Sheesh...I dont even want to think about how many words I have pounded out this past weekend on Mizzou sports, but hey, it is a labor of love right? Some sports thankfully are coming to a close, while others are getting into full gear giving us yet another winter/spring sports weekend for the Tigers. Keep an eye out for the Wrestling Wrap-Up, likely to come tomorrow or later this afternoon, but for now, let's get to the rest of the sports and how they did this past week.
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A split week for the Tigers going into the Big XII Tournament. A home finale win in OT against the Cyclones, where Mizzou should have easily won this game and lost this game before they finally did win the game. Then, a lovely first 25 or so minutes before reality set in against OU and we closed the regular season with a loss to the Sooners. With Big XII play now completed, we are slated to play Nebraska at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, and a win would move us ahead to the 8:30 game on Friday night against K-State. Needless to say...a tough road to go.
I am encouraged from the week about the play (when he is not getting into foul trouble) of Demarre Carroll. We have all read about the pain he is in with his ankle, but either the pain is starting to go away (a good thing) or he is changing and adding to his game around the pain (a potentially better thing). Other than that, while Leo's game is still better than it was 6-8 games ago, it is certainly down a bit from where it was a week or two ago. Keon and J.T. are still not showing much consistency at all. Matt Lawrence had a really nice half of basketball against OU, and Safford...well...who knows at this point.
As for NIT/CBI...whatever. From reading some comments in the KC Star, I am not too certain we would take a CBI berth, and...whatever. We wont draw for it at home, and while there would be more chance for practice, we still are too reliant on the relatively so-so play from our seniors, so I see the other side of the argument as well. Guess we will know the end result next week at this same time.
Earlier in the week I sent the stats of the Tigers to The Boy just to see what he thought. Here is what I think...our top scorer (Alyssa Hollings) shot less than 30 percent from inside the 3 point arc. I dont know that I have ever seen anything like that before. I mean, I do not know that I have looked before, but still, that just blows my mind.
Anyway, for the week, Mizzou lost again, to Colorado and K-state by about 50 points combined. Their season will (likely) end on Tuesday of this week as they play in the 2nd game of the Big XII Tourney against OU and the Paris sisters, who I expect to outrebound our entire team again. What happens from there is going to be anyone's guess, as comments by Alden which I believe appeared here made it sound like Stein might get another season. I like Cindy Stein, I like what she has done for this program, but I think a change in coach is the only way this still very young team can get past the horror that had to be this season.
I will have more on this later today or tomorrow in the Wrestling Wrap Up.
Should it ever come as a surprise that the home opener for Mizzou is...um...weathered out? I dont know how many times in a row it has happened, but I have to think it is a pretty good percentage over the past few years. But anyway, it left Mizzou with only 3 games this week in a strangely compacted series against Indiana State. Aaron Crow took down the Sycamores with ease on Saturday in frigid temps, fanning 9 in 7 innings. Coming back for a rare-twinbill on Sunday, the Tigers squeezed out a win over Indiana State 9-8 in the first game. Heading to the top of the 7th up 3-1, the Tigers gave up 5...then scored 5 right back in the bottom of the 7th. Indiana tied the score at 8 in the 8th, and Greg Folgia won it on a walk-off double. Coming back in the...um...afternoon-cap, the Tigers and Kyle Gibson completed the sweep 6-2. Kelly Fick had a nice 1.2 innings to close it out.
On the season, Mizzou now sits at 9-2 and will face Toledo in a 3-game weekend series this coming weekend at home. In fact, they are in the midst of a home stretch which will see Mizzou play their next 8 at home. The starting pitching this past weekend was amazing, with Aaron Crow, Ian Berger and Kyle Gibson combining to toss 20.1 innings and giving up just 12 hits, 3 runs (only 2 earned) with 5 walks and 23 strikeouts. I dont know that it gets much better than that across the country. Now yes, Indiana State is not the top flight talent we will be playing later in the season, but the starting pitching is just insane. The pen was fine in 2 of the 3 games, if that tightens up a bit, this season will be amazing.
Junior Lindsay Ubrun continues to really impress along with frosh Rhea Taylor and Mizzou has found a nice groove. Down at USF this past weekend, Mizzou had to battle many opponents and the weather, but fought through both to come out 5-0 on the weekend and now the owner of a 12 game winning streak to get them to 20-6 on the season. Collecting wins over Purdue, Nova, Long Island, UTC and Central Michigan, Mizzou is now winning games in all fashion, both high scoring and low scoring.
The continued use of a three-headed monster on the bump is proving dividends for the Tigers, as it appears junior Stacey Delaney has assumed the role of the ace with sophmore Jana Hainey the #2 and the crafty senior Jen Bruck waiting to close out a game or get starts when needed.
Coming up for the ladies this week will be another pretty full week of action, with a double header on the road at Wichita State during the week and then the Mizzou Classic with two games daily against North Dakota State and Wisconsin each day this weekend. 8 games this weekend, can the ladies keep the streak alive?
So last week I referenced that Mizzou could likely increase their ranking because it is now based on their top 3 home and top 3 road meets. They only needed to outscore what they put up early in the season against Bowling Green, which was 194.100. They did that, but their average score is funny because the 3 scores they will use for their ranking are within 0.750 of one another. Putting up a 195.400 for the CLOSE win over Illinois, Mizzou and Adrianne Perry will look to make a move in the national polls.
For Perry, another very solid 39.375 score should place her nice and high nationally, as she did not participate in the all-around against Bowling Green. Now with scores of 39.250, 39.375 and 39.450, Perry would have her score placed just inside the top 10 nationally depending on what others did over the weekend, but a high score nonetheless. For the team, a close win over a game opponent pushes their record on the season to 8-3, and this coming weekend will give them another chance to improve that ranking by heading back out on the road to perform against Oregon State, Boise State and Sacremento State. To improve their ranking score, Mizzou will need to score higher than 195.350. Given the time of season, they should be improved enough to do so and hopefully bump themselves up over the next two weeks.
A tough open to the Big XII season for the tennis team, as they travelled out to Boulder and did not win a set, obviously dropping the match to the Buffs 7-0. Really, no one came close to winning a set, as there were a couple of 6-4 set but that was really it. Mizzou now sits at 0-1 in conference at 8-5 on the season.
Coming up this weekend for the ladies will be a double-header at home against the schools to the west. kU will come to town on Sunday the 16th, preceeded by the Wildcats on Friday the 14th. kU is ranked 67th in the country...so I guess the powers-that-be rank that many teams at least.
Another team which battled through some elements this past weekend, this time while down at aTm and the 'Mo'morial Golf Tournament. A tough Sunday round meant a 12th place finish for the ladies (and 4th of the 5 Big XII teams which were there). Julia Potter definitely fell off a bit this past week, as it was Maddie Augustston with the top Tiger finish, just inside the top 20.
Coming up next for the ladies will be a return trip to Texas, this time to Austin for the Betsy Rawles Invitational over next weekend.
Track and Swimming:
This past weekend saw the "last-chance" meets for both of the sports, but no results. In fact, track had meets every day this past weekend in Neb, Ark, and Iowa State. both squads will participate at some level in the NCAA tournaments next weekend, especially keeping an eye on Kendra Melnychuk in the swimming qualifying.
Also, it should be repeated that Christian Cantwell won his 2nd World Indoor title this past week in Spain. Hopefully, Christian will keep all of that momentum going through the outdoor season, qualifying and the Olympics in China, where he will continue to be considered one of the favorites.
* Look, UCLA may win the NCAA Tournament, but I have NEVER seen a team get more calls in two games to WIN games than they did this past week. The defensive foul called on that clean block vs. Stanford was terrible, even being repeated by the Pac 10 folks. That of course set up the refs swallowing the whistle for their game against Cal, where, I dont know, there were THREE things that went against Cal in the last 15 seconds. The no-call on the hack in the corner (and I am not so sure the kid from Cal even touched the ball as he was being knocked over). Then the shot over the backboard, clearly illegal, and then everyone pouring on to the floor with time remaining which certainly could have been a tech. Then, the fact more time was not put back on the clock (should have probably been 1 second and not .7, which while not much, could have resulted in something better) was totally missed. Anyway, Doug Gottlieb did point out that these calls likely keep UCLA out west for the tourney and give them an easier path to the Final Four. Taints it just a bit for me.
* The Devils rattled off 3 more wins this week to get back to the top of the Eastern Conference. A TOUGH road trip coming this week with games at Montreal, Minnesota and Colorado.
* Max Scherzer K'ed 4 in 2 innings, but also gave up 4 hits and 2 HRs in the same span on Wednesday. Scherzer also gave up a HR in an outing last Saturday, a pretty rocky start to his spring training.
* This week and next week are the weeks that make me work the least with the advent of ESPN360 and the CBS Sportsline VIP Pass...sorry The Boy...will do my best to keep you up to date at your firewalled job :-)