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Mizzou Links, 2-17-09

Don't forget to set your DVR for ESPN's First Take (never thought I'd say that) to see Mike Anderson do what he does...unless, of course, you've given that show so many thumbs down on your TiVo that it won't let you record it...

Basketball links!

  • Post-Dispatch: Improved Missouri Tigers are on Oklahoma's radar screen
  • KC Star: Tigers love Tiller's tenacity
  • More important, however, is his defense. Tiller is second in the Big 12 with 52 steals. If they kept track of deflections, Tiller might lead that stat by double digits.

    As the defensive point man for Forty Minutes of Hell, coach Mike Anderson calls him a “Tasmanian devil.”

    The soul of the Missouri basketball team.

  • The Missourian: How does this season's MU basketball team measure up?
  • Upon Further Review: Meteoric Mizzou: Everybody else took two steps back
  • PowerMizzou: Like Father, Unlike Son
  • The Trib: Steve Walentik's Big 12 basketball notebook
  • Post-Dispatch (Bryan Burwell): Missouri is doing the right thing on the court as well as off it

And this link, for obvious reasons, gets to stand alone.

Missouri has been ranked in the top 20 of Ken Pomeroy's ratings for pretty much the entire season. Ken's numbers loved the Tigers through the Illinois debacle, through the free-throw meltdown against Xavier, the offensive drought against Nebraska and the best-shooting night of the season by Kansas State. The numbers were why I knew that the loss in Manhattan was more meaningful for the Wildcats than the Tigers. The numbers were why I knew over two months ago that the Tigers were a tournament-caliber team.

Pomeroy ranks teams based on adjusted winning percentages. He measures the points per possession scored and allowed for each opponent, adjusts each for quality of component, then calculates the new winning percentage based on those efficiency margins. The adjusted winning percentage is called the Pythagorean percentage. This percentage can be taken literally, meaning that Missouri's .9585 Pythagorean score means that the true quality of the Tigers this season is that of a team which should win 95.85% of its games against average D1 teams at neutral sites. Why do I hype Pomeroy's ratings so much? Because they work.

Looks like Ferrakohn Hall (previously mentioned here) may be getting close to an offer...

So this is fun: we always talk about how you can't truly evaluate a recruiting class (in football especially) until a few years later, once you see how everything's panned out.  Well, SI's Andy Staples did just that with the 2006 class, and guess what: Mizzou's class, ranked #47 at the time, comes in at #8.  Now, I cannot for the life of me figure out why OSU's is #5--it's good, but...#5?--but it's still pretty cool to see what happens to classes once coaches' evaluations and player development enter into the equation.

Dave Matter takes an interesting look at how Big 12 football coaching staffs have changed over the last couple of months.

It was an interesting reversal-of-fortune weekend for Mizzou Wrestling...

Kyle Gibson (1st-team) and Trevor Coleman (2nd): Pre-season Baseball All-Americans.

Finally...because I was at earlier, I decided to have some fun in the SI Vault.  I dug up an article from the last time Mizzou was in the Top 10 after Valentine's Day.  For your reading pleasure, here's "Behold These Tigers" from the 3/7/1994 issue of SI.

But just because Mizzou is short doesn't mean the Tigers are small. "I don't know if I've had a shorter team, but I've had a lot that weighed less," says Stewart. Of Missouri's top eight players, only Booker and 6'5" guard Julian Win-field weigh less than 200 pounds. The Tigers like to throw their beef around, too. Their picks are tougher to fight through than any block thrown of late by Missouri's hapless football team. In fact, Oklahoma coach Billy Tubbs gripes that the Tigers get away with so much roughhousing on defense that the Big Eight referees seem to be calling games by "Norm's rules" instead of the ones in the official rule book.

On Saturday it didn't do much for Tubbs's already sour disposition when Mark Atkins, a 6'5", 230-pound senior guard, came off the Tigers' deep bench and knocked down 7 of 11 three-point attempts to bury the Sooners' upset hopes. Atkins is a former juco player, as is junior walk-on Paul O'Liney, who scored 21 points playing in place of the injured Win-field. "I love to come off the bench and get the team jump-started," says Atkins. "I may be a sub, but I'm not a weak link." Also contributing to the cause is freshman whiz Kelly Thames, a 6'7" Scottie Pippen play-alike who helped stop the Sooners with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists.