COLUMBIA, MO - DECEMBER 15: Ricardo Ratliffe #10 of the Missouri Tigers celebrates after scoring during the game against the Kennesaw State Owls on December 15, 2011 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Mizzou Basketball Links
MUtigers.com: Ratliffe Named Big 12 Player of the Week
The Trib: Ratliffe named Big 12 player of the week
The Trib (Steve Walentik): Haith talks Ratliffe, Pressey and handling exposure
On the improvement of Phil Pressey as a decision-maker …
"He’s matured tremendously. I think he’s been a guy that has really watched a lot of tape, and he’s grown so much, and we stress this with our guys, because we have good ball skills and basically two point guards — him and Mike Dixon — with four minutes left in the game, if we’re in play, we should have a good chance to be right where we need to be at the end of the game because those guys have got great ball skills and decision-making and being able to execute offense and make free throws, which you have to do down the stretch. He’s developing and gotten better in all those areas, and I know he was a freshman last year. So he’s a year older, and he’s gotten a lot better with his poise, with his understanding of what we want to do offensively and has just been an outstanding … I mean, I think Phil’s got to be considered on of the top point guards — and I know by this time next year will be — in the country."
The Missourian: PHOTO GALLERY: Missouri rises to No. 2 in AP polls
KC Star: Missouri Tigers see their stock rise to No. 2
Post-Dispatch: MU confronts unusual foe: success
Post-Dispatch (Bryan Burwell): No need to qualify praise, MU is that good
We have seen snippets of [toughness] all season from Mizzou, but last Saturday was the first game in which I saw it all game long. I have been covering sports a long time, and I've seen this sort of effort on occasion. I saw it late last summer and into the fall with the Cardinals. It's that elusive quality that all championship teams possess.
It's one of the reasons they execute their offense so well and make you forget that their lack of size is supposed to be some sort of handicap. Haith knew all along that his team was not going to suddenly hit a miracle growth spurt during the season, so he has continued to emphasize all along that the strength of this team will be full effort and executing their offense to near perfection.
"It's like a great marriage," Haith says. "You can't have one without the other. I don't know if Ricardo (Ratliffe) would have this great play if we didn't have good guards, and I don't know if our guards would be as good as they are if we didn't have a low-post presence."
Other Basketball Links
KU > ATM
Rock Chalk Talk: Kansas Sluggish In Win Over Texas A&M
KC Star: KU grinds out 64-54 win over Texas A&M
Mizzou Football Links
SB Nation (Self-Share): You Just Signed The No. 1 Recruiting Class In The Country! Now What?
TampaBay.com: Conference realignment changes landscape of the recruiting game
[Sean] Culkin said he first heard from the Tigers after their move to the SEC became official in the fall. Coaches told him they began searching for players in their new region.
"My name came up, and they wanted to make a visit," Culkin said. "They saw me and immediately offered there."
Tampa Bay is already becoming an important part of Missouri’s recruiting with a handful of area players receiving offers, said DeArmond, publisher of PowerMizzou.com. Nick Otterbacher, the school’s director of football recruiting, is a Tampa native. Instead of thriving on Texas recruits that the Longhorns passed up, the Tigers will begin feasting on Tampa prospects the Gators don’t want.
"There’s no delusion they’re going to get a kid from Tampa that has a Florida offer," DeArmond said.
But BCS-quality players like Culkin that the Gators don’t offer are Tiger bait.
Mr. SEC: Recruiting Rankings Do Matter ... If You Know How To Look At Them
Post-Dispatch: Michael Egnew has his Senior moment
NFL.com: QB, TE among positions of interest at Senior Bowl
2. Who is the next Jimmy Graham?
The copycat nature of the NFL will lead scouts and coaches to spend most of the week searching for a big, athletic tight end with the ability to create mismatches in the passing game.
Stanford's Coby Fleener and Missouri's Michael Egnew enter the week with the biggest fanfare after their highly decorated careers, but they also have the games to match the hype. Both are polished pass catchers with sneaky speed and athleticism, and their natural ability should shine as deep middle threats.
Other Football Links
Another Paterno Link (The Best One Yet)
SB Nation (Spencer Hall): Bury A Man, Keep The Statue
Neat, If Quite Dubious, Math
Outkick the Coverage: Texas A&M and Missouri worth at least $114 million a year to SEC Network
The Missourian: Missouri athletics has future in Kansas City, leaders say
Dallas Morning News: Texas A&M board of regents grants Loftin ability to negotiate exit with Big 12
Thanks For A Fun Series, Trrip
SimmonsField.com: SEC Dixie-nary: Z is for Zero
Other Mizzou Links
MUtigers.com: Tigers Move up to the No. 20 in the Nation
The Maneater: Burke looks for perfect dismount to career
The Trib: Missouri freshman tennis player Clark adjusts to life in the U.S.
Needs More Armisen
Warming Glow: Ten Most Annoying 'SNL' Recurring Characters