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Missouri collapses in its most winnable remaining game, and Kim Anderson knows what’s coming

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Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

At the very least, Wednesday’s experiment proved definitively that Cullen VanLeer isn’t the problem. The sophomore had been playing too many minutes, but against LSU he played just one single minute ... and Mizzou still lost its most winnable SEC game by 11 points. A solid first half produced a five-point lead. The second half gave it all away and then some.

Recaps: The Trib, Post-Dispatch, KC Star, The Missourian, PowerMizzou.

Highlights:

From The Trib:

After hitting 46.9 percent of its shots in the first half, Missouri had the possession arrow to start the second period. Jordan Geist received the inbound pass but was instantly stripped by Skylar Mays, who converted a layup on the other end. Missouri’s next possession ended with an errant entry pass, and Antonio Blakeney converted another layup to make it a one-point game 26 seconds in. [...]

“I’d say those two turnovers to start the half, that definitely set the tone for the second half and probably deflated us,” Kevin Puryear said. “They came down and hit two quick 3s and I thought that was pretty much the game. Then we played like it and just really couldn’t climb back to it.”

It doesn’t take much to deflate a young team, and through 2.5 years we know that it doesn’t take much to deflate a Kim Anderson team either. A young Kim Anderson team? No chance.

From the Post-Dispatch:

"Obviously, guys, I’m disappointed. There’s no way around that," [Anderson] said [regarding Jim Sterk’s pregame statement]. "I haven’t read the statement real close but I understand his statement. We haven’t produced the results we need to produce. I do appreciate his support. He’s been very supportive in his time here. We’ve had a lot of challenges. For me, my goal is to obviously improve these guys. I actually thought we did improve, but we have to start winning games. That’s what I expect. That’s what the fans expect. And I’m sure that’s what Jim expects."

"My plan is to be here tomorrow coaching the team," he added, "and hopefully I’ll continue to have that opportunity the rest of the year and we’ll do well enough that I can continue doing that."

He knows that he doesn’t have much of a “needs more time” argument, and he knows his team has to improve for him to keep his job. Unfortunately, he knows even better than we do how young his team is — he sees it in practice every day.

He also probably knows how much of a missed opportunity Wednesday was. And to not only lose to the worst or second-worst team left on the schedule, but to also lose by double digits at home? It has to kill him, but he knows what’s coming.

Per Ken Pomeroy, Mizzou is now projected to finish the regular season 8-22. That would be the worst of Kim Anderson’s three seasons. It would also give the Tigers 27 wins in three years; Mizzou, by the way, averaged 25.3 wins per season under Frank Haith. When things fall apart, they fall apart quickly.


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