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Mizzou and the hard time killing winter blues

NCAA Basketball: Arizona at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Mizzou Winter Warmer, a weekly a recap of everything happening in Mizzou winter sports. Check back in every Monday to get a recap of the past week's events as well as a look forward at what's coming for each of Mizzou's programs.

Men’s basketball

Grab your wassail and your whiskey, folks; it’s going to be a long winter at Mizzou Arena. After last week’s not-so-confounding 67-64 loss to Eastern Illinois, Missouri is now 5-5, 169 in KenPom, and in serious danger of heading into SEC play with a losing record.

Much has been made of the amount of improvement needed to extend Kim Anderson’s tenure at Mizzou, and to borrow a phrase from Sam Snelling, it’s very hard to see a path forward on that front. Unless the Tigers can pull off some shocking upsets in the SEC schedule and display a huge leap in development, it might be curtains for KA.

What’s next: If the black-and-gold is to turn this season around, there would be no better time to do it than this Wednesday in the annual Braggin’ Rights game against Illinois. Mizzou did play a Top 20 team to 1 point earlier this year, so blind optimism isn’t totally unfounded. Hopefully the personal investment of the rivalry gives the Tigers a reason to step up and right the ship.

Another win against Lipscomb on Dec. 29 could provide some momentum into SEC play... Wait, didn’t I say this last week?

Women’s basketball

Meanwhile, Robin Pingeton and her Tigers are back on track after a solid victory against UT Martin this past week. It’s nice to have Sophie Cunningham back, of course — 21 points, 6 boards, and 3 assists in her return — but it’s good to know the Tigers have a fall-back option in Sierra Michaelis, who now owns an SEC Player of the Week title.

Michaelis continued her hot streak against UT Martin with 23 points and four rebounds. Cierra Porter chipped in a double-double with 19 points and 14 boards.

I mentioned last week the Tigers need another person to consistently step in and provide points, and Lindsey Cunningham answered that call this time, pouring in 13 points despite only 1-5 shooting from deep. As long as someone can provide some support behind Sophie, Porter, and Michaelis, the Tigers will be fine.

What’s next: The Tigers have two games on tap this week starting tonight with UC Riverside at 7 p.m., and again on Wednesday at Saint Louis University. They’re only 2-3 away from Columbia so there’s some cause for concern in that second game, but two good outings would put them at 11-3 heading into SEC play. Get out and support your Tigers!

Wrestling

It was a rough week for #TigerStyle, which saw its national championship hopes become murkier with the loss of Willie Miklus to a knee injury. It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but it’ll be hard to replace Miklus’ All-American ability and leadership.

If anyone can do it, though, this team can. The squad held steady at No. 5 in the national rankings this week and still has a plethora of nationally-ranked wrestlers.

What’s next: Before taking some time off, #TigerStyle has a double meet Tuesday against Kent State and #22 Appalachian State at noon and 2 p.m., respectively. It’ll be a good chance for the Tigers to pick up wins against one conference and one ranked opponent before the new year.

Gymnastics

Men’s Swim & Dive

Women’s Swim & Dive

Still not a lot to report on the team end of these sports. Gymnastics was ranked 19th in the NCAA Preseason poll during this past week.

However, the Swim & Dive team has a few individual accomplishments to report. Senior Michael Chadwick took home 3 medals at last week’s FINA World Swimming Championships competing for Team USA. Junior Jordy Groters also competed for his home country of Aruba. On the women’s side, redshirt senior Lauren Reedy placed 4th in the 1-meter springboard finals at the USA Diving Winter National Championships Sunday night. Congratulations to all the Tigers who represented their school well!

Odds and ends

Congratulations to all Mizzou athletes that graduated this past weekend! Best of luck in your next steps and remember you’re always welcome in Columbia and in the RMN comment section.