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Rock M Roundtable!

1 - Okay, I have to ask this.  Is anybody here even 10% as encouraged as Gabe Dearmond apparently was about Mizzou's loss to OSU?  I get his point to an extent, but...

2 - I assume Mizzou will still make the postseason thanks to the College Basketball Classic, or whatever it's big a deal is that?  Will postseason games help this team, or would it benefit them just to get the blood transfusion underway and get rid of this senior class?

3 - Spring football is right around the corner...what's the most interesting question for your team this spring?

4 - What's the most interesting question about some other Big 12 team this spring?

5 - Picks!  NU @ OSU, ATM @ OU, UT @ Tech, ISU @ CU, KSU @ KU, MU @ BU.

Click ‘Full Story’ for answers.

The Beef: 1 - 10 right at that number.  It did show the ceiling of Leo Lyons, which would appear to be REALLY high.  However, I believe we will still deal with "Good Leo" and "Bad Leo" on most nights, as well as "Take advantage of being down 15 points to score all my points Leo" on a few other nights.  As I said to The Boy, I see Keon finally equalizing out some, which is good, and I see good effort from Tiller, if for only 20 minutes per night until he gets into foul trouble.  I almost think we would be better off just shutting down Carroll at this point, he is bringing nothing to the table because of his ankle.  Other than that, it is amazing that Matt Lawrence getting a ridiculous bounce on a 3 pointer made the difference between a 2-7 night and 3-7 and that perception of shooting 3-7 elicits confidence, while 2-7 probably would not have.  I will continue to believe that the group coming in will need to bring a LOT of talent, and hopefully at least one starter next year for the team to see the improvement most are clamoring for.

2 - I would normally say more basketball is a good thing, but for how much the returners will likely play (Carroll not much due to injury, Safford likely not much because Safford does not play much) almost does not make it seem worth it.  We will still take it of course, and hope to win at least a few games in it, but I don’t think these games will either help or harm us heading into next season.

3 - I want to see what type of battle comes at RB with Jackson vs. Washington.  I am also curious to see what comes with the backup LBs....and who steps up to be the depth there after Alexander, Christopher, Spoon and Lambert.  Also the progress of the big names from last year’s class in Keck and Moye.  I don’t believe we NEED either of them to be starters or anything to make or break our year, but I want to hear that Keck has put on some good weight and I want to see where Moye can work up to in the secondary.

4 - I want to see if kU uses Sharp as a featured back or tries to work in another one to split the carries with him.  I want to see how anyone from k-state spins what is going on there.  I am curious to see how good of a spring Joe Ganz has at NU and if UT is going to be any better than they were last year.

5 - I will take OSU to stay hot, OU to continue aTm’s 2nd slide, UT to continue leading the division, CU to win a nice game for them, kU to take it to kSU and BU to continue their march back firmly on to the bubble and perhaps beyond.

Michael Atchison: 1 - I didn’t see what Gabe wrote, but if he’s as encouraged as you suggest, he’s probably a lot more encouraged than I am.  It was the kind of game that mediocre teams play, and sometimes lose.  Leo put up eye-popping numbers (12-13 FG; 18 rebounds; wow), and we lost.  On most nights against OSU you win that game; they’re not going to go 14-24 on threes very often, and it’s not like the arc wasn’t defended.  Eaton hit three circus shots.  But still, without consistent production from a second guy, you’ll always have a chance to lose.  In the end, I’m not sure it makes that much difference over the long haul.  This season is almost over, and there will be so much roster turnover next year, that it’s just a wild stab to predict what the near future will bring.

2 - I think it’s always better to play.  You’re never hurt by practicing and competing, and given that the entire starting five will return next year, I say play as much as you can.

3 - It seems that, position-by-position, this team doesn’t have many questions (depth at DT; a clear number one at RB would be a couple).  I’m just curious as to whether this thing has another gear.  I mean, could the offense really get better?

4 - There are so many questions in Lincoln, I don’t know where to start.

5 - OSU, ATM, Texas, CU, KU, Baylor.

I’m probably out for the rest of the discussion.  Enjoy.

ZouDave: 1 - Well, encouraged is probably the wrong word but I agree with a lot of what he had to say about it being hard to be upset with the effort.  I said a week ago that all I wanted out of this team to end the season was heart and effort and I think they showed that.  I think we're on a course to be a NCAA Tournament team in the 2009-10 season.

2 - More games can't hurt, I guess, but I don't see it helping.  It's just an excuse to keep playing basketball, but there's no way that helps us next year or the year after when we finally return to the tournament.

3 - There's a few in my mind for Mizzou.  Will Danario Alexander make a Maclin-like comeback from a bad injury?  Is Derrick Washington ready to be the man in the backfield?  But most importantly to me, is this defense ready to make this team theirs?  Because even though I know the offense next year is going to be really good, I think the defense is going to be the identity of Mizzou next year.  Can they handle that?  Can they live up to that?

4 - I'd say a tie between kansas and Nebraska here.  Can kansas prove last year wasn't just a perfect storm and that they indeed are worthy of being talked about as a Top 10 team?  For Nebraska...can it get any worse?  Because I think it can.

5 - OSU, aTm, UT, ISU, ku and Baylor

The Beef: I don’t think we will know about Alexander at all this spring...I was under the impression he was shut down pretty much until the summer time.

I agree potentially about 2009-2010...but let me ask this...will anyone really care by then?  By then, he (Anderson) is going to have to survive another season of us not making the tournament, which will good few since last we did.  You think attendance is bad now...what might it be by then?  I don’t really know, am just curious as to the further damage (if any) we will experience.

And I am with you...I think it can get worse for NU.  Not sure it will, but I don’t think it gets as much better (as much better?) as NU people think it will with Bo.

ZouDave: yeah, you're probably right about Alexander.  It's just a question going into Spring that won't have an answer really until probably October.  When I talked to Coach Christensen though at the KC Recruiting Reception he said they are very pleased with Danario's progress and that he is already jogging, which is an excellent sign.  Not that I expected him to say otherwise, but I doubt he would have lied to me just to keep up appearances.  He didn't pull any punches when I asked about Pig, so I get the impression he was being honest.  He also said Coffman was ahead of schedule following his surgery, and they expect him to go 100% for the 2nd half of the Spring and be completely and totally healthy all the way into August.

As far as basketball goes, I think Anderson will get away with one more year of us not making the tournament simply because his first year was a year of 0 expectations to begin with.  It's a wash that you just can't reasonably hold against him.  This year there might have been some expectations, but expecting NCAA tournament this year would to me have seemed unreasonable.  I think that puts next year really as the first year where you can say "We expect this" and have him not reach it.  That means 2009-10 is his make or break year.  If he can't get it done by then, he probably can't get it done here.  And I don't know that attendance will get all that worse.  The people that go to the games right now are probably the people that will always go to the games.  If we can be a 9-7 conference, near 20-win overall team next year that is on the bubble and gets left out I think most people will understand that Anderson is building his team and now has it ready to do something.  I think other than just falling completely apart next year that Anderson is still another year away from his seat getting hot.

The Boy: 1 - I don't have ESPNU, and I didn't see the game, so I can only go by what I've read, heard, and the highlights I've seen.  It does appear that Lyons' ceiling is super-duper high, which is good I guess.  But until he stops completely and totally disappearing against teams with PFs who are both bigger and relatively talented, knowing what his ceiling is will just be more frustrating.  I'm not going to pretend that he can be like he was against OSU all the time, but if he can bring his A-game (or more importantly, his A-brain) even 1/2 to 2/3 of the time, that makes us a whole lot better.

As for the rest of the team...I agree that MLaw is still the weakest link for next year (assuming Carroll can actually get healthy).  In my happy place, Kim English makes 40% of his 3's next year AND plays good defense...thereby relegating MLaw to a heat-check bench role, which would be absolutely perfect for him.  If somebody like English or Bowers (anybody, really) can steal some minutes from Matt, and if Denmon or Paul is ready to step up whenever Tiller gets into foul trouble, I'll be confident about next year.  Of course, I won't know those things until next year, so in the meantime, I'll just pretend it will happen and therefore be overly-optimistic.  Sound like a plan?  Sounds like a plan!

2 - I gave up on the "extra games help a young team" thing after 2004-05 when we made the NIT and I convinced myself that was a great thing because of all our youth (Horton, Brown, Grimes, and Dandridge were all freshmen, Gardner was a soph), and granted, it may have actually helped had we not gone one-and-done...but the 05-06 team started horribly and stayed that way for a majority of the season.

That said, extra games are extra games, and I'm always for that.  I'm easy.

3 - Honestly, the biggest question mark for Mizzou heading into spring--and this is a very, very good thing--is probably punting and kickoff distance.  I'll be paying a lot of attention to how Jake Harry is doing.  If he's a somewhat reliable punter, and if we can maybe, just maybe get a touchback on kickoffs every now and then, then just about every unit is a strength.

As far as individuals I'll be watching...DeVion Moore has an opportunity for playing time if he's ready to rock...Gilbert Moye can slip into the "William Moore's backup" role if he's ready...Michael Keck can slip into the "Stryker Sulak's backup" role if he's healthy and at least as heavy as Brian Smith was...and I guess Trey Hobson can squeeze himself into Castine Bridges' starting role with a really good spring.  Those are the names I'll be watching.  And I'm interested in seeing LaRoderick Thomas...I love the "played the role of Darren McFadden during Cotton Bowl practices and was so good at it that they switched him to offense" story...

4 - I too am interested in what Joe Ganz does.  NU's defense won't be a lot better, but there's no way to go but up for that unit...if Ganz can produce at half the level as he did in November--which is less likely once teams can actually start scouting him--NU will at least be back into the "dangerous at home" category...which is a start.

My other two interests are in the South: I want to see who steps up at WR for OU.  Malcolm Kelly's gone, and I'm not 100% convinced that Juaquin Iglesias is a #1 WR.  He's a GREAT #2, but he'll need some help.  Adron Tennell tore up his knee last year, and Manuel Johnson has only proven himself to be a solid #3 WR...not necessarily anything more than that.  And finally, how quickly will Texas adapt to the style of their new defensive coordinator (who was Auburn's DC last year)?  Defense has been their biggest weakness for 2-3 years now, but Muschamp (I think that's his name) is really, really good at what he does.  If he actually starts installing some toughness into those 4-star kids, it could be a dogfight for the South title.

5 - OSU by 6, ATM by 4, Tech by 3 (it's time for them to jump up and bite somebody again), ISU by 1, KU by 16, BU by 18 (we just do not match up well with them).

ZouDave: good call on punting and kickoff distance.  For whatever reason that hadn't remotely crossed my mind.  Totally agree those are 2 big question marks that could mean the difference between 10-2 and 11-1 or 12-0.

The Boy: The other major question I have for '08 is simply, how do we react getting everyteam's homerun swing?  We're the hunted now, and every team is going to throw trick plays and 1000% exertion at us...I'm not that worried about that, and that's not something that will get answered until September, but I thought I'd throw that out there...

Doug: 1 - Whoa.  You guys are getting encouraged?  Honestly, I didn't see the game, I heard the end of it, and believe me, I feel your pain about Eaton.  I will say this, Missouri is looking better in the long run (three to four seasons down the road) than K-State is.

2 - Get the transfusion started.  Another game is just that much more time Jason Horton takes from another player.

3 - I'll be interested to see if Jocques Crawford is really all that coming out of JuCo.  It seems he's the power runner to replace Brandon McAnderson, but I was dissappointed in Angus Quigley in garbage time last season either.  I think coming up with a stable running back rotation will the toughest thing for the coaches to do this season.  And, speaking of coaches, this is what you get for a successful season, a lot of guys getting promotions.  I trust Mangino has an eye for coaching talent, now it all just has to gell togther.

4 - The only thing I'm watching is K-State and Ron Prince.  He's mortaged quite a bit of the future, to pull in JuCo's to win now.  This is the closest a college coach can come to the Washington Redskins' model (high-priced, veteran talent that may or may not work, most likely will not).  With road trips to Lawrence and Columbia, I don't think Prince wil be back at K-State for the 2009 season.

5 - OSU, aTm, UT, ISU, KU and BU.

The Boy: Jocques?

There really needs to be a hospital naming committee that approves or denies name requests.

ZouDave: Would Stryker have made the cut?

mizzourobot: 1 - Progress is progress, I guess. But I'm just seriously worried about having to start all over again next season with the new talent, and taking yet another step back. If this keeps happening, the patience with Anderson will run out. And that's a shame.

2 - Get next year's players playing as much as possible. Nothing is as good for basketball players as playing time. It helps with everything.

3 - Just how big are the Golden Watermelon Balls of Fury in the offseason? Do they easily fold into a carrying case? Or are they ever present? When you thrust the nunchuk upwards in practice, does CC3 jump to the moon, because of the difficulty level?  Will Maclin break the speed of light? Correction: By how much will Maclin break the speed of light?

4 - How much media love are Kansas and Nebraska going to get over us, again, this season?

5 - NU (I believe, finally), ATM, UT, CU, KU, BU (sigh)

By the way, caught the Austin Toros game last friday. Quinn's cut his hair short but it's still greased to high heaven. And of course he was wearing a pink shirt. Of course.

Doug: And, think about it.  This is at least the second guy in KU Athletics with the first name of Jacque, albeit a somewhat tortured version of the name in this case.

The Boy: Oh Stryker would most definitely make the cut.  It's more the variations of already-established names that I want nipped in the bud.  Names like Stryker or, I dunno, Rumer would be frowned on but allowed.  Jocques or Dan-Tay would be disallowed.

ZouDave: and combo names like BenJarvis?

The Beef: Especially when followed by a hyphenated last name...that is what really make his name special

The Boy: Allowed.

Michael Atchison: I said I was done, but I’m back.  Doug mentioned something about Mizzou hoops being better over the long term than K-State.  Saturday night, as I was watching the Tigers beat Colorado, I was also trying to keep an eye on K-State/Baylor, Tennessee/Memphis and the Klitschko/Ibragimov insomnia cure (new heavyweight boxing rule: if there’s no action after three rounds, release a tiger into the ring).  Anyway, after watching KSU’s big two combine for 75 points and lose my thought was "some day soon, people in Manhattan are going to wake up and Beasley and Walker are going to be gone, and Frank Martin is still going to be there, and it’s going to be an ugly realization."  This realization apparently hasn’t been lost on Tim Weiser, who got out of town just in time for someone else to explain to Jon Wefald what happened.

The next game out, of course, Walker went 0-14 from the field, a number that would make Ricky Clemons envious.  If I were a K-State fan, I might be more worried that Beasley will leave and Walker will stay.  He seems to have the kind of personality that could be toxic in your best player.

The Boy: That's actually a good point about Walker.  He's all sorts of dangerous when he's on, but he has offdays even with Beasley in the lineup...without Beasley in the lineup, he might go 0-for-28...and last time I checked, all of Martin's recruits for this coming year were 3-star're going to need a few McD's AA's to make Martin look good, I'm thinking...

The Beef: I could not agree more Atch...I don’t want to overstate it, but I think given where each major program is with their coaching/player situations, we may see a program collapse like we have never seen before.  I see Prince gone after this season and their program in shambles, since their senior day in 2010 is going to have...oh...I don’t know...what...35 seniors?  As for hoops, wow is Bill Walker an enigma.  Beasley is amazing, and I have to believe the chances of his staying are about .00000000(a lot of zero’s)00001.  Pullen is decent, but Martin will either kill someone on the sideline, or actually drop an F-bomb or seven when talking about how bad his team plays defense...or his head will simply just explode.  If I am a K-state booster, I find the address of Weiser and just save it for about a year or two...then start sending UPS packages of dog crap.

rptgwb: 1 - 10 percent might be a fair number... I thought that the game against OSU was one of Mizzou's most complete efforts of the year, but I in no way saw it as this grand harbinger of success that Gabe made it out to be.

2 -  I don't know how much the postseason games alone will help the team, but extra practice time can't hurt. It seems like the guys that are coming back next year are starting to figure out their identity as a team, and any kind of postseason berth will help further develop that identity. Plus, missing the postseason won't make the next freshman class get here any faster.

3 -The biggest question for me is on the offensive line. The Boy has mentioned before that the Tigers have had three starting centers in the LAST 12 YEARS. Will Stigall step in and command this unit half as well as Spieker did? I'm also interested to see how the defense progresses without the emotional leadership of Pig Brown and Lorenzo Williams. Not to mention, how will they fill Zo's big void in the middle and can they find the replacement for Pig they lacked after his injury?

4 - I'm interested to see how all the new coaches play into the Big 12 equation. Can Mike Sherman revitalize an A&M program that went stagnant last year? Bo Pelini is bringing some fire back to Nebraska, but will that be enough? Will Art Briles miss Houston after spending time at Baylor? I think one of the most interesting teams this year, though, will be Texas. Mack Brown is an amazing recruiter, but he's horrible as a gameday coach. Mack is the type of guy who needs to surround himself with good assistants, and the addition of Applewhite and Muschamp is HUGE for his program. He has all the talent, but they were accused of playing "uninspired" for most of last year. Now he has guys to light fires under them.

5 - Picks:

ZouDave: Didn't Stigall leave the team?

rptgwb: Might have - I'm not running at full speed here. Who's the incumbent? Barnes?

The Boy: Yeah...Tim Barnes is the heir apparent at center.

Alright, I've got to ask far 22 people have voted in the Booker vs Sutherland matchup...and 4 have voted for Sutherland.  This is obviously going to be the route that it was supposed to be, but...I'd actually like to hear the justification of the 4 people voting for Sutherland.  He was tough as nails, but...14-0, people!!

ZouDave: Racists.