Mizzou Links, 3-24-14: A good (Cox, softball) and bad (basketball, baseball) weekend

J'Den Cox won a national title, and Mizzou Softball went 4-0 at University Field. Good weekend! Mizzou Hoops' season ended at the hands of Southern Miss, and Mizzou Baseball got outscored 19-7 in three games at Ole Miss. Bad weekend!

1. J'Den

MUtigers.com: True Freshman Cox Crowned National Champion
MUtigers.com: Mizzou's Cox, Houdashelt Guaranteed All-American Honors
The Trib: MU's Cox wins national title as freshman
KC Star: Missouri’s J’den Cox wins national wrestling title

Other Wrestling
MUtigers.com: Mizzou's Houdashelt Takes Fifth at Nationals
The Trib: Freshman Lavallee has room to grow

2. Southern Miss

MUtigers.com: Tigers Fall to Southern Miss 71-63 in NIT
MUtigers.com: Post Game Quotes

Missouri Head Coach Frank Haith

On this year's team...

"As I said earlier, we're disappointed that we didn't make the NCAA Tournament. We have to want to make it to the NCAA Tournament every year. I thought that this team had a lot of things happen throughout the year. Obviously we could have used Wes Clark today and Jabari had not practiced since the last game because he pulled his groin. We don't make excuses for anything, but he couldn't explode out there today and struggled. There are things like that, when you look at our big picture. We had three guys returning from last year's team, one starter, and 23 wins. I'm sure I'll feel good about that later on, but right now I'm disappointed because I felt like this team could've had some great things happen to us this year."

On what went wrong...

"There were things within our program, personal things with our players. When you talk about two guys that lead us, Jabari and Jordan, no one knows what's going on with those guys personally. I'd rather not get into that now, but they had things personally that I think did affect them in a big way."

On Earnest Ross...

"I'm proud of Earnest. I told him before we walked in here that a lot of kids start looking ahead. In his last two games here, he played with tremendous heart. I look back at the play made in the Davidson game where he jumped in the stands to save the ball late in the game and I thought he really competed hard again today."

On meeting season expectations...

"I don't think we were perfect. I think we worked hard and competed. I think as the season goes on, I look at our front line of J3 and Ryan and going into the year I don't think we thought they would be our front line guys. But, because of circumstances, that's where they ended up. I thought those guys got better, battled and competed. When you look at the youthfulness of our front line, I think you would say we're flawed, because those guys are young. In the backcourt we didn't have a lot of depth. We just had a one-rotation perimeter player in Wes Clark. They played a lot of minutes and needed to be solid every game. I think something that we need to do as a staff is make sure we have great depth. We had some guys leave our program that would have played a lot this year. I think Stefan Jankovic and Negus Webster-Chan would have both been great contributors this year. Those things happen. When kids want to play more, they leave so we've got to make sure we have better depth and have guys that from a rotational standpoint allow us to filter guys and hold guys accountable. I think that will make us a better overall team."

MUtigers.com: Mizzou Basketball Post Game Notes
The Trib: Tigers season ends in NIT loss to Southern Miss
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou's season ends in NIT loss
KC Star: Missouri’s season ends with 71-63 loss to Southern Mississippi in NIT
The Missourian: Missouri's unfulfilling season ends
PowerMizzou: Season ends for Mizzou
PowerMizzou: PMTV-HD: USM Post-Game

3. Jabari and Jordan

So Clarkson's father ALSO has cancer. We'll talk about this more in the future, but ... wow, what a tough personal year for Clarkson and Brown.

The Trib: Clarkson deals with father's fight

His father, Michael, and stepmother, Janie, were in the stands at Mizzou Arena the day before as Clarkson combined with backcourt mate Jabari Brown to pour in 61 points and lead a rally that came up five points short in a loss to Kentucky.

Clarkson spent time with his parents the next morning before they left Columbia, and they told him the news that would become a shadow hanging over him for the next seven weeks — one that remains there today as he and the Tigers get set for a 4 p.m. tipoff against Southern Mississippi in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Michael had cancer. After a series of visits over the previous month, doctors had discovered a tumor in his spine.

"It's a tough situation," Clarkson said. "You don't want to see your dad struggling and stuff like that."

But then Clarkson hasn't been able to see him, which has made coping with his father's illness both easier and more difficult.

The Trib: Brown, Clarkson unsure if they'll enter NBA draft
The Missourian: Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson both noncommittal on NBA draft prospects
KC Star: Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown share important bond during tough times
A Sea Of Blue: College Basketball: The Death of "Testing the Waters"

4. #stubble

Mizzou 11, Ball State 3
MUtigers.com: Sykes' Career-Day Fuels No. 18 Mizzou Past Ball State
The Missourian: Missouri softball's Mackenzie Sykes leads team in win over Ball State

Mizzou 11, North Dakota State 2
Mizzou 2, Oklahoma State 1
MUtigers.com: No. 18 Tigers Win Twice on Mizzou Tournament's Second Day
The Trib: MU softball team holds on to tight one vs. Cowgirls
The Missourian: Final inning push by Tori Finucane gives No. 18 Missouri softball second win of day

Mizzou 14, UMKC 0
MUtigers.com: No. 18 Mizzou Softball Run-Rules UMKC, 14-0; Sweeps Tournament
The Missourian: Alora Marble leads No. 18 Missouri softball to a shutout against UMKC

5. Tough weekend at Swayze

Ole Miss 4, Mizzou 3
MUtigers.com: Mizzou's Comeback Falls Short at No. 14 Ole Miss
The Missourian: Missouri baseball drops series opener to Mississippi

Ole Miss 7, Mizzou 1
MUtigers.com: Mizzou Falls to No. 14 Ole Miss, 7-1
The Missourian: Missouri drops back to .500 with loss to Mississippi

Ole Miss 8, Mizzou 3
MUtigers.com: No. 14 Ole Miss Rallies Past Mizzou
The Missourian: Missouri baseball falls to Mississippi after late game collapse

The Trib: Highly touted pitcher, Rash, hasn't thrown much for MU baseball team

6. WHATNOT

Alden
MUtigers.com: Mike Alden Finalist for Athletic Director of the Year Award

Swimming & Diving
MUtigers.com: Two Swimmers, Relay Earn All-America Honorable Mention Honors
MUtigers.com: Mizzou Concludes Competition at NCAA Championships

Gymnastics
MUtigers.com: Gymnastics Bars Lineup Shines At 2014 SEC Championships
The Missourian: Gymnastics judge discusses intricacies of scoring an event

Women's Golf
MUtigers.com: Strong Third Round Propels Tigers at LSU Tiger Golf Classic

Tennis
MUtigers.com: No. 7 Texas A&M Records 4-0 Win Over Mizzou
MUtigers.com: Tennis Breezes to 4-0 Sweep Over Prairie View A&M

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