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Rock M Roundtable!

First of all, let's welcome a new member to the roundtable...ghtd36...greg, I am so completely habits-based, that I will forget you at LEAST once...but don't take it personally...

1 - Clearly time will bring historical perspective to this, but less than a week after this season has ended, where do this team and this basketball season rank among Mizzou's best?

2 - More specifically, where does the win over Memphis rank among Mizzou's best wins?

3 - On a scale of 1-10, how nervous were you that Mike Anderson wouldn't be coaching in Columbia next year?

4 - Now that he's locked up long-term, what do you consider Anderson's ceiling here at Mizzou?

5 - Finally...ten years ago today, Norm Stewart retired.  Entire BOOKS could be written about the last ten years of the Mizzou basketball program, but describe the decade in ten words or less.

The Beef: 1 - Among the TEAMS I have seen, it is the best.  I am somehow guessing Atch has better perspective on this than any of the rest of us (and I swear that is not a crack about his age).  I think that 2001-2002 had more TALENT on it (though at different times of their careers), but obviously they really never got it all going in the right direction for the entire season.  Also, this past run (Big XII Title included) is much more impressive than the surprise run of the 01-02 team, which again…given the talent they had and actually the teams they played in that run, was not ALL that surprising when you look back at it.

2 - I think it is up there, but I don’t really know how to rank a win over a team like that since I did not see them a ton and when I did, they were losing to Georgetown.  Memphis is currently in a REALLY tough spot because they just cannot load up the OOC enough before that conference season just flies by without a real test.  Tyreke Evans is a tremendous talent, but I just don’t see how that team can get really TOUGH before the NCAA’s, and I think that is what it came down to.  We imposed our will on Memphis and smacked them around like no one had in months.

And sorry for my overuse of capital letters…

3 - I think I was nervous in general because of the money which all of a sudden is being thrown around and knowing what our AD’s limitations would likely be.  When the reports came out that Anderson had visited Georgia, I had a little pit in my stomach, but I will say the reports of no offer being made (and Atch made a good point on the semantics of that whole deal in one of the threads), I figured if they had not really pushed it to him, then we were fine.  I will admit to being pleased to see Calipari really take his time making his decision and everything else from there just worked out.  I would say on the whole…my highest was a 4.

4 - I don’t know...obviously a Final Four is possible given what this team was able to do.  Honestly, if a Final Four is possible, then winning it all is possible.  Am I going to sit her and type that Mike Anderson will get us there?  No, because it is not my nature to make wild statements like that.  I will leave that to Ridiculous Matt

5 - Up and down and back up again.  There you go.

rptgwb: 1. It's almost unfair to ask me this, because my historical perspective is far less established than those of my colleagues. I'm going to respectfully bow out of this one, but I will say that there has never been a season with a team this enjoyable to watch from the standpoint of the quality of the characters and the aura around the team.

2. It's got to at least be in the discussion at the top. People have done a bit of revisionist history since the loss, but let's not forget that people were arguing that Memphis should have been a one-seed and many people's favorite not only to come out of the region, but to win the whole thing. Mizzou absolutely took the game to Memphis and did not only come away with a win, but came away looking like they were undoubtedly a better team.

3. With the Alabama rumors, I was at about a 3.5. With the Georgia rumors, I was at about a 2. The Memphis rumor is the only one that really moved the needle for me. At its peak, I'll say a 6.

4.I can't believe I'm about to say this, but the ceiling is a national championship. I'm not saying I expect one, but I'm saying that his year's team proved that Anderson and this program are certainly viable options to contend for future championships.

5. Snyder hired, does dumb stuff, we suck, Anderson wins, BYAH!


ZouDave: 1 - My perspective on this won't be terribly broad, as I only started paying attention to basketball in the 1989-1990 season and even then I didn't really know anything other than "Did Mizzou win?".  With that said, the only season I've enjoyed more than the one we just finished was the 1993-94 season.  Going undefeated in the Big 8, getting a 1 seed...hard to top that.  This came REALLY close to being the best season we've ever had hands-down.  You can still make the argument for it.
As far as teams go?  Talent-wise, not in the Top 5 and probably not in the Top 10.  But there's very few Mizzou teams you'd pick over them in a game.
2 - It was huge, but I think every time we've beaten kansas when they've been in the Top 5 has been a bigger win.  There's probably been a handful of others in the same category, but as far as tournament wins go I think it's our best ever.  Hell, even as far as non-con games go I think it may be our best ever.
3 - Maybe a 2 to 3.  I wasn't nervous at all.  Mike Anderson strikes me as a high character guy that wouldn't be swayed just by money, and let's be honest that's the ONLY thing Georgia had that Missouri doesn't is more money.  My tone would have been different if it had been Kentucky on the other end of the phone, but it wasn't.  Given the schools that were after him, I thought Missouri was in great shape.
4 - He can take us as high as possible, but he's going to have a harder time doing it year after year.  There's absolutely no reason Mike Anderson can't coach a National Champion at Mizzou, but it's going to be a team like the one he just had that has a ton of senior leadership and chemistry.  He'll have teams like that, then it will probably be 2-3 years in a row of lesser teams and then those next group of guys will be Seniors and we'll make a run, then step back a little bit for 2-3 years and do it again.  I'm not going to say I have an expectation of a National Title, or really even necessarily a Final Four, but the season we had this year was just a couple of plays away from being extended and this will NOT be the best team Mike Anderson ever has at Mizzou.
5 - A giant kick to the nuts that leads to a hand-job.
I'm stepping into a meeting at 9:00 so I will probably not be around to help derail this thing for at least 90 minutes.  I derail it before I get back.

The Beef:

Doug: 1 - If you want to talk about developing a team to get the most out of the talents of the individual players, I would think this MU team is probably number one all time.  Hindsight being what it is, I think people should have expected more out of this Missouri team earlier in the year.  Given the style they played, two seniors at the post and a deep rotation, this was the kind of the team built to take others by surprise, especially in the NCAA tournament.  However, does it compare as favorably to the years of Sunvold and Stipo?  An actual Missouri fan would have to answer that one.

2 - In terms of ranking... I have no idea.  Going back to the game, I realize the first 10 minutes were dominated by some of the finest matador-half-court defense I've ever seen on both ends of the floor.  However, for a solid 10 to 15 minutes of game time, MU manned up and Memphis decided to turn itself into a jump shooting team, which they are decidedly not.  I honestly thought Memphis was going to win in the second half, when they went back to the driving into the lane, but when Sallie committed the foul to increase the lead from 6 to 8, I realized... "Nope, this game is over."  All Memphis had to do was keep driving the basket the entire, and why they didn't... is pretty much the reason Kentucky should not be hiring Jon Callipari.

3 - Nervous?  I was suppose to to get nervous about this?  I figured if someone was crazy enough to offer Anderson crazy F-you money, then he should take it.  If he was happy in Columbia, then he did the right thing taking the nice raise from Alden and settling in for the long run.

4 - First and fore-most he has to answer the recruiting question.  He's found some nice guards to run his style of game, and Lyons and Carroll fit in quite nicely as well.  However, he inherited Lyons and he's related to Carroll.  I'm obviously not breaking new ground here, but finding those big men who can run and play the style he wants for 40 minutes could make life difficult.  I think Seth is right, to make another long run in the tournament, he'll probably need another senior laden team, it's just that in the future, they'll be his seniors.  But, I can see Anderson taking MU to a Final Four, like I said earlier, his style can be the kind that can luck out in the giant crap shoot that is the NCAA Tournament.

5 - How about a Haiku?

Attack of the Quin.
Revenge of the Ricky C.
Anderson makes good.

(30 minutes later...)

rptgwb: Quiet day today. Where's the chatter?

Doug: Well... Dave said he was in a meeting.

But, I bet Conficker got him.

The Beef: I know The Boy is in his weekly 9am Wednesday meeting…

And needless to say…poor first showing from the new guy

Doug: Maybe Conficker got him, too.

Maybe it's going to get you next. Damn Conficker.

ghtd36: Wow, this is strange. There are usually only two types of e-mails that I receive this early in the morning, and the other one involves my receipt of "$79.3 million American dollars American" from a Nigerian princess. Speaking of which, anyone know a good African airline?

1 - I hate to cop out and claim rpt-esque lack of historical perspective, but...I'm going to do exactly that. For those unaware, my fandom at Mizzou began during the 2003 football season, so...this team is definitely better than any one that I've seen. Definitely.

2 - I do, however, have enough knowledge about the program-shaping wins (I think...), and the Memphis win would have to rank pretty highly. It had everything: a big win played in Mizzou's style on a neutral floor against a team that had a real argument as the best team in the land (just ask Senor Pomeroy). It had momentum swings that Mizzou overcame (remember when Memphis pulled within six with 5:54 to play?), it had its stars playing well (Good Leo, JYD), it had unexpected giant contributions (Jesus.Tyrannosaurus. Tiller), and, most importantly, it had an iconic moment (Denmon's Dran-o from Surprise, Ariz). I wasn't at the latter, but I would rank it only behind No. 2 Mizzou beating No. 1 Kansas in 1990.

3 - I was probably a 4 on the nervous scale. Every piece of evidence told me that Mike Anderson loved Mizzou, loved what he was building, and loved having a family in Columbia. All that being said... money, contrary to popular belief, does talk. I was afraid of the mega-deal, the offer you can't refuse, the "well, I sure do like Columbia, but I like $Texas better" offer. But once Alabama hired Grant, I thought it was pretty much assured that CMA would be spotted at Macy's (that's still a place, right?) picking out black and gold ties. Now, if Calipari had taken the UK job quicker, I might have grown more nervous, but I was (believe it or not) confident in Mike Alden.

4 - The ceiling? There isn't one. Mike Anderson can win it all at Missouri. I believe that now more than ever. The argument against that is the ol' Texas Tech football argument, saying that systems, while they can win a lot, can't win the whole thing. But the difference is that while Mike Anderson does coach a system, it's more about a TYPE of athlete that he recruits. Texas Tech football is about plays, and especially play-calling; Missouri basketball is about attitude. It's about fundamentals, defense, and hustle. Those are, uh, good things.

5- Survived Quin, relished in Mike. With five words to spare.

Michael Atchison: 1 - This team is certainly in the discussion; unlike the other teams under consideration, they didn’t win the regular season conference title, and I think that’s a big hurdle in the path to Best Ever.  Taking into account only the modern era (I don’t want to try to compare against the epic squads of Walter Meanwell and Craig Ruby in the years surrounding World War I), and defining the modern era as beginning when Norm Stewart became coach in 1967, I think these are the other contenders:

1976:  Won the Big Eight Holiday Tournament (there was no postseason tournament then), won the Big Eight regular season title, advanced to the Elite Eight (where Willie Smith put on what may be the best performance ever by a Tiger), and but for a very questionable technical foul called on Kim Anderson for grabbing the rim after being undercut, they could have gone to the Final Four.  This team doesn’t get enough credit because not enough people remember.  Finished the year 26-5.

1982:  Ricky Frazier is the Big Eight Player of the Year, Jon Sundvold and Steve Stipanovich are juniors.  Team achieves Missouri’s first-ever number one ranking after starting the year 19-0.  Win the Big Eight regular season and postseason tournament championships.  Advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, where they met a Houston team led by Michael Young (and featuring yet unknown role players Akeem (before the “H”) Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler).  A late rally nearly erased a ten-point deficit.  Missouri fell, 79-78, on a day when they just couldn’t make free throws.  Finished the season 27-4.

1994:  After beginning the year looking flat-out terrible (the 52-point loss at Arkansas, narrow wins over Central Missouri, Jackson State and Coppin State), the Tigers come alive with the unfathomable 108-107 three-overtime victory over Illinois.  From there, the senior-laden team led by Melvin Booker (conference player of the year), sweeps the Big Eight, a perfect 14-0.  They bow out in the second round of the league tournament (and barely survived eighth-seeded Colorado in round one), but still earn a number one seed and advance to the Elite Eight, where they get overpowered by Arizona.  Final record: 28-4.

The 2008-09 team (conference tournament title, school record win total, Elite Eight) belongs in the discussion with those teams.  There are other teams that could make their case (1989 and 1990 among them), but I don’t think I could ever conclude that they were better than this club.

2 - Every great win seems like the best win in the immediate aftermath.  Again, this one is on the short list.  The win against Illinois in December 1993 was big for all sorts of reasons.  The two wins against Kansas in 1990 that allowed Mizzou to take the top ranking from the Jayhawks, were big.  For sheer NCAA drama, the win against Notre Dame in 1980 was huge.  But Memphis is a game that folks will talk about for a long time, and it only gets better when you consider that it was John Calipari’s last game at Memphis, and that Memphis then wanted Mike Anderson, who turned them down flat.

3 - My nervousness level got only to three, and that was when I heard the crazy money that was floating out of Memphis.  Georgia always seemed like a peculiar landing spot.

And while we’re on the subject, I don’t know that this happened, but I know what it looks a little like to me.  Given how things turned out, it doesn’t appear that Mike Anderson had any real interest in leaving.  He listened to an enormous offer, went back to Columbia, and accepted lesser (at least on a per-year basis) money within a day.  It was decisive, and it allows him to squash any future rumors.  He can say that he listened to a huge offer from Georgia and turned it down, and then turned down Memphis flat.  From this point forward, any recruit that Anderson engages can credibly believe that Mike Anderson is staying at Missouri forever.  In some ways, what Anderson did over the past couple of days doesn’t just secure his future, it secures the future of the program.  Was it calculated?  I don’t know, but it sure produced a fine result.

4 - The ceiling is a national title.  He got to the under-twelve minute timeout in the Elite Eight tied with a top-seeded team.  They hit a couple of shots and they’re in the Final Four.  Once you’re in the Final Four, you can win it all.  Maybe this past year is as good as it gets, but would you really want to bet on that?  When he got the job three years ago, the program had been burned to the ground.  The turnaround is almost unfathomable.  Does anyone have any real reason to believe that it’s going to go backwards?

5 - Big hopes, then chaos, now nothing but success and pride.

The Beef: Regarding Conficker...I guess I read it was starting slower than they anticipated?  And by “it” and “they” I mean I have really no idea what I am talking about.

ghtd36: Ladies and gentlemen, The Beef: master of pronouns.

Doug: Wow... new guy's already showing you up.

Way to derail the thread, my man.

rptgwb: Which is funny, because between The Boy and The Beef, it seems like Rock M Nation is the master of articles.

The Boy: Alright, I'm back to re-rail the conversation...or not...we'll see how this goes.

1 - I still have to think 1994 is better.  Basically the same list of accomplishments as this team, only they won a conference title (oh yeah, and went 14-0 in conference) instead of a conference tournament title.  It's funny to think back to the 2002 team, a team that was great in November but so bad in late-December and January that they almost missed the tourney.  If they'd made the Final Four as a 12-seed, it would have been Mizzou's biggest accomplishment ever...but by a team that might not even rank in the school's overall Top 10.  Would they automatically have ranked #1 because of the Final Four bid?  Anyhoo...

2 - It was the most exhilaration I've felt about a postseason win since we were beating the everliving crap out of Ohio State in the aforementioned 2002 run.  But even then, Ohio State was a #4 seed.  Memphis was a #2 (with a case for #1), and not only did Mizzou beat them, but they scored 102 points on what was considered the best defense in the country.  You'd have to maybe go back to the 1989 Sweet Sixteen run to find such a "WOW" victory, and even then, those impressive showings weren't against a top seed.  I dunno...was this Mizzou's most impressive postseason win ever?  Clearly there are wins like the '93 Illinois game, which seemed to give the momentum boost of all-time to that '93-'94 team, but as far as postseason wins go, this may be #1.

3 - I was never more than about a 2 or 2.5 about Alabama, but once the word started to spread about what Calipari was being offered, I got very nervous.  I thought we were safe against schools like Alabama or Georgia or maybe even Memphis if they were offering $2 million or so, but if Memphis came out, guns blazing, with a $2.5 million or even $3 million offer, I was about to get really nervous about that.  I'd say at my peak I got to about a 5 or so.  I knew the smart money was always in Anderson staying in Como, but it was getting at least a little dicey for a bit.

4 - Per this morning's post, Anderson is on par with or even ahead of where Nolan Richardson was at this point in their respective careers.  Nolan Richardson went to three Final Fours and won a national title.  Therefore, my deductive reasoning tells me the ceiling is a Final Four or a national title.

5 - Crazy, confusing, exciting, disappointing, probation, suck, uncertain, stupid, Athena, WOOHOOOOO!  Ten words on the dot.

(30 minutes later...)

The Boy: And since this e-mail did nothing to invigorate the conversation, I'll try this:  what's most dominant about this link: the comedy, the creepiness, the pain, or the pure inexplicability?

The Beef: Deranged Boner may be the funniest thing I have read in a long time

Michael Atchison: Another thing I want to mention, and The Boy hit on this last night, but Gabe DeArmond really distinguished himself on this story, and you couldn’t have had much of a brighter contrast between good reporting and hysteria than we saw (and heard) yesterday.  It turns out that all of the radio chatter yesterday was about nothing.  Nothing.  While folks were filling up the airwaves with “he’s gonna go” and rumors and innuendo and snide putdowns, Mike Anderson was preparing to sign a deal.  All that other stuff was just talk, just filling up time.  And Gabe was cool, telling what he knew, admitting what he didn’t know, and coming off like a much bigger man than some folks on the radio who actually mocked him.  They’ll never own up to being shown up (for those guys, it’s about entertainment and not information anyway), but everyone who was paying attention will know.

You’d think that people would have learned three years ago.  It really was the death of cool.  During the time between when Snyder was fired and Anderson was hired, there was hysteria, and I really think it helped to shape the perception that put Mike Alden in the very uncomfortable spot in which he found himself (though, to be sure, Mike helped put himself in that spot by the awkward way that Quin’s end came).  People were hyperventilating.  He’s not going fast enough.  He’s going to blow it.  Huggins is right there!  Sign him up!  Very few people were stepping up to say take a breath, step back, it might take a little time.  The process is important when making a hire or re-upping a coach for the long haul.  People have to let it happen.  Be cool.

The other thing that this whole process ought to reaffirm to people is the need to hire the right guy, not the hot guy.  I understand why people were smitten with the idea of Bob Huggins back in 2006, and I get why they thought that Mike Anderson was a relatively pedestrian choice in comparison.  But step back now and ask yourself, Who got the right guy?  You almost have to laugh that there was ever any question.

The Boy: I'm not going to lie: I take a certain amount of secret satisfaction watching people who were polluting certain unnamed sites/boards with "Fire Pinkel!  Hire Gary Barnett!  Fire Quin!  Hire Bob Huggins!  Fire Alden!  WIN NOW!!!!  RAWWWRRRRR!!" talk three years ago, now saying how proud they are of the high-character ship we're currently sailing...

ghtd36: Uh...yeah. I definitely fell in three of those five categories (Pinkel, Quin and Alden). But in my defense, I was but a freshman. And a dumb one at that. But let me defend those three stances as best I can.

With Pinkel, I thought he had wasted the best talent to come through Mizzou since Kellen Winslow (Bd. Smith) and had nothing but a one-game-better-than-.500 record. He hadn't shown me anything. At all. Match that with some really, really befuddling decisions (the fake FG against TAMU in 2006) and some inexcusable losses (Troy, KU in 2004 and 2005, K-State in 2005), and you had a really angry freshman/sophomore.

I do not feel like I need to justify why Quin should have been fired.

And Alden, being responsible for both Pinkel and Quin, caught auxiliary flak from me.

So there.

rptgwb: ghtd36 as a freshman: Fire Pinkel! Fire Alden! Something about Quin!

rpt as a freshman: SB Nation needs a Missouri blog. Oh, hey, we have the number one football team in the country. Sweet.

ZouDave: ZouDave as a freshman:
What the hell is e-mail?

The Beef: The Beef as a freshman:

Hey…I know the phone number of a dude on the 5th floor of Gillette…if I count up…we can get the number of that hot girl from class on the 7th floor

ghtd36: Brad Smith as a freshman:


ghtd36 : Brad Smith :: rptgwb : Pig Brown

rptgwb: My response to ghtd:

Side question - Spring football: Woooooo?

Michael Atchison: Michael Atchison as a freshman:

Anyone got a typewriter I can borrow?  And any idea if Hudson Hall will every get air conditioning or cable TV?

There weren’t dudes in Gilltette when I was there, and part of my job working at the Rollins Group desk was to make sure it stayed that way.

The Beef: I always thought there was something strange about living in the only all-male building on campus (Wolpers, and yes…I know…it was not that way when you were there) and there only being one urinal in the entire place.

Doug: Doug as a freshman:

Sweet. High-speed internet. A/C. And a co-ed dorm.

Wait... Terry Allen is the football coach? Crap.

ghtd36: As for spring football, it depends: what kind of tailgating can I expect before the spring game? Will the Tailgate Queen be in mid-season form?

The Beef: Actually…the Tailgate Queen may NOT be in town for that one (gasp!!!)  She (in what little spare time she has) manages a restaurant in St. Charles (Old Millstream Inn…110 different kinds of beer available and best Rueben around) and as most of their seating is outdoor, business really picks up once the Spring starts.


So…tailgating MAY suffer a bit

ZouDave: and that hot girl ended up being:
The Boy, as a freshman.

The Beef: Funny…but no…they changed all the phone numbers (and prefix and friggin area code) after my freshman year and The Boy did not land in Hatch until later

The Boy: Actually, The Boy, as a freshman: BANGING ZOUDAVE'S SISTER.

The Beef: Wow…glad to see the final derailing there…..

Doug: It derailed and collided with an nuclear reactor. During an earthquake.

rptgwb: The Boy with the most epic of wins.

In the words of Ali G: "Dude, that's it! Roundtable ova!"