Happy Saturday! With so much going on these last few days, I thought I'd use Saturday as time to both breathe and reassess a bit. So here's some quick analysis on some recent story lines...
1. Wrestling :(
Ugh. Before last night's crippling, disappointing session of matches, The Beef had this to say in comments.
For someone who has long been a fan of this sport, the most important thing which is going to come out of this weekend is the sharing of what makes this sport so great with folks who have not yet been exposed to it. And as strange as this is going to sound, the growth of the sport (locally to Mizzou fan) this weekend is pretty damn close to as important to where Mizzou finishes.
I will let that settle for a sec…
Yes, the Tigers still very much have a shot at their best finish ever, and that certainly does include a chance at winning the entire thing. I fully realize my hope will get lost within the hysteria of the in-action discussion, but for all the ups and downs the team has had already (and they will have more ups and more down in the final three sessions), I would hope people come away from all of this with a new found fondness for how exciting that sport is, regardless of the final counts of ups and downs. So for how great it will (hopefully) be to crown as many as three national champions or for how bad the losses by Eblen may ultimately hurt the team totals or the early loss by Mayes maybe ends up doing the same, I simply want to encourage folks to find how exciting all of it was and how the sport needs (and DESERVES) more fans.
Unfortunately, last night's session saw Mizzou lose two of its three semifinal matches. Ohio State has peaked at the right time and seized total control over the proceedings. Mizzou will finish with five All-Americans, a probable top-five ranking, a MAC title, a National Duals title, and maybe another individual champion -- Drake Houdashelt goes for a title tonight after Alan Waters and J'Den Cox both suffered incredibly disappointing losses -- but this obviously isn't what we were hoping for heading into Thursday. Mizzou has lost tight matches all weekend, and you don't get to win the national title when you do that.
This season still goes into the books as a massive success. The final act was disappointing -- Insert "Mizzou's cursed...CURSED!!" or "We really Mizzou'd that one up [yuk yuk]!" here -- but I think it's safe to say there are more mid-Missouri natives and Mizzou alums interested in wrestling now than there ever have been. Mizzou spent time ranked No. 1 and earned a lot of hardware, and that's awesome. Because of the final act, there will always be a sad twinge associated with this season, especially considering the opportunity presented when Penn State decided to reload, but it's still been a hell of a couple of months.
2. Mizzou's playing Idaho in 2017
I wanted a return trip to the Kibbie Dome. :(
Here are your non-conference slots for the coming seasons:
2016: at West Virginia, Eastern Michigan, OPEN, OPEN
2017: Missouri State, Purdue, at UConn, Idaho
2018: Wyoming, at Purdue, Memphis, OPEN
2019: at Wyoming, West Virginia, SE Missouri, OPEN
2020: Eastern Michigan, at BYU, OPEN, OPEN
An interesting mix of east and west and midwest there. Not a lot of top-notch teams (in the present tense), but some fun trips.
3. Pro day
Really curious about Bud Sasser's and Lucas Vincent's respective draft stocks now. Shane Ray and Markus Golden by all accounts did what they needed to do, but Sasser and Vincent only helped their causes.
4. Baseball beats South Carolina
This team, man. We'll see if Mizzou can take one of the next two games and win the series over the No. 6 Gamecocks, but they took game 1 with a familiar recipe: Reggie McClain and late scoring. McClain's now 4-1, and Mizzou's 4-0 in SEC play. The Tigers are now 7-1 in one-run games this year, which is both a) fun and b) tough to sustain. But the pitching is there (as usual), and the offense certainly seems to have a smidge more bop than we're used to. This is a fun year, even if it presents an awkward situation with a new athletic director and a coach without a contract.
5. Nobody's quit the basketball team yet!
Since Mizzou appears to be pursuing both a shooting guard and a big man for the spring signing period (and has only one known, available scholarship), we still have to figure that someone is leaving, be it one of the freshmen or Deuce Bello. But Mizzou's season ended more than a week ago, and we've only heard positive things about the freshmen sticking together and sticking around. There's still plenty of time for that to change, but so far, so good.
6. We're trying Harold's Doughnuts this morning
I'll report back. It appears Rally Baby is getting sick again (it had been, like, a whole month before she got something from one of her two germ-factory schools, so she was evidently due. But that means we're going to be nice and get her some donuts for breakfast. Plus, it's spring break, so now's probably the best time to go. Columbia has gone from having an astonishingly low donut presence (as in, like, none) to getting saturated -- Harold's is here, Strange Donuts is here, and evidently Dunkin is coming back soon. #DonutZou
7. Basketball today!
Friday was a pretty damn boring day for the NCAA Basketball tournament, with more blowouts and failed upset bids. But after Thursday, we probably needed a breather. Here's what's up for today:
SOUTH: No. 11 UCLA vs. No. 14 UAB (CBS, 11:10 a.m. CT)
Saturdays tend to start with one of the more nationally interesting games of the day. Interesting choice.
MIDWEST: No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 8 Cincinnati (1:40 p.m. CT)
Two solo slots this year. Interesting.
WEST: No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 10 Ohio State (CBS, 4:15 p.m. CT)
WEST: No. 6 Xavier vs. No. 14 Georgia State (TNT, 5:10 p.m. CT)
EAST: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 8 NC State (TBS, 6:10 p.m. CT)
SOUTH: No. 4 Georgetown vs. No. 5 Utah (CBS, 6:45 p.m. CT)
WEST: No. 4 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Arkansas (TNT, 7:40 p.m. CT)
MIDWEST: No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No. 6 Butler (TBS, 8:40 p.m. CT)