the early returns.

Men's Basketball:

I decided to wait until the end of the game to start typing this, which was just long enough to see Nick Berardini (and I always pronounced it Be-ran-dini, so my apologies to him and his family :-) splash home the closing 3 pointer.  Today's win against Western Illinois showed another tremendous first half for the Tigers, with Demarre Carroll netting a double-double.  Continuing his efficiency, Carroll netter 20 and 12 for the game in only 22 minutes of play (including a sub-par 3-9 from the FT line).  Stefhon Hannah led the team with 21 points (on a team-high 26 minutes) and Keon Lawrence also had 10 for the Tigers.  Earlier in the week (and has been discussed already), Mizzou did well to come out of KC with a split, losing a tough one to Michigan State and playing better against Maryland and pulling away at the end.

The competition takes a step up from Western Illinois this week, with road games Wednesday night down at Arkansas (RV) and Cal (NR).   Mizzou will have a home game against Purdue after that before 2 easier games leading up to the Braggin Rights game.  Needless to say, a tough and important stretch for this team for their hopes of making the NCAA tourney, but I do like what I see from the team to this point.  FT shooting has been solid (Carroll aside) and Matt Lawrence "seems" to be coming out of his funk, even hitting a 3 pointer today coming around a curl rather than spotting up off a pass.  The energy has been good and I like their chances.  However, Arkansas is receiving some votes and that will be a tough place to play for Mizzou to start the week.

Random Thoughts:

*    I always start with a ton of these throughout the week and then forget them as the week goes on...so who knows what sort of pearls you all will miss out on this week.
*    WOW there was some hitting going on in the Arizona State/USC and Boise State/Hawaii games.  I don't know how Rudy Carpenter is still alive to be honest.
*    You think the NFL is going to rethink their strategy this week a bit after most of the country will not be able to see the Dallas/Green Bay game?
*    Just got done talking to a buddy of mine who was at the game last night.  Does Mizzou keep kU on the schedule in KC after next year?  My thought is that they CAN, but would have to give up big time home games in the OOC, and here is why.  With only 3 home conference games per season, and the Illinois game in STL for the foreseeable future, Mizzou HAS to have six home games per season.  The only way to do that is to have 3 home OOC games per season....but if you cannot ever go on the road, then you cannot ever get a big-name team (unless you have a 1-shot schedule filler or something for someone).  So Mizzou fans...what is more important to you?  For me...I would rather have kU in Como with better home games since I am always going to go to home games, but will not likely make it to KC often.  And just in case you were wondering, the earliest we could likely revisit this would be 2011, as we have no OOC road game scheduled (but we do have a return game to Wyoming in 2012 which we would likely need to buy out to make this game happen again)
*    I am rooting for Washington, Tennessee, Boston College and Arizona State this weekend, just to cover our ass and hopefully keep us in the BCS in case we lose to OU this weekend :-)
*    Damn you Rams for blowing your lead and keeping pace with my Jets.
*    New England won the AFC East before playing their 11th game....WOW.
*    I am not one to make excuses for attendance, but holy crap was there a perfect storm against the basketball team today.  Game of the Century last night, KC home game, STL home game, students still on break.  However, 4665 (and that was being nice by how it looked on TV) is still just pathetic for this team.
*    Congrats to Justin Gage on his new-found home and place with the Titans.  He is putting up some good numbers out there in case you had not noticed.

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