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Ode to the X-Man

Mizzou News for Friday, February 21

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Ode to Xavier Pinson

Since all anyone is talking about these days is Xavier Pinson — including yours truly — and rightfully so, I thought I might as well continue with the theme of the Mizzou beat-writers. What can I say? I’m a joiner. Or... ponder this. My dad and I have been fans since the beginning (as have some of you— DBH, I’m looking at you), so does that make us... leaders??

PowerMizzou’s Mitchell Forde took us inside X’s scoring spree, and reminded us that just two weeks ago (TWO WEEKS!!) X had scored 20 points in a game just once in his college career, so it is fair to be surprised that he’s averaged 23.3 points in the past four games and beaten his career-high three times in this span.

His 32 points Tuesday were the most by a Missouri player since 2014, and when adding that to his 28 points against Auburn, according to Forde, Pinson became the first Missouri player since Thomas Gardner some 14 years ago to score 60 across two games.

It’s even more interesting than that, Dave Matter wrote in his recent piece on Pinson, examining X’s recent performances in a historical sense. According to Dave, only three Missouri players since the turn of the century have scored 60 points over two games. It’s happened 31 times over the last 60 years, but three players account for 15 of those instances. (Editor’s note: Matter also dove into some really intriguing data involving KenPom and his MVPs of each game and how X appears 3 times; I highly recommend checking it out)

While fans may be surprised at X’s recent surge, it’s important to note that those who know him aren’t.

Not his former AAU coach, Brian Houston, who told PowerMizzou back in November that by season’s end, X would be in the starting lineup. He also said that he believes that Pinson can become the go-to scorer that Mizzou has lacked the last two seasons, especially if he can add something to his wiry frame.

His teammates aren’t surprised either. It started back in the game against Georgia, if you really think about it. X and Reed Nikko were the main guys behind that incredible 20-point comeback as Ryan wrote in his gamer January 29.

From that game:

“That’s just X’s grit. He’s from Chicago. He gets out the mud, for real,” Mitchell Smith said. “That boy grinds, and he doesn’t back down from anybody. I love that about X. I’ll go to war with him everyday.”

And Dru Smith, after Tuesday’s game:

“I think it’s just honestly a product of the work he’s put in,” Smith said of Pinson. “We’ve known X is a great player, and it’s not like he was playing bad before. He’s just stepped it up to a new level that guys haven’t seen before.”

Keep it up, X-Man. We are all rooting for you. I realize the career bests every time out aren’t sustainable, but I love what I’m seeing.

To the links!

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:


There’s going to be open competition all over this team. I’d say every job is up for grabs other than whichever inside linebacker spot goes to Nick Bolton and the two safety spots for Tyree Gillespie and Josh Bledsoe. So, yes, the corners will have to earn their roles. With both the D-coordinator and cornerbacks coach back on the staff, Jarvis Ware steps in as an obvious favorite as a returning starter. Adam Sparks is the most experienced among the other candidates, but they won’t just hand him the job. Chris Shearin, Chris Mills and Ish Burdine will be in the mix. Rakestraw will be well behind the others because he won’t arrive until the summer, but if he’s good enough to help right away they’ll find a role for him.

  • Get to know Mizzou’s new OL coach, Marcus Johnson!
  • The SEC Media Days appearance schedule is complete, and Coach Drinkwitz will be up at the podium the first day!

Men’s Hoops

  • STL Today: Dave Matter held his regularly scheduled weekly chat, focusing mainly on hoops & football. Interesting tidbits of the chat: One commenter asked how much credit HCCM deserves for the recent turnaround in performance for the MBB Tigers since the TA&M game. To which Matter responded:

I give him credit. I also credit the players for not letting those January struggles ruin their season. The injuries forced Martin and the players to adjust their style. The offense is no longer built around a 6-10 post player. The ball is in the hands of two natural point guards and the offense goes as they go.

I thought Martin was incredibly candid when asked Tuesday if Pinson would be playing at this level had Mark Smith not gotten hurt. “Probably not,” he said. And he left it at that. That’s a coach admitting that this isn’t some grand redesign of the offense on his part. The injuries changed the makeup of this team and its strengths proved to be suited for this look.

  • Dru Smith. SEC Defensive Player of the Year, perhaps?

Women’s Hoops

  • The Tigers took on Vanderbilt in Nashville on Thursday evening and won 78-66. It was a big night for the freshmen, as Hayley Frank had 24 points and Aijha Blackwell had 18 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks, and 3 steals. WOW. Missouri is now 4-9 in the SEC, but the Tigers have three conference road wins, which matches last year’s total.
  • Important stat in here from Brad Tregnago about WNIT implications:
  • Love to see it. Keep it up, ladies.
  • Mizzou commit Jayla Kelly reached the 1000 points / 1000 rebounds club in her high school career. That’s amazing.

Other Mizzou Sports & News

  • PowerMizzou’s Gabe & Mitchell were back with some new predictions in their Blowing Smoke, Presented by Weston Tobacco post, where they talk Saturday’s Arkansas game, who wins the SEC, predict how many Mizzou guys hear their names called on Draft Day, and decide who’s most likely getting pelted by baseballs on the Astros this season. Good stuff.
  • The softball team had some fun with ESPN Thursday morning. They are in Cali to participate in the Mary Nutter Classic. First up was No. 5 Arizona, who they faced on Thursday evening.

UPDATE: They were held scoreless, and only managed three hits against a tough, tough Wildcats team, according to Tyler Hollins of the Missourian.

  • Volleyball is back to practicing to get set for the Fall season.
  • Women’s golf is back! They begin their spring season this weekend in Arizona.
  • MU Swim & Dive is making a splash (sorry, couldn’t help it) at the SEC Championships. Here’s your Day 2 results from Nick Alexander earned a silver medal for the second consecutive year in the 200 IM, while teammate Danny Kovac took third. FYI- that is A LOT of points right there. On the women’s side, the 200 Free Relay team took home the bronze.
  • Swim & Dive Day 3 results: Danny Kovac won the 100 Fly, and that is fast. Here’s your Day 3 results from

Mizzou in the Pros:

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