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
- Nate the Great introduced us to coach Bush Hamdan, and he’s hoping the job-hopper sticks around to work some magic in CoMo.
- Fearless Leader Sam published his world-renowned (Columbia-renowned?) Study Hall from Tuesday’s game. Give the people what they want! And what they want is a new Study Hall post!
- PowerMizzou podcast: Gabe and Mitchell put out a new episode of their PowerMizzou Podcast where they chatted with none other than Cale Garrett! Give it a listen!
- PowerMizzou/Rivals ($$): Sean Williams touched base with Chicago native DE, Diane Hanson, who recently took a visit.
- The Athletic ($$): Peter Baugh gave answers to the Mizzou Football Mailbag questions he received this week.
- In Matter’s chat at STLToday, one commenter asked: With the transfer of Christian Holmes, is there an open competition at CB for Mizzou? Dave’s response:
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!
"Football is football. No matter the level, it's about blocking, tackling and making plays." - @mjohnson7672— Mizzou Football (@MizzouFootball) February 20, 2020
Meet Mizzou's OL Coach Marcus Johnson#MIZ x #NewZou pic.twitter.com/SnqzaAQW60
- The SEC Media Days appearance schedule is complete, and Coach Drinkwitz will be up at the podium the first day!
SEC 2020 Media Days scheduled has been released pic.twitter.com/6Un71YCwCN— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) February 20, 2020
- 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.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Matter also said that Mizzou may have the SEC’s easiest path to Nashville.
- KC Star: Souichi answered readers’ questions in his weekly Mizzou Mailbag.
- Columbia Missourian: Briar Napier wrote a really great story on The X-factor: Play of Missouri’s Pinson forged by a fearless mindset and a fast tempo.
- A refresher on tie-breaker stuff when it comes to the SEC Tourney, which may be helpful information for Mizzou fans with the middle part of the pecking order all sorts of congested.
- STL Today: BenFred’s 5 had one part focused on X, and said that “coaches across the country should be pointing to Pinson as an example of what can happen to guys who take coaching and put in the work.”
- Friend of the site (but mainly Sam & Matt), Blake Lovell, shared this week’s NET rankings. Check out Basketball Overlord Matthew J Harris’ twitter thread for his thoughts on this and what Mizzou needs to do to make, say, the NIT.
The updated NET rankings for SEC teams after the early week games. pic.twitter.com/M6whx6yTUY— Blake Lovell (@theblakelovell) February 20, 2020
- In relevant news not specific to Mizzou Hoops, but the college basketball landscape as a whole, Jeff Goodman of WatchStadium.com had coaches and players weigh in on if the pro proposed one-time transfer rule would be the “death” of college basketball. That sounds a BIT dramatic?
- Next up? A visit to Bud Walton to try for a season sweep of Arkansas. Josh will have the preview up later this morning.
All eyes on Saturday.#Mizzou at Arkansas. 12 PM on the @SECNetwork. #ToTheFinishLine pic.twitter.com/f7zM5NudXH— Mizzou Hoops (@MizzouHoops) February 21, 2020
- Dru Smith. SEC Defensive Player of the Year, perhaps?
▪ SEC's steals per game leader— Mizzou Hoops (@MizzouHoops) February 20, 2020
▪ SEC's league-leader in KenPom's steal % metric
▪ Top 25 nationally in total steals (55) - most by a Tiger since 2013
All while guarding the opponents' best player. SEC Defensive Player of the Year in our book #ToTheFinishLine pic.twitter.com/LLDWJY2AFh
- 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:
Frank with 24 points on 11 shots. Blackwell with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Mizzou is just a game out of 8th, and a possible auto-bid to the WNIT, with three games to go. https://t.co/sNzsPzh5jQ— Brad Tregnago (@BradTregnago) February 21, 2020
- Love to see it. Keep it up, ladies.
You just love to see it! #MIZ #OurTownOurTeam pic.twitter.com/dk1ZJUWnQw— Mizzou Basketball (@MizzouWBB) February 21, 2020
- Mizzou commit Jayla Kelly reached the 1000 points / 1000 rebounds club in her high school career. That’s amazing.
Blessed to receive 1000 points and 1000 rebounds in my high school career. I couldn’t have done it without my parents, coaches, teammates , and God ☝ Thank you everyone who has supported me ❤️ pic.twitter.com/FvLuPghGG8— Jayla Kelly (@_jkk29) February 21, 2020
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.
Had some fun hanging out with ESPN this morning #OwnIt pic.twitter.com/2P7FTh2mpR— Mizzou Softball (@MizzouSoftball) February 20, 2020
- #TigerStyle is hosting Iowa State on Saturday. Do check out their tribute to the seniors on twitter if you haven’t already.
- Emma Moloney of the Missourian previewed baseball’s weekend trip to Corpus Christi,Texas.
Corpus Christi, TX#Mizzou at the Kleberg Bank College Classic starts tomorrow❗️#C2E ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/fL3xdECcR1— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) February 21, 2020
- Volleyball is back to practicing to get set for the Fall season.
Another week of spring practice inside Hearnes❗️— Mizzou Volleyball (@MizzouVB) February 19, 2020
Preparation continues for a big-time 2020 campaign #MIZ #ShowMe pic.twitter.com/cjADyRcl8o
- No. 18 Tiger Gymnastics is facing off against No. 6 LSU tonight. You can watch ‘em doing cool flips n stuff on the SEC Network at 8pm. Here’s a preview from MUTigers.com. Sarah Hasselhost of the Missourian wrote a preview as well, taking a “salty & sweet” angle to talk up their Stick it to Hunger fundraiser.
❗— Mizzou Gymnastics (@MizzouGym) February 17, 2020
Friday, Feb. 21
⏰ 8 p.m.
️ $4 admission with a jar of peanut butter for @TheFoodBankMO#MIZ pic.twitter.com/jZBMYwO4vz
- Women’s golf is back! They begin their spring season this weekend in Arizona.
Here we go, time to tee it up this weekend to get the spring season started! Details here: https://t.co/PC5IggivQg ⛳️ ️♀️ pic.twitter.com/YHuG42ayYK— Mizzou Women's Golf (@MUWomensGolf) February 19, 2020
- MU Swim & Dive is making a splash (sorry, couldn’t help it) at the SEC Championships. Here’s your Day 2 results from MUTigers.com. 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 MUTigers.com.
— Mizzou Swim & Dive (@MizzouSwimDive) February 21, 2020
Danny Kovac wins the 100 fly title with a 45.29
He is the second Tiger to win an SEC men's swimming title in program history. #MIZ pic.twitter.com/AOgBx27aaz
Mizzou in the Pros:
- NFL Draft prospect Kelly Bryant made an appearance on The Jim Rome Show, talking about how he understands adversity and how to overcome it. I highly recommend it. Learned some new information about Kelly’s health struggles. Vimeo video link & audio link
- Michael Porter, Jr News: Mike rehabbed his ankle over the All-Star break, and he’s ready to return, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post.
- Jordan Elliott. Future Pro. Enough said. (highlights)
Jordan Elliott: Highest-graded defender in 2019 SEC play pic.twitter.com/uh2VYOaBO7— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 20, 2020
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