These Tigers share some similarities with that 2007 squad, but they seem to have a bit more firepower.
In ’07, the Askren brothers had No. 1 seeds. This year, three Tigers are seeded No. 1: Cox, 125-pounder Alan Waters and 149-pounder Drake Houdashelt.
The ’07 squad had two others, in addition to Askren, who’d previously attained All-American status in Matt Pell and Tyler McCormick. This year’s team has Waters and Houdashelt who have All-American status in addition to Cox.
Missouri had five top-10 seeds in 2007. The Tigers have six this year, with No. 3 Lavion Mayes (141), No. 4 Johnny Eblen (174) and No. 9 Joey Lavallee (157) joining the three No. 1 seeds.
MU qualified a wrestler for nationals at eight of 10 weights in ’07. The Tigers qualified all 10 this year.
Plus, there’s an intangible difference.
Smith said the 2007 squad had the goal to "storm the stage," meaning a top-four finish.
"That hasn’t been the goal of this team," he said. "The goal of this team has been to win the national title."
Cox, who recently celebrated his 20th birthday, created a bit of stir in wrestling circles when he said his goal was to be a four-time NCAA champion and an Olympian.
"It’s a dream — my dream. But I guess some people are going to find a flaw in any diamond, right?
"Maybe they thought I was being disrespectful to (four-timers) John Smith, Cael Sanderson and Kyle Dake, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have complete respect for the guys who’ve gone before me — I always will — but I feel I’d be disrespecting them more if I didn’t work to try and surpass them.
"What’s wrong with shooting for the stars? In my mind, that’s how we evolve as athletes and as people. When I’m old, I want to be able to sit back and watch the NCAAs and see somebody floating and gliding and doing things I never dreamed of. I think that’d be awesome."
The Trib: What's success for each SEC Tourney team?
So that's 44 runs in six games for the Fightin' Jamiesons...
And on the other diamond...
Missouri softball's Kelsea Roth shows off new swing - Columbia Missourian