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Rock M Roundtable: Mizzou's 2014 - 2015 Basketball Schedule

The knights of the Rock M Roundtable welcomes another member and we discuss the just released Mizzou basketball schedule


Full Mizzou Basketball Schedule

HHKB Chris: Good Morning BBall Fans of RMN,

Fullback thought a roundtable concerning the release of the SEC schedule two weeks ago would be a good way to keep basketball on the forefront (as much as it can in August) before everything gets swallowed by College Football and eventually the Royals run to the World Series...

Now, in that time the non conference schedule was released by Coach KA, so this SEC focused roundtable became full season schedule focused.  What you'll find below is a series of questions focusing on both sets of schedules and other interesting odds and ends.  With that in mind, let's start with the non conference schedule since that comes first and the following questions:

1) What do you think of the quality of opponents and watchability of the games?

2) What games are you most looking forward to?

3) What do you think Mizzou's non conference records will turn out to be?

4) What should we name the Elon game is it is our former coach, Frank H's alma mater?

CBonerfied: 1)  WOW.  Best non-con that I can remember.  Only six low-major teams, and even then, the first four of them are either local schools (UMKC, SEMO) or schools that have had historical success (Valpo, ORU).  Only Elon and Lipscomb are what I would think of as true "gimmies" in every sense of the word.

What's best about a non-con like this is that the last two years have shown that, underachievement aside, the SEC doesn't provide the RPI boost that the Big 12 always did.  (Not going to beat around the its best next year, the SEC is probably only going to be the fifth best league in the country.  It is not the B1G, ACC, Big 12-2, or the Pac-12.)  With all the uncertainty of our team next year, this could be anywhere from a 6-7 to a 10-3 non-con...but this team will certainly be ready for an SEC "grind" and will have a respectable SOS no matter what happens.

2) The answer for me will always be Illinois, but that's an easy answer.  But Zona, two (and maybe 3) old Big 8 friends, and the X coming to CoMO?  Those are all good for different reasons.

3) Based on the parameters I set above, I'll go with 8-5...but if pressed, I'd take the over.  I'm becoming bullish on this team.  I would be surprised but not shocked if we lost to one of the "guarantee" teams on the schedule, but I bet we take at least one in Maui, and X and OSU are winnable.  Illinois is always a toss up.

4) The "I'm So Glad Frank Haith Is Not Our Coach Any More, And I Cannot Come Up With A Clever Name For This" Game.  Or the ISGFHINOCAMAICCUWACNFT Game for short.  Or just not care about Elon or Frank Haith, that works too.

Sam Snelling: 1) This is easily one of the best non-conference schedules in recent memory. ORU, 'Zona, K-State/Purdue, OU, Xavier, Illinois and OSU are all good to great opponents. There is a lot more reason to tune in because of that. If there has been one thing missing, for well, as long as I can remember, is pre-season intrigue outside of the Illinois game. Sure there were a few games mixed in here and there, maybe a preseason tournament or something where we might get to play somebody decent. But I don't remember seeing this many potential pre-season top 25 teams on our non-con. I also like that Mizzou is going ahead and scheduling these teams. Why not? The NCAA tournament people have proven that you can lose in the non-con as long as you play good teams. So go play good teams and prepare yourselves for the conferences slate.

2) I'm probably looking forward to three games the most. Arizona, because it's the first big early test. Oklahoma, because they'll be good and B12. And Oklahoma State because it's a neutral site game and because B12.  I still think Illinois is a fun game to watch, but that's been about the only game of intrigue for a few years so I'll let that take a back seat.

3) For non-con record I'll go 9-4. I like wins vs. UMKC, Valpo, ORU, 1 win in Maui at least, SEMO, Elon, Xavier and Lipscomb. With Mizzou taking 1 from OSU & Illinois, but possibly both. Highest is probably 11-2, floor is probably 7-6. But i like 9-10 wins.

4) Who's Frank H?

Belegcam: 1) Dang, that's a good schedule.  High quality, very watchable.  Lots of opportunity for signature wins.  The days of boring nonconference schedules are over, which is a good move by KA.  Games like this are just what this team needs to get some fanbase interest back, especially in the overlap with football.  Mizzou fans don't have an excuse for ignoring basketball until mid-January this season.

2) I'd say the Maui Invitational as a whole is what I'm most looking forward to.  Arizona is probably a loss, and probably by a significant margin, but I think the other games will give us a good idea of what kind of team we're working with.

3) As for a record, I'll go with 8-5, but that could easily be higher if this team figures things out earlier than expected.

4) Mizzou/Elon: I ordered a trophy for this game, but it got sent to Tulsa instead.

HHKB Chris: 1) My first thought was that it was nice to see some quality games!  So many good name teams that are division 1 level that should prove fun to watch even if we aren't beating everyone. Xavier, OSU, OU, the Illini, ORAL ROBERTS! This should prove to be a really good dress rehearsal for the team to potentially get some upsets and then make some noise in the SEC.  Should we be in the hunt for a bid to the NCAAs at the end of the year

2) I'd say the Big 8 matchups with OU and OSU and Illinois.  All should prove fun and bring some emotions out, plus just think of all the former Kim Anderson video we're going to get to see!  Also, it is known that I love Thanksgiving and the Maui invitational taking place at the same time giving me something to watch that's not the NFL is just right in my wheel house.  Turkey, beer, wine, bourbon and basketball, sounds damn good to me!

3) For the record, I'm getting optimistic and saying 9-4, getting revenge on Illinois for last year and shutting down the suddenly Smartless Cowboys at the Sprint Center.

4) In the spirit of the Simpsons marathon on FXX, all I can think about is Troy McClure which somehow led me back to Frank H and all I can picture is him rolling up to a camera on game night and saying, "Hi, I'm Frank Haith, you may remember me from such Head Coaching jobs as The Miami Project, Dial M for Missouri and Last Train to Tulsa."

And now...onto the SEC who was kind enough to provide dates, some times and channels to view our games on.

Date Opponent Location Time and TV
01/08/15 vs. LSU *  Mizzou Arena 6:00 p.m. CT - ESPN / ESPN2
01/10/15 at Auburn *  Auburn, Ala. TBA - SEC Network
01/13/15 at Kentucky *  Lexington, Ky. 8:00 p.m. CT - ESPN
01/17/15 vs. Tennessee *  Mizzou Arena TBA - SEC Network
01/21/15 at Texas A&M * College Station, Texas 6:00 p.m. CT - SEC Network
01/24/15 vs. Arkansas *  Mizzou Arena 1:00 p.m. CT - ESPN / ESPN2
01/29/15 vs. Kentucky *  Mizzou Arena 8:00 p.m. CT - ESPN
01/31/15 vs. Ole Miss *  Mizzou Arena TBA - FSN
02/04/15 at Alabama *  Tuscaloosa, Ala. 8:00 p.m. CT - SEC Network
02/07/15 vs. Texas A&M *  Mizzou Arena 5:00 p.m. CT - ESPNU
02/10/15 at South Carolina *  Columbia, S.C. 6:00 p.m. CT - SEC Network
02/14/15 vs. Mississippi State *  Mizzou Arena 3:00 p.m. CT - ESPNU
02/18/15 at Arkansas *  Fayetteville, Ark. 8:00 p.m. CT - SEC Network
02/21/15 at Vanderbilt  Nashville, Tenn. TBA - SEC Network
02/24/15 vs. Florida *  Mizzou Arena 8:00 p.m. CT - ESPN
02/28/15 at Georgia *  Athens, Ga. 11:00 a.m. CT - ESPNU
03/03/15 vs. Auburn *  Mizzou Arena 8:00 p.m. CT - SEC Network
03/07/15 at Mississippi State *  Starkville, Miss. TBA - SEC Network

So looking at the schedule I thought we could opine on the following questions, keeping in mind we obviously know very little about this team other than it's composition:

1) What stretch of games do you see as the most important to identify what this team's post season looks like?

2) We get home and homes with Kentucky, Arkansas, Auburn, and Mississippi State, what do you think of this schedule, anyone you would want to replace any team with?

3) What do you think of the SEC's decision to break down the schedule as such: 2 games – Permanent rival home and away, 8 games – Four rotating opponents home and away, 8 games – Eight remaining rotating opponents home or away?

Would you prefer a divisional set up where you play the east home and home, the west on a home or away basis (switching every year) and dropping one non con game?

4) What away SEC game would you like to most attend?

That seems like a good start, have at it guys!

Belegcam: 1) I'll go with the stretch from 2/18 @Arkansas to 2/28 @Georgia.  It's a toughie, with three road games vs Arky, Vandy, and Georgia, all of which are at least potentially dangerous, and a home game against Florida, which, well, yeah.  Win 3 or 4 of those, we're looking at a solid tournament team.  Split, and we've got a bubble team that needs to make hay at the SEC tournament.  0-1 wins, and it's NIT or staying home in March.

2) In magical Christmasland, I'd swap in Tennessee and Vanderbilt for Auburn and MSU.  Gives us A&M (which we at least have some history with) plus the 4 closest regional rivals.  UK is less than ideal from a winning games standpoint, but if this team gets where we want it to go, that could be a great heavyweight rivalry.

3) It's a mess, but there's not really a good solution when you have 14 teams.  I'm not a fan of divisional scheduling in basketball (and you just know it would be like pulling teeth to get everyone to agree on dropping a noncon game), so this is about as good as it's going to get for me. Is there an actual system for deciding what teams get the rotating home and away games?

4) Vandy, so I can gaze upon the eighth wonder of the world that is their court.  (Non-trolling Chris answer: probably Arky)

HHKB Chris: Based on the research I have done in preparation for an eventual post about scheduling (with consent from the Fullbacks, Bill C's of the world) it's something that will be decided yearly, as everything I've read doesn't indicate that a scheduling decision has been made, aside from the 3 rotating home and homes and the permanent rival.

As you say, getting teams to drop a non con would be difficult (though to be honest, we all have a directional college we can afford to drop I imagine), but it would be fun to just go full home and home, 26 games as opposed to the 18, but with this size conference obviously that becomes difficult, to say the least.

Belegcam: I would say the issues would be with the ADs, as you're asking them to give up a home game (and accompanying receipts) every other year.  As fans, we'd probably just as soon dump Directional State U from the schedule, but I imagine the money people feel differently.  And yes, full double round-robins are great fun; and completely unworkable in a conference of this size.

CBonerfied: 1) I don't know about a stretch of conference games offhand, but if this year's squad can do the one thing that the last two Haith teams did not--beat inferior teams on the road--we're going to be okay.  Beat who you should beat and surprise a team here and there, and most programs call that a good season.

2) It should work out in that you play each non-permanent rival 4 times every three years, so there's at least some symmetry.  I mean, nothing short of a home-and-home round robin is going to invite some frustrations, but that's part of the fun, right?  Sometimes teams get lucky schedules, sometimes they don't, and debating sports is fun.  BUT...I will say that if b-ball did go the divisional route, the conference would only add one game per year (maybe two if they would keep the permanent non-division rival) and it would build more rivalries.  So that would be fun.

3) For next year, I don't know if I'd trade any opponents--of our 5 home-and-home opponents, we have the likely national favorite, an NCAA quality team (Arky), a good middle-of-the-road team (A&M), a team with a new coach who will be a bit better (Auburn), and a god awful team (MSU).  That's a nice quality spread.  An early view of our overall schedule says that SOS will absolutely NOT be a problem, so the ability to pack up some wins while having some tough games mixed in is a good thing.

4) If I could go to a road game, it would be at Rupp or Bud Walton.  I don't have any reasons other than seeing either a historically great program and our new rival.

Agree on 26 conference games--never, ever, ever going to happen.  But I bet the money people would feel differently if they could give up two directional school home games in order to have 20 SEC games (going to divisions and having one permanent non-division rival)?  Conference games dwarf non-con patsies in attendance.  It would be a two non-con home games for one conference home game swap.  The non-con concept in basketball is severely bloated right now, and that seems like a great way to improve schedule strength and promote rivalries.

Sam Snelling: Okay, jumping in.

1) On the first topic, I'm going against any convention so far and I'm going to with the first 5 games of the conference slate. You start with a winnable home game against LSU, then you have another winnable road game at Auburn, Follow that with a likely loss on the road at Kentucky, probably the toughest game on our schedule. But then you go home against Tennessee, at Texas A&M and then home against Arkansas. Last year we saw the opening 6-7 games set the tone for a very subpar season for Mizzou. I think this opening slate is favorable but not easy. If Mizzou goes 5-1, I think they're an NCAA lock at that point. If they go 4-2 I'm still feeling pretty good. 3-3 or worse and it's a long road up. It's just hard to go over .500 in the league if you don't win the games you should win.

2) It's a good balance, and that's good for Mizzou. Playing Kentucky twice is going to be no picnic, but you get them twice and Miss State twice. If you can steal one from UK things are going to look pretty bright on selection sunday. I don't know that I would ever care about playing Auburn twice. I'm happy with A&M because they're tough to play but beatable. And if there was one team I would like to play more (besides Florida) is probably Vandy. I like their history and the proximity to Nashville is nice.

3) I think at some point the league is going to have to go to a divisional setup. I don't see having a league as big as 14 teams and NOT having divisions. One of the bigger problems with SEC basketball right now is that outside of UK/Florida, there are no good rivalry games. Having Mizzou and Arky match up will be good, as both are historically pretty good. But they need to get into the arms race the way football has. That's how they'll build depth. I think they need to go to divisions, play a permanent rival 2x, and play each team in the other division rotating home and away.

4) I tried to find anything that would allow me to talk myself out of Rupp. But the truth is that is the only mecca in our conference. I'm sure there would always be fun trips, but Rupp is another experience. Rupp is the only basketball venue in the SEC that can match the storied football stadiums in the same league.

FullbackU: 1) You have to beat the good teams in the SEC. We get two cracks at Kentucky, only one at Florida. The way I tend to look at schedules is in ~4 game segments. The series of games starting on 2/18 @Arkansas, @Vanderbilt, vs Florida and @Georgia - win all four of those and I think we're in the top 3 of the SEC.

2) I'd like to replace Mississippi State with Tennessee, the rest is pretty blah for me. Auburn might be respectable immediately enough for those games to be notable.

3) I have little to no opinion on this matter since I don't think there's enough depth to make arguing over the rest of league worthwhile. Let's just beat the bad to mediocre teams in the SEC and let the rivalries develop (as I think they already have with Ole Miss).

4) I'd love to be at Kentucky because obviously, and a heated between Mizzou and Arkansas would be superduper. Beyond that I have no desire to go to Florida because I don't particularly like what I've seen of their fans

HHKB Chris: I'll answer too for the fun of it.

1)Probably 2/10 - 2/28 as I think those games will tell us a lot about our post season chances, while also measuring ourselves on the road against some good teams and Florida at home.

2) I'd like to see UT and Ole Miss replacing A&M and MSU, just because their fans seem to be the most irritating when they visit RMN, thus causing the percolating rivalries to continue to simmer, eventually boil over and give us new places to want to watch burn.

3) I'm a fan of going to the divisional schedule (home and home with the east, split the west home and away every other year like in the former Big 12), but I realize we would have a more interesting schedule than everyone in the West and that wouldn't fly, if the West teams were actually paying attention and not focusing on baseball and spring football.  Other than a true round robin, I assume this is fine, I would like to know however how the SEC decides who are the four rotating opponents are, if it's anything more than random.

4) I'm seriously considering going to Vandy since it's a weekend and to experience the rage in person, but otherwise, Arky would be interesting for the rivalry perspective, and potentially Kentucky, because Kentucky.

Follow up question, knowing what we know now (almost nothing) what do you forecast as our conference record?

Second question on top of the predicted conference record:
Jimmy Whit committed to Arkansas tonight, what's your reaction and how does this affect the rivalry?

Sam Snelling: This teams ceiling for a conference record is probably 14-4. I think the floor is probably 8-10. What's probably likely, I think, is closer to 10-8. When you look at the schedule, assign losses twice to Kentucky, to Florida, at Arkansas... there are the 4 games I would say are almost certain losses this year. After that, you have a lot of winnable games. At Vanderbilt is always a tough matchup. At Georgia won't be easy. But those aren't automatic losses. I expect a few extra bumps with a young team, but it's hard not to like how the schedule lays out to at least stay above .500.

On Jimmy Whitt, I think this adds some more spice to it. But both teams are really kind of in similar positions as being on the cusp of the national conversation. Mizzou is probably a bit further away than Arkansas based upon last year and what you might expect next year. And having Bobby Portis helps Arky quite a bit. Mizzou doesn't have that guy on the roster. I hope that the fans have fun with Whitt when he plays at Mizzou, boo him, jaw him. Obviously keep it above the belt. But I also would rather we keep the heat on Mike Anderson moreso than Whitt.

dcrockett117: Schedule is a topic where I have nothing intelligent to offer.
On losing Whitt, I won't get terribly worked up about it. But it goes to show just how odd and unpredictable things are involving teenagers (I have one). At the time of HCKA's hire, if you had spotted me the fact that he'd have some bona Fidel successes two months in, I'd have bet a mortgage payment that he would lose the California kid but close on the local player.

The thing that sticks in my craw about the rivalry is that on the whole Arkansas does not produce much in the way of comparable hoops talent. In a sense all Mizzou can do is hold serve or lose.

HHKB Chris: Gonna answer the record thing myself since I have opinions too...
12 - 6  is the top, but the bottom is around 9-9, I think the home crowd helps a lot in this first of KA's season and we have a favorable schedule date and time wise at home as far as we know.
Regarding Whitt, I don't get much into recruiting because kids change their mind and unless we're banking Kentucky style players, it's rare that a freshman blows up, at least in my time as a Mizzou fan, last I can remember was Dooling who seemed to go off immediately.  But that being said, it would have been nice to keep him, but I get his reasons for leaving the area. And to be honest I think it helps to have not everything come up Kim Anderson this summer, shows he's human and that he's not been dropped from basketball heaven to fix everything in one summer.

Belegcam: Regarding SEC record: Going by the games I think we should win, 11-5, with losses in both Kentucky games, vs. Florida, @Arkansas, and @Georgia.  However, there will in all likelihood be at least one inexplicable and supremely annoying loss that has us all wanting to FIRE ANDERSON (for about 15 minutes, anyway, before we regain perspective).  So put me down for 10-6.

Regarding Jimmy Whitt: I'm not too bothered about this.  You can't win every recruiting battle, and KA and crew were working from behind on this one.  Yeah, it's a bad look to lose out on a great recruit from your own backyard, but as many others have said, that can hurt as much as help.  I certainly wanted to get the hell out of Dodge when it was time for me to make my college decision, so I can't blame him.  Rivalry-wise, this probably will heat things up a bit, but honestly I hope it doesn't.  You don't have to wish him well, but please don't abuse a teenager for deciding not to go to Mizzou, Tiger fans.

That's it from us at the Roundballtable, what are your thoughts? Are we way off, on point or are you just focusing on the jackrabbits of South Dakota State?