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No. 6 Missouri aims for another strong showing at the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships

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Here are today's Mizzou Links.

Mizzou Tigers pennant What's On

It's time to wrestle.

MUtigers.com: #6 @MizzouWrestling Set to Wrestle at 2016 NCAA Championships

* Mizzou enters the NCAA Championships ranked No. 6 in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches poll and No. 8 in the Intermat Tournament Rankings.

* Mizzou won its fourth straight Mid-American Conference Tournament Title and fifth straight conference title overall on March 6 with a first place finish at the 2016 MAC Championships (Mizzou won the Big 12 Title in 2012).

* Mizzou finished the MAC dual season 8-0, winning its second straight MAC Regular Season Championship, finishing with a perfect 8-0 MAC record for the second consecutive season.

The Trib: Butler makes the most of his lone season in Missouri singlet

Todd Schavrien, who started his career at Arizona State, became an All-American at Missouri in 2011, placing sixth at 141 pounds. Mike Larson started his career at Cal State Bakersfield before transferring to Missouri and claiming All-American honors with an eighth-place finish at 184 pounds in 2013.

Smith cautioned Butler upon his arrival that the training environment at Missouri might be a drain on him at first, like it was for Schavrien and Larson.

“It did wear on him. There was a time where he was like, ‘Wow,’ ” Smith said. “He started getting his butt kicked a little in the room. He’s like, ‘This is just nonstop training. We’re always doing it.’ But I said, ‘At the end of the year, when it’s time to step on the mats in March, you’re going to understand why we did all this.’ And I see it now.”

KC Star: Missouri’s J’den Cox on mission to dominate NCAA national tourney

The fire that propelled Cox as a freshman didn’t rage quite as ferociously his sophomore season.

“It was just because of the way I did things,” he said. “I lost my grit because of the way I treated my body and went about trying to accomplish my goals without doing the right things.”

Cox was content to win matches, like the 2015 MAC title bout against Wellington, by a 3-1 decision. He didn’t push himself.

“Last year, I was wrestling maybe five or six minutes,” Cox said. “I wasn’t wrestling every second of the match.”

Post-Dispatch: NCAA Division I wrestling takes its show to the Big Apple

“I have a chip on my shoulder for a lot of reasons,’’ said Cox, who’s 27-1 and seeded second. “And it’s not a bad thing. Actually it feels kind of good. ... With my mindset and the way I’m wrestling, there’s nobody in the country who can touch me, nobody who can beat me. I’ve worked too hard; anything less than the championship, it’s not an option.’’

Smith added: “When you’re training right and living right, that’s where your confidence comes from. There aren’t a lot of people at 197 who can stay with him, with that athleticism, that ability, that technique and that flexibility he brings to the mat.’’’

The Missourian: Attitude proves prime factor as Barnes adjusts, wins at wrestling

“The big adjustment for him at Mizzou was being able to deal with not being the No. 1 guy,” said Justin Wisdom, one of Barnes’ high school coaches. “To grow as a person, a man and an athlete, dealing with not being the spotlight guy, that was tough for him.”

He’s still not the spotlight guy on Missouri. Seven of Missouri’s nine wrestlers competing in New York are top-16 seeds, but Barnes did not make the list. He drew No. 5 seed Dylan Palacio from Cornell University in the opening round, a wrestler he lost to in January.

Just has he did as a sophomore in junior college, his expectation is to win a national title.

For that matter, it's time to swim, too

MUtigers.com: @MizzouSwimDive Set for 2016 NCAA Women's Championships

Mizzou Tigers pennant A happy day on the diamond(s)

Baseball rallies

Thank goodness. They needed to stop that slide.

MUtigers.com: @MizzouBaseball Tops Southeast Missouri, 13-6, in Series Finale

The Trib: Missouri baseball tops SEMO to end skid

Softball sweeps

MUtigers.com: #15 @MizzouSoftball Sweeps Western Illinois in Mid-Week Doubleheader

The Missourian: Fast starts propel Tigers to doubleheader sweep

Mizzou Tigers pennant All-SEC (and other potential awards)

MUtigers.com: Cunningham, Frericks of @MizzouWBB Earn AP All-SEC Honors

MUtigers.com: Cunningham Named One of Eight Finalists for USBWA National Freshman of the Year

Speaking of women's hoops

FiveThirtyEight: A Website Went Offline And Took Most Of Women’s College Basketball Analytics With It