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Mizzou faces Ole Miss with at least a little of a glance towards the future

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Whether you’re an avid hoops fan who reads each and every word printed about the Missouri Tigers basketball team, or a casual fan who has trouble remember all the players names, this has unmistakably been a disappointing season. Perhaps it was the six game win streak through December or the immediate turnaround to the NCAA tournament last year but something might’ve tricked our senses into thinking maybe this team could exceed our own meager expectations in year two, as Cuonzo Martin rebuilt the program.

Depending on the results of the last game is usually where the mood of the more vocal side of the fanbase resides on whether the rebuild is going well or not. Regardless of what YOU think personally, Martin seems to think his foundation is pretty solid. And he was quick to go into exactly how he felt with Ben Fredrickson of the Post-Dispatch:

What he wanted to deliver instead was a strong statement for those who have continued to come to Mizzou Arena after Michael Porter Mania gave way to the hard work of rebuilding.

“I appreciate them from the bottom of my heart,” Martin said by phone Thursday during his post-workout routine. “I thank the ones who come back in. When it’s cold outside, when there’s snow out, when it’s bad weather, I appreciate everything they bring to the table. I wish I could shake every one of their hands personally.”

“It’s going to work itself out,” he continued. “When you have a program that is building, let it build. Be a part of that building process. Because when we are cutting nets down, you can say, ‘I was a part of that.’”

I suggest reading the piece. Right now few scribes on the Mizzou beat have as direct a link to Martin and his thoughts as BenFred, who covered him briefly in Knoxville. Martin had great things to say about his team, particularly his younger guys. The group he thinks are going to help him cut down nets, a group of sophomores and freshmen who Martin likens to the group a few years behind the roster of the No. 1 team in the country.

There were promising notes, on Dru Smith who continues to be the top guard in practice, and Parker Braun who might be working his way into the rotation next season. But another things is clear, Martin isn’t done fighting with THIS team.

And THIS team takes on Ole Miss today at 2:30

On the surface this looks bad. And well, it could end up that way. But there’s a place where this game could actually go well for Missouri.

For six games Missouri has worked without the presence of their top perimeter threat, Mark Smith. Smith’s 47.5% from 3-point range has been missed as the Tigers haven’t shot above 40% from deep since he played (a mark they hit eight times prior to his injury), so maybe the Tigers are just one game away from a breakout shooting night.

The Rebels, meanwhile, are coming off a three game winning streak which followed a four game losing streak. And while the Rebels have certainly been the surprise team this season they’re still only a season removed from being the worst team in the SEC. So what has gone right?

For one, Breein Tyree. Tyree is hitting on all cylinders right now. He’s shooting over 40% from 3 and 55% from 2, with a low foul rate and a Offensive Rating around 115. He and Terence Davis have formed a very solid and challenging back court for teams to cover. While the back court, along with Devonte Shuler, has been outstanding, the front court can be hit and miss. They can get shooting from Blake Hinson and Bruce Stevens, and defense and rim attacks from K.J. Buffen, a traditional big matchup with Dominik Olejniczak.

If Mizzou can get after their front court, limit Tyree, and shoot the ball well they’ll have a good chance to catch a really tough road win. It would be considered a huge upset, but weirder things have happened. So why not?

Mizzou baseball drops opener to North Florida, 5-4

For a full game story you can read some one name... Jack Parodi, for the ColumbiaMissourian:

The Tigers stranded 10 runners on base throughout the game — five of them on second. To make matters worse, Missouri was 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. The Tigers’ four runs came by way of a groundout, a sacrifice fly, a double and a round-tripper. That must change if Missouri is to have success this season.

We’ll have pretty good coverage of the baseball team this spring with both Josh Matejka and Ryan Herrera providing news and updates with more frequency.

Meanwhile, Softball notched two wins against Villanova and Troy.

“The game becomes easier when you get pitching performances like we got today,” Coach Anderson said. “It gives our defense confidence, and I think you saw that. Everyone will want to focus on the offense, but I am really proud of how our defense played today. The pitching was great, and the defense behind them was equally impressive.”

Also, Womens Tennis beat Memphis, 4-3, on the back of a big win from Mackenzy Middlebrooks. And Gymnastics notched their second best score of the season and came in third in the Mardi Gras invitational in St. Charles, MO.