Monday Musings

Some winter seasons wrapping up and some spring seasons getting into full swing means another full boat for the Monday Musings.  At least there should be some non-basketball positives found during the week, since clearly neither the male nor the female round ballers are getting it done right now.  Let's see how the week played out for everyone who was playing.

Click 'Full Story' for the musings.

Men's Basketball:
I'll admit I am seeing things half-empty (well...almost full empty) these days when it comes to men's basketball.  I will be happy to use that to qualify my comments of the past weeks and for likely the weeks to come.  I only say this because many of the people who write more than I do about the subject had both good and bad thoughts for the week on our play.  For me, I certainly see some positives, but they are not outweighed by the negatives, which is basically two losses in games we could have won.  In the latest one, a defeat against Baylor, Mizzou gave up double-digit scoring to 7 players (including one who I believe was averaging about 3 points a game, but who dropped 10 points in 17 minutes).  I dont know what happened to the defense we were supposed to be playing, but we aint playing it.  And I know, I am sure some will say Baylor controls the tempo against you and so on and so forth, but I dont ever see US impose OUR will against anyone anymore.  This is evident because we had TWO steals against Baylor, one by Carroll and one by Lyons.  Not a lot of defense going on there when that happens.

At any rate, after holding leads in both games this past weeks, we figured out how to lose and put ourselves at 5-9 in a conference where just about any spot below the top 2 teams was up for grabs this season.  We grabbed nothing and now sit very much towards the cellar.  At 15-14 overall, we are seemingly at a decent risk of not making ANY sort of post season tournament, as we will play against an ISU team who we have lost to already, and we will also take on OU on the road.  Losing both of those would mean we would have to win a game in KC, not a given considering we would be likely looking at a first round match-up as...yes...the ELEVENTH seed.  Sad...just sad.

Women's Basketball:
Speaking of sad, oy...this group is two games back of anyone in the Big XII sitting at 2-12.  Losing two games this past week, one in close fashion to Iowa State and one not close at all to K-state.  Against Iowa State, we took the lead on an Alyssa Hollings 3 pointer with 4 minutes to go, and then did not hit another FG for the rest of the game, hitting only 2 FT's to lose by 4.  I wont even look at the k-state recap or boxscore...I just know we lost by about 30.

The regular season schedule mercifully closes this week with a road contest against Colorado.  After that, the Big XII Tourney at Municipal Auditorium in KC calls for the ladies the following week.  And then after that...well...we can only wait and see as to what and how this team will change in the post season.  I, for one, hope it does from the top, down.

Baseball:
Finally, some good news for this article (can you tell basketball puts me in a bad mood?).  Mizzou baseball headed out west this past weekend for 4 games against some very solid to nationally ranked talent.  Mizzou came away with another 3-1 weekend, pushing their season record to 6-2 overall.  Friday saw a double-header (of sorts) sweep, as Mizzou took down both Cal and a ranked San Diego State.  Cal's game saw Aaron Crow get off to a rocky start, but settle down to get 5 innings and the win.  Aanother Aaron (Senne this time) did the damage on offense for the Tigers with a first inning grand slam to erase the 2 runs Crow had given up in the first.  The night-cap saw Ian Berger makes his first start and make a claim for a weekend pitching spot, shutting down Tony Gwynn's Aztecs in their home stadium over 7.1 innings during a 3-1 Mizzou win.

Coming back on Saturday, Mizzou took on the highly ranked San Diego team, and while they took an early lead, Rick Zagone could not hang on to it and Mizzou ended up falling 5-4.  Finally finishing their roadtrip on Sunday, Mizzou took down Cal Poly 6-3 behind some more solid pitching of Kyle Gibson, who is now 2-0 on Sundays.  This finishes Mizzou's opening road trip at 6-2 and sends them home for 13 straight scheduled home games, starting Tuesday in a game I am CERTAIN will not be played against Western Illinois (given the weather forecast).  The weekend will see them square off against Indiana State with a double header on Saturday this time, further stretching the Mizzou pitching staff out a bit.   I believe the team should be relatively pleased with the outing over their first two weekends, but now comes the time they need to tighten down the pitching a bit and turn the hitting up just a bit more, and also take advantage of an easier stretch of schedule to compile some wins.

Softball:
A very strong week for Mizzou, playing a whopping 7 games, and winning all of them, moving them to a better looking 15-6 on the season.  A double-header sweep came earlier in the week with SLU, featuring a no-hitter tossed by Stacey Delaney, with Jen Bruck tossing the other win.  Over the weekend, Mizzou played 5 more games against Boston University and South Dakota State, outscoring their opponents 33-16.  They even got to play the Sunday game outside, where they beat the Terriers of BU 12-6 with junior Lindsey Ubrun going deep twice in the game.

Frosh leadoff hitter Rhea Taylor certainly was setting the table all weekend, hitting .611 and scoring 9 runs on the weekend in 5 games.  Mizzou will now escape from Como out to Tampa to play 6 games next weekend, though one as an exhibition against Team USA...interesting.  Mizzou will return home in two weekends for the Mizzou Classic, with 3 games against Wisconsin and 3 against North Dakota State.

Gymnastics:
The 28th Annual Cat Classic was this past weekend, and Mizzou had a nice performance, taking 2nd place just behind the #4 Michigan Wolverines.  Making a big splash for the Tigers was junior Adrianne Perry, who took the all-around with a score of 39.300, but who managed to not win a single event on the evening (which means she was very consistent).

Mizzou as a team did score 195.275 (to Michigan's 196.200), which was a couple of ticks down from where they have been in past weeks.  The balance beam proved to be the downfall for the Tigers, as they had to take score of 9.525 and 9.550 because of rough routines.  The women will now move to the road against Illinois, an important competition because of the scoring method now employed in that road meets are very important.  If Mizzou can top 194.100 (their score against Bowling Green), they should be able to improve their ranking the following poll.

Indoor Track
The season is done for the Tigers, and finished with them crowning three Big XII champions this past weekend up in Lincoln.  Leading the pack for the ladies was senior Trisa Nickoley, who became the first Mizzou athlete to win the single event 3 times in her career.  Taking the 800 meter race, she actually became the first 3-time champion for the entire Big XII in the 800 meter.  Also winning individual titles on the weekend was sophomore Nick Adcock, who became the 2nd Tiger to win that title.  Adcock won the event and set a new record for himself and Mizzou in the process, all the more impressive because of his output a couple of weeks ago.  Adcock currently sits 3rd in the NCAA and will certainly be one of the favorites when the NCAA's come around.

The final victor for the Tigers was senior Nate Englin who took his 1st shot put title, and the 3rd for the school (Cantwell and Woolsey won others).  The male throwers for the Tigers accounted for 42 points of the team's 67 points, pushing the men to a 5th place finish.  The women finished 8th, with the men and winning splitting against ku for Border War points.  There will be a number of competitions next weekend which serve as last-chance qualifying meets for the NCAA, which will be down in Fayetteville, AR in 2 weeks.

Tennis:
The Mizzou women's tennis team finished up their non conference schedule by taking a tour through the northern part of the Big 10 by taking on Minnesota and Wisconsin this past weekend.  The Tigers fell in both their matches over the weekend, 4-3 to the 54th ranked Gophers and then 5-2 to the Badgers.  Winning all her singles matches on the weekend was junior Jessica Giuggioli (yes, it takes me FOREVER to spell her name every week), and she also split her doubles matches for the weekend as well.

The tennis team finishes their non conference at 8-4 and will now turn their focus to the conference season, which will start next weekend with a trip out to Boulder to take on the 65th ranked (yes, someone evidently ranks at least the top 65 teams in tennis) Buffalos.  The next home match for the Tigers will be in two weeks with back to back home matches against k-State and kansas.

Swimming
Another conference sport which wrapped up for the season, as the swim teams took part in the Big XII Championships down in Austin, TX.  For the men, there are only two other conference teams, and Mizzou came oh so close to knocking off the aTm Aggies.  Mizzou ended up taking 3rd place, losing by 3 points and having it actually come down to the final relay event.  Mizzou had a tremendous season this past year, actually taking down the Aggies earlier in the year in dual meet.  The Mizzou men will graduate some solid talent, but will also bring back a LOT of talent, and should continue to recruit well off of their top notch facilities.  Hopefully they will take another step next season and continue their programs progression into the top 20 and beyond nationally.

For the women, diver Kendra Melnychuk became the first ever Mizzou diver to win a Big XII title, doing so in the platform event.  The women are another team who had probably their best season perhaps ever, and should also continue to evolve as a top 20 and beyond national program.  And, they beat kansas on the weekend, which is always a good thing.  Keep an eye out for the Zone D Diving Qualifying, which is the only time divers get a chance to qualify for the NCAA Tournament (unlike the swimmers who can qualify through their times all season).  Melnychuk should certainly look to qualify for the NCAA Championships, which will be held at The Ohio State University in 3 weeks.

Men's Golf
The men's team was down at South Florida this past weekend, and had a nice finish to the tournament to take 10th at the Tournament, beating Nebraska while they were at it (which was the only other Big XII team participating in the tourney).  Peter Malnati finished with a 70 and 69 to overcome his first round 78 and still finish at +1.  In fact, all of Mizzou shot just about a top 5 score on the final day to move them higher on the day.

Up next for the men's squad will be a pretty long break before the Western Intercollegiate out in Santa Cruz, CA at the end of March.  For the women, they do play in the "Mo"Morial down in College Station, TX next weekend.

Random Thoughts:
  *  Two weeks, two races, two wins for Carl Edwards out west, this time at Vegas baby Vegas.

  *  I like what my Jets did so far in free agency.  I hated losing Jonathan Vilma, but I had faced the fact that we had unfortunately lost him when we went to the 3-4.  Getting a conditional pick was fine.  Picking up Kris Jenkins at DT was a very solid move (though I did cringe a bit at the price of a good 3rd round pick) and signing Alan Faneca to play LG in between Ferguson and Mangold should shore up the line for the Jets.  Now, they can focus on the draft (hopefully getting Gholson and moving him to OLB) and then working on the offense (WR and TE would be nice).

  *  I really dont have much left for the random thoughts on the week.  Wrestling should be coming this weekend though, so I will hope to have another preview.  I will really be pleased when it is just the spring season I get to worry about :-)

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