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Missouri’s Jontay Porter wins SEC player of the week honors

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

We’ve established in recent months that Jontay Porter is a major X-factor for the Mizzou basketball team. Let’s just say there are worse things in the world than said X-factor enjoying the best week of his career right before the postseason begins.

Mizzou Men’s Basketball forward Jontay Porter (Columbia, Mo.) has been named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week, it was announced by the league office Monday. The honor is the first weekly conference award of Porter’s career, and just the second time a Mizzou freshman has been recognized by the SEC.

Porter averaged 21.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game in wins at Vanderbilt (Feb. 27) and over Arkansas (March 3). Porter first racked up a season-best 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists against the Commodores. His impressive stat line at Vanderbilt was the first 20-5-5 game accomplished by a Mizzou freshman since the 1998-99 season (Keyon Dooling).

Jontay’s stat line for the week: 56 minutes, 43 points on 21 FG attempts (9-13 2PT, 6-8 3PT, 7-9 FT), 15 rebounds, 10 assists, three steals, two blocks, and only three turnovers and five fouls. Porter was so good that he completely overshadowed Jeremiah Tilmon, who himself posted 24 points and 14 rebounds in 49 minutes.

Mizzou heads to Jordan Barnett’s (and Tilmon’s, give or take) home base this weekend for the first ever SEC Tournament hosted in St. Louis.

Nobody might be more excited than Kentucky’s John Calipari.

“Is Cunetto’s still open on The Hill?” he asked during Monday’s SEC conference call. “You know I’m going to find it. I’ll be up there Wednesday night, Thursday night. Maybe Friday night. Or maybe not Friday night.”

If the week goes well for Calipari’s fourth-seeded Wildcats, the three-time defending SEC tournament champions, he’ll be around long after Friday’s quarterfinals to become a mainstay at his favorite local eatery.

(I hate that I enjoy Calipari so much. But I do.)

Rival SEC coaches talked about Mizzou’s potential home-court advantage in STL ... and how it could be magnified if a certain freshman were to make an appearance.

Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said the Tigers have the most dangerous home-court advantage if they add the likes of a certain 6-foot-10 forward.

”You can’t underestimate the Missouri crowd and what Michael Porter Jr. returning could do for the crowds there,” he said. [...]

“Right now, they’re playing well.,” Calipari said. “You add (Michael) Porter to that — all of the sudden, they become very, very dangerous.”

We’ll see. It’s obviously something we’ve learned we can’t on — and it’s obviously something we’ve learned Mizzou can live without — but it almost goes without saying that if Mizzou were to add Michael Porter Jr. to the mix right as the postseason begins, the Tigers become one of the most intriguing teams in college basketball. This has been a hell of a story without him and will continue to be if necessary ... but it remains a massively intriguing thought.

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • Three Mizzou divers took advantage of Zone D qualifying opportunities to punch tickets to the NCAAs: seniors Kendra Kieser and Madeline McKernan and junior Kyle Goodwin.
  • Mizzou Network posted a huge batch of highlights from Mizzou Wrestling’s weekend MAC title romp — a highlight package and individual videos for each of the seven title winners: