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Monday Musings

Another jam-packed week and weekend for Mizzou sports as we spin towards the start of the spring.  Some teams are really starting to hit their stride while other teams are finishing their season (some thankfully).  This was a crazy weekend for me with St. Pat's Day and both sides of the family in town, as well as a crazy all-sports Sunday to get through.  My week (actually three weeks or so) are insane, so let's get to it.

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Men's Basketball:
One game and it was done.  I don't have a strong passion to go over the game or how it ended, or the season and how it ended as well.  Here's hoping there is nothing that comes up between now and October that is going to make me talk about basketball again to be honest.  Does that make me a bad fan?  Perhaps, but it does make me tired of thinking about what our future holds for both the players and coaches associated with our program right now.  All I know is that in watching basketball most of the weekend and especially Sunday, we are NOWHERE NEAR ANYONE that played in terms of players, talent, smarts and perhaps even coaching.

Women's Basketball:
I was talking to a good friend of mine yesterday and we were speaking about how it appears Coach Stein may have saved her job for another year.  So aside from the obligatory remark about how our team needs to learn to shoot better, we did talk about Alden's record of not having a quick hook and how it has worked out.  It obviously has worked out in football and baseball, may still work out in soccer and obviously the jury is out on what might have happened in men's hoops had Quin been let go sooner.  Anyway, time will tell on Stein, I just fear there is a not a lot of talent there for her to work with.

But, at least one hoops team provided some some spark of excitement this past week, as Mizzou became the first ever Big XII team to win a game ranked as the #12 team (by a matter of a day as it would turn out), upsetting the somewhat disappointing OU Sooners in OT.  Mizzou limited their turnovers in the last 25 minutes to about 4 where they had double-digits in the first half, and that appears to have made the difference.  The Paris sisters combined for 42 boards (with Courtney contributing 30 and 20 of that)

They did come back down to earth the next day, falling to aTm and finishing their season.  The only thing I can think of is that this team is so very young and perhaps the talent that is really there will blossom in the off-season and improve the team next year.  If not, I figure we will not be having the same conversation about Stein and this program that many are having right now.

Alright, let's get to the happy stuff now, the diamond sports.  While the weather gave Mizzou some fits this past weekend, credit to them (and to Toledo as well) for getting all 4 games in over the weekend.  Now, if I am Toledo, perhaps I rethink that 4th game, as Mizzou just utterly dominated this weekend.  The only thing I knew about Toledo was that they came into this series hitting the ball well against their previous opponents, but they certainly left NOT hitting well.

What you need to know:
Mizzou outscored Toledo 30-7 on the weekend over the course of 36 innings, though 30-1 over the course of the first 33 innings
Mizzou's starting pitching (will not include Buehler in this) had the following line:

25 innings  15 hits 1 run (earned), 2 walks and 35 strikeouts.

Last week, when I did not think we could pitch much better, we throw the following line from the same three guys.

20.1 innings 12 hits 3 runs (2 earned) 5 walks and 23 strikeouts....I guess we COULD throw better

Mizzou has won 8 in a row and now sits at 13-2 on the season.  The Tigers now have a big week coming up for the Tigers this week, just from a sense of getting used to playing a lot more games in a shorter amount of time.  Mizzou will play two mid-week games on Tues-Wed against South Dakota State before having the first Big XII weekend of games at home against Baylor.  Expect (obviously) for Crow, Berger and Gibson to throw on the weekend, but it will be interesting to see who gets the starts and the innings during the week (especially with Zagone still sidelined by the bum shoulder).  Mizzou's starting pitching is going to take them as far as they can, let's see how they do against Baylor this weekend.

For as well as the men's baseball team is playing, I am not so sure the women are not playing just as well.  Yes, perhaps the level of competition is not really there right now, but 19 wins in a row is still 19 wins in a row...just ask the Houston Rockets.

The Tigers hosted North Dakota State and Wisconsin over the weekend, and the only game they really lost over the weekend was one to weather on Saturday.  Other than that, another 5 wins and what is nice to see is Jenn Bruck getting her stamina and standing back as a starting pitcher, giving Mizzou three legitimate starters.

Mizzou run-ruled their opponent in three of five games this weekend, outscoring the opposition 37-7.  Amanda Renth had some huge numbers with a couple of HR's on Sunday.  Of course, who can forget about the performance of Ubrun during the week in the pasting of Wichita State.  Overall, another great week for Mizzou who now sits at 27-6 and who should look to earn more votes.  The program record for wins in a row is 20, and Mizzou will look to top that this week with 2 games against Bradley during the week and then 2 games against Okie State this weekend at home, who is off to only a .500 non-con start.  How long will the streak continue?

A trip out west this past weekend and a decent but not great performance against Oregon State, Boise State and Sacremento State, coming in 3rd with a score of 195.325.  Adrianne Perry came in 4th on the afternoon in the All-around with a decent score of 39.175.

Mizzou has been somewhat consistent over the past few weeks to maybe month, which is OK, but not what you like to see.  I would hate to think Mizzou topped out earlier in the season, and they really are in need of day where they go 24 for 24 in hit routines.

They will have that chance as they return to Hearnes Center this coming weekend against the Sun Devils of Arizona State.  This will be the final home meet of the season and senior day for a small group of seniors, most notably Ashley Khederrian who placed 5th over the weekend with another 39 point effort.

Men's and Women's Diving:
No swimming going on this week, but both the men and the women were out to qualify for the NCAA Championships (yes, sort of strange that the swimmers qualify all season, but the divers have pretty much just the one shot at it).  Mizzou did have a very successful weekend, with getting two men and one woman into the NCAA's which will be next weekend in Columbus, OH

For the men, sophomore Greg DeStephen earned a his 2nd trip to the NCAA's in style, by winning the 3-meter diving competition outright by less than half a point.  Coming back on Sunday, freshman Dante Jones almost equaled the task in the platform competition, earning 2nd place.

For the women, junior Kendra Melnychuk earned her 2nd trip to the NCAA's by coming in 4th in the 3-meter dive.  Just goes to show we have some nice young talent which is being developed in the diving well by head coach Jamie Sweeney, with three underclassmen making trips, and two of them going back to improve upon their performance of last year.

Indoor Track:
Much of this was covered to the right in the diary I had running on Friday, but just a quick review.

Sophomore Nick Adcock placed 4th in the NCAA Heptathlon, earning All-American honors.  He was just 19 points off of his personal best performance, and should certainly be expected to build off of this experience in years to come.  Also earning AA honors on the men side was junior Chris Rohr, who finished 8th in the weight throw but evidently toe-fouled on a huge throw which would have put him at or towards the top had it counted.

For the women, three other All-Americans with senior Shermelle Nichols earning her 2nd honor, placing 6th in the shot put with another school record throw.  Junior Krishna Lee also earned the honor by placing 11th.  Rounding out the post-season Tigers was senior Trisa Nickoley, earning her 1st honor by placing 7th in the 800 meters.

The outdoor season will start this coming weekend down at Wake Forest.

Two conference matchups for the ladies this weekend against k-state and kansas.  The ladies fell to k-state on Friday by the score of 5-2, with junior Jessica Giugiolli earning the lone singles win on the day, and Mizzou earned the other point on the back of 2 of 3 doubles wins.  This match was very close, with 4 of the 6 singles matches going to a third set and the #5 singles match featuring 2 tie-breakers and a 3 hour and 45 match and eventual loss by freshman Maureen Modesto.

Coming back on Sunday, the Tigers scored their first conference win of the season, over the 55th ranked kU team 4-3.  After taking the doubles point, Mizzou got wins from Giugiolli (who between singles and doubles this weekend went 4-0), Maureen Modesto and Kaitlyn Richie.  The win also pushes Mizzou's lead in the Border War out to 15-10 and gives us a good shot at having a lead kU will not have enough events to overcome.

Up next for the Tennis team will be a road trip down to the state of Texas with matches against Texas Tech on Friday and then Baylor on Sunday.

Random Thoughts:

 *  Going to be a lot of these this week...consider yourself warned.

 *  Some FANTASTIC basketball on Sunday in the ACC and the Big XII Championship games.  A true pleasure to watch offense and defense (Clemson's pressure) at that high of a level.

 *  The reaction of Dennis Felton of Georgia shaking the hand of the Arkansas coach was so priceless because even HE could not believe what they had just done.

 *  My Devils started off the week on the wrong foot, getting drubbed at home by Montreal who is fighting for the same top spot which New Jersey still has.  They went on the road and took down both the Wild and Avs, both good wins and getting Marty Brodeur to his 40th win for a record 7th season.  He should pass Roy in the first month or so next season.

 *  I did not watch much golf on the day yesterday, just following it enough to see that Tiger had come from nowhere after his 1st day to the front of the pack.  I turned it on just as Tiger was lining up his putt on 18...and then drained that bomb.  Just insane.

 *  Good for Baylor for getting in on the "last pick".  I do not spend much time breaking down the brackets, but aside from questioning seeding at the top a little bit in the seed 2-3 range, I think it is a pretty balanced bracket.

 *  Houston Rockets...oh lord...I just dont get it.  I mean, Dikembe Mutombo started playing at G'Town still in the 80's, but is still getting it done enough.  I do not follow much pro hoops, but this is something I do not imagine I will see again for awhile.

 *  A little run of bad luck of late for Carl Edwards with the loss of 100 points and then the loss of his transmission last week while in the lead.  This week, on a cement track where he has done very well, he never quite got it going and finished 16th.

 *  Billy Packer said a guy shot 500 percent from the line on Saturday....time to put him out to pasture

 *  Strange to see a total CBS feed on ESPN2 yesterday

 *  I will make my final four picks later in the week.