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Rock M Roundtable!


1 - A quick basketball question before we shift roundtable gears to Spring Football: Where do you figure Kansas and Missouri stand to be ranked in the preseason next September/October?

2 - Okay, another one: JT Tiller apparently played the last month and a half of the season with damaged wrist ligaments that required surgery when the season ended.  On the 1-10 Toughness scale, where does Tiller rank among current and former Tigers (in any sport), and who might still rank above him?

3 - To football: Most encouraging sign for Mizzou (or Kansas, Doug) emerging from spring practices thus far?

4 - Most discouraging sign for Mizzou (or Kansas, Doug) emerging from spring practices thus far?

5 - How exactly do you intend to kill the next five months until football officially kicks off?

The Beef: 1 - If kU is returning everyone (and as far as I know they are), I expect them to be ranked probably between 10-15.  If they add whatever the name of that HS kid who wants to go there now (Henry?), then I could see them pushing top 10.  As for Mizzou, I could see a lot of people not knowing where to put us.  On the surface, we are going to lose a LOT of our scoring from this past season (by averages) and even more of our rebounding.  I could see that scaring off voters and us maybe not making the top 25 to start the season…which I am fine with.  We will certainly have some holes to fill.

2 - For some reason, I still put Clarence above him for toughness because Clarence seems to wear his toughness a little bit more on his face.  Strange criteria I realize, but you just saw it ooze out of him more than you do Tiller, whose expression does not seem to change too much when he is throwing himself around the court and causing everyone playing the JT Tiller Drinking Game to drink two.  I have some others up there, but Tiller is among the discussion.  I put him around a 7-8.

3 - That Gabbert has come out and won the job without any alternative discussion whatsoever, along with the newly-reported progression of Blaine Dalton.  I was a believer that one of the two frosh (Dalton or Glaser) likely would need to see some time, and putting a year in between them (and two between one of them and Gabbert) would not be the worst idea.  I also like hearing that people like Egnew, Kemp and Jackson are having decent springs and getting comfortable with Gabbert.  Add Alexander and Perry back to the mix with those guys and Jones and you at least take a few decent steps towards replacing some of the ridiculousness talent lost/graduated in Maclin/Coffman/Saunders/etc..

4 - Um…I don’t know that I have really read one.  Even place kicking seemed decent the other day.  By all means, I do not believe the team is perfect…far from.  I just think I have heard of decent progression from people at every spot in the lineup.  And so while I might be disappointed certain PLAYERS have not done what I was hoping they would, other players at their positions have and covered them.  So right now, I am pretty pleased.

5 - Hockey playoffs will take the next two months or so of my attention for the most part.  I mix in a little baseball, but not really for good until after the All-Star Break.  Pro Basketball may get a minute or two towards the end of their playoffs, but only if the finals matchup intrigues me.  I do watch a decent amount of golf (or Tiger I guess) and that should get me to August when two-a-days will get back going.  I also drink heavily most of the summer….

Doug: 1 - If everyone returns, and I think that will happen, KU already has a couple of really good freshman coming in and without a signing like Lance Stephenson or Xavier Henry, will probably be a top 10 team. If Stephenson or Henry sign on, that moves KU up to at least top five. Missouri is a little more complicated, you don't lose your two best players, especially if they're post players, move on without missing a beat. I think the Tigers are in the also-receiving-votes category when the first pre-season poll comes out.

2 - Uh... damned if I know.

3 - KU has had to cancel a couple of their scheduled open practices due to weather, so I don't think many people are getting a first-hand idea of what the team is looking like right now. However, Kerry Meier is getting a lot more practice work at receiver, something that wasn't happening the past two seasons, since he was still the back-up quarterback. Kale Pick still has a way to go to be the full-time back-up, but it's good to see Meier getting more reps with catching the ball.

4 - I don't like to hear that Dezmon Briscoe is being held out for violation of team rules, but you'll never find out exactly why, I'm sure.

5 - Well, the Master's start tomorrow, and U-Verse is hooking me up with the constant coverage channels of Amen Corner and the 15th and 16th holes, plus there's nothing like a Sunday afternoon watching 6 hours of golf interrupted by very brief commercial breaks. Who doesn't love that? And, when it does become consistently warm here, (seriously, snow? WTF?) I'll turn my attention toward more baseball, and of course, we'll have the NFL Draft in another couple of weeks with the NBA Play-offs and Draft shortly there after.

Michael Atchison: On my phone. This will be choppy.

1. Too early to tell. If everyone comes back for KU and if they get the recruits left on the table, could be top three. If Cole and Collins leave and they whiff on recruits, could be unranked. For Mizzou, get DeWitt and/or Famous (especially Famous) on campus, and they could be between 10 and 15. Don't, and it's closer to 25.

2. JT broke the needle on the scale. He's Norm Stewart/Andy Russel/Lamont Frazier tough.

3&4. I'd be faking it if I tried to give any reasoned analysis of spring football.

5. Read a lot of books, think about writing one (or at least some long freelance pieces), have eyes examined, wage war against LDL cholesterol -- basic old man maintenance. And spend lots of time with The Hold Steady's new live disc/DVD.

Sent from my iPhone

Ridiculous Matt: 1. KU should be #1. People who are way more in the know than I am have told me Henry's a lock for KU. Collins and Aldrich have nothing to gain by going pro, and everything to gain by staying. Aldrich can work his way into a top 10 spot in the 2010 draft. Additionally, the NBA's restructuring its CBA in 2011, and one of the things on the table is the rookie scale. It's unlikely they'll get a shift, but the possibility alone of it beinga applied to current rookie contracts means its worth the wait. Missouri should hover around the #20 mark. I think Anderson's showed enough this year and has a returning backcourt, which is a pretty big deal.

2. JT Tiller is a Terminator and does not feel pain. Your argument is invalid.

3. Alexander hasn't gone down with an injury yet.

4. There's still time for Alexander to go down with an injury.

5. I write two NBA Blogs, so I kind of have a lot going on with the playoffs, plus doing everything I can to boost the draft stock of the Mizzou kids. INFLATION RULES.

The Beef: Are you talking about Van Alexander?  Because, while he certainly did not get his money’s worth out of his eligibility….I am pretty positive he is out of it

ZouDave: Hey Matt....the reason Danario hasn't gone down with an injury is because he's already out with an injury.

Ridiculous Matt: thanks for ruining my blissful ignorance.


ZouDave: 1 - Mizzou will probably be in the Top 20.  We're going to be on everyone's radar for sure, but there will be questions abound since we lost JYD, Good Leo and Goose.  Bringing in Famous (and Dewitt being eligible) would help us a lot here.  kansas will probably be Top 10 at worst, and will go higher depending on if Aldrich stays and which of the top flight recruits end up at kansas.
2 - I guess I don't really know enough about other injuries to rank him among others, but that's pretty freaking ballsy.  Gonna go with 8.  Anyone above him has probably been shot.
3 - I think the emerging depth at WR is pretty encouraging.  Engew, Kemp and Jackson seem to be working really well with Gabbert, I still think we're going to see good things out of Woodland, and we still have Perry and Alexander to add back into the fold.  I wish we were hearing better things about McGaffie, as I was really expecting him to be better at this point, but it's WAY too early to worry about that.  I also love the fact that we're hearing how much Steckel is instilling a new personality into the defense with his toughness and demanding nature.  Having a pissed off defense will probably be a good thing.
4 - Probably the most discouraging thing is that we haven't found a true #2 DT yet.  Seems like Baston is continuing to do really well, and our DE's are looking unblockable, but we don't have another DT to go along with Baston.  DT has really been pretty good for us for the past few seasons with Ziggy and Lorenzo and then Ziggy and Baston.  Here's hoping that either Resonno figures it out, Maples continues to impress, or the spot is just being kept warm for Sheldon Richardson.
5 - I will try really hard to be interested in baseball, but I will fail in that endeavor around the middle of May.  Over the summer I'll enjoy watching the World Cup qualifying matches and the Gold Cup in soccer.  But yeah, I really hate this time of year for sports.  I just can't care about the NBA or NHL, and baseball is so boring on a day-to-day basis.  Overall I can be interested in baseball, but it's more of a weekly status thing than a daily game thing.

The Beef: I think baseball would be a lot more interesting if there was a way to really participate in it…like a way to simulate a season so it almost seemed real….I don’t know…maybe that is just something I would be interested it.

And by your reasoning…JYD is tougher than Tiller…since…you know…he’s been shot.

ZouDave: Yeah but did he play while being shot?

And the new OOTP comes out sometime in the next month or so, and I've been giving serious thought into doing another sim league like I did oh those many years ago.  Will it happen?  Oh the drama!

rptgwb: 1. If Kansas brings in the late recruiting haul that's expected following the Calipari fallout AND holds on to Sherron and Cole, they're a top five team, no question. If Sherron and/or Cole leave, they're around the 9-12 range. Missouri's going to be tougher to predict. Even I'm concerned about how MIzzou replaces Leo and DeMarre, so if I have trouble justifying ranking Mizzou highly, I can only imagine the reservations poll voters are going to have. I can see Mizzou in the 20-25 range, if not in the "receiving votes" category.

2. 7 - J.T. is one tough S.O.B.

3. The Gabbert situation is nice, but the thing that's exciting me most is the supposed amount of talent fighting for spots in the defensive backfield. I'm really watching the Rutland/Hobson/Prince battles closely, and I'm hoping that this can be the year the unit goes from athletically talented yet undisciplined to being a playmaking force. The other thing I'm thrilled about is our defensive ends - I LOVE the Jacquies, Aldon Smith, Coulter rotation. We've just got to find some guys to play in between them. And, as echoed by others, I'm loving the Steckel accountability on display, especially with the linebackers. My expectations for Andrew Gachkar grow by the minute.

4. I'm very concerned about the receivers. I scan this roster, and I see no true No. 1 receiver. Yeah, we've got A LOT of options, but I'm just concerned about who is going to be "the guy."

5. MEME MADNESS! But, seriously, I have no clue. The minute the basketball national championship ended, I was already raring to go for football season. And NCAA Football 10 doesn't come out until July (single tear rolling down cheek).

ZouDave: NCAA 10 is looking pretty solid so far, though!  Lots of really good additions and changes, and all reports are they haven't even let the big news out of the bag yet.  We're supposed to get news on new features for Online Dynasty tomorrow, so fingers crossed that it's a way to view stats on a web page.

rptgwb: So, can we discuss some hilarity that came across my Facebook feed?

As if The Boy's Movie quiz wasn't funny enough:
ZouDave gets bitchslapped by Facebook karma minutes later, and the response is priceless:

ZouDave: The fury I felt at that moment was barely overshadowed by the actual laughter I had at the irony.  Truly, it was a lesson in humility.

Doug: That's why I don't take those quizzes.

There's way too much left up to chance.

ZouDave: Sometimes, you just gotta say:  What the fuck.

rptgwb: Speaking of Risky Business references, is anyone else sick of Guitar Hero commercials yet? Hell, I think even Bob Seger's getting sick of himself.

ZouDave: I did laugh the first time I saw each of the commercials for the GH: Metallica.  But like most commercials, I grow tired of them very quickly.

Doug: I saw a little bit of the behind-the-scenes shoot that ESPN did for the commercial.

It was pretty great to see Bob Knight cursing up a storm during Mike K's shoot, and telling the director to STFU when the director started asking for quiet on set.  Good old Bob Knight.

The Boy: I was really glad to see Facebook delivering karmic retribution in such swift manner...made me feel much better about hitting "Publish" on those awful quiz results in the first place.

And yes...while I do admire the Guitar Hero people basically saying "Just look at who we're hiring for these commercials--that's how much money we're making right now.  The United States is going to start borrowing from us," they have gotten pretty old upon the 1000th viewing.  And honestly, I'm apparently a little OCD in my music listening (duh) because I think the thing that bugs me the most about the commercials is that they skip a beat between each piano riff.  It starts too early every time, clearly to fit it into the commercial better, but still...annoys my ears.  Anyhoo...

1 - Kansas will probably be in the Top 5 if Collins, Aldrich and Henry are on the team next year, possibly even Top 2-3.  While some people will overreact either way (either by picking us Top 10 as a bandwagon jump, or not ranking us at all because we're losing Leo & DeMarre), I would say we'll probably average out in the #14-20 range.  And I'm totally okay with that.  The last thing a young team needs to do is get patted on the back all offseason after a surprise run.  While part of me would be annoyed by it, another part of me wants to see us unranked, just to keep the fire lit (not that fire will ever be a problem as long as JT Tiller's on the team).

2 - I say he's a solid 8.  DeMarre got shot, which is impressive, but few have this amount of testicular fortitude.  I mean...that go-ahead shot he made against Kansas at Mizzou Arena?  With damaged wrist ligaments.  Those jump balls he dove onto the floor and scrapped for?  With damaged wrist ligaments.  Those kamikaze drives against Memphis?  Yeah.  Balls.

3 - Gotta be the line play on both sides.  I'm really starting to trust that this O-line will do great things for Gabbert, and I'm really liking our D-ends.  Jacquies and Aldon Smith, Brian Coulter...hopefully Sheldon Richardson in the mix later on...yeah, good stuff.  I also love that RSFr's are overtaking seniors across the roster.  I'm all for a successful season in 2009, but it's looking very bright for 2010-11.

4 - It seems like Gabbert will have a ton of targets to throw to in the fall, but I was really hoping I'd have started reading gushing stories about a clear #1 WR by now.  Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp are doing good things, but not necessarily great things, and there's been next to nothing said about Rolandis Woodland and Gahn McGaffie yet.  It's great that Brandon Gerau is turning out to be the second coming of Tommy Saunders, but I want to hear about a #1 guy, and I haven't yet.

5 - By talking about football, non-stop, on Rock M Nation and Football Outsiders, of course.  Gonna be fun.  I've been priming the database for unending queries and analysis.  Hold onto your butts.

ghtd36: Good merciful Asian Kid, you guys wake up early. How do I have 20 e-mails from you schmoes at 9:40 a.m.? NINE-FORTY AY-EM?!?

1) Kansas will probably be top three, if not No. 1. Especially if they land that What's His Face, and that Who's Its. That should make them awesome. Or so Dick Vitale told me.
And you know, as much as I'd like to think that the nation has come around on Mike Anderson...I'm not sure Mizzou will be in the preseason rankings. I think people are going to look at this team, subtract Leo Lyons and Demarre Carroll and say "Well, that was fun. Enjoy mediocrity, Missouri!" And to the untrained eye, losing Lyons and Carroll does hurt. Big time. But I think the best basketball minds -- people like Ken Pomeroy and, oh I don't know, Ricky Steamboat -- are going to remember that it's not about the players, but rather the attitude of the program. Problem is, the best basketball minds aren't in the media.

2) Let's put it this way:

3) There are a few things that are really encouraging to me. I like the fact that Kemp and Egnew have taken it upon themselves to ensure that the depth of weapons for Gabbert is not an issue. I continue to love reading about just how good Mizzou's linebackers can be. And, actually, I like the fact that Steckel isn't changing much. I know, I know, Eberflus is all that is evil (JEREMY MACLIN JUST TWISTED HIS ANKLE, FIRE EBERFLUS), but I think that if you can get guys to buy into a strategy on defense, you need to stick with it. I like that Steckel isn't making wholesale changes.

4) Jeremy Maclin is no longer on the Tigers. That's pretty discouraging.

5) Major League Baseball. Lots of it. I even paid $10 to get the MLB At Bat application on my iPhone, so I can listen to games at work. Do I care what's happening in a Pirates-Brewers game in late July? No, but I'd sure love to hear the Pirates announcer explain to me why I should!

And I might be working on a new little offseason series for RMN. Maybe.

Which brings up another point: I feel bad. I feel like RMN was nice enough to grant me authorship, and since then, I haven't really, uh, used it. So that's going to change. I'm going to start writing absurd crap to put on the front page. So stay tuned, RMN readers! And prepare thyself for an offseason of stupid jokes and poorly Microsoft Paint'd images!

ZouDave: get used to it, rookie.  During football season it gets WAY more active.

Doug: Especially since there seemed to be a direct correlation between slow Roundtables and MU losing on Saturday.

ghtd36: /tries to determine if that was a dig at Mizzou
/gives up
/drinks more coffee

ZouDave: absolutely.  It is our DUTY to do our part for this team.  If we don't, Coulter will slam a revolving door on us.

The Boy: And I don't even want to THINK about what Kendial Lawrence would do...

rptgwb: I assume it would involve this:

(45 minutes later...)

ghtd36: the roundtable over?

ZouDave: hell no, there's usually a 2 hour lull and then a derailment.  We're hovering between lull and derailment right now.  Delullment?

Doug: The roundtable is never over.

It's just waiting for Dave to get out of his meeting and post a stupid picture.


ZouDave: Whoa, holy yikes batman.  From fellow SBNation site Rumor: Jocques Crawford Involved in Hit-and-Run.

The Beef: Yikes…not been a healthy off-season for kU football off of the field.

Michael Atchison: I saw that a minute ago.  What a terrible story.

(Rptgwb makes awful, inappropriate joke that is stricken from the record.  Doug dies a little inside)

ghtd36: On the bright side for you, rpt, I hear hell is lovely this time of year.

rptgwb: The Rangers are in first in the AL West. I better take a heavy coat.

ghtd36: A message for rpt, courtesy of Rangers third baseman Michael Young.

ZouDave: I really hope this all turns into the result of a giant game of telephone, and the truth is just that Crawford and Lueken had a fight, Crawford drove away and banged Luekens arm with his sideview mirror on the way out. I really, really hope that's all this is.

(An hour later)

rptgwb: To answer question No. 1, if Rivals has a say in things, KU is No. 1 and Missouri is unranked.

Also, I know the length of this Roundtable is getting epic, but I wanted to bring up another point. Is anyone else like me in that you're almost more excited for this football season because we don't know what's around the corner? Seems like most of us were educated enough to expect success in 07 (maybe not to that extent, but still) and everyone had Mizzou on their radar in 08. Has the giddiness of preparing to see your football team in a dogfight and try to establish itself in a new era translated to anyone else?

Does this all sound like a cheap spin-off to Beef's "expectations = less enjoyable" monologue? I think I'm starting to see his point a lot more clearly right now.

The Beef: mmmm….wise you are becoming….

ZouDave: You really ought to not give Beef credit for anything. It just goes right to his head.