UPDATE: After 108 votes, we're calling it. Askren wins, 61%-38%, and moves on to the Mizzou 25 finals.
We've accomplished something special for Mizzou 25, the tournament to decide the best, most influential, most likable Mizzou athlete of the past 25 years--we've found a way to put the words "Mizzou" and "Final Four" together!!!
Mizzou 25 was been set up in four 8-athlete regions: the Norm Stewart Region (basketball), the Larry Smith Region (football), the Joann Rutherford Region (all sports), and the Harold "Spider" Burke Region (fan favorites). After 28 matchups, we've got our regional champions: Anthony Peeler, Chase Daniel, Ben Askren, and Pig Brown. Click here for the bracket and here for previous Mizzou 25 posts/polls.
Now it's time to take a creative detour. That's right, I'm re-seeding! Since the football and basketball brackets were easily the most popular and highly-debated, I'm arranging things so that the champs of those regions don't have to face each other in the semifinals. Here are the official Final Four matchups:
3/28: Anthony Peeler vs Ben Askren
3/31: Chase Daniel vs Pig Brown
So without further ado...
Anthony Peeler vs Ben Askren
88-89: 10.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.8 APG
89-90: 16.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.8 APG
90-91: 19.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 5.0 APG
91-92: 23.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.9 APG
NCAA Tourney Wins: 3
03-04: 32-5, National Runner-Up
04-05: 34-3, National Runner-Up
05-06: 45-0, National Champion
06-07: 42-0, National Champion
Career Record: 153-8
Two National Titles
|Michael Atchison: Perhaps the most dizzying all-around talent ever to play at Mizzou, Anthony Peeler could slash, pass, score and defend the perimeter as well as any Tiger in history. A 6’4" guard from Kansas City’s Paseo High, Peeler was the Big Eight Newcomer of the Year in 1989, as he helped the Tigers reach the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. In his sophomore season, Peeler showed his remarkable versatility, averaging 16.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 2.0 steals en route to being named first-team All-Big Eight. He also became just the eighth Tiger to score 40 points in a game as he drilled Iowa State for 42, including a perfect 20 for 20 from the free throw line. After he lost the early part of his junior season to academics, Peeler returned and averaged 19.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists. Peeler was even more dominant as a senior, winning the Big Eight scoring title and Player of the Year honors, and leading a group of young role players to the NCAA Tournament. But the most vivid memory of that season came in a loss, when he scored an electrifying 43 points at Kansas. His 1,970 career points rank him third all-time, and he remains number one in assists (497) and steals (196).||
The Boy: Everything Chase Daniel is to the Mizzou Football team, Ben Askren was to Mizzou Wrestling. He's easily the best wrestler in Mizzou history, and one of the nation’s best wrestlers of the decade. All he did was win the last 87 matches of his career. He’s a two-time national champion at 174 pounds (and two-time national wrestler of the year) for a school devoid of many titles, and only OSU’s Chris Pendleton prevented him from being a four-time national champion.
During a redshirt season at Mizzou that was encouraging but did not come close to preparing Mizzou fans for what laid ahead in his career, he began to develop his own brand of ‘funk’, utilizing his lankiness, creating a wrestling style that continuously put his opponents off-balance, and being good enough at that style to rack up 91 career pins, 3rd-best in NCAA history.
Askren is one of the greatest athletes (possibly the greatest), personalities, and afros in Mizzou history, so much so that he's begun appearing on local commercials endorsing local companies. When's the last time a Mizzou wrestler had that sort of stature?