IT’S FINALLY HERE!!!
Today, at 3:30pm (on ESPN3 if you’re streaming the game), the Tigers will host the Illinois-Chicago Flames in regional play for the start of the NCAA Division I Softball Tournament. Win today, and Missouri will face the winner of Northern Iowa/Iowa State, which kicks off before the Tigers’ game at 1pm. Lose, and they’ll play the loser of the 1pm game. Obviously, we are rooting for the first scenario.
Anthony Kristensen of the Missourian dove into the matchup a bit more in a great article, talking about the power and all-around great play of two-time Horizon League Player of the Year, Kayla Wedl, who I mentioned in this piece earlier in the week. As mentioned in the article, Wedl comes into the game with 14 home runs, 51 RBI and with a batting average of .432. Coach Lynn Curylo called Wedl their “ignitor”, and Larissa Anderson is excited and prepared for her team to face the star.
“Every time I go into a game, I’m acknowledging, ‘What is the one player I don’t want to beat us?’ And (Wedl) would be that one player,” Anderson said. “We don’t want to give her anything good to hit … It’s really keeping her out of position to be able to win the game for them.”
To wish the Tigers luck, Coach Drink sent the team some sweet treats, and is excited to cheer them on tomorrow.
This will be the first time all season that the Tigers could play in a full capacity stadium, and several of the the Tigers have never seen the stadium full in their time. I’m sure it will be an incredible experience, and one you may still be able to take advantage of if you’re lucky. Last time I checked (earlier Thursday evening), there were still single-session tickets available. Be sure to check out MUTigers.com for more details!
On to the Links!
Let’s go, Tigers! #Ownit
-Love, Your Number 1 Softball Fan Site, Rock M Nation
Yesterday at Rock M
- Matthew J Harris published a new novel— this time on hoops newcomer Ronnie DeGray III. RG3 and his coaches provided a lot of good information, and I highly suggest you check it out.
- The Dive Cuts podcast returned, and Sam & Matt were joined by the illustrious Blake Lovell. He’s a great dude, and always very knowledgeable
- Kortay previewed the Auburn series, which is SUPER important for the Tigers’ postseason hopes. No, we aren’t talking about the NCAA Tourney— that’s a pipe dream at this point — but maybe with a series win they can sneak into the SEC Tournament? Let’s hope so, at least.
- Rock M contributor Sammy Stava shared this gem on Twitter, from CBS Sports. We love a rise in rankings around here.
Eli Drinkwitz comes in at No. 43 here on CBS Sports’ 2021 College Football head coach rankings, jumping 16 spots from their rankings from the start of last year. #Mizzou https://t.co/r5Z40wXXOJ pic.twitter.com/btOcegdSk0— Sammy Stava (@StavaonSTL) May 21, 2021
- Matter was back with a new chat for STL Today, answering readers’ questions about football, hoops, and diamond sports. Check it out.
- Three-Sticks!!! (not be confused with the new Three-Sticks)
- At the Tiger Takeover in Springfield, Coach Martin spoke with reporter Matt Vereen about Missouri State.
Asked @CuonzoMartin about what returning to Springfield means to him at the @MizzouAthletics "Tiger Takeover Tour" event— Matt Vereen (@MattVereen) May 21, 2021
Gave high praise to @CoachDanaFord & @MSUBearsHoops
As for a potential MIZ vs MSU matchup he says nothing in the works right now...but it's always possible: pic.twitter.com/TSsncMxNMJ
- Mizzou has been checking in on 6’4 Wisconsin guard, Braylen Blue. Here’s what he had to say about the Tigers, when Jake Weingarten interviewed him back in December:
How about another interested program in Missouri and Cuonzo Martin?
“Coach Martin is a special coach, leader, and man. I’m so happy for the success the program is having this season. Their guards are so tough - Pinson, The Smiths, Buggs, etc. The SEC is always elite. Strong academics and culture.”
2023 guard Braylen Blue will visit Wisconsin on June 8th of the unofficial capacity, he told @Stockrisers. Talked with him last fall about the Badgers, his local in-state program, and which Badgers great does he work with?https://t.co/BaGNCBy53O— Jake (@jakeweingarten) May 20, 2021
- In awesome news, Mizzou Softball placed SIX on the NFCA DI All-Region team, their most in program HISTORY, according to this press release from MUTigers.com. Brooke Wilmes and freshman Jenna Laird were each named to the first team, while Hatti Moore, Kimberly Wert and Abby George were named to the second team. Finally, Cayla Kessinger was named to the third team. So much congrats goes out to these ladies for their hard work and success.
- Ummm… that’s NOT the way to get the series started, fellas. Now the Tigers MUST win the next two to have even a glimmer of hope. Oh, and A&M needs to lose their remaining games as well (they won Thursday night).
Mizzou baseball drops series opener to Auburn 15-6. Luke Mann continued his streak with two more homers, but MU allowed 14 hits, eight walks, three homers.— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) May 21, 2021
- In response to Matter’s tweet about the approval for the football facility, former Tiger baseball player Ian Bedell had some choice words on the university’s spending choices.
$33.4 mil, but the baseball team can’t get turf for the outfield. It’s been 4 years. 4 YEARS. Take the .005% of 33.4 mil to turf the outfield. We’ve flooded football with money, spread 5% of that to every other sport. Let’s spread it around @MizzouAthletics https://t.co/mSmB1V6OWR— Ian Bedell (@BedellIan) May 20, 2021
Other Mizzou Sports
- Welcome, Stefanie Golan! The St. Charles native, who most recently coached at Minnesota, was announced as the new Mizzou soccer coach, taking over for recently retired Bryan Blitz, who had been Mizzou’s only other soccer coach in the past 25 years. According to Dave Matter’s article on the hiring, Golan has actually known former coach Bryan Blitz since her club soccer days in St. Louis
- According to Eric Blum, Golan had a 92-64-24 overall record with four NCAA Tournament appearances for the Golden Gophers, and led Minnesota to one Big Ten Conference regular-season championship, two Big Ten Tournament titles and eight winning seasons.
- Blair Kerkhoff of the KC Star wrote about how Golan is no stranger to to NCAA Tournaments, citing both her time with the Golden Gophers (where she’d coached since 2012) and her previous stop, Army West Point. Looks like the Tigers are getting a good one, y’all.
- The Track & Field Tigers will send 21(!!) athletes to the NCAA West Preliminaries, led by five Tigers who hold Top 20 marks nationally— Mitch Weber (3rd, discus), Skylar Ciccolini (5th, javelin), Arianna Fisher and Georgi Nachev (13th, triple jump), Chris Conrad (17th, 800m). Check out MUTigers.com for more information!
Mizzou in the WNBA/NBA
- Former Tigers have been receiving all sorts of press for their performances this season, both on the court and in coaching. The end-of-season NBA awards finalists were announced, and Quin Snyder, head coach of the Utah Jazz, was named one of three finalists for Coach of the Year, MPJ is a finalist for Most Improved Player, and Jordan Clarkson is a finalist for Sixth Man of the Year.
Finalist announced for 2020-21 NBA Awards pic.twitter.com/nVKULGkjyB— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) May 20, 2021
- Mizzou Hoops is excited, to be expected. The former Tigers face some stiff competition, but I sense a strong chance that both Quin and JC take home awards. Mike will be fighting off Julius Randle, so that one might be tough.
- Sarah Todd of the Deseret News asked if Jordan Clarkson could be the X-factor for the Jazz in the Playoffs.
- Michael Porter Jr is embracing his newfound role as the No. 2 guy as the Nuggets get set to take on Portland in Game One on Saturday evening, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post. This is a great, FREE article. In The Athletic, Josh Robbins and Sam Amick talked to some un-named sources “in the know” about the playoff teams and what they expect to happen in the first round. Among those players mentioned? MPJ.
NBA announces the first-round schedule for Nuggets-Blazers. pic.twitter.com/BAtPNEP1gq— Mike Singer (@msinger) May 20, 2021
- Sophie Cunningham and the Mercury get set to rematch the Connecticut Sun (who they just lost to on Sunday) at 9pm. The game will be televised on Facebook.
If you’re interested in checking out the W this year, you can get a league pass for $17 for the entire season after a 7-day trial at wnba.com.
Now that the Playoffs are starting, I will be writing a column multiple times a week detailing how things are going for Jontay, Mike, and JC. I’ll also check in on Soph in the W, of course.
If you’re looking to sign up for ESPN+, Rock M Nation now has an affiliate link: click Here for ESPN+ Now!
If you’re looking to sign up for a new streaming service, you can try FuboTV: click HERE for FuboTV access — FuboTV now has ESPN, CBS, FS1 and more sports channels.
(** RockMNation has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though RockMNation may earncommissions for products purchased via affiliate nks.**)