Make sure you catch rpt's Mike Alden Q&A below this...my Links posts knock other posts way down the page...I suck...
We'll start with some recruiting links! Inside Mizzou catches up with FZW's TJ Moe, while PowerMizzou has some video on Timberland's Montee Ball...of course, I can't really link directly to a video, so you'll just have to visit PowerMizzou and find the story, I guess. Also: a story on Kansas OL Justin Aumen.
The Trib has a nice story on Mizzou Wrestler Mike Chandler, a 1-seed at 157 pounds in this weekend's Big 12 Championships.
This year, the turning point in Chandler’s season was the same weekend Missouri reached its low point as a team. Against Indiana at the National Duals, Chandler beat two-time All-American Brandon Becker. He lost his next match to Iowa’s Ryan Morningstar, but Smith has seen a change in Chandler since his win over Becker, who knocked him out of the national tournament two years ago, one win shy of becoming an All-American.
"From that point, his season has really taken off," Smith said. "He began being physical with people, and he started to learn how to use his motor. He goes so hard. He started to learn how to use it and get people tired."
Chandler is 5-1 since the National Duals, with his only loss a 4-2 decision to Cornell’s seventh-ranked Jordan Leen. Two of those wins have come by technical fall, and three others have come over ranked wrestlers.
The only complaint Chandler has at this point in the season is his ranking, which has not risen above 12th.
"I kind of take that as an insult," he said. "I thrive off of that every day."
Here's this week's Big 12 Power Poll from Steve Walentik. I'd have KU #1, but otherwise it looks about right. OU could slip up at OSU tonight, but as long as they go 1-1 and win a game in the conference tourney, I think they're safe for the tournament. I drew up my first NCAA bracket yesterday, and really aren't enough deserving teams to fill all the at-large slots--right now somebody like Maryland or Western Kentucky or St. Joseph's will be getting in--so I think the Big 12 will get 6 teams...for now.
Oh yeah...Senior Night is tonight. The KC Star has a Keon-centric preview. That makes sense, considering he's the closest thing this team has to a senior leader. I had also missed in my link to Graham Watson's Leo-shouldn't-go-pro story yesterday that there was a blurb at the bottom in which Keon says there's a 0% chance of him transferring. Good.
And speaking of Senior Night, a couple things should be interesting...a) how much applause the seniors actually get, and b) how Butterfield, Brown, and Volkus all interact while on the court together. Who jumps? Who plays SF (Brown, I presume)?
Not that you needed to read anything beyond my Pre-Nikai/Post-Nikai post to reach this conclusion (ahem), but Graham Watson points out that, uhh, this team certainly misses Stefhon Hannah's presence on defense.
There were a couple strangely close games last night. Texas knocked off an improving NU team by just 4 at home, while K-State beat a not-improving CU team by just 6 at home. Not exactly a huge vote of confidence heading into the postseason, especially for KSU. Beasley's numbers keep getting sicker and sicker, and K-State seems to be regressing.
One note about NU, though: Sadler redshirted about half his team last year, and it's starting to pay off. They'll probably take something of a step backward without Maric, but they seem to be relying on him less and less as their other players (and the team as a whole) get better. Granted, nobody else on the team is averaging more than 9.0 PPG, but scoring isn't really NU's game. Taking you out of your game is, and they're getting better at that. I'm not predicting the NCAA tourney next year for them or anything, but they've certainly stepped out of the CU/ISU basement...at least for now...
Finally, PowerMizzou is almost done with its spring football preview...yesterday, it posted its write-up on Mizzou's safeties. William Moore = best in country.