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Mizzou Links: Dealing with LSU's big men, making J3 mean, and lifting 405

In Missouri's first SEC game of the basketball season, the Tigers must deal with a powerful LSU duo on the interior. Plus: Johnathan Williams III tries to be an a**hole, Connor McGovern lifts 405, and Bri Porter decides to make another comeback.

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

What's On

Connor McGovern lifting weights, of course.

Here goes nothing

MUTIGERS.COM: Mizzou Starts SEC Schedule at Home with LSU on Thursday
The Trib (Courtside View): SEC belongs to the big men so far (GULP)
The Missourian: LSU basketball's big men will give Missouri issues

Missouri forward D'Angelo Allen played his best basketball in high school against former rival and now Louisiana State forward Jordan Mickey. [...]

As the two meet again Thursday, Missouri will have to try to contain LSU's (11-2) frontcourt duo of Mickey and Jarell Martin. The 6-foot-8 Mickey is now one of the top forwards in the SEC, averaging 16.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game, while Martin, at 6-foot-10, averages 18.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

Post-Dispatch: Preview: Mizzou vs. LSU
Fox Sports MW: Mizzou heads into SEC play looking up at UK

Youthy youth

The Trib: Freshmen still figuring things out as Missouri gets set for SEC play

"I knew coming in that if you’re playing five freshmen double-digit minutes, you’re going to have some ups and downs," Anderson said.

He also knew he wasn’t going to have much choice. Missouri only returned four scholarship players from last season. None of them averaged even six points per game. That put pressure on a five-player freshman group that ranked among the top 15 recruiting classes in the country.

"It’s been tough trying to get my feet wet a little bit," said freshman guard Tramaine Isabell, who was the top option on a Garfield High School team that won the state championship in Washington last spring. "My first few games, I wasn’t feeling too comfortable trying to figure out how to play my game with the minutes that I’m at."

PowerMizzou: Leading by Example

"I just have to go into beast mode each and every time out on the court and just play more aggressively," he said, before re-stating it more bluntly. "Try to be an a-hole on the court."

It is not something that has come easy to Williams. Earlier this season, Anderson challenged him to be meaner. Williams is soft-spoken and non-confrontational. As a freshman, he talked of giving older teammates spiritual guidance to help them through tough stretches on the court. Even in the midst of explaining how he has tried to become a meaner player, Williams asks how a member of the media is doing and stresses the need to be nice to those asking him questions.

"I'm a pretty nice guy. Trying to balance that nice guy and mean guy on and off the court," he said. "I'm just trying to assert myself, be a little bit meaner, but not being a jerk, you know what I'm saying? You don't want to be a jerk. It's okay to be an a-hole on the court, but it's not cool to be an a-hole off the court."

Post-Dispatch: SEC basketball rundown: No. 12 Mizzou needs firepower

Psst ... the SEC West was still really good this year...

Football Outsiders (moi): What F/+ Tells Us About 2014

At one point in the season, the SEC West had the top four teams in the country according to not only F/+, but quite a few computer ratings. Alabama, Ole Miss, Auburn, and Mississippi State were all dominant, Texas A&M wasn't far behind (at the start of the year), LSU was nearby, and Arkansas was only floating around .500 because of round-robin play. All seven West teams spent a portion of the year in the F/+ top 20.

Six are still in the top 20. Alabama fell from first to third by losing to new No. 1 Ohio State. Ole Miss fell from fourth to seventh after getting its doors blown off by new No. 4 TCU. Mississippi State fell from sixth to 12th after getting run over (and around, and through) by new No. 6 Georgia Tech. Auburn fell one spot after losing a tight game to No. 17 Wisconsin. LSU somehow managed to move up two spots after losing a heartbreaker to No. 35 Notre Dame. And Arkansas stayed at 20th after destroying Texas. Plus, Texas A&M moved back up to 45th after handling West Virginia.

Godspeed, Bri

The Trib: MU's Porter plans comeback from fourth ACL tear
MUTIGERS.COM: Mizzou Heads to No. 20 Georgia for Thursday Matchup


PowerMizzou: 3-star LB Belton sets Missouri official visit

MUTIGERS.COM: Cox Earns Second MAC Wrestler of the Week This Season

Track & Field
MUTIGERS.COM: Tigers Land in Top 25 of Preseason Rankings

MUTIGERS.COM: Freshman Clare Raley Set To Begin Career With Mizzou Tennis

Swimming & Diving
MUTIGERS.COM: Metzger-Seymour, Reedy Rack Up SEC Honors