I very nearly blogged angry last night. I was almost #MadOnline.
It wasn’t that Missouri lost Braggin’ Rights to Illinois again — that was both projected and expected. It wasn’t that the Tigers couldn’t hit the ocean from a boat — we already knew this is maybe the worst shooting team in Missouri history.
It was that Kim Anderson was downright irresponsible in his handling of Cullen VanLeer. We already know the sophomore plays too many minutes; even Anderson has acknowledged that. It’s that, with 7:34 left, he undercut Malcolm Hill in attempting to draw a charge and hit the floor pretty hard. He played the next seven minutes without subbing out.
He didn’t come out when he airballed a 3-pointer with 5:58 left (Mizzou was down 5 at the time and was quickly down 8 when Illinois responded with a 3 of its own).
He didn’t come out when he completely missed the rim on a wide open catch-and-shoot that would have brought Mizzou within 3 with 2:03 left (Illinois would hit two free throws to bring the lead back to 8 on the next possession).
He didn’t come out when he tried awkwardly to draw a foul and airballed another long jumper with 1:17 left and Mizzou still down 8. He finally came to the bench with 30 seconds left and Mizzou down 10, but only because he had to — he had fouled out.
I don’t know if he was seeing double or not, but some combination of precaution and saving a damn sophomore from himself in his home town should have been a no-brainer. Maybe he didn’t actually hit his head; maybe he wasn’t hurt at all. But even if he wasn’t, he was still trying to overdo it by about 5x and should have been yanked so that he could calm down a bit. He was trying desperately to step up and was wrecking both his team and himself in the process.
That VanLeer played 35 minutes despite losing the plot for the last seven minutes and despite shooting 2-for-8 ... and Frankie Hughes played 21 minutes while going 1-for-11 from the floor ... and KJ Walton played 3 damn minutes all night ... that was almost too much for me to take. I almost went full-on, mother’s-basement-level mad blogger.
Instead, I just decided to passive-aggressively tweet through it. Because, you know, that’s what mature people do.
Hughes and VanLeer went 3-for-19, and Walton played 3 minutes.— Rock M Nation (@RockMNation) December 22, 2016
Anderson on Walton playing 3 minutes: "That’s the way it goes. It’s really hard to play 11 guys." Says he'll shorten the bench next week— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) December 22, 2016
I held back because VanLeer is clearly a good kid and because screaming at Anderson is a pointless exercise at this point. Again, we know where all of this is headed, and it’s impossible to be happy about any of that.
But ... damn. Last night may have been the single maddest I’ve been at Anderson’s actual game coaching, and this came on the heels of a completely misguided “don’t call timeout even though Mizzou’s final possession is clearly about to end with a well-guarded desperation 3-pointer from Terrence Phillips that has no chance of going in” finish to Saturday’s loss to Eastern Illinois. Hasn’t been a good week for the True Son.
Braggin’ Rights links
- Game recaps: The Trib, Post-Dispatch, KC Star, The Missourian, PowerMizzou, B&G Illustrated
- Apathy recap (this was the worst-attended Braggin’ Rights game yet): Apathy lurks over MU basketball (KC Star), Braggin' Rights ticket no longer a hot item (Post-Dispatch),
- Jordan Geist was exciting!
- Meanwhile, a couple of miles away in St. Louis, Mizzou’s women were pulling off a dramatic collapse against SLU. They were up 53-38 after three quarters ... and got outscored 34-8 in the fourth. Hoo boy, quite a night in the STL.
- But hey, Terry Beckner Jr. is recovering nicely. So there’s that.
- And Mizzou is doing the nicest thing to its staff that it has done in ages. So there’s that, too.