Well, I do have to say I enjoyed much of the action of the games on Saturday...some good live blogging there I suppose. It was almost nice to not have a game and just enjoy the afternoon (problematic shoulder not withstanding....though enough beer will make even that pain go away).
Anyway, all of that is neither here nor there as it pertains to this column. Let's see how the week went for our Tigers, as they wind down the fall sports and crank up some of the winter action.
Yeah...um...I guess in order I will take Ttech, UT and then OU for our opponent in two weeks. Really....that's all I have to say about that. Good lord was OU just lethal. That is all I can really muster about that....just scary how good OU was in that game in all areas. Will they be that good in the rest of their games? Probably not...but I am guessing they will be decently close.
Pretty darn full week for the Tigers, with four games care of the Puerto Rico/On Campus ESPNU Tourament. I went into the...um...Roundtable I think saying that I wanted 3-1 out of the week, and that is what we got. No sense in reviewing each of the games since that would result in a LOT of paragraphs, so let's take the high-level look.
The team is sitting at 4-1 and has seen some very positive things so far. The emergence of JT Tiller as a decent offensive threat (when he is on the court). The energy (at the least) the freshman can create and add, especially on the defensive end. The ability to win a game when Matt Lawrence is not on ( or really ever in the game). Demarre Carroll is further emerging as a big scoring threat and our defense and numbers and energy seems to wear teams out around the 30 minute mark of each game.
In being pleased about the three win (including one over a currently ranked USC team), I suppose my source of frustration is that we appear to have upgraded our talent level, and yet continue to make some of the same mistakes which have plagued our won-loss record in the past couple of years. With the 3-1 showing and a win over a ranked team, the expectations of this team will rise. They can meet those by minimizing some of those mistakes (FT shooting, better understanding of game situations) and if Denmon and/or English can get their shot going, since neither one really had anything going in PR.
The team "should" not be tested in coming weeks, as they will be of now until next Sunday against Oral Roberts. After that, they will have another easy game against Ark-PNE Bluff before getting Cal at home in early December. Not many will remember the Cal game last year as it started right after the Big XII Champ game ended, but we looked decent and kind of gave that one away. A win there and a win against Illinois later this OOC will go a LONG way towards putting this team on the path they NEED to be on.
Ugh...what a long and ugly year this might be for the Tigers. I already chronicled how earlier in the week in the MU/Illinois game, Alyssa Hollns was our leading scorer even though she went an amazing 4-22 from the field, and 1-15 from 2 point range. She followed up that effort on Saturday by going 1-11 from the field, and 0-6 from 3 point range against Western Illinois. Fortunately for the Tigers, forward Jessra Johnson went for 22 and 12 and the Tigers scored the game's final 10 points to squeeze out a 61-54 win.
On the afternoon, the ladies shot 33 percent from the floor and only 47 percent from the FT line. They did win the margin on the boards by 12 (with 18 more offensive boards) and only turned it over 9 times to help them in their efforts. This does make the team 1-2 as they head into another Big 10 matchup, this time against Indiana at home on Tuesday night. The ladies will then head east a bit for weekend games against Holy Cross and then ANOTHER Big 10 opponent in the home team of Northwestern in the Mildred and Roger White Invitational.
More on the team's nice win over Hofstra can be read here in the Wrestling Wrap-Up. The rest of the weekend was spent at the Missouri Open, which I will say in looking at the lineups of participants is not the tournament it once was. It is just mostly local colleges with a couple of big names. For the Tigers, Nick Marable and Andrew Sherry did not participate in their weight classes. Finishing highly on the day for the "varisty" team was Troy Dolan in 4th at 125, Todd Schavrien in 3rd and 133, Marcus Hoehn in 3rd at 141. Mike Chandler was spotless on the day at 157, as was Raymond Jordan at 174 and Mark Ellis at HWY (Bradley finished 3rd). Max Askren made the finals at 197 and was slated to meet Fagiano of Hofstra again but decided to foreit out instead. I am hoping he was not injured in his previous match.
In the Freshman/Sophomore side, Nathan McCormick beat Tyler Crane in an all-Mizzou final at 133. My guy Nick Hucke won at 141 in impressive fashion, with Cody Farinella taking 3rd place. Nick Gregoris stormed through the bracket at 157 for the title, and Todd Porter took 3rd at 165. Brent Haynes was impressive in winning at 184 for the Tigers.
Oh...what could have been this week for the Tigers. Sooooooooo close.
The team started the week on the road in Manhatten Hearnes against the highly ranked Wildcats. The Tigers got out early and won two of the first three sets, with a huge 25-12 win in the third. The team could not close them out in the 4th, and went on to lose the 5th 15-12 and the match 3-2. Lei Wang had 43 assists (not a wonderful number for a 5-setter) and Julianna Klein led the way with 20 kills on.275 hitting. Amanda Hantouli and Megan Wilson added 12 and 11 kills respectivly, while in the back it was Caitlyn Vann leading the way with 22 digs. This was a VERY close match statiscally, and one the Tigers probably should have won.
This past weekend, the team headed out for their final road trip of the season...on down to Baylor. The team once again found a hot start and won the first two sets by the scores of 22 and 19. However, they could not finish the Bears off, especially in the 4th where they were tied at 22, but lost 25-23. This brought them to the 5th set where the Tigers would once again lose 15-12 and once again lose the match 3-2. Wang collected another 42 assists (as compared to 62 from her counterpart). Baylor had 16 more digs than the Tigers, helping give them19 more attacks and 21 more kills than MU. Julianna Klein once again led the way with 14 kills, while Hantouli (.347) had 11 and Nuckolls and Wilson had 10 each. Vann collected another 20 digs, and Lei Wang had 15 herself.
On the season, the team now sits at 13-15 overall and 7-11 in conference. Reverse these two games this week with two more home games and we might have been able to talk about the Tigers and the NCAA, but alas, it is not to be. The squad will finish their season this week with a Wednesday battle with UT, and then a quick turnaround and the finale on Friday against aTm.
Upcoming this week:
Pretty light week obviously with the holiday. Garrett Jeffries will particpate in the NCAA Cross Country Championships later this morning, while just the hoops teams, volleyball team, wrestling team and of course football at the end of the week seeing action.
- The Jets...wow...I guess, first off credit, to The Sports Guy I believe for pegging this one. Great effort from Leon Washington, workmanlike effort from Thomas Jones and good game management from Favre. The rest of their schedule is pretty light when compared to their last two games, and sitting now at 8-3 means it will be a dog fight to the end with the Pats for division supremacy.
- High scores this week in the NFL, with 7 winners in the early games alone scoring 30 points or more (and one loser).
- I am not going to lie...I have become somewhat consumed with the ESPN Streak contest. If you are not aware, you need to pick 25 straight wins to get one million dollars. One loss, and you start over. Yesterday, there were two people at 23 straight wins, with one at 24. The one with 24 and one with 23 picked a ROAD PANTHER TEAM for their pick...now...they were under no pressure to HAVE to pick anyone at any time. So...to rest that sort of streak on that game...wow...gutsy. More on what I am talking about can be found here.
- Three good wins by the Devils during the week as they continue to get by with Kevin Weekes in net. Zach Parise with 13 goals and 11 assists through the start of the year continues to improve and become a top scorer in the league.
- And I will say this...while I would LOVE to have Marty B. back in net...he never did much with his goalie mask. His replacements (Kevin Weekes and especially Scott Clemmensen) do a nice job of exploring the Devil on their masks.
- I would like to thank the Chicago Bears for pretty much running the ball the entire 2nd half as a means of speeding up their win over the Rams. Being that it was the only game I had early...I do appreciate their effort (even if the Rams effort or lack there of was entirely predictable).
- Every time I think the state of professional football in Missouri cannot get any worse...it does. Credit to the Chiefs for putting some points on the board with their youngsters.
- I will agree that the movement to "protect" the QB in the NFL has reached a stupid level. Saw a "hit" by a Raider on Jay Cutler where he was running full speed until Cutler threw it...then slowed as much as possible and put his hands up the air and bumped Cutler down to the ground...and was called for roughing.
- I am (hoping and) glad that Joe Paterno appeared to put an end to the retirement talks with his post-game statement following their thumping of MSU. The time will come for the man to leave, but I just do not think it is here yet, and I am very optimistic the hip surgery will refresh him and get him back on the sidelines.
- LOVE seeing there has been a game for the Tigers scheduled in Busch Stadium this coming season.
- So NBC decided not to renew Scrubs...but ABC picked it up...cannot say I mind.
- And...wow..I really cannot believe Bill Snyder is coming back to kSU (supposedly). I really do hope this does not end up poorly for him, but given the mess left by Prince (and honestly, somewhat off of the mess Snyder left before that), I just do not see this working out well for either Snyder or kSU.