Aaron Crow: Preseason Baseball All-American. Good god, has Mizzou had a lot of All-Americans recently (in all sports)...
Here's your official Mizzou-McNeese State release. Some interesting notes about "40 minutes of hell"...
- Mizzou's defensive pressure may actually be picking up following last season's school record 302 steals ... The Tigers have forced 178 turnovers (91 steals) in nine games this season ... Last year, Mizzou led the Big 12 with 10.1 steals and 18.9 turnovers per game and are averaging 10.1 steals and 19.8 turnovers forced per game this year, including the 23 turnovers forced vs. 2007 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Maryland and Arkansas.
- Conversely, the Tigers are turning the ball over just 12.6 times per game.
- The Tigers have done an excellent job converting off those miscues and are averaging 25.4 points per game off turnovers ... When you break down the numbers, Missouri is scoring 30.3 percent of its points off of turnovers (25.4-of-83.9 ppg).
- In addition to steals, a trademark of Mike Anderson-coached teams has been assist totals and the Tigers are recording assists on 60.4 percent of their buckets this season (168 assists on 281 FG's).
- When you take Missouri's 30 "put-back" buckets out of the equation, the Tigers are averaging assists on 66.9 percent of their field goals.
- Overall, Missouri's 18.7 assists per game rank No. 13 nationally.
- Even with the club's fast-paced style of play, Missouri boasts a 1.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio on the season, which leads the Big 12 Conference and ranks No. 8 nationally.
The Trib has a nice article on Marshall Brown, his struggles, and his leadership. Meanwhile, the Missourian focuses on something else: fouls. Mizzou's success is completely and totally dictated by the refs and how often they blow their whistles (and how consistently). One of the things I look at in regard to basketball stats is per-minute splits. Mizzou has seven guys who average at least 0.10 fouls per minute (Carroll 0.12, Lyons 0.10, M. Lawrence 0.10, Tiller 0.17, M. Brown 0.10, Horton 0.11, Volkus 0.21...plus Hannah at 0.09). Obviously big men average more per-minute fouls than guards, but...yeah, Mizzou would benefit significantly from Carroll dropping that number down to about 0.09.
Speaking of fouls...(look at that segway!)...SI's Seth Davis debates whether the refs should "let them play" down the stretch (here's his first column on the subject). I've shared my opinion before: if it's a foul with 12 minutes left in the first half, it's a foul with 12 seconds left in the second. Nothing drives me crazier than the ebb-and-flow of whistles. In almost every college basketball game I've ever seen (Big 12, at least), about 16 fouls are called in the first 8 minutes of the second half, but then anything goes in the last 90 seconds. That drives me crazy. Mizzou's style relies partly on knowing what kind of contact they can get away with and what they can't--but establishing that is impossible when the standard changes every few minutes.
Then again, there's a reason why, while I reffed intramural sports in college, I refused to ref basketball. Basketball is the single most subjective sport to officiate--you can legitimately blow a whistle any time you want--and players and observers think complain more in basketball than in any other sport. I don't know how to fix officiating at the college level, but...well...let's just change the subject since I just argued myself in a circle...
The Chamber came early today (last night)! And if that's not enough Gabe Dearmond goodness, feel free to check out yesterday's Mailbag as well (if you're a subscriber).
Finally, staying with football...ESPN's Tim Griffin talks about the Big 12 North's 2007 revival. Meanwhile, the Worldwide Leader has a pretty decent wrap-up of mid-major conference action as well...not Mizzou-related, but interesting nonetheless...