Monday Musings - The Let's Talk About Basketball Edition

Alright...probably another short version of the Musings coming since I was gone (again) all weekend...spending Saturday in KC for the football game and Sunday in Como for the hoops game.  Thoughts on both are coming, along with swimming and women's basketball updates.  I probably have some random thoughts in there as well, but likely some quick ones, plus...a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!  This rock and roll lifestyle I lead is just too taxing on the little blogging I do :-)

Football:

I cannot imagine there is anything I am going to offer which has not already been offered in the two threads and 250+ comments which are floating around on this site.  I guess so we all know where I am coming from, I do not feel GP needs to make a significant change in his defensive coaching staff, but I am sure we will see the same off-season tweaking which has happened every season and resulted in the continued growth of this team and program.  However, I guess I feel obligated to point out that while one particular defensive coordinator is getting crushed by most for his defensive scheming, another defensive coach has not really been mentioned.  And while I hate to call out anyone on here, I think some of the "blame" does need to fall on Cornell Ford and his secondary.  Banged up?  Certainly.  But, there have still been some pretty glaring errors back there in the last two weeks which should not happen, and have probably made the "scheme" look worse than it probably was.

Anyway, as I said here last year....any bowl in Texas is a good one.  I have seen Northwestern play a little bit this year, and while they certainly were fortunate to get a decent schedule from the Big 10 (no Penn State and got Minnesota as they were starting their tank), they have a solid team.  Their QB I think you will find is very similar to Nevada's QB, who CAN throw, but DOES run.  I think their head coach (Fitzgerald) has done a really nice job there and is defenive coach too, so I think they will have something for us.  However, in the end, I think we have more athletes and will come out on top.  Will be interesting to see what Vegas thinks about this once the spreads start coming out.

And as a late addition to this piece...MU fans should not shoulder the blame for this game in KC not selling out.  There were a TON of seats not sold on both "sides" of the stadium.  Us beating kU would not have sold all those seats, and I was actually a little surprised more OU fans were not at the game.

Men's Hoops:

The men won their two games this week by an average score of 35 and a half points.  Not always a surprise when it comes to out of conference season, but when you mix in a BCS team, it makes it all the more impressive.  I watched most of the Ark P-B game and the thing I will take away from that was the look on Coach Anderson's face when his son threw that dumb-ass attempted alley-oop off the backboard with time winding down.  His quote about it being a good thing his (junior's) mother was his (senior's) wife was pretty priceless.  Oh yeah...that and Sutton bombing those three's to finish the game.

As for yesterday, this was the first chance I have had to see the men play in person.  We played a VERY solid first 12 mintues of the game...then pretty much took the next 8 off and allowed Cal to get some confidence and get (somewhat) back into the game.  Nice to see us coming firing back out after the half.  The only time I got really frustrated yesterday was after we were killing Cal early in the paint with Carroll and Lyons that we started chucking threes (which allowed Cal to get back into it).  But...we got back to what was working and made quick work of our 2nd Pac 10 win.

Was impressed by Safford...on the defensive end.  If he can keep his head in the game, he really is a pretty solid on-ball defender and was doing well at forcing jump shots (misses) from his counterpart.  English and Denmon certainly can fill it up, and EVERYONE looked good from the FT line.  And while I do conceed that both Lyons and Carroll have range to 18...I would still like to see them work a little more to the block, especially when everything we got into the paint either was a bucket or a foul (which became pretty much a bucket when hitting 85 percent of the FT"s)

Easy week this week, as the only game will be a home match-up against Murray State, and that is not even until Saturday.  Paltry crowd yesterday (especially since both Missouri football teams were playing later, and both were on the road) and that really needs to start getting better at some point.  But...the team now has two easy one's before what is slowly becoming a suddenly nationally relevant game against Illinois.  And right now, this team and program needs all the excitement it can get.

Women's Hoops:

Just one game this week for the Fighting Stein's...a 70-50 win back on Wednesday against Toledo.  Sophomore Shakara Jones had 15 (on 6-11) and senior Alyssa Hollins had 15 (on three more shots).  The Tigers shot a decent 45.5% from the field, and a very solid 6-7 from the FT line.  They never trailed in the game and were up by 14 after only 5 minutes.  They managed the game well, extending the lead to 25 but never less than 17 in the second quarter for the easy win.

The ladies now sit at 3-4 and have won two straight games.  Their next contest will be at home this week on  Tuesday against Bradley at 6:30 p.m. on your local MSN affiliate, and then a Sunday contest against Tenn-Martin.  Win two more and the happy side of .500 awaits :-)

Men's and Women's Swimming:

MJ (and I guess more specifically Spike Lee) used to say, "it's gotta be the shoes".  Well...for the Tigers...it's gotta be the pool.  They hosted the first Mizzou Invite this weekend and set 48 new top-10 times, and broke a whopping seven team records over the course of the weekend.  In the process, the men took first, defeating a solid Iowa team along with some local schools (SMS, Rolla, etc..).  The women also defeated Iowa along with Drury and SIU (Ark and kU sent a few swimmers).

For the women, Lori Halvorson littered the record book with her name over the weekend, with FOUR record-setting performances.  She broke her own record in the 100 free in the prelims (but did not improve on it actually in the finals).  She brok the record in the 200 free and the 200 IM, while also being a part of the 400 free relay team.  Kendra Melnychuk won the 10-meter platform competition (the first time a Mizzou diver has earned the honor this season) in record setting fashion.

For the men, breaking pool records was the 400 free relay which is comprised of two seniors and two sophomores.  RS Sophomore Cameron Sellers (a member of the 400 free team) set another school record in the 200 free as well.  Both teams are done competing for the calendar year and will get back in the pool on Jan 10 when both take on Kentucky and the women will also swim against Arkansas.

BIG Annoucement:

THE RETURN OF THE ROCKMNATION BOWL PICK 'EM CHALLENGE IS HERE!!  For those of you new to the site, you can see the final standings from last year by clicking here.  Basically...later this week I will present all bowl games with the spread and over/under.  Your job will be to pick the winner (against the spread) and the over/under.  The competition is free...and you may get a prize....you may not...but you probably will.  We had a good turnout last year, and with the growth of the site, I am hoping there are plenty of people to keep me busy with it.  Look for the picks to open later this week, and they will remain open until Friday, Dec. 19th. 

Random Musings:

  • Figures the Jets would take a step back after beating NE and Tenn by losing to Den and SF.  REALLY hurt that NE was able to come back and beat the Seahags.
  • So...on that ESPN streak contest thing...dude is sitting at 24 wins (of the needed 25) all week...waits to pick an NFL game.  And for one million dollars, picks Pitts over Dallas.  Can you imagine his house when PItt ran the INT back for the TD with 2 minutes (or less I believe) to go.  Good for him.
  • My Devils are hanging in there in a ridiculously strong Atlantic Division, where they are 7th in the east, but 4th in the Atlantic.  Just be around the playoffs when Brodeur gets back is all I ask.  Scott Clemmensen has stepped up well, winning 6 of 8.
  • Winter meetings starting up in baseball...otherwise known as "Who will the Mets overpay for relief help?"
  • Okie Joe's affirmed itself as the best BBQ I have ever had.  Z-man and fries...does it right...every time.
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