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Monday Musings

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Been a little while since this was on the normal day it seems, but with back to back five-day weekends, the time and holidays kinda got away from me.  School is still on break, so we will be a little thin of updates for another week or two.  This is probably going to be a longer edition since I will take this time to wrap up my thoughts on football as we are still pretty fresh off the Cotton Bowl win.  I will probably skip basketball thoughts some since I did not see the Mississippi St. game...but I know what I read and I know that I probably dont feel like talking about it too much at this point.

Football:
I dont even know where to start in all of this, and that seems strange to me since I believe this was really about to be expected when you look at the finished product.  This team was expected to contend for the Big XII North...which they did.  Now, they were expected to contend against Nebraska and instead did it against kansas, but contending all the same.  They won every game for the entire season in which they were favored, and lost the two they were not.  In the end, the Cotton Bowl, which was the expected bowl destination, was won over a lesser opponent, and 12 wins was the final total, really one more than I anticipated.

But the season was so lovely.  I saw nine games on the season, where Mizzou defeated 4 teams which were in bowl games (including Arkansas) by a score of 370-177.  I saw record (Chase Daniel's resume) after record (Martin Rucker's resume) after record (Tony Temple's Cotton Bowl) fall and be set at a high level.  I saw the defense turn itself around as the season went on, and the offense never really take a major step back.

So, for 2008 I only can hope that casual fans of Mizzou from around the state and region latch on to this team strong and for good.  I can only hope people dont whine about the out of conference schedule and come out in force to see Mizzou every chance they get.  I can only hope we continue our dominance of Illinois to start the season and make the game at UT REALLY interesting.  I can only hope William Moore comes back for one more season, where he is going to have a very strong chance to become ANOTHER Mizzou All-American.  And I can only hope that Chase Daniel get over his last two games this year to have one more special season, and perhaps win the greatest honor of all in his sport.  

In the end, in this first week of 2008, I close one of the best years in 2007, and I will leave the stats to The Boy, the chronicling to ZouDave and the waxing far more poetic to Atch.  This team and especially these coaches represented my university with such strength and class, all that is left to say is thanks to all of them.

Men's Basketball:
As I alluded to in the intro, I did not see the game at all.  I barely remembered which day the game was and that the time of the game had actually been changed to help out Miss St. with scheduling around their bowl game.  In the end, all I can tell you that I know is that we wasted a great effort from Matt Lawrence, and both Hannah and Carroll played OK before fouling out of the game.

In reviewing the game, I see we were outrebounded by 10, which is not all that surprising or alarming since I know the coaches employ a formula with boards, steals and other stuff.  However, I also see we only created 14 turnovers, which is not near enough.  Miss St. shot almost 52 percent for the game, and this was a one point game with under 6 minutes.  If I had to guess, I am thinking our defensive pressure broke down in the stretch and we did very little on offense....which if true, sounds terribly familiar.

UMKC is up next this week on Tuesday at home, and then it gets started in conference play with Texas at home on Saturday. Assuming a win over UMKC, 9-5 is not going to likely be strong enough in out of conference to help us make the tournament.  9-7 in conference would only get us to 18-12 and likely without a real trademark win (or if so, trade it off for a bad loss), and that would mean we would need to make some major noise in the conference tourney.  Time will tell I suppose is all I can say.

Women's Hoops:
As I think about it, one of the things I love about how Mizzou athletics has improved over the past 5-7 years has been their climb up the rankings of the Sears Director's Cup trophey, measuring total athletic departments.  Mizzou does not have enough sports to really ever complete for the top, but they have moved from the triple digits into the top 40.  This season, with the sucess of football, soccer, volleyball and the likely sucess of wrestling, gymnastics, baseball and such, it kinda stinks that the two sports we used to be stronger in and could count on for some points (both basketball programs) are struggling.

I just wrote about that to kill some space.  Women's hoops participated in a tournament out at UVA, and came away with a split.  In the first game against Marshall, Mizzou jumped out to a 5 point half time lead, and (as if it should come as some surprise) lead by 9 with about 9 minutes to go.  However, Marshall used 50 percent shooting in the 2nd half to Mizzou's under 40 percent, and came away with the 5 point win.  Alyssa Hollings lead the way with 22 points, but on 8-17 shooting.  Shakara Jones was held to 6 points and 8 boards in 34 minutes, and Mizzou was outrebounded by 7 in the game.  In the 2nd game, Mizzou was able to overcome an 11 point 2nd half deficit and being down by 6 with 5 to go against Delaware St to win 55-50 thanks to a closing 12-0 run.  This pushed the ladies back over .500 on the season at 7-6.  Shakara Jones came off the bench to play 28 minutes and score 14 points, and Jessra Johnson lead the Tigers with 20 points (5-13 from the floor, 9-13 from the line)

Up next for the ladies will be two Big XII home games against CU on Wednesday night and then TTech on Saturday night.  CU is 11-2 on the season thus far and Tech is one better at 12-2.  
In fact, coming through out of conference, Mizzou sits last in the Big XII at 7-6.

Mizzou Wrestling:
More about the Mizzou win against Bucknell can be found HERE!

On Tap This Week:
Lost of teams get back into it this coming week, as track will meet in the 22nd Annual Missouri Invitational in the Hearnes Fieldhouse on Friday night.  Gymnastics will take on Bowling Green on Saturday out in Ohio, and the women's swim team will get back in the pool at Mizzou against SMS and Arkansas.  More on that next week.

Random Thoughts:
*    I know this is a little old, but how embarrassing was Illinois in their "BCS" chant....nothing is gained from getting SMOKED on national TV and giving up pretty much all the offensive records.  To quote their T-shirts to mock us, "It is a BCS party and you were not invited".....but you came out TERRIBLY underdressed and embarrassed, while we appear classy and just plain better.
*    The amount of celebration penalties is reaching critical mass.  No fewer than three in the Rose Bowl...just sick.
*    Dallas was not a bad town, just never seemed ready to handle and host as many people as were in town.  Mizzou had a great showing, and while there were more Hog fans in the stands, there were FAR more Tiger fans out spending money and being seen.  However, Dallas is a strange place with lots of places closed on the weekends and in the evenings, and places that were open did not quite seem ready to handle the crowds.  Of course, the MUAA did not do themselves any favors and did not avail themselves well AT ALL on this trip in terms of trying to accommodate our fans.
*    Decent football games this weekend, though I really did think Washington would do enough to get by Seattle.  Looked like they would for a little while, but that game turned two times REALLY quickly.
*    So while I was not a NY Giants fan growing up, I of course watched many/all of their games since they were local.  Their drive yesterday for their last TD reminded me a lot about their old teams.  Grind the clock, run with Morris/Bradshaw.  Passes when they needed to with Simms/Manning.  Eat up over 9 minutes.  I dont think they will beat Dallas, but that drive was a thing of beauty.
*    Just continuing to warn...once football is done, more hockey talk is to come, and my New Jersey Devils are currently leading in their division.
*    I still cannot decide who I want to win the game tonight.  I am not ready for a two-loss team to have the national title, and Ohio State just does not excite me in the least, for I fear they may be frauds again.  We shall see.